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Volkl 90eight W Review

Not a particularly easy ski, and it doesn't reward you highly enough for getting things right.
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Price:  $649 List | $599.99 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Stiff, decent in crud
Cons:  Difficult to turn, hooks up, lifeless
Manufacturer:   Völkl
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 24, 2018
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39
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#14 of 16
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 3
  • Carving - 20% 4
  • Crud - 20% 5
  • Powder - 20% 4
  • Playfulness - 15% 3
  • Bumps - 5% 4

Our Verdict

We were excited to bring the Volkl 90eight skis into the fold of our testing crew. Unfortunately, we were mostly disappointed with this ski. We hoped that they might be a regular-camber version of the Volkl Aura that we loved in years past, but they're entirely different. The regular camber aspect doesn't seem to aid them much because it's so subtle. We felt a distinct catchiness at the end of each turn, and we hypothesized that the factory tune might have been too sharp at the front half of the ski. After a re/detune, the issue was mitigated, but we never fell in love with them. They require intense precision and power, and the results aren't particularly exciting even when you deliver on these conditions.

New Graphics

The 90eight W got some new colors and graphics this season, but beyond that, all remains the same. See the new ski above.

December 2018


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Stiff, decent in crudIncredibly versatile, easy to ski, fun and quick, only 92mm makes it nimbleGreat float in powder, playful, decent stabilityUnparalleled stability at speed, crud-buster, lends you strengthA blast to ski, easy to turn, relatively stable, fantastic in powder
Cons Difficult to turn, hooks up, lifelessNot the perfect powder partnerMore expensive, slightly lumbering in bumpsVery pricey, prefers faster straighter linesNot perfect carvers, some deflection in crud
Bottom Line Not a particularly easy ski, and it doesn't reward you highly enough for getting things right.One of the most versatile skis on the market, this new Volkl is a Goldilocks ski - strong enough to battle in the crud, but soft enough for lighter mellower skiers to bend it.A great choice for a West Coast woman who loves getting out in the soft snow.If you like to go fast and want a one-ski quiver, this ski is absolutely worth the extra funds.Ripping skis for ripping chicks, or those on their way to becoming one, so fun and flexible.
Rating Categories Volkl 90eight W Volkl Secret 92 Rossignol Soul 7 HD W Kastle FX95 HP Elan Ripstick 94 W
Stability At Speed (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
Carving (20%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Crud (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
Powder (20%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
Playfulness (15%)
10
0
3
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
10
Bumps (5%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Specs Volkl 90eight W Volkl Secret 92 Rossignol Soul 7... Kastle FX95 HP Elan Ripstick 94 W
Intended Purpose On-piste All mountain All mountain powder All mountain stability All mountain play
Ability Level Advanced/Expert All Levels All levels All levels All levels
Available Lengths 156, 163, 170 149, 156, 163, 170 156, 164, 172, 180 173, 181, 189 156, 163, 170, 177
Shape 133-98-116 130-92-113 136-106-126 126-95-115 135-95-110
Waist Width 98 92 106 95 95
Radius 17.9 17.9 18 18 16.2
Rocker Tip and tail Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, cambered inside edge
Weight Per Pair (Pounds) 7.25 8.16 7.7 9.62 6.725
Construction Type Full sidewall Full sidewall Sandwich Sandwich SST sidewall
Core Material Multi layer woodcore Beech & Poplar, multi layer Paulownia wood silver fir, beech, Titanal, fiberglass Tubelite wood
Tested Length 170 170 172 173 170

Our Analysis and Test Results

The name Volkl tends to inspire images of hard-charging Germans on slick alpine pistes; these skis live up to the ruggedness of that history, but aside from their brutish character, they don't have much to offer the typical weekend warrior.

Performance Comparison


The 90Eights failed to impress us in most categories.
The 90Eights failed to impress us in most categories.

Stability at Speed


Given Volkl's propensity for stiffness, we expected these skis to perform well in this category, and they did not disappoint. Once you have acquired the ski's attention and set it moving on course, the 90Eights are content to plug along like a Mack truck on the highway; the trouble is when you decide you want to exit or change lanes. As tester Carrie Pritchard noted, "Sometimes I think it takes an act of God to turn these things!" However, regarding stability and edge hold, they are strong performers.

