• For more information on how to avoid pop-up ads and still support SkiTalk click HERE.

2023 Volkl Kenja 88

SkiTalk Test Team

Testing skis so you don't have to.
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Mar 5, 2017
Posts
1,202

Tricia:
Length tested: 163, 170
Location tested: Sun Valley, Mt Rose, Mammoth
Conditions: Fresh powder, groomers, spring variable snow


Last year we were introduced to Völkl’s Tailored Titanal Construction, with the Volkl Secret 96. This year we get to see the successful construction brought into the long-loved Kenja. Being 88mm at the waist, the Kenja 88 goes up against skis in one of the most competitive categories in the women’s market. While the previous version of the Kenja was good, it lacked some of the snap and energy that was exciting about the Secret.

I skied the Kenja 88 in two different lengths to get a sense of the Tailored Titanal Construction. While skiing the 170cm length, I found it to be stable and ready to go with an energy and pop that made me grin. While I was skiing the 163 cm length, I found it to be quicker to turn, but with the same grin-inspiring attributes of the 170. We often found ourselves skiing boot top powder in bowls and trees with only a handful of groomers on this new evolution of the Kenja, and she checked all the right boxes for me. I am sure it will for you too!

  • Insider tip: This is a good ski to complement the Secret 102.
  • One thing I'd change: Not sure there is anything I'd change

AmyPJ:
Length tested: 163 cm
Location tested: Snowbasin
Conditions tested: Soft groomers, hard pack

The Kenja has always been known for not having much of a speed limit, and this newest version is no exception. Turn initiation was a breeze on this ski, and the tails felt like they released easier than prior versions. I talked to one of the reps in the Volkl booth and he said that the new construction has the titanal taper more in the tails, so that's probably what I was feeling. I felt that this ski was not as smooth or as damp as prior versions that I have skied, but it didn't have a particularly nervous feel either. The shape made me want to take it into some powder, but alas, we've had no powder for six weeks so that wasn't going to happen. I think this ski will be a really great all-arounder (hence tagged as an "all-mountain ski") and will please a lot of Kenja enthusiasts, and bring a few new ones on board thanks to its slightly friendlier demeanor.
  • Insider tip: Demo to determine sizing if possible.
  • One thing I'd change: Quiet the carbon sound that was quite noticeable.
Lauren
Size tested: 170
Location tested: Waterville Valley, NH
Conditions tested in: On-piste terrain. Snow varied from small soft piles to skied off ice sheets.

The Kenja has been a crowd pleaser since its debut 10+ years ago. This year’s variation is no different. It is lighter and thus more approachable than some of the previous iterations. The lower weight, tighter turn radius, and livelier nature translated directly to a more maneuverable ski when in bumps and crud. Still the 2023 version maintains its ability to charge hard and fast on groomers.

While cruising groomers, the ski was stable and smooth, providing minimal feedback into my already tired legs. I felt like I could relax and enjoy the ride. When pushing my legs further to try to find the top end of the ski, it remained smooth and stable. The Kenja seemed to welcome expert-level speeds but didn’t demand them.
  • Insider tip: You may find yourself in between ski sizing…size up for stability, down for maneuverability.
 
Awards
Who is it for?
A woman looking for a one ski quiver with energy and edge hold. An aggressive intermediate or higher who craves speed. Someone looking for one ski to rule them all. The versatility of this ski won’t disappoint you.
Who is it not for?
A woman who wants something super damp. A lighter, more timid skier. Someone who is sensitive to the tingy-ness of carbon ski tips…you’ll feel the carbon in this ski.
Skier ability
  1. Advanced
  2. Expert
Ski category
  1. Frontside
  2. All Mountain
Ski attributes
  1. Groomers
  2. Moguls
  3. Off Piste
  4. Trees
Segment
  1. Women

Specifications

right ad
Available sizes
149, 156, 163, 170
Dimensions
129-88-113
Radius
25/14/20m@163cm
Rocker profile
  1. Camber with tip and tail rocker
Size Scaling
  1. Construction
Construction design
  1. Updated construction
  2. New graphics
Binding options
  1. Flat

