Testing skis so you don't have to.
- Mar 5, 2017
Length tested: 177
Location tested: Sun Valley
Conditions: Fresh snow, mixed condition
The Kendo 88 is just as important to Volkl for sales volume as their flagship M6 Mantra, so it was important for Volkl to bring all of the technology such as Tailored Tip and Tailored Titanal frame to the reimagined Kendo 88. The outgoing Kendo 88 already was designed with Volkl’s 3D sidecut, but this year, Volkl is dropping 1 meter from the middle of the 3D sidecut to decrease the turning radius from 17 m to 16 m on the reference 177 length.
The construction and shape changes on the Kendo were immediately noticeable. The ski was a lot quicker and had a bit more personality than even the outgoing model … which was noticeably better than the prior offering without losing what the aficionados like about the Kendo.
Insider Tip I: It’s not so much that you might want a Kendo, but with the new tailored construction, you now choose length by the turn shape you want.
Insider Tip II: We expect the new Kendo to be a part of our Long Term Test Fleet, so stay tuned for updates.
One thing I would change: Without completely picking nits, I think 2023 Kendo is about as perfect as a Kendo can be.
Size tested: 184cm
Location tested: Mammoth Mountain, CA
Conditions tested in: Hard wind buff, chopped softening groomers
This is a charger that can be played with. With the addition of the titanal frame and carbon tip similar to that found in the M6 Mantra, plus the 3D radius, the Kendo has a great balance of torsional stiffness, stability, and turn shape possibilities.
On the very firm wind buff at higher elevations at Mammoth, the Kendo dug in securely allowing long or short turns with no problems. Release in the turns was easy and reengaging the edges was just a matter of pressure. The cut and piled up lower groomers were no challenge; the Kendo knifed through at whatever edge and turn radius was input. No matter where I took it the ride was smooth and supple, with what felt like power on tap.
- Insider tip: From my notes: "I don't want to give this one back. It is REALLY good."
- One thing that I would change: Nope. Nada. Nothing.
Length tested: 177
Location tested: Mammoth
Conditions tested in: Hard snow, mixed terrain
Lots of excitement in the air about this one, as last year’s was “ski of the year” in some publications, and it did ski great. I liked the last one a lot, but believed the stated changes would be improvements, and they were!
The shape is awesome, it is a clean seamless blend of rise with 3 d sidecut, which I think is brilliant. It creates a ski that morphs easily between shapes, speeds, edge angles and terrain. It was the best of the day on the glazed groomer. Volkl spent some 6 million bucks on their factory tuning/finishing process, and it showed. Best edges of the day by far. They gripped like a race ski, but stlll drifted easily and predictably, with easy releases in bumps and 3 d terrain as well. How much was the ski design and how much the tune? Good question, but suffice to say, both were sweet! The Kendo is a bit more communicative than my favorite skis, but that is a taste thing. I think it’s the carbon tip providing a little extra noise feedback.
- Who is it for?
- Modern Kendo 88 lovers unite. Super broad range of levels, skills and speeds can handle this one, but rewards better movements and more intentional input. If you love the M6 Mantra, you'll want, no! need this as a narrower quiver mate.
- Who is it not for?
- The Kendo is still on the power side of the spectrum, so lighter finesse skiers could be a little overpowered by it. No worries, there is the Kanjo and Blaze 86 for you. Just skiing groomers, there are better skis out there. The Kendo is a strong ski that may be too much for lighter skiers. Enter the Blaze.
- Skier ability
- Ski category
- All Mountain
- Ski attributes
- Off Piste