2023 Volkl Kendo 88 Ski Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2023 Volkl Kendo 88 Ski Review

Volkl has always been known for their premium products, high-level engineering, innovative technology, and very precise skis in their overall characteristics on snow. This is not surprising given their 100-year legacy of producing skis in Germany. Like my favorite automobiles, those German’s sure know how to pay attention to the details. Last season, Volkl announced the new M6 Mantra, which took the already-great M5 and tweaked it into an even better, more-refined ski. When we saw it, skied it, and talked about it, we couldn’t help but speculate, and even anticipate, those same changes in the Kendo 88.

And here we are! About a year later, after overwhelming public approval of the changes to the Mantra, we get a new Kendo too! I was lucky enough to see it and test it for the first time in beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho. Maybe you saw us out there on social media. Maybe you also anticipated the ski we focused on would be a new Kendo. Volkl sure picked a great spot to introduce it, as the nearly 3,000 vertical foot runs at Sun Valley provide ideal, and seemingly endless, testing terrain. Of course, we’ve had it here in Stowe too, as there’s nothing that demands full capabilities out of a ski quite like demanding east coast terrain.

AT A GLANCE


2023 VOLKL KENDO 88 SKIS



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CONSTRUCTION

163, 170, 177, 184 cm

29 m / 16 m / 25 m @ 177 cm

129 / 88 / 113 mm

Tailored Titanal Frame & Tailored Carbon Tip


Before we get into performance, let’s look at some of the changes to the Kendo 88 for the 2022/23 ski season. There are three major elements here. First is Tailored Titanal Frame. If you’ve watched or read our M6 Mantra review, you’re going to be familiar with 2 out of 3 of these elements. Tailored Titanal Frame is an altered shaping of the upper metal laminate compared to the previous Kendo. Instead of a consistent width through the entire ski, the Titanal Frame is thicker, or rather wider, closer to your foot, then tapers to a thinner layer of metal as it wraps around the tip and tail. The thinner portion of metal is essentially the same length in each length option of the ski, which means the wider, thicker portion of metal changes per length. This allows Volkl to custom tailor the performance of each length to match the skier who’s going to be choosing it. It’s very noticeable too. I bounced back and forth between the 177 and 184 during our time in Sun Valley and could certainly feel a difference.

Then there’s the Tailor Carbon Tip. This specifically engineered grid—or web—of carbon in the tip of the ski provides a few different benefits. First, it’s increasing torsional stiffness and responsiveness in the tip of the ski. After taking some metal out, it’s nice having that carbon in the tip as it retains, or even improves upon, the torsional stiffness and initiation phase of the outgoing Kendo. Also, because the metal has essentially been replaced by carbon, swing weight feels quite a bit lighter. There’s only about a 100 g (or less) difference in weight between the 2022 Kendo 88 and 2023 Kendo 88, but it feels like it could be more when you ski it. The last benefit of the Tailored Carbon Tip (at least the last we’re going to talk about, I’m sure Volkl engineers could keep going), is the buildup of energy. There is noticeably more energy in this ski compared to the previous version. Or maybe it’s just that the energy is more easily accessible… Probably both, to be honest.

The last thing we want to point out about this Kendo overall before we dive into performance is turn radius. We still get the 3D Radius, which was featured in the previous ski, but Volkl has dropped 1 meter out of the center radius of the ski. The 177 cm, for example, now has a 16 m turn radius underfoot, down from 17 m in the previous ski. It might not seem like much—there’s not a huge difference between 16 and 17 on paper, but you sure can feel it.

On to performance! If you watch our ski reviews or Comparison Series videos, you’ll know that we have always viewed the Kendo 88 as one of the most precise skis in its category. That category consists around-90-mm all-mountain skis, but you can also narrow down that field of skis to just 90 mm skis with metal. Among those skis, it has always been one of the best, one of the most precise, and one of the most rewarding skis on a groomer. There are skis that feel looser and more agile in soft snow, but the Kendo has always been right there among the cream of the crop on groomers. This new ski is 100% solidifying that position. It feels even more precise now. It feels more refined. It just feels better, and if I had to point to one reason why, I feel that it is a more rewarding ski experience overall. It just makes me smile more than on the previous ski. The 2023 Kendo 88 is more rewarding in every application than last year’s version. It might not be a huge difference, but it’s noticeable, which is exactly the same reaction we had to the M6.

2023 Volkl Kendo 88 Skis: Full Width Action Image 1 2023 Volkl Kendo 88 Skis: Full Width Action Image 2

On groomers, the first thing I noticed about the Kendo 88 is how well it performs at more moderate speeds. Our very first run in Sun Valley was down a relatively mellow pitched run. My first thought as we pointed our skis down the fall line was “this is going to be kinda boring.” Not that the previous Kendo was boring, but I always found that it required some speed to really come alive. A couple turns down that mellow groomer in Sun Valley and I probably laughed out loud and had a huge grin on my face. What an amazing difference. Tip this ski on edge, give it even just an ounce of skier input, and it hooks up and goes. Not only does it just go, but it also comes back too. The responsiveness and the way it drives across the fall line is noticeably improved over the previous ski. I give a lot of credit to the shorter turn radius underfoot, although I know the Carbon Tip is adding to that phenomenon too. In the 177 in particular, dropping from 17 to 16 m made a pretty big difference in how quick the ski feels, and I really, really enjoyed it.

