Volkl BMT 109 Ski Review – Quiver Arrow


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  
Volkl BMT 106 ski is a sleek carbon beast. Catalog weight

Volkl BMT 109 ski is a sleek carbon beast.

Make no mistake, if you strapped these black carbon/woodcore beasts to the top of your Pinto you would 100% stop traffic. The same would happen even if you were driving a Lamborghini.

I don’t drive a Pinto or a Lambo but I do take the bus to ski almost every day here in the region of the “Aspens,” which made a Sunday morning of ski testing far more interesting than usual.

I held up the bus line, got assaulted with questions, and immediately after I boarded the driver insisted I retrieve those “fricken sweet skis” from the side of the bus before they blow away (yes, these are lightweight skis that come in as ‘average’ on our lightweight biased charting), which of course resulted in further questioning by fellow strap-hangers.

The 1706 gram each (Wildsnow verified, 186 cm) Volkl v-werks BMT 109 planks are indeed a sight to be seen.

Wildsnow.com official measurements were close to those advertised: 186 cm length, 134/109/119 sidecut, rocker all the way to the boot position. They felt quicker and tighter than the 26.5 meter radius, probably because of the extensive rocker.

BMT 106 scores a 78 on our extensive weight vs. surface area chart! For comparison the Nunataq scores an 81. Average is presently 76 but keep in mind we’ve got some very lightweight skis on the chart, which skews the average.

Conclusion, the weight of these skis on the uphill would be in the sweet spot, given their dimensions.

Sprinting off the local bus to the base of the local mega resort I was able to avoid further questioning and ski with a few clients from a big mountain ski camp I worked for many seasons ago. I anticipated the pace to be on the conservative side since last time I skied with one of these individuals I had to help him during a double shoulder dislocation. I soon learned that would not be the case. I underestimated his use of extensive “testing” of his shoulder rotation limiter brace.

Straight over and through boot high moguls at semi-mach schnell speed we went. The BMT 109s barely shrugged in their presence assuring me they aren’t only for “Big Mountain Touring,” as they’re name suggests. Indeed they do have a significant amount of rocker fore and aft which aided in the steeps and quick turns through crud. High speed and aggressive GS turns felt solid for the most part, though I did notice a speed limit due to vibration of the stout and relatively non-damped carbon construction. In terms of backcountry natural snow performance, excelling in wind drifts and untracked boot high powder caused my confidence in the BMT’s to grow. If there was anything holding me back it wasn’t the skis but my legs screaming from non-stop laps of chalky snow.

Marker mates with the BMT to create a mean green matching binding colorway.

Marker mates with the BMT to create a mean green matching binding colorway.

Despite the binding weight, combining the Marker F12 Tours on the BMT 109 made for one sweet looking setup. Swing weight of the skis through turns and casual airs over moguls were apparent. Without question, these are light skis.

Sashimi knife thin non existent sidewalls dominate the BMT.

Sashimi knife thin non existent sidewalls dominate the BMT.

The only letdown of the BMT 109, is what we found back at HQ when we were about to mount the BMT’s with tech bindings. Upon removal of the Marker F12′s, printed fourth line down on the ski top, the words “Only For Marker Bindings” meant our lightweight uphill dreams were possibly shattered. We don’t doubt accommodations will be made for tech style bindings on the BMT series in the future and possibly a shorter/lighter skier would have little problem with the mount, but I’m a bigger guy and I like to keep my skull fragments out of the snow if I can, so we followed instructions. (That said, later we did get straight on the odd H-shaped binding reinforcement area. While this isn’t ideal for every brand of binding, some do fit just fine. See Volkl mount info here.)

Look for the Volkl v-werks BMT’s in stores this fall of 2014. Definitely a contender if you want a resort-capable or “big mountain” ski that saves some mass. And again, perhaps we’ll see a Marker tech binding to pair with these beautiful planks?

Behold the major caveat underneath the Marker F12.

Behold the major caveat underneath the Marker F12.

