Secret 96

Völkl takes product development very, very seriously, testing nearly 1,000 different skis a year, in every length it will manufacture. It uses a team of both in-house product designers and a dozen or so “externals” – top instructors and racers – to evaluate every design aspect. Their task is made trickier in that key design elements like Tailored Titanal Frame, 3D Sidecut, Tailored Carbon Tips and the Secret 96’s double-rockered baseline, all need to blend together for the magic to happen.

I mention this because the new Secret 96 is essentially the same ski as the M6 Mantra, which sounds like a short-cut way to gin up a women’s ski.  Far from it. One of the essential design goals of both new skis was to precisely tailor all aspects for all sizes, a process particularly beneficial for the largest and smallest sizes. Every decision was challenged in service to the main goals: more liveliness when pressured; accessible, tighter turn shapes; and smoother behavior in the turn transition, the “drift-to-carve” moment.  The intent was to open up both the M6 Mantra the Secret 96 to more skiers, especially in the shorter lengths, i.e., those made for women.

Yumi 84

The Völkl Yumi 84 is what we in the retail trade refer to a “step-up” ski. It isn’t a top-of-the-line charger but neither is it as frail as fettuccine, like so many entry-level package skis.  It’s called a step-up ski because it’s bound to be an improvement over whatever is serving this skier at the moment, be a rental ski, a hand-me-down, a buying mistake or something fished out of a bargain bin at a ski swap.

Equipped with an all-wood core and partial topsheet of Titanal, the Yumi 84 has the intestinal fortitude to cope with life on groomers, where its gift for short-radius turns encourages intermediates to get their act together. At 84mm underfoot, the Yumi 84 is fat for a Frontside ski, so it can manage its business in a foot of fluff without becoming verklemmt.

As befits a mid-market model, the Yumi prefers everything in moderation: speed that’s not too fast, groomers that aren’t too hard, loose snow that isn’t too heavy. Its 3D Radius sidecut is adept at any turn shape, but is biased towards short-radius turns.

The need to have a transitional ski as one’s skills develop isn’t restricted to youth. For its gentle demeanor and relatively soft flex, we award the Völkl Yumi a Silver Skier Selection. 

Kanjo 84

The mid-priced Kanjo 84 can’t compete, performance-wise, with Völkl’s top-of-the-line offerings like the M6 Mantra, but it isn’t meant to. The Kanjo 84 is meant for a Frontside skier who resides somewhere in the vast expanse between raw beginner and accomplished...

Deacon 72 Master

In many ways, the new Völkl Deacon 72 Master is a classic, wood-and-Titanal laminate, with all the virtues of this foundational design. But it’s where and how it departs from tradition that separates the Deacon 72 Master from the pack. The Deacon 72 Master can cut into the very top of a new turn despite a tiny bit of tip rocker because Völkl’s Tailored Carbon Tip technology frees the designer to apply carbon filaments at whatever angle is best for muffling shock.

Völkls also uses fiberglass more creatively than most. 3D.Glass connects the top and bottom glass laminates through the mid-body of the ski, creating an end-to-end glass spring that gives the Deacon 72 Master an extra surge of power coming off the edge. If you’d rather cruise downhill than slash cross-hill, just back off the edge angle and the ride will be smoother than a baby’s butt. The Deacon 72 Master has the accuracy and power of a Non-FIS Race ski without an NFR’s insistence on a certain turn shape.

Völkl Brand Profile

Völkl Brand Profile

Overview  Völkl didn’t actually invent the concept of quality control, but denizens of our little corner of the universe can be forgiven for thinking so.  It set the standard for base finish for so long, if someone gave a trophy for the best QC they’d have to name it...