On this trip in Sun Valley, we had a fantastic group of skiers—lots of people from different backgrounds, with different skiing styles, and who viewed the mountain differently. It was valuable hearing the feedback and impressions from all the different types of skiers. All of them felt the same change in accessibility and how easy it is to access the energy and potential of the ski now. Of course, being a Kendo 88, I wanted to make sure that when improving those characteristics, Volkl didn’t take anything away from the top-end capabilities of this ski. I grabbed two skiers with race backgrounds and asked if I could point a camera at them, knowing that if they were on camera, they were going to ski hard. One was Gordy Megroz, the other Pete Hustis. Those guys both know how to arc a ski and it was a pleasure watching them lay it over. Not once did either of them comment on any lack of edge grip, any lack of stability at speed, or anything that would make me worry about the capabilities of the Kendo. I had been skiing the 177 through most of the day, but as everyone went into lunch, I took a solo, high-speed run on a 184. I didn’t see any limitations watching them ski it, but I also wanted to confirm for myself. Consider that confirmed. If you want to ski stupid fast, it can still do it. The way that Volkl retained that ability, while improving responsiveness, accessibility, and fun-factor is probably the most impressive thing about these new skis.

If you’re unaware, Sun Valley is having one of their best snow seasons over the past couple decades. Not only were we treated to long, perfect groomers, but we also got to ski some relatively deep snow too. This was valuable testing for the Kendo 88, as at that width, it’s positioned as an all-mountain ski, not just a firm snow carver. By taking some mass out of the tips and tails, Volkl has made the Kendo easier when you take it off trail. I would still say that it’s not the easiest in its category, but it’s noticeably better. The biggest difference to me is how much less effort it takes to flick it around. We skied some relatively tight trees, and I did it on the 184. In the previous ski, I could’ve done it, but I think I would’ve been pretty exhausted. In the new Kendo, sure it still took some work, but I was definitely less fatigued. I stopped to think about that a few times… the level of precision you get on a groomer, with the ability to ski deeper snow and off-piste terrain, is quite impressive.

Back here in Stowe, we realized that if you want it to snow a lot, apparently all you need to do is buy a Kendo 88. We had a test day planned for today (Monday, January 17), so Bob could log a few more miles on it before we film the in-studio review, and sure enough, we got the best powder day of the year. Watching Bob cut through the fresh snow on the Kendo, lay over some carves, then bounce around in lower angle terrain getting the ski to wiggle around really confirmed all my thoughts about this new ski. He felt the shorter radius too, he loved the responsiveness, and when I asked him just now if he had anything he wanted to add for the written review, he turned around and simply said, “it’s wonderful!”

2023 Volkl Kendo 88 Skis Ski Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Jeff Neagle on 01/17/22

Photography by Ray Gadd

99 thoughts on “2023 Volkl Kendo 88 Ski Review

  1. Thanks for another great review! Good to see it finally snow in Stowe!
    How much difference would you say there is now between the Kendo and the Mantra? when would you chose one over the other?

    1. Hi Jan!
      I have two schools of thought on this one. First, if you get the Kendo, it opens you up for another, wider ski for snow days. While the 4-5 inches we had on test day weren't enough to bog down the Kendo, I would have chosen wider if I could have, thus the possibility for the wider ski (Volkl Blaze 106, for example). Second, if you don't need another ski, and mostly spend time on groomed terrain and live/ski in a less-snowy zone, the Kendo will be more than enough. I feel that skiers who spend a lot of time in ungroomed snow, wider-open terrain, or just like something with more surface area underfoot will gravitate to the Mantra as their one-and-only ski, although I'm not going to stop someone from buying a wider ski to complement the Mantra, either. Have fun!
      SE

    1. HI MDD!
      WE're not looking at an early release for that ski, so they'll likely become available when we get our full inline order in the summer. They're great!
      SE

    1. HI Coach!
      The 86 looks and feels more like a front side ski while the Kendo has that all-mountain appeal. For an all-mountain, the Kendo also leans to the carving side of the spectrum versus more freeride-y skis like the Enforcer 88. I'd put the Kendo in between the Experience and the Enforcer in terms of performance and user intent. If you're 80% or over on-trail, I think the Experience makes more sense, but any less, and the Kendo has more of a well-rounded feel. Both ripping skis. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Great review as always, thanks guys! I was all set to buy Enforcer 88’s, but now I’m wondering if this new Kendo 88 is a better option for me. I know you touched on it a bit in the video, but any chance you can elaborate a bit on how they compare? Thanks again!

        1. Hi Tim!
          More of a freeride shape to the Enforcer while the Kendo excels in precision and quickness. The Enforcer is heavier, so operates well in crud and chop as well as softer snow while the Kendo really rips on firmer stuff. Hope that helps!
          SE

  2. Jeff, glad you got to ski Sun Valley. Unsurpassed in high speed cruising IMO, (at continuous steep pitch too). Did you ski the new expansion area and how did you like it? My question, I am 6'0, weigh 210, consider myself a good athlete, advanced skier, (but older-65), 80% groomers. Would 177cm be too short for me or would the 184cm be best. Will buy the new Kendo 2023 as my next ski. And will buy from Ski Essentials because of all the fabulous info you and Bob put out. Thx. Mark.

