Volkl Viola (2014)
For expert carve technicians, the Viola is the clear Value category winner. Testers weren’t surprised that a Völkl delivered such responsive and assured on-piste performance. Just tip and rip: the Viola put up the top scores for Stability at Speed, Rebound Energy and (by far) Hard-Snow Integrity. It has little patience for powder—or a tentative attack. But for arcing at speed, it’s as eager as it is affordable.
The Viola is a 74-mm wide frontside generalist for the intermediate to advanced female skier. It's sold with a slightly less expensive 10-DIN Marker binding than the Chiara, but its core, a blend of foam and wood, actually has more wood than the Chiara's. (So the cost saving is mostly a factor of width and binding.) It's part of the Essenza collection of frontside, carve-ready, tip-rockered women's models - the female counterparts of the men's RTM series. Like the RTMs, they feature Volkl's XTD constructions, in which extra mass is stacked over the edges for positive edge grip without added weight. Less mass is used in lower end models to make them less edgy and more forgiving. All Essenza models are built with Volkl's Bio-Logic female-specific design and features. Skis are not only lighter and livelier (none have full sheets of metal), they're also mounted and waisted slightly aft; they're extra wide in the tip for easy initiation and narrower in the tail for easy exit and less stress on knees; and a reduced ramp angle better suits female physiognomy. There are six models in the Essenza collection, all of them sold with bindings and ranging in width from 73 mm to 79 mm.
|Level||Intermediate, Advanced, Expert|
|Awards||Gold Medal Gear|
|Lengths||141, 148, 155, 162|
|Rating: Stability at Speed||3.13 / 5|
|Rating: Maneuverability||2.90 / 5|
|Rating: Hard Snow Grip||3.08 / 5|
|Rating: Crud Performance||2.18 / 5|
|Rating: Forgiveness||2.90 / 5|
|Rating: Flotation||2.15 / 5|
|Rating: Overall||2.87 / 5|