2023 Volkl Deacon 80
Radius 23m/14m/19m @ 172cm
Weight 3080g @ 177cm with binding
Power Score: 8.67
Finese Score: 8.53
There’s a trail of clues that would lead a ski behavioral therapist to believe that the Völkl Deacon 80 is the inferior in the relationship with its bigger brother, the Deacon 84. For starters, there’s its price, which works out to $50 less at retail. Price is usually an indicator of the cost of goods, and sure enough, the Deacon 80 uses glass for its 3-piece top laminate instead of the Titanal in the 84. And the Deacon 80 is, of course, narrower, which among carving skis can sometimes indicate that it’s geared slightly lower. While these indicators are all true enough, the reality on snow is that the Deacon 80 is definitely in its brother’s league but it offers a different bundle of sensations. It’s more of a step laterally than down the product quality ladder. It uses the same structure as the 84’s Titanal Frame, with glass and a slice of spring steel in lieu of Titanal. The 80 copies the 3D.Ridge and 3D.Glass construction of the 84, it has exactly the same size splits (ranging from 162cm to 182cm) and while it’s slimmer, it’s thinner by the same 4mm everywhere, so its sidecut radii are also identical to the 84’s. Alert readers will note the reference to “radii” in the last sentence, for the Deacon 80 also mimics the 3D Radius Sidecut of its big bro. The multi-radius shape is what gives the Deacon 80 the ability to make short turns or long on a whim; when the skier applies the additional edge angle needed to execute a tidy turn, it automatically activates the tighter-radius mid-section. Flatten out the ski and it reverts to a comfortable, long-radius cruiser. According to our results, the Deacon 80 performs just a hair below its beefier bro in all technical criteria except the all-important one of continuous carving, the defining characteristic of the Frontside genre. While it’s not quite as lively coming off the edge as the 84, for this very reason it’s easier to move edge to edge without breaking contact with the snow.