    1. Hi Mark!
      Thanks! I don't think the 177 would be too short, and it certainly takes more effort to move the 184, I suppose it comes down to your aggressiveness (or lack thereof) since you're kind of between sizes. Based on your stats, I think the 177 is the way to go, but if you really want the most stability, and especially at speed, the 184 will work. I'd lean to the 177, and it's awesome! I didn't get to the new zone--I happened to be skiing on the narrower Deacons at that point.
      SE/Jeff

    1. Hi Jay!
      The Wingman is more responsive, especially on groomers in a carved turn. The rocker/taper of the Kendo give it just a bit of lag when compared to the Wingman in both the initiation and completion phases of the turn, while the Wingman is instantaneous power transfer. On the flip side, this happens in the woods and bumps too, so the Kendo is a better ski for quick and agile turns off-trail, in the bumps, and trees. That said, it's got a similar stiffness to it, and feels similarly light on the feet. Have fun!
      SE

  3. Great review, sounds like an awesome ski

    I currently like skiing a mixture of terrain whether it be moguls, trees, or burnin up groomers.

    I have a designated soft snow ski bent chetler 100 172cm but am looking for a speed and hard pack ski that also has some versatility when need be. My chetlers are not confidence inspiring whatsoever on icy days or at speed.

    What length do you recommend for these new kendos? 5’8” 190lbs 28 years old expert skier. Would a 170 offer enough edge grip for a guy my size?

    Do you feel the newest model kendo has lost any edge stability at speed over the previous iterations? I skied kendos probably 5 years ago and loved em, just can’t remember what length I had.

    Thanks guys love the reviews, I’ve watched way too many at this point

    1. Thanks, Joe!
      I'd say yes to the 170. No loss of stability at speed--I pushed it pretty hard this morning and the only limitation was me. I also took it in the bumps and trees and was impressed with the quickness and agility. It's still stiff--don't forget about that, but it feels light on the feet while retaining power--very impressive stuff.
      SE

  4. Nice review! I really enjoy my E88’s and will get into newer skis for next season. The Kendo 88 sounds great. Is it safe to anticipate the Kendo will perform better off piste than my 5 year old Rossi’s which I so enjoy on the groomers and often push through off piste. (I was thinking of going into the mid 90 underfoot next time, but your review has me thinking now of staying at that 88 width)
    I’m 75, 5’8”, 170 lbs. and a pretty good skier, enjoying all of Colorado. I’d probably go with the 170 cm length. I’ve got Rossi Super 7 HD’s for those big powder days.

    Thanks

    Steve B
    Centennial CO

    1. HI Steve!
      I would say yes. I skied the 2023 Kendo today and pushed it off-trail and was impressed with the quickness and maneuverability of the ski. It's still stiff, and won't let you forget it, but at least you can un-weight and wiggle it pretty well. Rips on-trail. I'd say yes to the 170. Have fun!
      SE

  5. Does it ski shorter or longer than the current kendo? Do you think it is worth the wait for the new Kendo? I am looking at the 177 and 170. 6’ 190-200 pounds

    Current Setup
    188 Rustler 11 2022
    181 Ripstick duke pt 2021
    180 Masterblaster 2022

    1. HI Justin!
      Same length, nearly the same ski. If you want a Kendo for the rest of this year, I'd get the 2021-2. Have fun!
      SE

  6. Great review—really enjoyed the video as a fairly frequent visitor to Sun Valley I could really feel those runs. Intrigued by this ski. Any comparisons to the old Volkl RTM84 or the Stockli Laser AR?

    1. HI Kyle!
      As good as the Kendo is in a carved turn, it's still quite impressive what type of versatility you can get out of it, and we had quite a bit of soft snow in both Sun Valley and here at Stowe when we tested--I actually got on it on firm snow one out of five test days! The shape sets it apart from the AR and the RTM, which both have decreased taper and rocker. The Kendo still has that freeride inspiration, just in a narrower shape and more precise build, so you do get that fantastic carving property, but it's not locked into it as much as the other models. The Laser feels smoother, lighter, and quicker from edge to edge than the others, and it just has that high-quality build that is reflected in the price. If you're sticking to trails more often than not, and don't mind putting a bit more work into off-piste skiing, the AR is fantastic, but there's not much wrong with the new Kendo as far as I can tell!
      SE

  7. These sound like a great update, especially against my 2016 Kendos. I’m spending a lot more time in the woods, and looking for something easier to ski than the old Kendos. My list before these was Enforcer 88, Rustler 9, Armada Declivity 92. How are these vs new Kendo? I’m 5’10 160 lb, 50 yrs advanced (not expert) skiing mostly Vermont. Looking for less stiff, a little lighter but still strong enough on hard snow. Thanks!

    1. Hi RobertG!
      If you're in the woods more, I'd put in a strong recommendation for the Rustler. While the new Kendo is lighter and more maneuverable than the 2016 version, it's still pretty stiff and precise. The Rustler, in addition to being a quick and agile ski for the woods, also holds a fairly good edge due to the partial metal laminate. It's a surprising carver for what's normally thought of as a "freeride" ski. I'd look to that in the 172. Have fun!
      SE

        1. Escaper is lighter and quicker, but doesn't quite have the edge grip of the Rustler and it's partial metal laminate. If you're in softer snow and prefer maneuverability, we've had a lot of success on the Escaper. Have fun!
          SE

  8. How do you compare these to the Stockli SR 88s?

    I’m 5’10 155lb expert, like to ski a variety of terrain. What length would you recommend? Thanks!

