Expert Review: 2024 Volkl Secret 102 Skis [with Video]Published on 11/04/2023 · 14 min readSkiing Experts Charlotte H. and Sara Beeken tested the 2024 Volkl Secret 102 skis in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories.
Curated Skiing Experts Charlotte H. and Sara Beeken got their hands on the 2024 Volkl Secret 102 this spring. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but consider the fact that each and every skier is different; if you have any questions about the Secret 102 or need recommendations on which ski would be best for you, reach out to a Skiing Expert here on Curated.
Before we get started, it's worth noting that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands. All of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does Volkl claim about this ski? [Charlotte] This is an expert ski from Volkl. It’s a wider, all-mountain ski.
[Sara] The brand claims that these are a hard-charging ski for an expert female skier.
What is your overall impression of the ski? [Charlotte] I like these skis a lot. My overall impression was that they are a stiff, hard charging ski. They are the ski that I would recommend for the most aggressive female skiers, skiers who really know how to be driving through the front of their boots. As an ex-ski racer, this is my ski of choice and this is what I would recommend to a whole lot of women who come to me who used to race in the past.
These skis are not for the faint of heart. They're not for someone who can get a little bit lazy and get into the backseat because they need to be told what to do. Without an aggressive driver, they will be walking all over you and you'll have a hard time staying forward on them.
[Sara] My overall impression of these skis is that they are one of the burliest women's skis out there. I definitely felt the titanal in this ski, and it takes a confident driver to really enjoy and get the most out of the Volkl Secret.
How does the shape of the ski affect the way it rides? [Charlotte] These skis have a bit of rocker in their tips. They have a decent amount of camber underfoot. That camber is not especially playful and poppy, as you might see in a lighter more wood-based ski.
[Sara] This skis has some rocker in the tip, which is supposed to help with turn initiation and powder float. It's also got a little bit of camber underfoot, but I didn't feel a ton of pop in these because they are pretty heavy and full of metal.
What is the flex like? [Charlotte] They have a tailored titanal frame through the tips and then full sheets underfoot which is going to keep them really damp, really stable, and really hard driving. They are a stiff, stiff ski. So, listen to me when I tell you, these are for the women who need a ski to stand up against their power. Someone who's a little bit stronger and really knows how to drive through the front of their boots is going to have a blast on these skis. If you are someone who likes a softer ski, I wouldn't recommend opting for these skis.
[Sara] The flex of these skis is stiffer than most women's skis out there, so you're going to get really great stability at speed. They bulldoze through any crud, but they're not going to be the most lively ski.
How does the ski turn? [Charlotte] These skis have a really interesting profile for turning. They actually have three different turning radii packed into one ski, which allows for them to be a little more versatile. So, the tips and the tails have a longer turning radius, while the ski underfoot has a shorter turning radius. This means that as you ease into your turns, you can really rip long radius turns, which is awesome if you're headed down a really chalky, steep pitch. But then as you're doing a run out towards the lift, if you want to link really short and medium radius turns, the center of the ski is going to make that possible for you. So, that adds a wide breadth of turn radii for someone who wants to do it all.
[Sara] As far as turning on these skis, Volkl uses something called 3D Radius Technology, which means that there's going to be a longer turn radius in the tips and the tails and then a shorter turn radius underfoot. The reasoning for that is they want to give you versatility so that you're going to be just as confident in the long turns as you are in the short turns. I felt like, because of the width of these skis, they weren't as quick edge to edge as something a little bit narrower. Some skis are going to feel like a 102 and some skis are going to feel a little bit more maneuverable, and these did feel like a 102.
What is the edge hold like? [Charlotte] As you're turning on these skis, you're going to find that the edge hold is fantastic. They are a really reliable ski underfoot. If you have enough power to get these skis turning for you, they will hold up underfoot no matter what. They are one of the strongest skis that I've ever skied.
[Sara] These skis have fantastic edge hold. You can definitely rip them down groomers without experiencing any chatter.
