2021 Volkl Blaze Series Ski Preview - Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2021 Volkl Blaze Series Ski Preview

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Back in October, we sat down with the product development team from Volkl to chat about skiing, ski design, what we’ve liked over the past few seasons, and what we’d like to see. Volkl brought along with product manager, Andi Mann, whose stamp of approval is required before any Volkl product reaches a consumer. Needless to say, he’s a very important man in Volkl’s ski development. Andi and the Volkl crew brought along some examples for their newest line of skis, and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to sit down and chat with him about these new Volkl Blaze skis.

The Blaze skis are brand new lightweight, playful freeride skis. Volkl as a company is known for their precision feel and powerful, quite popular skis such as the M5 Mantra, Kendo 88, etc. These new Blaze skis replace the 90Eight and 100Eight that have been in the line for a few years and are positioned as some of the lightest freeride skis in their class. Volkl has done an excellent job of blending a lightweight, quick, playful feel with that precision that we expect from Volkl, and we’re very excited about the resulting performance.

Volkl uses a new hybrid core, which is largely responsible for the quickness and light swing weight, yet it maintains impressive edge grip too. Volkl introduced their 3D Radius concept in skis like the Kendo 88 and Mantra 102, and it’s further enhanced in the Blaze skis. The new Blaze 106 has a 40/19/30 m turning radius range in the 186 cm length. They also use what Volkl is calling a Suspension Tip design where the wood core follows the shape of the tip, resulting in a smoother, less catchy feel. To round it out, they add a sheet of titanal underfoot for binding retention and increased edge grip.

There are a total of 4 new Blaze skis, although realistically it’s more like two widths, 106 and 94, available in 2 different colors and length ranges. You can expect to see full-length, in-depth reviews of the new Blaze skis in the coming weeks and months, but we couldn’t wait any longer to introduce them! Of course, we’ve already spent quite a lot of time testing them, so don’t hesitate if you have any questions already.


 

Written by Jeff Neagle on 01/27/20

28 thoughts on “2021 Volkl Blaze Series Ski Preview

  1. Dear Jeff: I was sorry to hear about your clavicle and hope you have recovered.Very exciting review on the Blaze.Have you had a chance to get on them and see how they ski?

  2. When will these be available? Seems like these might be a good replacement for my old Mantras that have roughly the same dimensions. Also, what's the profile of these skis - mid rocker/with camber underfoot?

    1. Hi Ted!
      We've got an early intro run in stock on our site, so definitely check it out. Limited sizes and quantities until the summer/fall at this point. Definitely a lighter, floatier version of a Mantra, with a similar rocker profile of tip and tail rocker with camber underfoot. Not heavily rockered like the 100Eight. Have fun!
      SE

  3. I own the 90eight and the 100eight. Both are amazing skis. Seems that brand model names change too frequently (though I get that naming the ski equal to the width restricts tinkering with dimensions).

    1. Hi Jeff!
      The biggest difference is the move from full rocker to camber underfoot. The shape is generally the same, but the 106 has better grip, especially on steeper terrain. Build-wise, the 106 moves away from the 3D Ridge to a more customary full sidewall construction. Again, this leads to slightly better edge grip, but not crazy different. Hope that helps!
      SE

  4. Have had the Volkl 90eight for a few years for all mountain and touring. How does the Blaze 94 compare, particularly with respect to touring?

    1. Hi Bob!
      I'd put them on par in the touring department. Just a different feel versus the 90Eight, with a quicker turn and a steadier feel in those turns. I loved the 90Eight when it was on edge and I think the Blaze 94 improves on that. Likely an equal floater in the fresh, as it's a bit softer and narrower. Hope that helps!
      SE