    1. Hi JT!
      The Stockli is more flexible and operates better at a wider range of speeds. The Kendo feels like a handful at slower speeds, but is a bit more stable and strong once you get it up to pace. The feel and quality of the Stockli is unmatched. I'd go 175 in Stockli or 177 in Kendo. Have fun!
      SE

  9. The future Kendo sounds great. Thank you for the preview.

    I am 66, 5'7, 190 lbs. Looking to go Kendo 88/170 vs a Maverick. (been skiing older Atomic Beta Carvers 180 /64 @ the waist.

    Thoughts on Kendo vs Mav. I have seem Bob mention many times that he appreciates camber. It seems that Kendo had the 3-D sidecut but little or no camber.

    How to decide?

    If I order from SE and have them mounted, do they also do a hotwax, and possibly a tune?

    1. HI Joseph!
      The Maverick is considerably lighter and quicker while the Kendo has more stability and composure. There is some camber underfoot, but it's not as snappy as the Maverick. I'm a huge fan of the new Kendo build and performance. We do offer Phantom base treatment for new skis but do not do edges--the factory tune feels pretty darn good.
      SE

  10. When will the new model 2023 Kendos be available? Jeff and Bob you guy do great reviews. I have purchased Stockli Stormriders from SE.

    1. Hi Mike!
      We're expecting them within two weeks as of 2/4. We'll post to social media when they are in stock. Thanks for the kind words!
      SE

  11. Hey guys, I love your reviews! I'm 55 5'11 210 lbs and live and ski in Colorado with the occasional trip to Utah and Jackson. I've been skiing for 45 years with a race background and have skied on 2015 Volkl Kendo 177 cm. I've loved these skis but always wished I sized up and can overpower the tips at times. I ski a mix of all mountain, but find myself now chasing my 19 and 21 year-old boys into the trees and moguls more than in years past. I want a ski that can rip groomers but has the versatility for bumps and trees without requiring a ton of effort.

    I recently bought a pair of 20-21 184 cm Volkl M5 Mantras and loved how they bombed down groomers and bulldozed through variable conditions. They were okay in bumps but required a ton of effort, and were a lot of work in trees. Next I tried the Salomon Stance 96, and loved the groomed performance, but that stiff heel and tail was punishing in sketchy, steep trees and bumps. I'm thinking of going back to a 184 cm Kendo, but considering the Enforcer 88 184cm and the K2 Mindbender 90 Ti 184cm. The Blizzard Rustler 9 sounds intriguing, but I feel between sizes with the 180 cm and 188 cm. I'm willing to give up some groomer performance for versatility and ease-of-use.

    If the Kendo might be the answer, is it worth waiting till the 2023 version is available?

    1. HI Brian!
      You'll have somewhat of a similar experience with the Kendo as the Mantra in the bumps and trees, although they are a bit quicker from edge to edge, but still stiff. I'd say the K2 is more up your alley--still a strong and stable ski, but I found it to be a blast in the tighter spots. If you decide Kendo, though, I would wait for 2023--I like the shorter arc of the 3D Radius sidecut.
      SE

  12. Hi SE Team! First of all, thank you for your great work, super helpful!
    I’m a 30yr old male, 5’8’’, 160lbs looking for a versatile all-mountain ski. Been skiing since my childhood and would describe myself as an upper-advanced to near-expert skier. Exclusively skiing in the Central Eastern Alps of Austria and Switzerland with about 90% of the time on groomers. Currently using an Atomic Redster G9 as my go to ski but wanting to add something more versatile for softer snow, late day groomers, bumps or even a little powder.

    I’ve been looking at the Kendo 88, Stormrider 88, and Brahma 88. Also thought about the Laser AR and Brahma 82 as probably more groomer orientated but less versatile options. The problem I see with the Stöcklis might be the length choices, as I am kinda in between sizes.

    I’d love your opinion on those skis and would also take a closer look at any other suggestions. What do you recommend? Thanks so much!
    J

    1. HI Jonathan!
      The good news is that I don't think you're going to go wrong with any of those 88's. The Kendo is probably the one in the middle, with the Brahma as the race horse and the Stormrider as the precision sports car. The Kendo strikes a nice balance of the two with better short-turning abilities than the other two. Not quite as much versatility as the more flexible Stormrider, but still pretty good--got them in the bumps and woods here in Vermont the other day, and they did just fine. I would say the 82's are a bit more one-dimensional than the 88's which just are able to do it all really well. I'd lean to the Kendo, but not by much either way. Have fun!
      SE

    1. HI Neal!
      FX 86 has a more flexible shovel and is lighter overall. The Kendo just has more horsepower and is capable of higher-level performance than the Kastle. Have fun!
      SE

  13. Hi and thank you for this great review, very helpful !
    I hesitate between 2 skis for next year. The Kendo 88 (2023) and the Kanjo 84.
    I am an advanced skier but not an expert. I mostly ski on groomers but i like to go into powder neer groomers some days. The snow on the grommers is often icy and I like having a playful ski that grips a lot but remains quite easy to handle. When the slope of the groomers increases, I am less comfortable and I am looking for maneuverability.
    I am 35 years old, 160 lbs, and 5 feet10 inches.
    What is your opinion ?

