Rating: 3.35 / 5
Waist Width: 84
Lengths: 162, 167, 172, 177, 182
Stability at speed: 3.79 / 5
Hard snow performance: 3.79 / 5
Crud performance: 2.93 / 5
Flotation: 2.29 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.39 / 5
Overall: 3.35 / 5
The RTM 84 was alone in first place in the carver category last year. This year it has to share the top of the po- dium. Good thing it’s a ski that never pouts. It still puts up excellent scores in the hard-snow performance criteria with knifey stability, but its generous waist width gives it category-best performance for charging in soft snow and crud. And while there’s plenty of high end, the RTM has a mellow side. It’s light (credit the mass-reducing 3D Profile, thick down the middle, thin over the edges) and behaves well at cruising speeds. Testers said it even likes bumps and other rough play. Schiller: “Tons of stability and a large, damp sweet spot underfoot. Bites into the turn easily, then loads hard and fast in the fall line.”
Notes: The Volkl RTM 84 UVO, which returns unchanged for 2017, is similar to the RTM 86 UVO-a frontside, all-mountain everyday trail-oriented ski. But in addition to being very slightly narrower, the 84 lacks the more expensive top-and-bottom Titanal metal reinforcement of the 86, making it lighter and livelier, if not quite as calm at the highest speeds. Like the 86, it's sold as a system only, with either a 12-DIN or 14-DIN Marker binding.
The RTM (Ride the Mountain) line is Volkl's six-model collection of frontside all-mountain skis built for everyday resort performance. RTM skis range in width from 75 up to 86 mm, with higher-performing models at the wider end of the spectrum. The collection was updated last year with the introduction of new 3D Ridge construction in the three widest models (81, 84, and 86). Borrowed from the V-Werks line of super-premium skis, 3D Ridge construction features a raised structural ridge down the center of the ski, which allows Volkl engineers to make the ski thinner, lighter, and more sensitive over the edges. The top to models, (84 and 86) come with Marker's WideRide binding interface, which is designed with a wider mounting footprint to deliver more power to the edge on wider skis. All RTM skis are wood-core constructions. Tip and tail rocker enhance maneuverability, shock absorption, and maneuverability on the top models; the three low-end models are rocker only in the tip, for forgiving turn entries and secure finishes. Volkl's UVO dampening module quiets the vibrations that occur at speed, allowing the ski to track more cleanly through the snow.
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.