Volkl Kenja (2014)
Volkl is so consistent, comments like "typical Volkl" abound. Which in this case means stable, responsive, grippy, clean, or, as one tester wrote, "East Coast hero ski." With a wood core reinforced by both fiberglass and metal - the same construction as the Aura's (see Mixed Snow West) - but with a carve-ready 87-mm waist, the Kenja boasts a sinewy power that dissects hardpack. It's versatile too, agile in bumps and trees, and has enough girth for modest pow. Tip rocker loosens the bite for the less skilled and makes carving instantaneous. Cunningham: "A directional ski with a grip-it-and-rip-it attitude."
While the Aura, at 96 mm, might suit a Western skier for everyday purposes, Volkl's Kenja, at 87 mm, should serve Eastern and Midwestern women better. 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. Both belong to Volkl's Women's Freeskiing collection, which features soft-snow, freeride-oriented models ranging in width from 107 mm down to 83 mm. All are durable wood-core constructions with solid-feeling vertical sidewalls and glass-reinforced internal torsion box (the core is wrapped in a fiberglass sock to resist torsional flex, or twisting). The top model, Kiku, has carbon fiber layers, which give it power without the weight and dampness of metal. The Aura (96 mm) and the Kenja (87 mm) both have metal reinforcement. The two narrowest and least expensive models - the new all-mountain Yumi (83 mm) and the park-oriented Pyra (85 mm) - are reinforced with fiberglass only. Rocker profiles also vary: The Kiku is fully rockered for loose powder performance; the Aura, Kenja and Yumi are rockered in the tip only, for optimal mixed-conditions performance; the Pyra gets tip and tail rocker for easy pivoting and switch riding. All models are sold flat (no binding).
|Level||Advanced, Expert, Hi-Expert|
|Awards||Gold Medal Gear|
|Lengths||149, 156, 163, 170|
|Rating: Stability at Speed||3.74 / 5|
|Rating: Maneuverability||3.91 / 5|
|Rating: Hard Snow Grip||3.35 / 5|
|Rating: Crud Performance||3.65 / 5|
|Rating: Forgiveness||3.90 / 5|
|Rating: Flotation||3.11 / 5|
|Rating: Overall||3.69 / 5|