    1. HI axb!
      If you're leaning to maneuverability, I would say the Kanjo is a better choice. You'll get more stability and performance from the Kendo, but the lighter Kanjo will be easier to turn at a variety of speeds. Have fun!
      SE

  14. Thanks for the thorough review! Are the Kenjas and Kendos identical in all ways/specs except for their top sheet designs again this year? I didn’t see a similar review for the new Kenjas yet

  15. Hi

    Great Review! I’ve been skiing with Several Volkls for years (Confessions, Mantra and Kendos 2018 170 ) I’m 61 5”8 190 lbs expert skier . I ski mostly w my Kendos .. just bought a pair of SToclis SR 88 175 it’s on enroute to me before I get it mounted .. now I’m wondering if I should have bought the Kendo 88 ? I ski everything (mostly trees to stay off piste when possible) any thoughts should I stay w kendos or go for the Skoclis ? Thanks

    1. Hi Cameron!
      I think it's worth seeing what the Stockli can offer. They're pretty awesome skis. I'd prefer the Stockli in the bumps, trees, and powder while the Kendo is a strong operator on the groomers for sure.
      SE

  16. SE:
    Searching for one ski to do it all in the east. Currently on the Dynastar Legend 84 which is fine but not that exciting and feel like the edge grip is average. The Kendo sounds great as I spend most of my day carving on hard pack. I do really enjoy dipping into the bumps on softer, heavier snow days when they are approachable and enjoy a tighter turning radius to have fun in the trees/glades. Your review makes this new Kendo sound like the winner to me. The other ski I'm considering is the Blizzard Rustler 9. It seems like the Rustler has a slight advantage in the trees and moguls and the Kendo does better on the hard pack. I definitely enjoy speed at times but not at the expense of being able to dip into the trees or into the bumps. At speed I'm a 50-55 mph skier top end and normally a speed run to me is mid 40's. I'm 5'11" and 175#. I think Kendo 88 177? or... Blizzard Rustler 9 180.0. Can you break the tie?

    JM

    1. Hi Jim!
      Both will suffice. What percentage of your ski time is spent on groomers? If it's more than 80%, I'd go Kendo. Any less, and you'll likely enjoy the versatility of the Rustler, which still has some good edge grip and stability, but is way more fun and easy in the bumps and trees.
      SE

      1. SE:
        Thanks so much for your response. Very helpful. One final related question. The K2 Minder 90ti seems like it might be worthy of a look next to the Kendo 88 and Rustler 9. Does it fit in the middle between the Kendo and the Rustler? I'm sure this is splitting hairs at some level. Any thoughts would be helpful though. Again, really appreciate your reviews and time.

        JM

        1. HI Jim!
          Yes and no. The K2 is a good mix of the two, but leans a bit towards Kendo and more front-side use. The Rustler is one of the few, true 50/50 skis out there. Have fun!
          SE

  17. Hey, live and ski in Colorado (Monarch/Cooper/Copper/Wolf Creek). 5'10/180lbs advanced skills. I currently ski the Rustler 9 at 180 and the J Skis Metal, which are used for bumps/trees and medium powder/crud respectively. I'm looking for something more groomer and hard snow oriented but that can still pop down some moguls. I demo'd the M6 Mantra a few weeks ago and, while it was a lot of fun bombing blues, my legs were burning pretty good after my third mogul run (also it took me a few runs to figure out the M6 in moguls). So, I'm now looking at: the Kendo 88, Kanjo 84, Declivity 88C, Declivity 82ti, and the Brahma 82. As I have other skis for other purposes, can you help push me one way or another if these skis' focus would be: 1) edge grip; 2) speed on groomers; and, 3) fun? Thanks!

    1. Hi Blake!
      If you liked the overall grip and stability of the M6, I think the Kendo in the 177 makes a lot of sense. It's narrower/lighter than the Mantra, but still retains excellent precision and power. It's still stiff, but is easier to turn. For your list, I think the Kendo has the most upside.
      SE

      1. Thanks! That's where I was leaning but just wanted someone to confirm my thoughts and to make sure I wasn't missing out on anything. Also (on a separate note), you guys just did a great job quickly fulfilling an order for some new Sheeva 9s for my wife--nice work!

  18. Hi Jim
    My 2014 Kendos at 21 radius is just a thrilling feel at high speed wide hang it out turns. Might it feel the same at the 15 radius?

    1. HI Fred!
      It's a different feel than the older Kendo. The new one is livelier and more energetic. You can certainly still go fast, that's one of the benefits of the 3D Radius sidecut, but it's not quite the charger of your older kendo.
      SE

  19. Hi, the Kendo 88 sounds like a very good ski especially for the east, my question is as the widest ski I have ever skied is a demo Kendo 88 ( actually a Kendo 88 2019 edition ) I am wondering what is the difference in technique that a skier needs to use to effectively ski a wider ski such as a Mantra 6, and in your opinion is this
    transition to a ski of this width a significant leap for most skiers? As someone who normally skis a 81 mm ski I would like to ski a wider ski but I am unsure if moving up to a mid 90s ski might be too big a step ? thanks

    1. HI peter!
      It's a bit wider of a stance in the wider ski, but nothing crazy. There's a lot of people on mid-90's skis in every day conditions and terrain, so it's not a crazy thing at all. They're strong, stable, and precise, and carve quite well for being 96 mm underfoot. I think you'll like the power and strength. Have fun!
      SE

  20. I'm a 70 year old eastern skier and skiing on a 2016 177 kendo. Strong skier, former ski patroller 5ft 10in 185 lbs. I ski mostly groomers fast along the edge in the fall line. But love when the conditions get variable and tricky and spring conditions. Recently, took them out west and skied Powder Mt, Snowbasin and Solitude. Had no problem skiing them off trail and in the trees. Was thinking of going to a wider ski, like black ops sender, rustler 10 or m6. But, read your review on 2023 kendo and thinking of just upgrading my kendo to the newer model same length, any comments?

