One of the hardest skis to find this Spring for testing was the Volkl Katana V-Werks Ski. Only a few were brought in and the final edition of the skis took some time to fine tune. At $1200 I guess Volkl wanted to make sure they got it right.
The Volkl rep made sure they held a pair aside for me to get out on and I was very happy to get out on them. The first thing you notice with the V-Werks Katana is when you pick it up you just can not believe how light the ski is. It feels like you are holding nothing. When you first step in you are a little hesitant about how well they are going to ski as you do not really feel like you have anything under your feet, then you hot the slopes and all fear is lifted and straight charging is all the V-Werks Katana is all about. What this ski is not is a groomer oriented ski. This ski is made for big mountain skiing with big snow. When in bumps and groomers it is actually a little stiff and slow, when in softer snow it plows through everything in its way with power. At high speeds the ski has no chatter and sticks to the snow, if you try and make short turns on groomers you will probably be finding yourself overturning the ski as it is so light and turns almost to quickly at times. Once you get dialed in with the skis ability you will be able to get that under control, but remember it is V-Werks ski and because of that you want to make subtle movements as to not over ski the ski. When in fresh snow the ski was incredible and with an AT Binding I could see this being an all day touring ski with how light it is and on the down you will destroy everything thanks to the full rocker design.
On another note you do have to make sure you buy a Marker Royal Family Binding with this ski as those are the only ones that will fit with the design of the Volkl Katana Skis. In all the Volkl Katana V-Werks Skis are an amazing Freeride/Touring Ski and one that I would certainly recommend to those looking for a Big Mountain Touring Ski that is lightweight and powerful.
Most versatile pair of skis I have ever owned is the all new 2012 Line EP Opus skis. The Line EP Opus skis does whatever you want the ski to do in any conditions and terrain. With the float of the EP Pro and the maneuverability of the Sir Francis Bacon the Line EP Opus skis are the ultimate one ski quiver ski. Although the ski is narrower than the EP Pro it still has amazing float thanks to where the Early Taper and Early rise have been located. Eric Pollard designed these skis as his masterpiece and as someone who has not only skied every ski that Pollard has designed but also has been skiing with the man himself he has combined all the best of his creations into this one ski. If you are looking for an excellent AT ski but don’t want the waist width of the Opus then I would suggest the Sir Francis Bacon.
If you are looking for a ski to help you poach your favorite places then this is my weapon of choice. It will ski the deepest of powder with ease while attacking the windblown snow with very little effort. 2 places the EP Opus excels in where many others in this 115mm+ waist category does not is on the groomers and bumps/moguls. I was able to make full pull bump runs with very little effort or adjustment. When it came to skiing glades there was no other ski I would rather be on than the Opus. If you are charging hard and enjoy a stiffer ski than you would want the Prophet 115 or Influence 115, but if you enjoy a ski with tons of playful energy and one that just enjoys everything in front of you then the Line EP Opus is a ski that you really should not pass by with out buying. It looks like untracked.com or Al’s Ski Barn has these in stock right no and ready to sell!!
A review of the 2012 and 2013 skis is already available if you scroll down through my posts. However, there has been one important change for 2013 and 2014 and that is the addition of the 192cm Mr. Pollard Opus. Other than a new graphic and a new size the ski stays the same. The Line Mr Pollard Opus has been one of the best-selling skis of 2012 and we expect 2013 to be even better! A few select dealers still have the 2013 Mr. Pollard Opus skis so be sure to get yours today! Still one of my favorite skis you can not go wrong, unless you go to short. The 192cm length in the Mr. Pollard Opus is my favorite go to do everything ski. Now witht he addition of the Sir Francis Bacon in the 190cm length that will probably turn into my All Mountain Ski along with the all new amazing Head Cyclic 115 Skis.
Here is the review of the 2012 Line Mr. Pollard’s Opus Skis which are the same for 2013 and 2014, but now with the additional length of a 192cm length!!
