Volkl Gotama (2011) - Ski Mag

Volkl Gotama (2011)

The original backcountry twin-tip returns with minor modification this year. It’s fully, but subtly, rockered, with a long, gradual tip-to-tail bend. Völkl takes care to make sure rocker and sidecut work together: Tip a Gotama up on groomers, and there’s plenty of edge-to-snow contact for easy carving. But it’s built for soft snow. It surfs and smears readily in powder and smoothly manages crud. There were more dynamic skis in the test, but the Gotama won accolades for versatility and mellow user-friendliness. “A versatile tool for powder and crud—even carves on hardpack; fun and easy,” said Casey.
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2011 Volkl Gotma

Rating: / 5
Price: $825.00
Year: 2011
Level: 2
Gender: Male
Waist Width:
Tip/Tail/Waist: 138/106/122
Lengths: 186

Stability at speed: 3.59 / 5
Hard snow performance: 3.21 / 5
Crud performance: 3.76 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.73 / 5

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Volkl Mantra 2011

Volkl Mantra (2011)

At 96 mm, the Mantra was second-fattest in the category. That put it at a disadvantage in terms of quickness and all-mountain versatility, but it will rock those powder days. It’s a traditional-camber, wood-core, laminate construction—built for racy edge-grip that belies its girth; demanding, but also rewarding. It was No. 3 in Flotation, yet still in the middle of the pack for Hard-Snow Grip. It loves long arcs and high speeds, erring on the side of power over finesse. Among all the rockered skis, it feels especially long and burly, which skilled traditionalists will love. “A dynamic one-ski-quiver gem for experts,” said Malone.

Volkl Kendo

Volkl Kendo (2011)

The Kendo, frankly, sparked disagreement. It’s a narrower version of the highly decorated Mantra (see No. 13). Kendo means “way of the knife,” and with a sturdy, race-ready construction and two sheets of metal, that’s an apt image for its performance on groomed. Its lightness surprised us, and there was consensus regarding its Quickness (No. 2). But some testers saw it as a burly carver most at home on hardpack; others enjoyed it more in bumps and crud. One of our pickiest testers was its biggest proponent. “Rips the heck out of the hill in every facet: pow, crud, bumps, carving,” said Elling.

volkl gotama thumb 2010

Volkl Gotama (2010)

Category: Men's Powder Super Wide; Category ranking: No. 1; Average score: 3.56; Balance of skills: 3.48; Best For: Smearing, surfy style in deep snow; Not For: Hard-snow carving or tight-spot quickness

Rosignol S86

Rossignol S86 Freeride (2011)

Rossignol had a great test this year, and here’s the poster child of the Rooster’s fully fledged return to relevance. The S86 is an accomplished generalist. Sidecut and traditional camber underfoot combined with a wood-core, metal-reinforced construction make it surefooted on hard snow. But rocker and reverse camber tip-and-tail make it fun and easy in powder, crud, even bumps. It pivots, skids, smears, carves—whatever is asked of it—making it a great choice for anything but the deepest powder or hardest ice. “Hungry for fun in all conditions, especially crud and bumps,” said Scholey.

Rosignol S86

Rossignol S86 Freeride (2011)

Rossignol had a great test this year, and here’s the poster child of the Rooster’s fully fledged return to relevance. The S86 is an accomplished generalist. Sidecut and traditional camber underfoot combined with a wood-core, metal-reinforced construction make it surefooted on hard snow. But rocker and reverse camber tip-and-tail make it fun and easy in powder, crud, even bumps. It pivots, skids, smears, carves—whatever is asked of it—making it a great choice for anything but the deepest powder or hardest ice. “Hungry for fun in all conditions, especially crud and bumps,” said Scholey.

Volkl Kiku

Volkl Kiku (2011)

Gradual rocker from tip to tail is the Kiku’s secret to unsurpassed smoothness. It’s steady, damp and humming with Völkl power. Testers scored it high in Flotation (No. 3), Crud Performance (No. 3) and Overall Impression (No. 2). It craves long turns and virgin powder the most, but when prodded, it’s not too stubborn to hustle through tight trees and bumps, too. You do have to steer it from exactly the right spot; but for those who find that spot, the rewards are rich. “A strong and powerful ski, it delivers performance in perfect fluff and the more- challenging chop,” said Moscarella.

2011 K2 Rictor

K2 Rictor (2011)

Where the After Shock (see No. 5) features K2’s “all-terrain” rocker, its little brother the Rictor gets “speed rocker.” Just the forward 10 percent is rockered—the rest is traditionally cambered. K2 pairs that profile with a huge tip and aggressive sidecut for an 80-mm ski that carves with enthusiasm but never talks back. It gets excellent marks in Forgiveness—truly an everyday frontside ski and a worthy successor to the late, great Apache Recon. “The tip rocker loosens up the front of the ski, making it just plain easy to turn and more versatile off–piste for such a narrow ski,” said Elling.

Salomon Enduro

Salomon Enduro (2011)

Salomon blazed a trail with subtly rockered frontside skis, and the new, refined Enduro is a shining example of the benefits. One of the favorites in the category, it blends hard-snow excellence (vertical sidewalls, metal laminates, grippy construction) with an 84-mm waist and a touch of tip rocker. The result is a supremely smooth and versatile ski that trenches on the groomed but loves soft snow, too. Testers praised its confidence in crud and gave it the No. 1 ranking for Flotation, too. “Versatile in seemingly all conditions,” said Garrett.