  5. Hi! How would you compare Blaze 94 and 106 to Rustler 9 and 10? Which also have camber and metal underfoot. Thanks!

    1. Hi Anders!
      Pretty good comparison! The turned-up tails of the Rustler series gives them more of a freeride feel versus the more directional Blaze skis. Not saying they're better for park skiing or backcountry freestyle, but that is an added element for sure. The greater the rise in the tail, the easier it's going to be to release from the turn. Conversely, the flatter the tail, such as found in the Blaze skis, the more it's going to want to hold tight till the end. So not as easy to break from a turn in the Blaze. The metal underfoot extends longer in the ski in the Rustler, so a burlier and heavier feel will be found in those skis. The metal matches the camber in the Rustler skis, so longer metal in the 9 versus the 10. Volkl's 3D Radius makes the Blaze a bit more versatile in terms of turn shape while the Rustlers have their preferred arc shape. Overall, the Blaze felt a lot more woody while the Rustler skis did have some pingy metallic personality to them. Hope that helps!
      SE

  6. I’m a longtime Volkl ski lover and am looking forward to trying the new women’s Blaze 94. But I’m also part of a large number of women that don’t care for pink which is what the ski appears to be. I’m hoping the on-line color is misleading. What color is the Blaze 84?
    And is there an actual difference between the men’s and women’s Blaze, or is just the graphic different?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Ann!
      It's actually a bit more magenta/red versus pink. If you're in the same size range as the men's it's the same ski just with a different graphic. Great skis regardless of topsheet!
      SE

      1. Thank you for the color update. Magenta I can handle.
        One more question - are 165 & 172 the only lengths for the Blaze 94? 165 is a fairly long ski for shorter women.
        Thanks again

  7. I'm happy on my Volkl RTM 86, 166 cm. I'm intrigued by the new Blaze but, as I ski mostly on Eastern hardpack/icy slopes, I wonder whether the Blaze will HOLD. Please advise.

    1. Hi Ralph!
      Not quite as good as the RTM, but for what it is, you're going to get some good grip. The metal underfoot will put most of the emphasis on that range, while the forebody and tails of the skis are certainly less-substantial than a Mantra or RTM 86, and will have some fluttering on ice. If you're keeping the 86 for a hard snow ski, that'll open up your options to get the 106 and have a pretty sweet two-ski quiver, but if you're looking for one, I'd go with the 94. Have fun!
      SE

  8. Hi, I currently ski an older version of Rossi's Soul 7 (in fact the first generation in 188cm). They are fine, but are now a bit run down and need to be replaced. I looked at the Blaze 106 as a 30/70 ski (70% offpiste with some touring, maybe with the Shift or Fritschi Tecton). The Blaze look fine: light and quick & relatively stable but not burly like a Blizzard Cochise). But I am not entirely sure about this. And here is why: I also ski the Rustler 9 for moer offpiste and sidecountry/next to the slopes when there is not so much snow. I have the Rustler in 188cm and the ski is easy and fine, BUT I always feel that "more ski" or a "longer ski" would better. The Blaze 106 comes in 186cm - so I am worried that it might be too short for me. I am 6'4 and weigh 185 lbs (plus backpack). I am quite advanced (some say expert) skier. But I need a light ski for the way up and I am also more of a finesse skier, if you know what I mean.

    Any advice or comment on my thoughts (any other ski which might be good for my purpose?)

    1. Hi Thomas!
      Yeah, the 186, especially given the build, might feel a bit short on you, especially since you seem to feel like you're leaving some performance on the table. Typically those skis that come in longer lengths at those widths are more metallic/burly, so you're looking for a pretty specialized ski. You might have to be flexible on either the width or the build. For instance, the Fischer Ranger 102 FR comes in a 191 and is light enough for touring, but it's going to be on the narrower end of the spectrum, I'd assume. Conversely, the K2 Mindbender 108 Ti that comes in a 191 and is wide enough for your floaty needs, also happens to have a pretty burly build, so you'll give up on some of the lightness for the uphill. Both are suitable but in slightly different ways. Also look at the Armada Tracer 108 (188), Black Crows Atris (189.7), and Head Kore 105 (189) for comparison. Have fun!
      SE

