For the second year on the bounce our Overall Men’s Ski of the Year comes from Volkl, and it’s our narrowest winner ever – the Kendo 88.
One of a new breed of fashionable 88s, the Volkl Kendo 88 is an undeniably scrawny number compared with our previous fattie Ski of the Year contenders but boy does it pack a solid punch on the fun-o-meter.
“What a blast this ski is!” says Advertising Manager Rich Evans “An easy cruiser that responds immediately when you push, the Kendo 88 performs powerfully on the hardpack, tears through the slush and rips up chopped snow with character and style. Fun fun fun!”
Whilst the deepest of powabunga snow is obviously most riptastic on wide floaty boards, be honest now – how often do you really get those life affirming faceshot, grab-your-snorkle kinda days? Unless you hang out in the land of the rising sun for the entire month of Japanuary then it would seem that a more versatile all-mountain-slash-freeride winter weapon may be the way forward and the Kendo 88 is one such versatile genius capable of delivering all over the mountain.
Put simply, the new Kendo 88 is one seriously cleverly designed, lean machine. The combination of super-gentle rocker with multi-radius sidecut, metal subtraction and carbon-fibre is a recipe that really does work – a truly delicious all-round supercharged ski-anywhere winner.
We insist on our Ski of the Year being fun as well as brilliant, and these material changes have given this strong hard-charger in packed snow an injection of pizzaz and zing for the coming season.
The ‘lightening the ends whilst controlling torsional flex’ really is the design fad that keeps on giving.
The grip is up to the usual Volkl ‘hang on until your femurs compress’ levels if you keep the pressure on, and at that point you’ll be putting the 17m turn radius into play. Ease back on the turn and the nose and tail will naturally pick a softer turn shape – so there’s never a point where any of the ski feels like it’s not engaging with the snow; a most confidence-inspiring feeling despite the softer construction thanks to reduced metal in the tip and tail.
This all gives the Kendo 88 vigorous to aggressive reactions on piste, yet that same lightness in the ends gives great pick up if you’re flicking the ski around in soft snow. It’s actually not a light ski, but it skis lightly and that’s what counts (unless you’re touring, when actual weight counts. Quick tip: buy a touring ski).The long nose-rocker means 100kg skiers who normally ski 100mm+ wide skis found the Kendo 88 a ball in powder, generating float and easily able to play in the soft stuff. What’s more, narrower skis tend to get more sink which means more face-shots when you hit the deep lines. Wooo and indeed hoo!
Chargier skiers might opt for the Blizzard Brahma, Dynastar Legend 88 or Nordica Enforcer 88 whilst poptastic fans may want to give the grin-factor 11 K2 Mindbender 90Ti and Scott Slight 93 a try.
But if you’re looking for the sweetest blend of all of the above then the Kendo 88 is our league champ.
Well played Volkl, well played indeed.
Lengths: 163, 170, 177, 184
Radius: 16.8m @ 177cm
Weight per pair: 3880g @ 177
More Info: Volkl
MORE 2020 SKIS OF THE YEAR:
2020 WOMEN’S OVERALL SKI OF THE YEAR – K2 MINDBENDER 88 Ti ALLIANCE