Jnewshel

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
Skier
Joined
Feb 27, 2022
Posts
1
Location
Ct
how would the Kenja compare to the 2021/22 version?
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
27,123
Location
Reno
how would the Kenja compare to the 2021/22 version?
Sorry I missed this question.
The newer Kenja is quicker turning and also has some energy to it that the previous version did not. I felt that the 2021-22 Kenja was solid but almost too damp for my liking.
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
27,123
Location
Reno
Long term update:
The conditions recently are betting for carving skis, but sometimes I just want to take something out that's a bit more viersatile, so the Kenja 88 came out to play. I forget just how quick this ski turns and how great the edge hold is because an 88mm waisted ski isn't the first thing you think of when you think about carving or edge grip. This new Kenja 88 with Tailored Titanal Construction ™ is a whole lot of fun and extremly eager to do what ever you ask of her.
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
27,123
Location
Reno
Yes they are the same construction.
 

surfsnowgirl

Instructor
Skier
Joined
May 12, 2016
Posts
5,679
Location
Magic Mountain, Vermont
I have a 2015 Kendo and a 2015 Kenja which I adore. I didn't like the '21 Kenja so I sold it. King Grump said the "b!tch is back" with this new iteration so I'm excited to try it.
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
27,123
Location
Reno
I’ve heard that on the kendo there is some weirdness in lengths, ie the 177 measures longer than stated and the 184 measures shorter.

does the sizing weirdness also exist in shorter lengths of the kenja? I’m debating between getting my wife the 148 and the 156. She’s in beteeen sizes so a few mm in either direction could make the difference.
When we stand skis next to each other that are supposed to be the same length, like a 170 K2 next to a 170 Völkl next to a 170 Salomon next to a 170 Rossignol next to .....(name the brand)
We often see some differences.
It's clear that they all have different tape measures ;)
 

Dos-Equis

Getting on the lift
Skier
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Posts
215
Location
Washington DC
Thanks guys! My wife has been wanting something a little more stable than her 152 nordica astral 84s (women’s navigators) but she’s only 5’2 145. Caught between sizes- I don’t want to give her too much length but worry the 149 won’t be a big enough of a step up to justify the purchase. Decisions…
 

Tony S

I have a confusion to make ...
Skier
Team Gathermeister
SkiTalk Supporter
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
12,358
Location
Maine
Thanks guys! My wife has been wanting something a little more stable than her 152 nordica astral 84s (women’s navigators) but she’s only 5’2 145. Caught between sizes- I don’t want to give her too much length but worry the 149 won’t be a big enough of a step up to justify the purchase. Decisions…
Well, she's about 159cm tall. As a general rule head height or a bit shorter is good for an all mountain ski. If she were super light that might suggest sizing down, but she's not. Plus you said she wants more stability. Ergo, seems like the 156 is the obvious choice. My two cents.
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
27,123
Location
Reno
Thanks guys! My wife has been wanting something a little more stable than her 152 nordica astral 84s (women’s navigators) but she’s only 5’2 145. Caught between sizes- I don’t want to give her too much length but worry the 149 won’t be a big enough of a step up to justify the purchase. Decisions…
I don't htink she'll be over skied by the 152 Astral or the 156 Kenja.
In fact, those lengths will be more stable for her.
@Keys2Ski just purchased the 163 Kenja 88 and was surprised how much she liked that length and she's about the same size as your wife.
 

Keys2Ski

Getting on the lift
Skier
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Posts
160
Location
Florida keys
I don't htink she'll be over skied by the 152 Astral or the 156 Kenja.
In fact, those lengths will be more stable for her.
@Keys2Ski just purchased the 163 Kenja 88 and was surprised how much she liked that length and she's about the same size as your wife.
Yes I do like the kenja 88 in 163. I had nordica nemesis in 163, black crow camox birdie in 156 also. And I think my old volkl tierras were 161. I’m 5’1” 130 lbs
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
27,123
Location
Reno
I'm moving posts from this review discussion to its own thread.
 

Sponsor

Top