October 10, 2014 Volkl Reboots the Mantra Gear

Volkl Reboots the Mantra

The Mantra has changed. Yes, there have been minor tweaks to Volkl’s All Mountain masterpiece over the years, including the daring addition of a dash of tip rocker. But this time is different. For the 2014-2015 ski season, Volkl has rebooted the Mantra, giving us a ski that substantially departs from the concept and feel (more...)...

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April 5, 2013 Volkl Code L Gear

Volkl Code L

New for the 2013-2014 season, Volkl’s Code Speedwall L offers performance skiers a fun and lively alternative to both the RTM and RaceTiger lines. I’m not big on the RTM skis (see my most-hated video), and the RaceTigers are race specialists, so for me the Code L vaults to the top of Volkl’s frontside carver (more...)...

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March 8, 2013 Volkl Shiro Gear

Volkl Shiro

Volkl’s Shiro is unquestionably a powder specialist, built to thrill in steep, deep, and preferably expansive Big Mountain terrain. Objectively and subjectively I noticed the Shiro’s size right away—a hefty 119 millimeters underfoot. Even at the 170-centimeter length I tested, the Shiro feels big, water ski big, like pontoons on your feet big, and all (more...)...

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March 7, 2013 Volkl Katana Carbon Gear

Volkl Katana Carbon

New for the 2013-2014 season is Volkl’s Katana Carbon, a V-Works carbon-fiber version of Volkl’s Big-Mountain Katana. What the heck is ‘V-Works’, you ask? It’s a light-is-right design/construction ethic that Volkl is introducing to its Alpine line. Admittedly, the Katana Carbon is something of a odd bird: weight would seem to be an asset—not a (more...)...

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March 31, 2012 Voile XLM Gear

Voile XLM

Voile has updated its smallest shovel, the XLM. The original XLM was arguably the lightest functional aluminum avalanche shovel on the market. The new XLM is…arguably the lightest functional aluminum avalanche shovel on the market. What’s changed? Voile says the new XLM is lighter, which conflicts a bit with my 2007 notes (I think the (more...)...

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February 15, 2012 Volkl RTM-84 Gear

Volkl RTM-84

Volkl’s RTM 84 has been highly regarded in print reviews, topping many a frontside-carver list. Oddly enough, however, during my own on-snow testing at Winter Park, the RTM 84 proved to be one of my least favorite hard-snow skis. The RTM (“Ride the Mountain”) is what we might call a ‘modern’ frontside ski: extra girth (more...)...

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February 9, 2012 Volkl Nunataq Gear

Volkl Nunataq

My take on Volkl’s Nunataq is that it’s exactly the ski it’s supposed to be. Billed as the touring version of the Gotama (or so Volkl told me), the Nunataq does indeed deliver a Gotama-reminiscent ride at a tour-worthy weight. The Nunataq is aimed squarely at the jugular of today’s North American backcountry market: take (more...)...

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When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

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