    1. HI Chris!
      They're pretty sweet. I was never a big fan of the older Kendo as I found them to be a bit planky, but I love the energy and strong turning nature of the new Kendo for sure. If you like that feel in the ski, then the M6 will have that as well, just 8 extra mm underfoot. I think if you don't get another Kendo, I'd go with the Mantra. Have fun!
      SE

  21. Help! like so many out there I'm looking for new skis, great for you guys. I'm 6"1", 185lbs an advanced skier and former instructor of 10 years.I ski a few days a week with my wife on groomed runs but like to detour off piste when the conditions are worth it. I currently ski on a 2018 Enforcer 100, 185. I like the stability and versatility of the ski and ski the entire mountain but by the end of the day they are heavy. After logging endless hours on your amazing site there are a few skis on my shopping list:
    Stockli SR88
    Stockli AR
    Kendo 88
    Elan Ripstick88
    I did get out on a Deacon 84, 177, which was a lot of fun.
    Any help narrowing this down and a length would be appreciated.

    Thank you for your time,
    Reo

  22. Great reviews. In the picture in the review you're showing new graphics on the 2023 but looking at the 2023 for sale they looked to be the older graphics. Can you explain that please

    1. HI Fred!
      I'm not seeing that on my end. Maybe a 2022 graphic snuck in somewhere, but it all looks correct to me.
      SE

  23. Is the 177 radius 17 or 16? Article says 16 (" The 177 cm, for example, now has a 16 m turn radius underfoot, down from 17 m in the previous ski. It might not seem like much—there’s not a huge difference between 16 and 17 on paper, but you sure can feel it."), but graphic shows 17. The Volkl site says 17R in 177.

    1. Good eye.
      We run into this stuff more often than we'd like. Conflicting info all over the place. The 177 ski says 29/16/25, so we're going to roll with that until notified otherwise, although Sooth Ski notes that it's 17.3, so go figure. We found it to turn shorter when we were on it, so that's the best data of all.
      SE

  24. Addendum to my earlier question/post:
    Volkl still has the 2022 Kendo 88 info online, and I believe the graphics person used that info for this 2023 writeup.
    The new model in 177 [R1(29), R2(16.2), R3(24.8)]

  25. Hi Jeff .... gonna go for the Kendo 88 2023, my decision now lies in length. Currently ski a Volkl RTM 81 170cm which has a turn radius c. about 16m. The 170cm has been comfortable and easy to ski. However with the radius coming down in the new Kendo ( c. 16 m in the 177cm ) ...would this ski be as easy to maneuver ? Just wondering if the added length might give me more float if we get a day with fresh snow or on crudier conditions would it also give more plough through? I am 165 lbs 5' 10" and advanced skier. thanks!

    1. Hi Peter!
      I would still stick to the 170 based on your stats and application. No real need to size up due to the natural stability of the ski.
      SE

  26. Hi SE
    Love your reviews and feedback. Question.
    I’m 5’10” 235lbs. Very athletic. Advanced skier who is very aggressive. Love going fast. Been on the kendo in 177 and loved both days. Was wanting a little more stability at top speed though. 50+
    I’m ready to pull the trigger on the 2023 model. Would you recommend staying at 177 or bumping to 184? How does that reduced turn radius on the 2023 184 feel vs the 177? Thanks again.

    1. HI Brett!
      It's not a crazy difference, but it is noticeable, especially when you're trying to eke out that shorter arc. When you're letting them run, it's harder to tell. That said, it sounds like you prefer longer skis, so I don't think the 184 will be too much for you. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thank you. Order placed.
        Got my wife some Black Pearl 88 in 165 too. Have one last week in April to rip on these.

        For any other big boned skiers out there, here are my quick demo notes from 22 season.

        K2 disruption 82ti. 177. Very stiff straight and fast. Only had fun bombing on these.

        Enforcer 94. 179. Couldn’t get connected with these. Had trouble finding the edges in a carve. They felt smeary to me. Based on reviews I thought I’d like these more.

        Bent chetler 100. 170. I know. Too short. Felt flimsy, not confidence inspiring.

        Mantra m6. 177. Demod these in 7” or so of fresh Tahoe dump. TBH I had trouble getting these around and loaded enough to carve. Wanted to try again on a harder day.

        Kendo 88. These felt like great from the start. I play hockey 3 nights a week and these just felt like I was on my skates. Edges when i wanted, super connected to the snow.

        Thanks SE! This Place is great.

