Volkl Kendo 2011
Length tested 170 cm. Very precise, surgical, “threading the needle” ski; surprisingly light and nimble feeling; quick edge to edge.
Ski Statistics - Length (cm) / Sidecut (mm) / Radius (m)
170 / 127-88-109 / 19.9
177 / 127-88-109 / 21.9
184 / 127-88-109 / 24.1
191 / 127-88-109 / 26.2
Brand new for 2010, the Kendo is for the skier who wants an all mountain freeride ski for 50/50 frontside/backside skiing. It shares the same construction as the Mantra but features a new shape of 127-88-109, 8mm narrower at the waist.
Ski Review's Verdict:
I am 5’8’’, 145lb, level 9 and higher, moderately aggressive skier. Spend 65% of my time off piste (back side) and 35% on piste (front side) on the groomers and bumps. My present skis are Volkl Mantra (177, 4 yrs old 130/94/116) mostly for west and Blizzard Magnum 8.7 (174, 128/87/113) for east coast skiing. I also use racing slalom and GS skis (Volkl) and Rossignol bump skis, on occasion.
Last week I demoed three pair of skis in Snow Mass. Co., Volkl Kendo (170cm, 127/88/109mm; R19.9), Salomon Sentinel (170cm- 129, 95,121mm) and Kastle MX 88, 168cm length (128,88,113mm; R17.5m). I skied each pair for approximately 2 hours and did exactly the same thing with all three: starting with groomers, then wind packed crud, then frozen chunky crud, then steep densely packed large bumps with zipper lines of descend and then super steep EX-EX tree runs off Sheer Bliss lift to the right. Below is the results of my experience:
Versatile and well balanced. Felt shorter than 170 cm. Felt much like Blizzard Magnum 8.7 (174cm) except it was lighter, quicker and softer which made it more versatile, better in bumps and irregular turny tree runs but a bit less solid feeling under the foot on high speed GS turns on groomers or in crud. Softer, more forgiving and quicker than Mantra (177cm). Very comfortable and quick on bumps, stable and solid in crud and in high ( # 40 mph) speeds on groomers (I typically ski with loading the shovel decisively at initiation and follow with high degree of angulation and skis are on high edge angle- good for Volkl and Austrian skis), it makes clean carve, if you want that. Any radius is good, you can change turn shape and radius at will. The demo skis were a bit over tuned and sharpened so that the edges were a bit grippy/catchy on side-slips and skids/smears (necessary for steep tree skiing). Nonetheless, they inspired confidence in trees and were easy to change direction quickly (again provided you were forward at the turn initiation) I did not try them in significant amount of powder; however, with the flexible shovel I would think they would be better than most of the stiffer verity such as my Blizzard Magnum 8.7 with very close dimensions. All and all, excellent all mountain skis except perhaps in deep deep pow where you may want something wider or longer like Mantra 177. I talked to some of the experienced instructors in SnowMass who owned them, they raved about how well they skied the powder.
Footnote; generally, all Volkl skis and most Austrian skis, are designed so that the skier got to load the shovel at turn initiation and be forward and on top of the ski and do not sit back to get proper performance out of ski. Trust the shovel and ski will do for you what ever you want.
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