Völkl RTM 81 (2014)
A few years back, Völkl took its highly acclaimed but punishingly powerful AC series, added full rocker (to a system ski, no less), and gave us the RTM series. The 81 is the narrower, carvier of the two flagship models, and while it lacks the turn-to-turn pop of the old ACs, the horsepower remains intact, and its maneuverability and accessibility to a broad range of skiers are light-years ahead. The RTM stays glued to the snow but is willing to explore rough terrain.
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||Tester's Choice, Official Selection|
|Lengths||161, 166, 171, 176, 181|
|Rating: Stability at Speed||3.84 / 5|
|Rating: Maneuverability||3.83 / 5|
|Rating: Hard Snow Grip||4.02 / 5|
|Rating: Crud Performance||2.66 / 5|
|Rating: Forgiveness||3.15 / 5|
|Rating: Energy/Liveliness||3.70 / 5|
|Rating: Versatility||3.00 / 5|
|Rating: Overall||3.46 / 5|