In each new environment we took the Volkl Secret, we loved it more and more. It lands near the top of the charts in each of our performance metrics, earning one of our top overall awards and making it one of the most versatile skis we know. We would endorse the Secret for skiers of any ability, but it is perhaps the best choice for those in search of a one-ski quiver in a more traditional size. If you're in the market for a ski that can handle almost any conditions, but you don't plan on skiing fresh powder constantly, or aren't into the whole fat-ski craze, this Volkl could be the secret to your success.
The graphics have been updated since our last testing period. The ski materials, dimensions, and specifications remain the same. See below for more information. December 2020
Our Analysis and Test Results
Since our last testing period, the Volkl Secret 92 has received a cosmetic facelift with new top sheet graphics. The ski's materials, dimensions, and specifications remain the same as we tested. The lastest version with updated graphics is shown below on the left, while the version we tested is below on the right.
The Volkl Secret is in some ways a replacement in Volkl's line for their ever-popular Aura ski, but they've really upped their game with this design. Unlike the full-rockered Aura of the past, the Secret has regular camber underfoot and rockered tips and tails. Volkl managed somehow to blend their renowned stability with something more pliable and spirited. This combination creates a ski that excels across the board in our testing metrics, and with which our testers all fell in love.
Stability at Speed
Given the manufacturer's penchant for stiff, burly skis, it isn't at all shocking to find most Volkl skis to be quite stable at high speeds. The Secret is no exception, but what did surprise us was the relative ease with which it bent (totally within the bounds of an upper-intermediate skier) while still maintaining impeccable edge hold and security. All our testers, at a variety of ability levels, were able to feel not only secure in this ski's embrace but were also able to make the ski flex and engage, which can often be a tricky feat on a Volkl ski. The Titanal frame construction provides just enough rigidity to be reliable in the steeps and flying down hard-pack, but remains soft enough to be accessible to a wide range of skier.
The Secret inspires confidence at any speed - whether leading your kid down a green run, blasting down a groomer to the chairlift, or hop-turning above cliffs. Even on early-morning hard snow, we never felt this ski chatter or slide out from under us; every turn was as smooth as the surface we were skiing on. In steep terrain, where gravity causes our speeds to increased naturally, we felt totally confident that this ski would carry us through the cruxes, never faltering at any point in the turn. Whenever we needed a little self-assurance, the ski cradled us and gave us unwavering support. We would take this model off cornices, through racecourses, and through the trees at high speeds secure in the knowledge that it would keep its end of the bargain.
The Volkl Secret surprised us at every turn, and carved turns were not excluded. Thanks probably to the lighter Titanal frame technology, we noted that this ski was easier to bend than we commonly feel on Volkls. Because we could flex it with greater ease, it was more gently coerced into making a turn that felt much tighter than the 17.9m turn radius would suggest. This ski loves to hold an edge and grips the snow with amazing bite-force, just long enough for a quick short radius turn before pinging you back the other direction for the next turn. The wonderful rebound provided at the end of the turn, combined with the sensible 92mm width underfoot, allows for rapid edge changes and turn transitions. One tester said this ski was "a joy to carve" thanks to the edge hold and fun kick-back.
The Secret is a ski that definitely prefers to carve rather than to skid, but it is primarily an attribute rather than a hindrance. For instance, in the trees, when you might prefer to be buttering a flatter ski to maneuver more quickly, the Secret's agility and quickness from edge to edge make up for its preference for carving. However, this ski is certainly very much at home on hard-packed snow or groomers and loves to arc a clean turn.
The Secret surprised us in yet another metric. We did not anticipate such a skinny little ski (relatively) to make us soar through the fresh snow with such grace, but it did. One tester was certain the company had made a mistake recording their dimensions, as she was sure she must have been on something at least 100mm wide. Especially for boasting such a comparatively conservative width, it is shockingly potent in powder and floats very well. It does have a rockered tip with carbon structure which lends itself to greater flotation, but it's still so narrow compared to many modern skis.
The Secret will dive down beneath the snow for a moment during a turn, but then porpoise back up to the surface like a dolphin jumping out of the water. Even when the ski drops underneath the surface, it seems to have some kind of magical ability to maneuver easily against the snow's resistance. On a day with boot-top powder but a breakable crust on top, a tester who isn't 100% confident in that type of snow was ready to buy this ski for themselves. This metric is, however, the only one in which we felt this ski was less than perfect; it is simply not the giant boat that some of our other skis are, but it still performed wildly above expectation for its size.
We found ourselves tiptoeing around the idea of skiing the Secret in the crud, because we were all of two minds regarding our expectations. On one hand, Volkl skis are generally stiff, solid crud-munchers. However, this ski is not the burly beast that the Aura once was, and we were nervous it wouldn't be able to hold its own. The lightness and flexibility we'd found on the Secret were not necessarily going to be positive attributes in chopped up snow. And then, once again, we were surprised. In rough snow conditions following storms, this ski dominates. It has a unique way of being powerful yet nimble through the crud. After skiing another lesser pair of skis in the same conditions, and feeling a bit weak and vulnerable, one tester was surprised to find that she not only survived on the Secret, but she may have even made the snow look better than it really was!
This ski certainly know the secret to skiing in choppy conditions; at times, it plows the snow out of your way, and at others it launches itself skyward, simply skimming over the top of the undulating terrain. Whatever you need, it seems to give you. This Volkl model has an unfettered combination of strength and grace that allows you to cruise through tricky conditions.
When we've skied Volkl models in the past, "fun" is not the adjective that usually came to mind. "Powerful," "Stiff", and "Stable," certainly, but not exactly fun, but the Secret is so much fun! This ski has fantastically easy access to springy rebound, sending you romping around the mountain like a high-alpine pika in the summertime. It feels super light underfoot, and it's effortless to get airborne.
It's impressive to find a ski that is so hard-charging - such a powerful workhorse - that also can make you feel lighthearted and free. The feeling of indomitability also contributes to making us laugh and smile on this ski - what could go wrong? Even at the end of May, as the ski season is nearing its end and we have other [warmer] activities on the brain, this ski inspired us to keep skiing. We wanted to make as many turns as we could on the Secret before our time was up. We'd say that makes it pretty darn fun!
With its narrower waist and preference for short tight turns, this Volkl model is a bump-busting machine. The specs of this ski are much closer to what professional mogul skiers use than are those of most of the other skis in our review. It responds quickly to a skier's demands and can stay on course with ease in soft slush bumps, firm morning moguls, or a tight zipper line. It is sturdy enough to keep you from getting ejected from your route but soft enough to absorb a bump when necessary.
Even if you don't love bump skiing, give it another try on these skis and you may change your mind.
Sitting in the middle of our lineup in terms of cost, the Secret skis are a solid investment that will earn you the joyous dividends of skiing your best all over the mountain, any day, in any snow. While certainly more expensive than many other skis on the market, if it's still in your price range, the Secret will pay you back tenfold in happy turns.
One of the best all-mountain skis on the market this season, the Volkl Secret manages to thrive in every snow condition with minimal width underfoot; it thrills and impresses at every turn.
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