Editor’s note from Lou: Lisa and I checked out the entire v-werks line at Ispo in January 2014. To understate, we were impressed. We’ll be working with the Volkl carbon skis as much as possible. At this point, we’re thinking they’re a good option for aggressive skiing — while still being reasonable in mass. Know that while we tested the BMT 109, Volkl will also sell a 94 mm waisted version (BMT 94) that could be an ideal touring plank. Catalog weight of the 94 is 1,570 grams per 186 cm ski — quite light.

I’d also like to summarize some of Volkl’s PR. For starters, their mission with the v-werks BMT skis is to make a “new category of ski…full fledged freeriders and touring skis, all in one…this fusion comes of the v-werks concept of cutting-edge composites, with simple insight: less weight means more performance.” I’d add that the cross section of the ski makes SENSE for a change. Raised center section and dropped angle to edges, for less snow accumulation. Only thing missing is white top instead of black. But not having duck ponds included on the top is a plus. Overall, we highly recommend consideration of these skis if you’re willing to haul average touring weight, with excellent performance on the down.

Comments

22 Responses to “Volkl BMT 109 Ski Review – Quiver Arrow”

  1. brendan madigan March 26th, 2014 9:12 am

    You can indeed mount tech bindings as long as the holes fall in a template-guide that comes with the ski – same with the current CF Katana. It does shorten your warranty window (a non-Marker binding) but it doesn’t void it if the holes are complimentary to the mounting plate.

  2. Joe Risi March 26th, 2014 10:35 am

    @Brendan I understand the “H” mounting pattern for the BMT’s and I’m pretty certain that several different tech bindings could be mounted. But with the clear warning on the ski and numerous tech binding screw patterns the chance is too great for failure.

    I’ll let Volkl chime in if they feel differently.

  3. Lou Dawson March 26th, 2014 11:27 am

    And it is mentioned in the review that a lighter skier on a shorter ski could probably mount tech bindings no problem, provided the mount was done with care. But for a ski this big with a large skier I think a tech binding would be a bad idea unless specifically ok by manufacturer specs. Lou

  4. henric March 26th, 2014 2:23 pm

    Looking at a pic of the “H” pattern from Völkl I realise that any binding with a mount pattern >26.2mm and <54.2mm should be ok. The G3 ion seems to fit that pretty well, the new Radical 2.0 also seems to have a wider pattern at the front.

  5. Greg Louie March 28th, 2014 9:21 am

    Yeah, that Marker bindings only disclaimer kind of harshes the buzz . . .

  6. pete h March 28th, 2014 1:44 pm

    Yeah. Kind of defeats the purpose of having featherweight skis if you have to use heavy bindings. Also seems silly to market the ski as a lift-serve all mountain ski when a heavier ski is just going to have better downhill performance plain and simple.

  7. Ted March 29th, 2014 5:47 am

    Can you post a base to base rocker picture? Thanks.

  8. Walt March 31st, 2014 7:29 am

    I upgrades
    D from dynafift bindings to the new Marker tours. I have never looked back and had zero problems with them. (Which is so unlike the dynafits ). I will never look back. Sure, it would be nice if they were a little lighter but when it comes to performance and reliability the Marker wins hands down. You will still have the same swing weight and that’s what is important.

  9. Matt April 22nd, 2014 11:30 pm

    Double the cost of a set of Gotamas to save maybe 2lbs, and then add 2-5lbs right back again with Marker frame bindings that have icing issues, that gouge the heck out of your boot lugs, & can’t switch modes without removing your boot?

    Who is the target market here?
    Anorexic billionaires with no math skills & zero skintrack experience?

  10. Erik Erikson April 23rd, 2014 10:28 am

    Walt, what kind of issues did you have with the dynafits? I´m exclusevly on various dynafits for about 15 years now, never had any problems while seeing other kinds of bindings brake and so on…

  11. Lou Dawson April 23rd, 2014 6:19 pm

    Walt and Dynafit bindings do not get along. He saw the light and cut bait. I’ve written before that not everyone will be happy with tech bindings. If you are, then great. But frame bindings do have their place. Luckily Walt didn’t get out on the first Markers, as they snapped in half… Now they work pretty good from what I hear.

