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Rating: / 5
Waist Width: 78
Lengths: 149, 156, 163
With its 78-mm waist width, the Volkl Flair 78, new for 2017, splits the difference between the two top models in the new Flair series. Not quite as edgy as the hard-snow-specialist Flair SC (72 mm), not quite as floaty as the soft-snow-specialist Flair 81 (81 mm), and a little more forgiving than either, it’s a groomed snow carver for sensible speeds on a sensible budget (selling for about $800 in most shops). Its core combines wood for durability and responsiveness with foam for light weight and economy. Tip rocker eases turn initiations and smooth terrain shocks. It comes with a Marker 4Motion XL binding that’s plenty sturdy for all but the heaviest and hardest chargers.
Volkl’s new Flair series of narrow-waisted groomed-snow specialists includes six models ranging from high-performance precision carvers for experts at the top of the line down to soft-flexing, easygoing, affordable cruisers at the bottom. All are designed and sold as ski-binding systems. MSRPs range from $1,125 down to $600 (with likely “street prices” of about $950 down to $500). Constructions and features vary widely, as Volkl takes care to match them to the needs of each target skier. Only two models have the same binding, only two have the same core, etc. But all are narrow-waisted (81 mm down to 73 mm), all have extra-tight, auto-carve sidecuts (for those who know how to tip and pressure), and all are targeted at women who expect to spend most of their time cruising the groomers, fast or slow.
Volkl is based in Straubing, Germany (Bavaria), where it has been making skis since 1914. Affiliated brands include Dalbello and Marker. Like K2 and Line, Volkl is a subsidiary of Jarden Corp., which itself became a subsidiary of the Newell Rubbermaid consumer-products conglomerate in 2016. -J.C.