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60 skis tested by professionals

Ski Review 2019



Click on the name of a model to view a full review

Völk Kendo [click]
Type of ski : All Mountain 70/30
Testers' ChoiceRecommended by our reviewers!
The Kendo from Völkl, which (just) missed out on the "Best Ski" medal last year in harder snow conditions, got it back this year. This year, we reviewed a longer model (184 cm against 176 last year) which improved its stability and flotation in powder. The ski has once again consolidated its excellent reputation and the professional reviewers gave it rave reviews: "Super ski", "Perfection!", "Excellent ski", "Perfect"... Its behaviour on the groomers is excellent and the Kendo could teach many piste skis a thing or two. The ski will amaze you not just for its performance and the quality of rides as by its grip and stability that are simply magic. It's quite stiff, significantly reinforced by two Titanal plates. Here, we'd just like to remind our readers that Titanal (whose presence is generally signalled by the "Ti" added to the models' name) is not the same as "titanium", contrary to what most people think, but is the commercial name given to an alloy with an aluminum base. Despite its 22-metre radius, this "very well-balanced" ski is still remarkably versatile. Obviously, it prefers long turns and speed, but it proved quite capable of rapidly changing radius despite the size of the model reviewed. It smoothly alternates between skid and carve turns, and the latter are especially instinctive. Its consistent behavior and fantastic stability make it a great ski for intermediate riders who can up the pace with confidence and relatively few technical skills. Off-piste, the reviewers felt the ski had "great potential." It's especially good in powder where it glides very well, and its stiffness allows it to cut a path through the crud with ease. The Kendo is one of those skis that's become a real benchmark in its segment. "Very good trail ski with great off-trail potential", it will please a wide range of riders from intermediate to expert. The size reviewed is perfect for heavier riders.

Liked: Good on piste behaviour Great skid turns Intuitive carving Consistent behaviour, reassuring, remains accessible Good off-piste behaviour Float...

Disliked: Needs some technical skills Not so comfortable in short turns ...

Völk Deacon 74 [click]
Type of ski : On-piste cruisers
Testers' ChoiceRecommended by our reviewers!
While Völkl skis regularly stand at the top of the podium in the PROSKILAB™ All mountain category, piste skis have found it more difficult to feature among the world's top skis. Things change. The reviewers loved the Deacon 74 in this Carvers category where we select high-performing skis that are less demanding than race-inspired skis, but will still boost your adrenalin levels. The ski was a perfect match for the programme. It offers plenty of enjoyment, mainly due to its liveliness and “very consistent" behaviour according to the reviewers. Initiation is fast and intuitive. In turns, the ski is excellent thanks to its immense grip and great stability. The Deacon 74's docile nature and high performance encourages riders to "lay on the pressure", increase their angle and stretch their limits that little bit further. The tool offers lots of room for improvement and riders who want to perfect their technique will love it. The ski loves long turns but requires a bit more effort in short turns. The Völkl Deacon 74 is a highly successful ski that we strongly recommend for a wide public. Good riders will find that it adapts to their needs and will help them to improve their performance. Very good to expert riders will love its consistency and versatility.

Liked: Lively and incisive Great grip Fast and easy turn initiation Versatility and quality in all types of ride: carving, stem, slide... Awesome long tu...

Disliked: More demanding in short turns Slight lack of rebound in turn exit according to some reviewers ...

Völk RTM 76 Elite [click]
Type of ski : Men's recreational groomers

This year, we reviewed the RTM 76 Elite from Völkl in a smaller size (161 cm) than requested for this category, which makes it more accessible but reduces performance. The ski rotates extremely easily, and the drifting tail makes wedge turns and first skid turns easier. Skid turns are intuitive and consistent. Unfortunately, since it was reviewed too short, the ski was less happy when pushed to its limits. At higher speeds, the lack of stability becomes tricky, "limiting the ski's potential for progress." The RTM 76 Elite from Völkl is great for all beginner to intermediate riders who've already begun their first carve turns. We recommend a larger size as, in our opinion, the 161cm is better suited to smaller riders.

