An Expert Guide to Völkl SkisPublished on 09/13/2023 · 6 min readLooking for some new skis this season? Ski Expert Adam St. Ours dives into the story behind Völkl Skis and details a few of their top models!
Photo by Camron Zavell
Völkl is one of the biggest ski brands in the industry, and their skis are known for high-tech innovations and the highest-quality materials across many different categories. No matter your preferences, when you click into a pair of Völkl skis, you can be assured of a smooth and plush ride through any conditions.
Georg Völkl spent his life as a cartwright in Straubing, Germany, in Lower Bavaria, primarily specializing in horse-drawn wagons. His son, Franz, diversified to make boats, sleds, and—starting in 1923—skis. Völkl was a family-held business for almost 70 years, before being sold in 1992.
In 1970, Völkl made their first foray into international alpine ski racing, which quickly became a driver of ski technology advances and innovation. More than a century after they started, Völkl still manufactures skis in Straubing, Germany. The original factory has since been converted into the Völkl World Logistics Center. Instead, now most of the products are now made across town in a state-of-the-art production facility. Currently, Völkl operates in the U.S.A. through MDV Sports, which includes the binding manufacturer Marker and ski boot manufacturer Dalbello.
Völkl draws on its strong racing heritage in the design and manufacturing of its skis. And it combines that innovation with traditional craftsmanship and high-quality standards.
The company is commonly referred to as a racing company and has a reputation for making “fast” advanced skis. Though this is a silly concept; no ski is inherently faster than another. And like every other major brand, Völkl offers skis in many categories for all different types of skiers.
What Völkl does specialize in, however, are skis that win awards and are considered “Best in Class”. Some of these skis are suited for advanced and expert skiers and can be seen on the feet of some of the best skiers on any given mountain around the world, leading to that reputation.
The Most Recommended Völkl Skis on Curated
The Völkl Deacon XT skis are meant for carving clean lines across mostly smooth groomers. They’re perfect for an ambitious beginner or intermediate skier looking to work on getting their skis up on edge in turns. Some added rocker in the tip of the ski helps in turn initiation, as well as keeps the ski on top of any mixed snow that you may find. Women can look at the Völkl Flair 76 Skis + vMotion 10 GW Ski Bindings.
2. Völkl Kenja 88 Skis
The Kenja is a best-in-class, narrower, all-mountain ski. Ever since it came out a dozen years ago, it has been a favorite among female advanced to expert skiers on the East Coast who primarily ski hardpack conditions with occasional boot-deep powder. It’s not an old design, though; Völkl has been consistently tweaking the construction and adding technology to make the ski more versatile and a top performer. Most recently, they added “3D Turn Radius” to help the ski excel at both small, medium, and large turn radii—which is especially helpful in moguls. Men can get the same construction, technology, and characteristics in the Kendo ski.
If the Kenja/Kendo are favorites in the East and Midwest where firm conditions abound, then the M6 Mantra (and the women’s Secret 96) are the all-mountain skis of choice, regardless of location. With true versatility, from carving hard groomers, powder, slashing through trees, or pointing down an ungroomed bowl, the Volkl Mantra shines no matter what snow you put them on. Using the same 3D Turn Radius technology as their slimmer cousins, they are exceptionally nimble and precise for such strong, powerful skis.
4. Völkl Blaze 94 Skis
A few years ago, Völkl introduced the unisex (gendered skis differ only by color and size) Blaze series as a lightweight and playful alternative to their stiff metal-laminate freeride skis such as the Kendo or Mantra. It’s hard to say if Völkl intended for them to be at the forefront of the burgeoning 50/50 resort/backcountry ski trend, or if they just happened to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the rising wave of backcountry enthusiasts—fueled by the pandemic. What is certain is that their versatility combined with the relatively light weights and stable downhill performance helped set the standard for a ski that is equally at home on a skin track as in a resort. Right in the middle, quite literally in terms of width, sits the Blaze 94. The width and profile could be a dedicated soft-snow ski for Eastern skiers, or an all-mountain ski for Western skiers, or a do-it-all, stable backcountry ski for either.
Let’s say you like the sound of the M6 Mantra above, but you don’t particularly care for skiing on groomers, or for speed limits for that matter. Enter the Mantra 102 (or women’s Secret 102) for all your soft-snow skiing needs. Strong, powerful, and stable no matter what’s in front of you, but utilizing the same 3D Turn Radius as the rest of Völkl’s freeride series to allow for outstanding control. The Völkl Mantra 102 isn’t an “every man’s” ski, but it’s a lot more versatile and amenable on the feet of non-experts than you’d expect from such a high-performing ski.
The Revolt series from Völkl focuses on all-mountain skiing capability with a distinct freestyle feel. Born from Völkl’s “Built Together” project—where professional riders collaborated with engineers, designers, and artists to come up with ski models that fit their needs as athletes—they come in a broad range of widths, from a park and halfpipe-happy 84 millimeters all the way up to a powder-hungry 121 millimeters. Right in the middle, featuring the most versatility for the most people, is the Revolt 95. Hitting features in the park, slashing powder in a bowl, or arcing down corduroy, the Revolt does it all with a distinctively freestyle flair that’ll put a smile on your face.
Völkl consistently produces some of the best-selling and highest-performing skis on the market. From ski racing and on-piste carving, to big mountain freeride and into freestyle skiing, they’re known for quality craftsmanship and a smooth, stable, and predictable ride in any snow condition. Years ago, there was a marketing campaign that proclaimed “Locals Ski Völkls!”, and I think that speaks volumes to the quality and type of skier that appreciates what they bring to the table. If you’re wondering if a Volkl ski is a good fit for yourself or someone else, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated. We can discuss your ski style, including preferred snow and terrain, to curate personalized recommendations for yourself or for someone else as the perfect gift.