Most versatile pair of skis I have ever owned is the all new 2012/2013/2014 Line Mr. Pollard Opus skis. The Line Mr. Pollard Opus skis does whatever you want the ski to do in any conditions and terrain. With the float of the EP Pro and the maneuverability of the Sir Francis Bacon the Line Mr. Pollard Opus skis are the ultimate one ski quiver ski. Although the ski is narrower than the EP Pro it still has amazing float thanks to where the Early Taper and Early rise have been located. Eric Pollard designed these skis as his masterpiece and as someone who has not only skied every ski that Pollard has designed but also has been skiing with the man himself he has combined all the best of his creations into this one ski. If you are looking for an excellent AT ski but don’t want the waist width of the Opus then I would suggest the Sir Francis Bacon.
If you are looking for a ski to help you poach your favorite places then this is my weapon of choice. It will ski the deepest of powder with ease while attacking the windblown snow with very little effort. 2 places the Mr. Pollard Opus excels in where many others in this 115mm+ waist category does not is on the groomers and bumps/moguls. I was able to make full pull bump runs with very little effort or adjustment. When it came to skiing glades there was no other ski I would rather be on than the Opus. If you are charging hard and enjoy a stiffer ski than you would want the Prophet 115 or Influence 115, but if you enjoy a ski with tons of playful energy and one that just enjoys everything in front of you then the Line Mr. Pollard Opus is a ski that you really should not pass by with out buying. It looks like untracked.com or Al’s Ski Barn has these in stock right no and ready to sell!!
It has been a while since i have written a review about any Head freeride skis and that has mostly been up until now there just have not been any worth spending the time to write about, until now!! The Head Cyclic 115 skis is a game changer for Head skis in 2014. Never have they had a freeride ski that was as playful and fun as this ski. I know what you are thinking Head builds heavy skis that are designed for speed. The all new Freeski line from Head is totally different, they have redesigned everything from the construction, rocker,shape, and top sheet. The most impressive thing about the Head Cyclic is how easy it skis everything from tight trees and bumps to carving trenches on on the groomers. Because of the all new tip and tail shape this ski easily makes a variety of turn shapes with ease. If you want a ski that is versatile and lightweight then look no further than the Head Cyclic 115. You may give up a little at the top end speed but the versatility you get in everything else is a dream. Do yourself a favor and get on a pair of these skis and try them for yourself.
Tyrolia AAAtack 13 Bindings:
Another top notch product for Tyrolia/Head this year is the all new AAAttack 13 Binding. With a very similar design to that of the Marker Griffon the AAAttack 13 comes in with a lower Stand Height and also a cheaper price. I would high recommend both the AAAttack 13 and 16 for aggressive skiers. One huge difference you will see from the marker binding is the ease that you can step into the Tyrolia Heel especially in deep snow. The Griffon has always been an issue for lighter weight skiers to step into and with the Tyrolia Binding you will find not only a binding that is lighter and easier to step into, but one that will also be trustworthy from the park to dropping cliffs.
The Armada Norwalk is a brand new ski for Armada in 2013 and we feel this is going to be a huge hit with those of you that are looking for a big mountain ski. If you enjoyed the Armada JJ Skis, but wanted a ski with more energy out of the tail the new Armada Norwalk is the ski for you! With tip rocker only and a traditional tail the Norwalk skis had incredible stability at higher speeds, something that you lose on the JJ because of the non traditional tail. Overall this was an excellent choice for big mountain skis, it was not as versatile as the Line Opus, however if you want a hard charger and enjoy the way Armada Skis ski then this should be a top pick for you. It plowed through chopped up snow and it had not issues at all going through tight trees or bumped up snow. It is one of the best new skis Armada has created. If you want more of a Powder Hound ski then check out the new Armada Magic J or Bubba.
For 2013 the Volkl Kuro receives Titanium Power/Tough Box Construction meaning that the soft forgiving Kuro of the past is no longer. The all new Kuro is stiff and powerful and is now a true big mountain ski that can handle the biggest and steepest mountains that AK and BC have to offer. There are a few shops that still have the older Kuro and if you want a more forgiving powder ski that is an amazing choice and one that I ave enjoyed trying every year. For testing this spring I had a chance to get on the new Kuro and what a ski it is. The older Kuro was like a couch, super comfy and no effort at all in any condition except at higher speed. The new 2013 Kuro wants to go fast and boy is it ever stable. It will handle any speed on any kind of condition and it will still arc turns on groomers no problem at all. The one area where the new Kuro is a lot of work is in the bumps and tight chutes. If you are straight-lining areas this ski will be perfect thanks to the ELP Rocker and Titanium Construction. If you are going to be in areas that have a good amount of bumps you may want to consider the older Kuro or another ski that will be lighter and more forgiving.