What about dampness? Any chatter in the skis? [Charlotte] I would classify these as very damp skis. They're very absorbing of anything that's underfoot. So, in chunder or anything that's a little shaky underfoot, you barely feel that through these skis. They are just a bulldozer of a ski and they power through.
[Sara] This is one of the dampest skis I've been on. It's definitely going to charge through whatever you put it through. I felt like you do need to be in the front seat and in control of the ski for you to take advantage of that feature. But, if you're someone who's going to take the ski anywhere on the mountain and feel very confident and very stable, this is a great choice.
How does it feel in terms of speed? In terms of speed, these guys are your best friends. They rip! You can lay into any turn, and you can get those skis way up on edge and they will be very, very stable underfoot. There is no speed limit on these skis. You can just rip and cruise as fast as you want to go on these guys.
[Sara] These are great at speed. They're made with a titanal frame which gives them a lot of added stiffness. So, you can take them at whatever speed you want. I did not find a speed limit on these skis.
How is its energy/acceleration? [Charlotte] Because these skis have so much camber underfoot, I felt a lot of energy as I exited that turn and moved into my next turn. They pack a lot of acceleration in their core.
Could you speak about playfulness and pop? [Charlotte] They are not especially playful and poppy. So, for someone who's strong and can really push into them, you're going to feel that they're a little bit more loose and playful than something you may be coming off of, like a carving racing ski. So, they're a really good ski for someone who's easing out of racing and into a more freestyle ski. These will be a nice transitional ski to get you into more of a playful setup underfoot.
They are not the most playful and poppy of skis, though. I actually switched from these skis to a lighter, more wood based ski midday. I was really able to feel the difference of how dampening these are in comparison to a lighter ski, but then how much less playful they are in comparison to that lighter poplar wood core in a different model.
[Sara] These aren't the most poppy, energetic skis out there. It really felt like when I was going over bumps and jumps, it was kind of absorbing it. They're really more focused on dampness and stability at speed.
Because this is a really stiff ski, I wouldn't say it's playful. It's definitely going to be a hard charger. So, if you've got the strength to do it, you can do whatever you want with it. But, it's not going to be a park ski, and it's not going to be one for somebody who just loves finding all the little side hits.
Is it good for skiing switch? [Charlotte] These are not a skiing switch ski. They are partial twin tips, so you can get away with landing switch, but I would quickly get back to facing forward because these are very directional for sure.
[Sara] While you can ski switch on these, they're not made for it. They've got a partial twin tip, so if you're sliding around doing Whirlybirds, you're not going to totally eat it. But, I would not recommend these for skiing switch.
How is the ski with jumps? [Charlotte] They're not really easy to launch off of, and they don't have a lot of pop coming off of jumps. For someone who likes to be a bit more playful on the mountain, these may feel cumbersome underfoot for you.
[Sara] While this isn't going to give you the most launch off of jumps, they are absolutely going to be stable on the landings.
Can it handle the park and what features is it best for/should avoid? [Charlotte] They're not going to do awesome in the park. They're really burly skis, so they're going to feel heavy underfoot.
[Sara] I wouldn't take these in the park. They're going to be pretty heavy, pretty high swing weight. They're a little bit wide for the park, and they're definitely stiffer than your average park ski. So, if you're looking for a park ski, this is not your ski.
How is it in powder? [Charlotte] Volkl has created this wider Secret as a really nice all-mountain ski that can handle some looser, fresher snow while still being really sturdy and stable underfoot for a really hard-driving, expert, female skier. They are 102 underfoot, which is borderline getting into the powder zone of waist widths. They are not your top powder ski, but they can handle a couple inches on top. They have a little bit of rocker in their tips which helps with some floatation, but they do tend to sink down a bit because they're just a heavier ski and they do have that titanal frame around the tips. They're an option when it snows, but they are not my powder ski of choice.