  9. Seeking some gear advice. I'm 6'2 220 middle-aged guy who is looking to finally buy skis rather than rent. Learned to ski about 12 years ago, and am more than competent on anything groomed/open powder; while becoming more competent bumps and tighter spaces. Now that my kids are old enough and have the bug, back to skiing 10-15 days on east coast and 3-4 days west coast each season. 85% front of mountain, and like to bounce into trees/stashes here and there (nothing crazy). I am not as good a skier as I probably think I am, but I like pushing myself and would like a ski to grow with next 3-4 seasons. In the past I've spent most of my time on RTMs and some time on Mantras. I like how stable they feel (and how they hold an edge), but don't like the lack of playfulness/feel in tighter spaces. Eyeing up the Blaze 94 as maybe a good middle ground one quiver ski? People have also recommended Enforcer 94 and to keep Armada Declivity 92s on the radar. Thoughts, suggestions as I make a short list?

    1. Hi Peter!
      I think you'll have a similar issue with the Enforcer as the Mantra in that they do lack playfulness when the going gets tight. The Armada was pretty sweet--perhaps more of a front side mentality versus all-mountain, but that's okay. Blaze is a great choice, right in the sweet spot. Also check out the Rossignol Experience 94 for something in between the blaze and Mantra in terms of performance. Have fun!
      SE

  10. Hey guys, I'm looking for a freetouring ski somewhere in between the Black Crows Navis Freebird and Kastle FX106 in terms of stiffness and performance. Do you think the Blaze 106 fits the bill?
    I currently ski the Navis Freebird in the 185 length, but feel it deflects a bit too much in heavier conditions.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Alex!
      I don't think you'll see a huge bounce in heavy snow performance with the Blaze over the Navis, but yes, I'd imagine it'll be somewhere in between that and the Kastle. Also check out Armada Tracer 108 and Fischer Ranger 102 FR for a bit more bulk. Take care!
      SE

  11. I am looking for a ski that can do double duty as a touring ski and use when we get more snow in the east (quebec and northeast USA). I was thinking about the Blaze 94 or the Bent chetler 100. How do these skis differ? What size would you recommend for a 5 foot 9 inch tall guy and 195 lbs. I am not an agressive skier and I am starting to venture into the glades. As for the touring side my goal is not to try and get in a lot of runs 1 or 2 if I can per outing. I currently ski a brahma 82 173 cm I like it but find it a bit long.

    thanks for the information

    1. Hi Denis!
      The Blaze is a bit lighter and more directional versus the denser, more freestyle-oriented Bent Chetler. Playfulness and flotation go to the Bent Chetler while the Blaze has more of an on-piste personality. Both are great in the trees. I'd look for the 172-ish sizing on the ski. Have fun!
      SE

  12. I've have/had four pairs of The Bridge and love them; different years and graphics . At 150 lbs, the 179 gives me enough float in the powder and really like the responsiveness off piste, where I ride most of the time. But, it's time for a replacement and the Blaze dimensions, weight, and new tech additions have caught my eye. 1) how do you think these two skis compare? 2) what do you recommend as a replacement to The Bridge? I see, Katana is back in 2021. Thank you in advance, cl

    1. HI C Legris!
      As a former Bridge owner, I can relate! Loved that ski, and it floated better than any 95 mm ski I've ever been on. The Blaze has a lot of the same quickness and energy, but without the full rocker profile, it's going to be a bit more traditional feeling. There aren't many mid-90's full rocker skis anymore. Katana is back, but takes the titanal frame build from the Mantra/Kendo skis, so is a bit different, but still super-burly at 108 mm underfoot and quite heavy. Along with the Blaze 94, check out the Fischer Ranger 94 FR and Blizzard Rustler 9. For a bit wider, the Dynastar M-Free 99 reminded me a lot of the Bridge. Have fun!
      SE

  13. How would you compare the Rossi Soul 7 HD W vs the Blaze 106 W?

    Looking for a ski to enjoy on a powder morning but also able to have some fun with in trees and side country when it gets a bit tracked out.

    1. HI Clarissa!
      It's a pretty good comparison--both light and agile--I think the Soul is a quicker turner, but the Blaze has better performance in non-fresh/deep snow, so I do think the Blaze is quite versatile. More of a traditional ski feel with the Blaze. Have fun!
      SE

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