Thanks to their stiffness  the 90Eights do feel quite secure while charging fast.
Thanks to their stiffness, the 90Eights do feel quite secure while charging fast.

Carving


Another category in which we hoped these skis would excel, but in this case, they fell somewhat short. Their limited camber underfoot (the ski looks nearly flat, with rocker tips) makes it difficult to get it to bend and grip the snow with any chutzpah. The main issue we had with this ski was that straight out of the factory, the front half of the ski seemed to be tuned excessively sharp, causing a grabby-ness at the end of the turn and not allowing an easy release and start of a new turn.

Once we had them re-tuned and there was less fear of hooking up  the 90Eights carved much better than with the factory tune.
Once we had them re-tuned and there was less fear of hooking up, the 90Eights carved much better than with the factory tune.

Once we had the skis professionally retuned, this issue was somewhat abated, but the fear of hooking uphill when we wanted to go down remained. Therefore, the 90Eights don't score nearly as high as the Rossignol Soul 7 HD in this field. One tester talked about the need to propel one's weight forward at the start of a new turn to stay on top of them.

The 90Eights plowed through both light powder and heavy Sierra cement  but occasionally we felt the tips start to dive and the need to pull dramatically up on our toes to stay cruising.
The 90Eights plowed through both light powder and heavy Sierra cement, but occasionally we felt the tips start to dive and the need to pull dramatically up on our toes to stay cruising.

Powder


Fortunately, the stiffness of the 90Eights is mitigated in deeper snow by their wide waist and rockered tips, and we found that they held their own and could stay afloat even in sticky Sierra Cement. Sadly though, before the retune, they were still gripping the snow even in powder and were not conducive to flowy, big mountain powder turns. After having the edges retuned, though, they stayed on top of the fresh and allowed a more fluid experience.

The 90Eight relies on its stiffness to push through funky snow.
The 90Eight relies on its stiffness to push through funky snow.

Crud


As with the other categories, the ski was shooting uphill at the end of the turn in crud — perhaps to a greater extent as it was being deflected by the chunky snow. However, after the retune, rough-and-tumble snow conditions are where this ski's power shines through. With a de-tuned front half, the 90eights can be a powerhouse in the chop, using their rigidity to bust through funky snow.

Here Carrie Pritchard puts these skis in the air where there's less resistance from the skis or the snow. Good work  Carrie!
Here Carrie Pritchard puts these skis in the air where there's less resistance from the skis or the snow. Good work, Carrie!

Playfulness


We did not find these skis to be very lively at all; they received our lowest ranking here of any ski in any metric. There is virtually no rebound, especially compared to the Soul 7s and the Elan Ripstick 94. They're in the middle of the bunch when it comes to their weight, and they don't spring into the air very easily. The 90eights have regular camber underfoot, but the camber is so slight that they're nearly flat. Flat describes the experience of skiing them, as well. You can't let up on these boards; you must remind them of who is in charge at all times, which doesn't lend itself to a light-hearted experience.

We can't believe anyone could get so high off the ground on these lumbering beasts! Go Jess  go!
We can't believe anyone could get so high off the ground on these lumbering beasts! Go Jess, go!

Bumps


The 90Eights do not love the moguls. They don't smear across the top of bumps well, and they're a bit too stiff to keep them rolling with the punches. They tend to launch their unsuspecting skier into the air rather than submitting to being driven across the undulating surface.

The 90Eights felt hokey and too grippy to do well in moguls.
The 90Eights felt hokey and too grippy to do well in moguls.

Value


While this ski retails in the upper half price-wise of the skis we tested, we think it is a reasonable price for this ski. As many skiers might like to have them de-tuned, it may be worth considering that tuning cost of approximately $60 on top of the retail cost.

The FulLuvit 95 will take you all over the mountain.
The FulLuvit 95 will take you all over the mountain.

Conclusion


A stiff and powerful ski that sometimes rewards a strong skier in the right conditions, but will punish those who can't handle it.


Renee McCormack