    Walt has been a greatly appreciated contributor here over the years. You can look at his stuff with a simple Google site search:

    site:wildsnow.com “walt” dynafit

    Lou

  12. Erik Erikson April 23rd, 2014 10:07 pm

    Lou, for sure I did not want to offend Walt, hope it did not sound like that. I´m just alway curious to hear about experiences of dynafits that brake, rip out and so on, cause I personally never saw that (only a heel-turn-problem on the Dynafit comfort, while skinning up – comfort really wasn´t their best model).
    So of course there is a place for frame bindings. But as far as my personal experience goes, reason for that is always a better user comfort / ease of operation or maybe other technical features or cause someone likes better the way they ski. When it comes to durability, just from my personal experience I´d always recommend a tech binding (and here I am just familiar with dynafits). And if I read comments like Walts I sometimes wonder if I am right with that, and if for lets say stronger or heavier persons maybe a framebinding could be better suited however?

  13. lou dawson April 23rd, 2014 10:23 pm

    Erik, no problem, am just clarifying. The vast majority of tech binding users do indeed have little to no problems.

  14. Rolf April 24th, 2014 5:59 am

    I am not sure if this is the right place for this, but nontheless: we have been testing Dynafit Beast bindings recently and it turns out there are convenience and safety issues. In climbing mode the binding opens unexpectedly (especially when doing kickturns) with several brands of shoes: ao Atomic Waymaker, Salomon Quest and Scarpa. Dynafit is aware of this and will replace toepieces with newer ones that will solve this problem in Autumn. The new toepieces will however not solve the problems with Salomon shoes.

  15. Lou Dawson April 24th, 2014 6:12 am

    Rolf, how about a little more information. Who is “we,” how many boots did you test, and should I verify this with Dynafit? Lou

  16. Rolf April 24th, 2014 7:04 am

    ‘We’ as in the Dutch skiing federation. We tested with the brand I mentioned. I will sent you all info from Dynafit on teh subject by email Lou!

  17. Rolf May 9th, 2014 3:31 am

    Lou, did you recieve my emails (april 24th) with all the information on this issue?

  18. Lou Dawson May 9th, 2014 6:48 am

    Rolf, yes, I did, and am still sorting out what is appropriate for a blog post. I’m disappointed your comments ended up on this blog post when we have nearly a dozen specific Beast posts you could have placed it on. If I have time I’ll try to sort that out, but meanwhile, we’ll just do it all here on a Volkl Marker post (grin).

    Perhaps the following comment from me is all that’s required, rather than a blog post.

    These tech binding boot/binding compatibility issues have been cropping up for years now. It’s not going to rend the fabric of the universe, especially since it involves Beast binding which is not the binding of choice for most ski tourers.

    Your comment makes it clear that 1.) The Beast binding may open during touring with certain brands and models of boots. And 2.) That Dynafit is aware of the issue and will replace Beast toe units in the Autumn if requested.

    I’d add that Beast 16 for 2014-2015 will have a manual lock on toe that’s similar to most tech bindings, so that differences in boot toe fitting shapes and widths can be compensated for by how the toe lever locks.

    To clarify for our readers, there are two things going on here and they are not new issues.

    First:
    Companies that make their own boot toe tech inserts often fudge the shape and size of the insert a slight amount, as there is no official standard for the inserts and they’re difficult to manufacture to exactly match those that Dynafit makes. Some bindings are more sensitive to this than others. Beast is more sensitive, and if the boot toe insert is sized incorrectly the boot may not be correctly retained in the binding. This issue is easy to test for on the bench. Our recommendation (as it’s always been) is to bench test your binding/boot combinations before use. Further, if you’re using a brand other than Dynafit for your boots, at this time we’d advise waiting to purchase Beast until the new model comes out in the fall. New model has a better system of dealing with off-sized boot inserts.

    Second issue:
    Dynafit has an internal standard for the shape of the boot toe box that’ll work with their bindings without the toe box hitting the binding toe unit while touring, in such a way as to open the binding.