The 2013 Volkl Kuro is a totally different ski from the past.
The all new 2013 K2 SideSeth Skis are unlike any Seth ski you have used before. Seth has changed his skis like he has changed his skiing to allow for more technical lines in more variable terrain and snow. Seth the past couple years has not been skiing the big mountain powder lines he was always known for up in AK. He has searched out the Alps and other areas that require more technical skiing then big fast lines in deep pow. If you want a ski that can handle every condition the backcountry can throw your way the all new 2013 K2 SideSeth Ski is one of my favorite choices. The major difference you will see in the 2013 K2 SideSeth is the ski is much stiffer than any of the Obsethed Skis and the tail is no longer a true twin tip it now has a more versatile shape not only for skins but to also be able to stick the skis into the snow. K2 also makes precut skins specifically for these skis which makes putting them on and off very simple. Because of the change Seth has made to these skis no no longer will be found in the Factory Series they are now in Backside Series. The ski comes with a good amount of powder rocker but also has enough camber to make the ski more versatile when skiing hard pack snow and those days where you are skiing big mountain hard-charging lines. The tail is much stiffer and has less rocker than in the past and this all has to do with making for a more versatile ski on big mountain lines. If you need a real ski to handle everything that the mountain can throw at you then you will want to consider the 2013 K2 Sideseth Ski. The ski was amazingly quick edge to edge and it was really at home in the trees easily skiing bumps and varied terrain with ease. When skiing on groomers the SideSeth got on edge much quicker than the 26m turn radius that K2 says it has. I think part of that has to do with the stiffer less rockered tail combined with a progressive sidecut. If you are looking for a similar ski, but one that is more playful everywhere on the mountain then you want to look at the Line Mr. Pollard Opus and the K2 Pettitor Skis.
Ski: Sean Pettit Pro Model called K2 Pettitor Skis
Rocker: Powder Rocker
Turn Radius 22m
Binding Used: Marker Griffon
K2 changed up their Factory skis for the 2013 season. There is no longer a Seth ski in the Factory line up of skis, instead Sean Pettit has received the promotion to having his own Pro Model Skis that he likes to call the 2013 K2 The Pettitor. Sean has been one of the most fluid skiers in the world since his young days as a pro. Now with the ski like the Pettitor for him to charge on it will be interesting to see where he takes the sport.
First thing you will notice about the 2013 K2 Pettitor skis is the rocker vs. camber is much more different from anything that Seth did on his skis. The camber on the Pettitor is the stiffest in the K2 Factory Team line up and what you will also find of note is that it was directly under the boot where it was the stiffest. Along with the camber the K2 Pettitor has moved the contact points closer together making for a more playful big mountain ski. If you enjoyed the Obsethed skis but wanted something that was quicker turning and had better edge hold and stability at speed on groomers then the K2 Pettitor is the ski you want. This ski was hard charging like a big mountain ski and would leave trenches on the groomers. When skiing it in softer snow it was like a dream, I would call it the most playful of the Big Mountain skis and would go as far to say that it was my second favorite ski to that of the Line Mr. Pollard Opus Skis. If you plan on skiing big mountain lines with large cliff drops then you would probably prefer the K2 Pettitor Ski, but if you wanted a one ski quiver ski in the 120mm waisted area then the Line opus is still my top choice. The K2 Pettitor is built for high-speed stability and big cliff bands and for many they are going to find this the answer they are looking for. K2 had a long run with the Obsethed Skis, but they had run their course and it was time for something that had more of a playful side along with a backbone for skiing big mountain lines along with skiing the resort. They have an A+ with the addition of the K2 Pettitor for 2013 and it is backed by not only Sean Pettit but Pep Fujas has also been seen skiing big mountain lines with the new K2 Pettitor Skis and he has been loving them! This is a top vote getter for 2013 so pick up a pair with confidence!