  27. I'm 33 - 5'9, around 175lbs, skiing 2020 Volkl Kendos in 170cm w/ griffon 13s as my east coast rippers that I've progressed quite a bit on since picking up the hobby a few years back.... will hit the low to upper 50mphs in ideal conditions and like to ski steep blues and blacks, with some occasional trees... I also have K2 Shreditors 102 in 169 w/ Jesters that I'm finally replacing this year to widen the gap (likely increasing to 106-112mm width and up 4-7 cm in length).
    My question: is it also worth replacing my 2020 Kendos in 170 for 2023 Kendos in 177 or a better idea to save $$ to refresh at the next update in ~3 years (and to use the extra cash to possibly upgrade bindings from Marker to Look 15s etc instead)?

    1. Hi Justin!
      You'll probably notice a more significant performance uptick with the new ski rather than the binding. That's more of a luxury than a necessity, in my mind, as the new ski will not only have more energy, but if you size up, more stability at speed.
      SE

  28. SE. Excellent review as always. I purchased a 2021 Kendo/Salomon Warden 11 in the 177. I am 5-7 165 and 51, skied forever. I'm feeling like they are too long and am looking to get the 2023 Kendo in 170. Would I notice a difference? I guess my biggest issue with the ones now are that can get squirrely in the front, especially at slower speeds. I feel I need the 170, especially with the new design. Thanks for your time!

    1. HI Greg!
      I think the 170 will be a nice improvement, especially with the shorter arc and lighter swing weight of the 2023 model. You will definitely notice a difference. Have fun!
      SE

  29. Sounds like it's better than it's predecessor not only off-piste but also on, in ways that make it ski more like the Deacon 84. Could it be as good as that ski on hard snow? What differences would one notice stepping from one ski to the other (on piste, on hard snow)?

    Also, if 172 worked well for me with the Deacon, which Kendo would be right for me - the longer 177 or the shorter 170? (I'm a bit over 5'10" and weigh about 152 (plus boots, gear, small backpack ... ).

    Thanks!

    1. HI Andrew!
      Certainly blurs the line between narrow all-mountain and wide frontside, that's for sure. The Deacon has the 3D Ridge still, making it stronger through the mid-body while the Kendo's frame is not continuous. This allows the Kendo to flex a bit more naturally while the Deacon doesn't really want to do that. Additionally, the taper and rocker is less in the Deacon, giving it more of a tip to tail edge contact and more of a GS feel. I'd go 177 in the kendo rather than 170. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thanks! So if I understand correctly, despite similarities, there are still fairly noticeable differences between the two on hard snow on-piste. And therefore I'm guessing that as the Deacon 84 is the first 80+mm ski I've ever tested that didn't make me wonder if I shouldn't buy something narrower (and the others were not bad skis: Laser AX and previous Wingman 86 Cti), there's a pretty good chance the Kendo would make me wonder the same. Make sense?

        1. HI Andrew!
          Yes, but mostly because the shape is quite different. Kendo follows more of a freeride template while Deacon is still very much front side. The preference of a carved turn is still stronger in the Deacon while the Kendo is happier making all sorts of turns, but still at a very high level. I'd much rather ski the Kendo in the softer snow and off-groomers than the Deacon.
          SE

  30. Thanks for the great review of the new Kendo. Seems like a perfect match for my profile.

    Just wondering, what length I should go for. My technical data are: advanced skier, 50 years, 185cm and 95kg (6‘1 and 210lbs).

    Kindly asking you for your recommendation.

    Thanks and greetings from Bavaria/Germany.

    1. HI Michael!
      Based on your stats, if you prefer being on the longer and more stable side of the spectrum, I'd go 184. If you are a bit slower and interested in more and shorter turns, I do not think 177 is too short. Have fun!
      SE

  31. I recently moved from the east to the west and am trying to find a new ski for next year. I'll probably spend 75% of my time on piste, but get into trees, bowls, and powder when I can.

    I'm an advanced to expert skiier, but probably not going full speed too often. I'm 6'1" 210lbs. I think the Kendos are what I'd like, but I'm concerned about the ease of use at slow speeds given how stiff they are, and that I probably won't be ripping at top speed too often. Do you think I'd be ok in these, or sound I look for something a little more forgiving?

    1. HI Adam!
      I think you'll be fine given your stats and application. Sure there are better skis with slower-speed compliance out there, Stockli Stormrider 88, Elan Ripstick 88, Armada Declivity 92 Ti, but the Kendos have an amazing ability to vary up turn shape and style. They're highly versatile and a lot of fun--you're in a good zone for skis for sure. Have fun!
      SE

  32. I'm testing skis this spring and the Deacon 84 and 21/22 Kendo 88 are on my list. It sounds like, whatever my opinion may be with this year's Kendo, next years is improved, yes?
    My search is in the 83-88 range. I am a (very) former collegiate racer, 6'0", 175 lbs. 64 yrs old. I'm looking for a ski that will rail, but still flexible enough to deal with very mixed snow conditions above tree line in Colorado. I have some powder boards that are 110 under foot for bigger days.

    1. HI pete!
      The Kendo is certainly more versatile and still rails turns. If you're looking for something that will be used off-trail even a bit, I'd go with the Kendo. Have fun!
      SE

  33. I am overdue for new skis. I am 5'6", 180 lbs, 51 years old, and really interested in the Kendo88. I initially was looking at the Mantra 6 but I'm normally on the east coast and once in blue moon go out west. I have been skiing for 30+ years and my current skis are 23 years old. I recently got the bug once again and I usually ski fast, with tight and short turns at times. I have been playing around with ski calculators and it's all over the board from 163 to 172. I have my eyes on a 2023 Kendo 88 but wondering if 163 or 170 is the right size for me.