Liked: User-friendly Good rotation and turn initiation Great for snow plough and carving ...

Disliked: Limited speed Not as happy in long turns ...

Völk VTA 98 [click]
Type of ski :

During the pre-tests, we mentioned a preference for the Mantra V.Werks (an amazing model that we'd like to review next year), but VÖLKL asked us to review the VTA 98, a ski designed for a wider public. Overall behaviour is sound. The ski was judged to be "very consistent", "playful" and "smooth" in all snow conditions, especially in powder where float and manoeuvrability are excellent. The ski is "ultra-light and ultra-easy", "fun" and particularly accessible. On the other hand, it's less convincing on hard pack and at high speed. Grip is limited and push-offs are not solid enough in these conditions. The weight announced is 1.370 kg for 177 cm, making it one of the lightest tools in the category. More touring than freeride, and incredibly light, the VTA 98 is a very good ski, particularly consistent and fun for skiers who enjoy downhill rides that are not too physically demanding. It's also an excellent model for your first steps off-piste. Freeriders might prefer a stiffer model.

Liked: Good flex distribution Sound overall behaviour A good freeride touring ski Accessible Agile, playful Enjoyable Light...

Disliked: Less grip on hard pack at high speed The ski flaps at high speed Lacks dynamism and stiffness for freeride (engaged off-piste) ...

Völk M5 Mantra [click]
Type of ski : All Mountain 50/50
Best performance!Best performance!
The new (5th) generation Mantra from Völkl has been entirely redesigned. The structure has changed with the inclusion of a Titanal frame all round the ski instead of the traditional plates inserted in the core. Given the large number of questions we get about this, we'd like to remind you that Titanal is the trade name given to an aluminium based alloy with excellent mechanical properties. It has nothing to do with titanium, which is in fact completely absent from its composition. The size of the waist has been drastically reduced, losing 4 cm (from 100 mm to 96 mm) and making turn radius more reasonable. The ski is easier to handle but has still kept most of its character. Our reviewers noted the ski's potential both on and off piste. The use of Titanal around the skis contour does not affect its rigidity and the M5 remains a stiff ski. Its grip and stability are impressive, and the reviewers particularly liked the fact that the ski was "hooked once in the turn." Despite its relative shortness (177 cm), the ski's grip and stability "make you want to go fast". Its off-piste behaviour is good and it's especially comfortable in the crud. However, it does need a certain amount of physical engagement and technical skill, and is not particularly forgiving. The new M5 from Mantra has inherited many of its predecessors' qualities. We found the ski easier to handle but not necessarily more supportive than previous versions. We recommend this ski for good to expert riders looking for a high-performance tool that's as happy on the piste as in freeride.

Liked: A fast and high-performing ski Stable at high speed Good grip Holds well in turns Passage in the crud Enjoys short turns ...

Disliked: Far more agile than its predecessors, the Mantra M5 remains a technically and physically demanding ski, which needs time to adapt to. ...

Völk Yumi [click]
Type of ski :

Völkl's reputation for all mountain skis is well established. The brand has been at the forefront of the market for several years with products that are benchmarks, like the Mantra or the Kendo for men. Unlike the brand's best sellers for men, which are geared more towards performance, the Yumi is extremely user-friendly. The ski is especially happy on the piste. With smooth turn entry, it's stable, grippy and has good rebound coming out of turns. It's a lively ski that will give a lot of pleasure... More of an all-rounder than a true all-mountain tool, it shows its limits off-piste. The reviewers were disappointed with the narrow size at the waist (84 mm) which reduces float in powder. An excellent all-round ski (85% piste/15% off-piste), the Yumi is a great choice for all intermediate to very good riders looking for an easy and enjoyable piste ski for all snow conditions and a few off-piste rides when the conditions are right.

Liked: Behaves well on the piste User-friendly Playful Consistent and reassuring ...

Disliked: Not quite as convincing off-piste ...

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