For 2013 Line Re-Designed the Line Influence 115 to more of a true Big Mountain Ski. The turn radius is now bigger and made for more straightening than the 2012 Influence 115. Another major change besides the shape is the If you want a super quick turning ski for groomers and powder go with the 2012 Influence 115 or the Prophet 115 from 2011, if you want more of a Big mountain ski that will plane through deep snow and not plow and bounce then go with the all new 2013 Line Influence 115. The metal matrix is now flat into the ski and not on top like before and this helps save weight . Line has really found a way to improve a ski that I already used as an everyday ski. The energy you could get out of the ski was amazing and good form them for dropping the 172cm length and adding the 192cm length. These skis because fo the Early Rise in the tip and tail ski very short so you need to go longer to get the correct length for you. Also, you can really feel the active edge when you are on groomers getting back to the lift and that is the big difference I have been finding with many of the Line skis compared to others is that they ski very short but yet you feel like you are using the whole ski. The new tip and tail design also will take a skin clip easier for more backcountry adventures. If you are looking for a big mountain ski with versatility the Line Influence 115 should be in your top 3 for 2013!!
The 2013 Icelantic Keeper Skis are back for 2013 and are coming with a brand new stone grind and finish from Icelantic. The Icelantic Keeper Skis were thought to be a powder ski when they came out since they are 119mm in the waist but after skiing on them I can tell you that these skis are much more than most powder skis could ever dream of being. With a very quick turn radius and amazing edge grip even on groomers the Icelantic Keeper Skis are an eye opener for most expert skiers. With a fairly stiff flex and early rise tip/tail and traditional camber, the Icelantic Keeper skis will ski all conditions and terrain. If you are looking for something a little more forgiving for skiing bumped up terrain then you may want to consider the Line Mr. Pollard’s Opus. Overall this was an excellent ski and one that you will find yourself enjoying these in more conditions than you previously thought possible. With the early rise tip and tail you will also see these skis will actually be extremely quick turning in the trees. Don’t sell yourself short with this ski. The 189cm certainly seems like it would be a lot of ski but after skiing it in tight terrain I would have no problem using this as my choice length. If you don;t like longer skis the great thing about the Icelantic Keeper is that you can ski it in shorter lengths, but please don;t sell yourself to short or you will regret it.
The 2013 Icelantic Nomad RKR is a brand new ski for Icelantic and after skiing it I can tell you that it will be in their line up for years to come. I was only able to ski the 171cm length, however what I can tell you is this ski wants to go fast and with the all new structure and finish (Thanks to a $500,000 Wintersteiger Machine) that Icelantic is putting into their skis you will notice a huge difference from the past.
The Nomad RKR comes with both tip and tail rocker and it loves to ski trees with confidence. Because of the early rise tip and tail you can certainly ski this ski longer than you would the normal Nomad with no early rise. It would not surprise me if Icelantic decided to come out with a 191cm length in this ski for 2014!! The Icelantic Nomad RKR wants to be pushing the limits at all times, it is super fun to play on and will go anywhere on the mountain with confidence that you want to take it. If you are just in for some Super G turns this ski so incredibly stable thanks to the all new Carbonium Topsheet that not only helps prevent the topsheet from chipping but when you also add 3 layers of rubber foil the ski is incredibly damp. If you want a ski that you can take with confidence on and off trail at anytime the Nomad RKR is a great choice.
I know a lot of guys and girls who will be using this as their tele or tour set up because of the versatility and how light the ski is. It is very quick edge to edge in the woods and also loves to zipper line moguls as well. Great all around ski for someone who is looking for light weight. If you don’t like the feeling of RKR you can still get this ski in the non RKR version. I have a feeling the RKR will sell 4 to 1 over the non RKR version after skiing both.
The non RKR Nomad is still an excellent ski and for those who do not enjoy skis with early rise. I know there is still a few of you out there who are not converts and if you are one of those then go with the regular Nomad. If you only ski groomers then you may enjoy not having the early rise. I had a blast on both versions of this ski so you really can not go wrong. If you spend more time in the woods go with the RKR if you spend more time on groomers you can consider the regular Nomad.
These skis are also made in the USA and come with a 2 year warranty from Icelantic. If you are tough on skis and need something durable this is a great ski for you.