    1. HI Jon E!
      I think if you're mainly in the east and spend most of your time on the groomers, the Kendo is the way to go. I would think the 170 is a slightly better option, but it's more based on preference than stats.
      SE

  34. I was 99.99% ready to snag the 2023 Kendo 88 until this weekend: Closing day, frontside with 4 inches dusty fluff atop ungroomed hardpack/ice, exposed grass here and there, and lots of crud. Variable conditions for sure!

    My main ski is the QST99 which was left at home, and my 74mm skis with their 14m radius were terrific on hardpack but hatin' life everywhere else (I like to blame the skis and not lack of ability, ha). Then Google shows many compare the new 88 with the Deacon 84.

    Wondering if there's too much overlap between the K88 and QST99 for all-mountain.

    Would the D84 be a better 2-quiver for early and end of season conditions when my QST99 is overkill and for mid season when new snow is MIA for days or weeks? I really enjoy the 99s (174cm) in most conditions including groomers, but wouldn't mind something with better frontside carving AND wouldn't suffer when taken into crud and a few inches of powder.

    5'10", 165lbs, advanced but cautious, no mega warp high speeds.

    1. HI kreativecid!
      I don't think there's too much overlap between the Kendo and the QST. I like to keep 10 mm of width between skis, and in addition to having that, they also have very different builds and personalities. Sure, if you're looking for more of a gap, then the Deacon 84 is a great choice, but then you might run the risk of overlapping with your 74's in terms of intent. I think you might find the Kendo is the way to go in both variable conditions and groomed snow. Have fun!
      SE

  35. Hi I'm quickly progressing skier at 5ft 11, 155lbs, currently skiing the Solomon qst 98 and really like them for off piste, tight trees, and more loose slarving turns on groomers.

    On groomer days I'd like something that's energetic but can hold an edge better and perform better in moguls (these are days when I'll be staying out of the trees). I also like to get some air off features whenever possible.

    Is the new kendo 88 a good choice for what I'm looking for or are there other choices you'd recommend? Thanks!

    1. HI Paul!
      It's as good a choice as you're going to see. They're so incredibly poised and precise, and a great complement to the QST 98. K2 Mindbender 89Ti has improved for 2023 as well, and that presents as a great choice for something just a bit less demanding than the Kendo. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Thanks for the response!

        If I'm prioritizing a lively ski for groomers and bumps where would you steer me between the volkl kendo 88, armada declivity 88, and elan ripstick 88 (as a complement to the qst 98 as opposed to a replacement). This will mostly be used on days without fresh snow. Thanks!

        1. Hi Paul!
          Lively and bumps I would say go to the Declivity. The Kendo can be those things, but it just takes a whole lot more work to do so. Ripstick is somewhere in the middle, but I found the Declivity to be a bit more consistent from tip to tail while the Elan has a more flexible shovel for ease of turning. The Declivity reminds me more of a lighter and snappier Kendo while the Ripstick is something different altogether.
          SE

  36. How does the new (or '20, '21,'22 for that matter) Kendo compare to the Fischer 86GT?

    I'd imagine similar but the former is more all mountain with great carving chops and the latter is a wide carver with some all mountain chops? I know Kendo is ~1900g in the 177 and the Fischer is ~1900g for the flat ski, no system plate, in the 175. So dims and weights are very similar.

    Just curious for some feedback from you giys who have pushed both of these skis. I'm leaning towards the Fischer. I want the better carver. I'll do the rest ;-). But it will used as an all mountain ski. For a skilled technical skier, instructor with race background: which way would you go? The 86GT is non existent west of the Rockies so cannot even touch one thus my ask.

    1. Hi Jantzen!
      If you want the better carver, the Fischer is certainly the way to go. It's definitely the wider carver versus the Kendo which is the narrower all-mountain. Even in crud, chop, and softer snow, the Fischer blasts through it with ease. It's more of a plow than a dancer, but the Kendo is on that side of the spectrum as well. Have fun!
      SE

  37. Just reading the posts, great info....so now I must also ask for some feedback. 61yo 6'2''212lbs ( former) hard charging skier. I have had some major trauma to knees and hips so have had to refrain from DH skiing more than a couple of times per year. ( knees ache for weeks after a day on the hill). Recently said screw it and demo'd the Stockli SR 88's in 184. Coming from some 1987 Thermo SL's I was both surprised and disappointed. For such "fat" skies they were surprisingly quick, very smooth and solid. Yet, for the price I did expect a bit more edge hold at speed on hardback. Bottom line I really liked the skies and felt they took less effort ( read less sore by days end ) for about the same hard snow performance as my oldies, late day (in the not quite corn) they took less effort and were kinder to my knees than the old skinny's. Are there any other skis a guy like me ought to consider?

    1. Hi Greg!

      The Kendos will have more edge hold compared to the SR 88's and with how easy it is to let go of the edge, they're pretty forgiving. Another ski that I would recommend is the Atomic Maverick 88 Ti. They use thinner metal laminates to reduce the weight and he HRZN tip give the ski a more surflike feel off the piste making for a vary playful carving ski.

      Have fun!
      SE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.