Rating: 3.55 / 5
Waist Width: 108
Stability at speed: 3.54 / 5
Hard snow performance: 2.70 / 5
Crud performance: 3.85 / 5
Flotation: 4.01 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.54 / 5
Overall: 3.55 / 5
Volkl's new Eight series stomped its debut in both the men's and women's tests. Only another Volkl (Kenja; see Mixed Snow East), outscored the 100Eight W in the women's test. Getting light isn't always about materials. Volkl's new 3D Ridge Construction plays with shape-thick down the middle for strength, thin toward the edges to save weight-a concept refined in the premium-priced V-Werks series. Testers were grumpy Volkl had nothing longer than 165 cm for the test. They got over it. Could a short, light ski with those scary-low sidewalls hold down an edge? In fact, the girthy 108's carves were what testers raved about. "A razor. A trencher. Who needs powder?" But there's all the flotation of a 108 waist, plus slashy tip taper and full-length rocker. Gibbons: "Amazingly versatile. Rips groomers, bashes bumps, floats in pow, all with amazing ease."
NOTES: The 100Eight W is a new model for 2015. (The 107-mm-waisted Kiku is gone from the Volkl collection.) Volkl trumpets its versatility, "from deep powder to groomers," but the former is likely to be its natural habitat. It features the new 3D Ridge construction (see below). And as with the One W, its tip is tapered (the widest point is moved back toward the foot) to give it a loose, easy-pivoting feel in powder that promotes creativity.
It's part of Volkl's Women's Freeskiing collection, which features six soft-snow, freeride-oriented models ranging in width from 116 mm down to 83 mm. All except the new 100Eight W are durable wood-core constructions with solid-feeling vertical sidewalls and a glass-reinforced internal torsion box (the core is wrapped in a fiberglass sheath to resist torsional flex, or twisting). The 100Eight features Volkl's new 3D Ridge construction, which is thick down the middle so it can be thinner, lighter, and more sensitive over the edges. The Aura (100 mm) and the Kenja (90 mm) both have metal reinforcement. The two narrowest and least expensive models-the all-mountain Yumi (83 mm) and the park-oriented Pyra (85 mm)-are reinforced with fiberglass only. Rocker profiles also vary: The One W, 100Eight W and Aura are fully rockered for loose powder performance; the Kenja and Pyra are rockered tip and tail, with camber underfoot for traditional rebound energy. The Yumi is rockered in the tip only. All models are sold flat (no binding).