Volkl Kenja (2017)

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Völkl Kenja

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Rating: 3.32 / 5
Price: $825.00
Year: 2017
Level: 2
Gender: Female
Waist Width: 90
Tip/Tail/Waist: 127-90-110
Lengths: 149, 156, 163, 170

Stability at speed: 3.71 / 5
Hard snow performance: 3.73 / 5
Crud performance: 3.47 / 5
Flotation: 2.70 / 5
Forgiveness: 2.96 / 5
Overall: 3.32 / 5

It’s been around for a while, but testers never tire of the Kenja. No. 1 last year, No. 2 the year before, and only one ski beat it for Overall Impression this year. It got a little wider and friendlier after a redesign last year, but it still succeeds best at giving an Eastern skier the confidence to trust an edge on hard snow and having the heft to smooth out rough snow and speed wobbles. It hopes you have solid skills and a will to improve—some testers found it a little stiff (in a good way). In return, it’s the kind of ski that’ll coax you to the next level in all types of terrain and snow conditions. Moffatt: “Definitely a good one-ski-quiver ski. Easy and light but still built well for when you want to charge. No wonder you see it on so many women in the East.”

While the Volkl Aura, at 100 mm, might suit a Western skier for everyday purposes, the Volkl Kenja, at 90 mm, should serve Eastern and Midwestern women better. The Kenja returns unchanged for 2017. Its narrower waist gives it an extra measure of hardpack performance, but it's still wide enough for appreciable flotation in powder and soft snow. The two models are otherwise identical in construction, with similar shape and sidecut, except that the Kenja, with tip rocker only, will offer more rearward support and stronger turn finishes than the Aura, which is rockered in the tail as well for looser, smearier performance.

It's part of Volkl's Women's Freeskiing collection, which now features seven (up from six) soft-snow, freeride-oriented models ranging in width from 116 mm (One W) down to 83 mm (Yumi). All except the 100Eight W and the new 90Eight W are durable, responsive wood-core constructions with solid, grippy vertical sidewalls and a glass-reinforced internal torsion box (the core is wrapped in a rigid fiberglass sheath to resist torsional flex, or twisting). The 100Eight and 90Eight, which are also built on wood, feature Volkl's 3D Ridge construction, which is thick down the middle so it can strong longitudinally yet thinner, lighter, and more sensitive over the edges. The Aura (100 mm) and the Kenja (90 mm) both have metal reinforcement, for vibration-dampening calm and stability at expert-level speeds in variable snow. 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, from tip to tail, for loose, smeary powder performance; the 90Eight W, Kenja, and Pyra are rockered tip and tail with camber underfoot for traditional rebound energy and locked-in hard-snow grip. The Yumi is rockered in the tip only. All models are sold flat (no binding).

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.

Notes: While the Volkl Aura, at 100 mm, might suit a Western skier for everyday purposes, the Volkl Kenja, at 90 mm, should serve Eastern and Midwestern women better. The Kenja returns unchanged for 2017. Its narrower waist gives it an extra measure of hardpack performance, but it's still wide enough for appreciable flotation in powder and soft snow. The two models are otherwise identical in construction, with similar shape and sidecut, except that the Kenja, with tip rocker only, will offer more rearward support and stronger turn finishes than the Aura, which is rockered in the tail as well for looser, smearier performance.

It's part of Volkl's Women's Freeskiing collection, which now features seven (up from six) soft-snow, freeride-oriented models ranging in width from 116 mm (One W) down to 83 mm (Yumi). All except the 100Eight W and the new 90Eight W are durable, responsive wood-core constructions with solid, grippy vertical sidewalls and a glass-reinforced internal torsion box (the core is wrapped in a rigid fiberglass sheath to resist torsional flex, or twisting). The 100Eight and 90Eight, which are also built on wood, feature Volkl's 3D Ridge construction, which is thick down the middle so it can strong longitudinally yet thinner, lighter, and more sensitive over the edges. The Aura (100 mm) and the Kenja (90 mm) both have metal reinforcement, for vibration-dampening calm and stability at expert-level speeds in variable snow. 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, from tip to tail, for loose, smeary powder performance; the 90Eight W, Kenja, and Pyra are rockered tip and tail with camber underfoot for traditional rebound energy and locked-in hard-snow grip. The Yumi is rockered in the tip only. All models are sold flat (no binding).

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.

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