Volkl RTM 81 (2014)
It's probably asking too much for a ski to be an edgy, precise carver one minute, an easygoing, crud-skimming freeskier the next. But the RTM delivers. At heart it's a flat-snow arc machine - glued to the snow, with a hefty, quiet dampness. But subtle tip-to-tail rocker - a Volkl hallmark - gives it a pivoty playfulness that makes harbor chop and bumps fun. Testers rewarded its versatility with high marks across the board and a No. 1 in Balance of Skills, which says it all. Hogen: "Arcs short turns better than most in this category, but like any Volkl, it purrs on a long edge."
The 81 is a new model from Volkl, a frontside generalist similar in construction to the RTM 84 but with a slightly narrower, carvier waist width and a slightly heavier steel reinforcement instead of Titanal (an aluminum alloy). It's part of the seven-model RTM ("Ride the Mountain") series of frontside, all-conditions skis - the all-mountain heart of the Volkl collection. Waist widths range from 84 mm down to 73 mm, with performance and price decreasing along with width. Higher end models (the 84, 81, 80 and 77) are subtly rockered from tip to tail for soft snow performance. Lower end models (75 IS, 75, and 73) get tip and tail rocker for easy pivoting and skidding and are generally more forgiving and groomer oriented. The RTM collection features Volkl's XTD constructions, which are built with extra mass stacked over the edges for enhanced stability and edge bite. In lower-end RTM models, these XTD rails decrease in size and mass to give those skis more forgiving performance. All but the value-priced RTM 73 have wood cores. All are sold with bindings.
|Level||Advanced, Expert, Hi-Expert|
|Awards||Gold Medal Gear|
|Lengths||161, 166, 171, 176, 181|
|Rating: Stability at Speed||3.83 / 5|
|Rating: Maneuverability||3.24 / 5|
|Rating: Hard Snow Grip||4.11 / 5|
|Rating: Crud Performance||3.37 / 5|
|Rating: Forgiveness||3.47 / 5|
|Rating: Flotation||1.84 / 5|
|Rating: Overall||3.46 / 5|