[Sara] These advertise themselves as being pretty good in powder. I found that they were sinking a little bit. I wouldn't say that 102 underfoot is your gnarly powder ski for a really deep day. But, they can hold their own in under a foot of powder.
How is it in uneven terrain and chunder? [Charlotte] While these aren't my powder ski of choice, they are just absolute bulldozers through uneven and chunky snow.
[Sara] Uneven terrain was really my favorite place to take these just because it charges right through anything. You're not going to get thrown around on the ski when you're trying to just cruise across a crusty ice field.
How is it skiing in the trees? How is its maneuverability? [Charlotte] Personally, I like riding these skis in the trees and bumps. They are generally maneuverable. They are not super light underfoot, so they do wear down your legs after a full day of skiing through tighter terrain. For someone who can really control their skis, these are a great option for skiing bumps and trees. Someone who tends to be more centered or can fall back on their skis a little bit, they can feel pretty burly when you're skiing through tighter areas.
[Sara] If you're up for maneuvering a heavier ski, these are great in the trees. They're definitely going to give you that stability that you need to get through some chunky snow. They do like to go fast, so if you're somebody who's really charging through the trees, this could be a really great choice for you.
What terrain is this ski good for? [Charlotte] I loved these skis as someone who likes skiing the entire mountain. They did really awesome on a steeper, chalkier pitch. They felt really stable underfoot, and I wasn't nervous about really diving into my next turn because I knew that they would be there to support me on the other side of that turn. They also did really well through tighter spaces for me, and in 8 inches of powder they held their own. They weren't the floatiest of skis, but they were really fun to ski regardless. So, if you ski these as your daily driver and then you end up getting a couple inches throughout the day, these are going to be terrific for you.
What terrain should skiers avoid with it? [Charlotte] If it is an absolute powder day and you are really looking to be floaty and light on your feet, I think that these might feel a little bit heavy and cumbersome for you.
[Sara] I would not take these in the terrain park, I would not take these on the bunny hill, and I would not take these in two feet of powder.
Who would you recommend these skis to? [Charlotte] These are the ex-racer’s dream ski. These are skis that will stand up to your level of aggression and you won't have to compromise your forward pressure. These are for really advanced skiers, people who know how to drive through the front of their skis.
[Sara] I would recommend these to a powerful, advanced to expert skier - For somebody who is looking for something that can go all over the mountain, but their primary focus is they want to be able to go fast, this ski is definitely up for the challenge.
Who should avoid these skis, there are better options out there for them? [Charlotte] If you are just starting out or if you are an advancing intermediate, these might make your day feel a little bit longer than it should. These might feel a little bit gnarly underfoot for you, so I would go for something that has less metal in the frame.
Also, if you find yourself skiing a ton of powder every single day, I think that these might feel a little bit heavy for being really floaty and light on your feet through that kind of terrain.
[Sara] If you're more of an intermediate skier, you're more of a conservative skier, or you just want more playfulness out of a ski, there are going to be better options out there for you. But, for somebody who wants a really powerful, hard charging ski, this is a fantastic choice.
If you could pack these skis for anywhere in the world, where would you take them? [Charlotte] I would take these skis to the East Coast. They are a little bit wide as a daily driver in somewhere that's icy, but I love the stability of them. And, coming from growing up skiing a small, icy mountain, I would really like to have a ski that has edge hold like this ski there. With that said, I also really like them in Colorado. I think 102 is a great all-mountain width in the West. So, I think they would be awesome as an all mountain ski no matter where you are in the country.
[Sara] I would take these skis somewhere like Tahoe - somewhere that's got a good amount of snow, but also has some really good wide open terrain with lots of steep groomers or even like chunky snow, because these can handle chunky snow really well.
Skis work differently for different types of skiers. If you are wondering whether the Secret 102 is the right ski for you, chat with Charlotte, Sara, or any other Skiing Experts here on Curated, and they’ll put together free, personalized ski recommendations on the best skis for your needs.