Cage Match Comparison 2020 Salomon S/Force Bold vs 2020 Völkl Deacon 84

Philpug

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The Salomon S/Force Bold came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. We loved the S/Max Blast from last year, but again, I didn’t see the S/Force coming, surely not with its on-snow demeanor, nope no way. As for the Deacon 84, Völkl has been returning to its roots, and the Deacon series is a good indication of this direction back toward uncompromising skis.

Salomon introduced us to its beefy S/Max last year, a ski that is about 25 mm thick underfoot and offered with a race-derived binding system. For this year, it expanded the Edge Amplifier construction to an 84mm platform with the S/Force. Salomon didn’t just make a wider S/Max; it made the changes necessary for a fantastic all-mountain ski that is as comfortable negotiating the bumps as it is charging the groomers. There is a gentle giant feel to the S/Force that truly makes it a great ski.

Rarely do I come back from a test run and ask, “Do you have the next size down?” With the Deacon 84, I had to do that, not because the 177 was too much ski but because Völkl was keen enough to offer this collection in 5cm breaks. These increments give skiers a better match than the more-common 7-, 8-, and even 10cm steps. The Deacons replace the very good RTMs with a lot more power and a more traditional feel. They want to charge, and charge they will.
  • Why choose the S/Force Bold? You want a ski that is as docile as it is strong, stable as it is nimble, light as it is heavy -- well, not the last one, you don’t mind a bit of heft, because the S/Force Bold is heavy.
  • Why choose the Deacon 84? You want a charger, a ski with no speed limit; you work out, and you want your skiing to show it.
 

NESkiBum

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Throw a Fischer RC One 86 GT into the mix and I’m really confused...never mind the Stöckli Laser AR. This mid 80 ski is exactly what I am looking for since Blizzard went away from the Magnum 8.1 and 8.7.
 

chip inderhol

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Throw a Fischer RC One 86 GT into the mix and I’m really confused...never mind the Stöckli Laser AR. This mid 80 ski is exactly what I am looking for since Blizzard went away from the Magnum 8.1 and 8.7.

Years ago I demoed a M power 8.7. I had heard the expression "glued to the snow", but had never felt it until then. Had I not been looking for something else, I would have bought one the next day.
 
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Philpug

Philpug

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How does the Deacon do in softer snow?
It is a stiffer uncompromising ski that can submarine in softer snow. IMHO, it is one of the more hard snow oriented skis in the class. It wants to be on the snow more than in the snow.
 
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Josh Matta

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@Philpug What can you say about the Fischer RC when having these two in mind?

I have skied the S/force bold in a 184cm and the RC one GT-86 in a 175cm....

The S force is very compent but docile hardsnow carver for me, extremely damp basically as damp as my Head Monster 83. Its really had no speed limit and yet felt fairly easy to ski slowly, pretty good in the bumps as well despite its long length.

The RC-one feel slightly worse on hard snow in a 175cm but not bad at all. To me the big winner of the RC-one GT-86 is its camber profile feels chameleon like. On hard snow ripping arcs it feels like its a fully cambered ski, and when on flatter slower ski in technical terrain its feel almost fully rockered. I love this ski and would love to buy in a 182cm but its currently sold out on my pro site.

Neither of these skis have much float, but I really dont care about that because I have tons of wider skis in locker room at the bottom of the hill. With that said one now discontinued ski that did have tons of float in this waist width was the Salomon XDR 84ti. That ski isnt as friendly in the bumps as either of these skis though due to its IMO tip that was too wide.
 

Ron

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the bold was happy on any terrain (its not a powder ski though). for those seeking a refined all mountain ski with a nod to the groomed, the Bold is outstanding. I was really surprised by this ski,.
 

Ken_R

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I though the Bold was a bruiser cruiser. It felt unflappable carving turns through any type of snow. It kind of smooths out the mountain. They are a bit too heavy for moguls but they work. They felt the happiest carving round turns. Did not like when you wanted to release the tail earlier in the turn.

The Deacon 84's felt like they had a larger sweet spot. It is a ski an intermediate my size or close to it can grow with. Easier to ski in moguls too. Lighter ski than the Bolds but still felt pretty damp although not as damp as the Bold which might be even more so than my Monsters but the Monsters are more versatile.

In short. The Bold is a wide and heavy carver. The Deacon 84's felt a bit livelier and easier to ski all over the mountain.
 

Ron

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gotta say, I did not find the bold difficult at all. Rather complaint and ready to roll over anything but with finesse.

here's my review from SIA.

Ron: What a nice ski! The Bold tracks well and remains stable at speed. It is quite happy to make any turn shape; the tip engages very well and smoothly, and the traditional tail holds when needed but releases upon demand. This ski is best for the front side, and although I didn't take it into the bumps, I think it would be competent.
  • Who is it for? Those seeking a solid-performing frontside ski. Intermediates and up will find this a contender.
  • Who is it not for? Those looking for a more off-piste ski.
  • Insider tip: Don't overlook this ski.
 
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bbinder

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I loved the Bold! I demoed only a few skis at the A Basin Pugski gathering, and the Bold was the only ski I tried that kept me smiling. I did not find any bumps to try them on, but they handled the variable conditions (hardpack, cut up crud, boot deep mashed potatoes) with aplomb. I would love to give these a try in bumps and whatnot.
 

ski otter 2

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At the recent Christy/Loveland Saturday demo day, I tried the S/Force Bold 84 (thanks to Phil) right after the Deacon 84s and the different lengths of V-Werks Mantra 99s (186 and 178, the 178s - version 3 - my favorite ski of the demo, same as last year with version 2).

Unfortunately, that weekend Loveland demo offered the industry shop folk two previous demo days (Wed. & Thurs.), and some brands re-tuned their skis and some didn't: the Salomon folk didn't - and told me so before I took the ski out. As a result, my experience was a ski that skied dialed in and balanced, as far as I could tell, was heavier, but had little edgehold. Shucks. Guess I'll try again in Feb.

The Deacon 84s, on the other hand, skied well on early a.m. corduroy, as did the 74s - strong edgehold and easy. (For this narrow use, I preferred them to the Fischer Curvs by a hair - less heavy-feeling initially.) In p.m., skied off conditions, however (at least on the limited, over-crowded frontside slopes available), I found I'd want more binding elevation with these Deacons, so the Pro 74s I'd prefer. Without that extra height, they did not fair well on p.m. skied off terrain compared to the Kastle MX74, which was much more versatile and friendly in the bump and ice patch build up. (The MX74s are damper, more dialed in for variable/uneven; the Deacons are more race ski like bone-jarring for same.) But on early corduroy, both the Deacon widths were great.

The Fischer RC-One GT 86 182s are another animal. Yes, both the Deacons and the Fischer RC 0ne GT have a form of 3D, 3 radius sidecut. But to me, that 3D is practically unnoticeable on the Deacons, and revolutionary on the Fischers: something really new, at least for me, in how it skis differently, adjustably from dialed in short turns to dialed in long turns, and also from corduroy to crud, depending on how one flexes the ski, how much one flexes it, turn to turn even. Wow. (Have yet to try the shorter 175s, though someone I know who has tried both got the 175s.)

P.S. So far very happy that I got both the version 3 V-Werks Mantra 178s and the Fischer RC One GT 86 182s in the same early season.
 
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