    This issue has been around for years. At the worst, it created one of Dynafit’s darker hours back in 2002 when they came up with the cosmetically changed Tri Step binding model, which opened with most boots, including Dynafit boots. The problem with Tri Step was solved with some add-on parts that were never 100% adequate, and the binding was soon discontinued.

    Since then, it’s always been possible for a boot to get a chunk of ice or other debris caught between the boot toe and binding, and thus press against the binding toe parts in such a way as to open the binding.

    Apparently, the current Beast binding is sensitive to this issue. It works fine with Dynafit boots that adhere to the Dynafit internal standard for toe box shape, but may open accidentally when used with certain other boots.

    Lou’s editorial thoughts: For years now, Dynafit has been on the cutting edge of ski touring binding development. This has required boots to have carefully shaped parts that work with their bindings. No official standards exist for these parts. My advice is if you’re using tech bindings, get comfortable with the fact that ski boot companies other than Dynafit and probably Scarpa may not have the incentive or perhaps even the expertise to stay ahead of the curve on keeping their boots working in the tech binding arena, due to the utter absence of industry standards.

    This is where retailers come into the picture. A good retailer could catch this sort of thing before boots and binding even go off the show room wall. The etailer mail-order industry, on the other hand, feeds these problems.

    I’m actually sick and tired of boot makers coming up with boots that don’t work in tech bindings. But the blame for this is on everyone involved, and probably least on the binding makers.

    One thing I’ve heard in the industry, from binding makers, “Any time our binding doesn’t work, we get blamed, even if it’s the boots that cause the problem.”

    I agree with that. If Dynafit wants to make a binding that conforms to their own internal boot shape standard, and another boot maker doesn’t adhere to that standard, should Dynafit jump through hoops to make their binding work with the other boots? That’s up to Dynafit, but my take is that sure, they should make some effort, but the finger would tend to point at the boot maker who sticks tech fittings in a boot then doesn’t test that boot in the major brand/model tech bindings. We can’t expect Dynafit to acquire and test every boot brand/model out there, and attempt to make a binding that works for every last one. There will always be outliers, something as complex as a pintech ski binding can’t be made to work with ALL the outliers without undue cost and complexity. (The same goes for alpine bindings, which are designed for certain boot shapes.)

    As for the overall tone of this particular issue, I don’t find it to be a panic situation. Very few ski tourers use Beast bindings, and most of us simply do not need them for what we do. They’re actually a quite specialized tool, and a user of such a tool needs to have some skill in the technical side, as do the people helping the user mount and otherwise set up their Beast ski/binding systems.

    I communicated with Dynafit North America about these issues with Beast. They told me they’ve only had a few cases where a boot had some play, which was remedied by a simple binding replacement. As for the issue of the boot toe hitting the binding and causing release in tour mode, they told me that yes, it’s possible it could happen (e.g., when pairing a Salomon Quest boot with Beast 16) they’ve not had any customer service cases.

    Again, I’m not sensing a rending of the fabric of the ski touring universe with all this. Instead, anyone using Beast bindings should know that
    1. Play in the toe can be remedied by either swapping to another binding, or swapping to 2014/2015 version.
    2. Bindings should be tested for interaction of boot toe with binding, when using boot brands other than Dynafit.
    3. 2014/2015 Beast 16 will have a full-on toe locking system that absorbs variations in boot toe fittings, as most Dynafit binding models have done for 30 years (funny how Fritz Barthel’s ideas keep coming back, isn’t it?).

    Lou

  19. Rolf May 10th, 2014 1:13 pm

    It might be a problem of the boots, but as Dynafit is easily capable of solving a lot of the problems next year, they might have done so right away! And I agree that Beast issues are not a problem for ski touring, but for more freeride oriented users. But especially with this target group the use of heavier boots from other brands then Dynafit is very common. I also feel that Dynafit, knowing of the problems, could have told retailers about this (and might have sold some extra Mercury’s or Vulcans in the process!).

  20. Lou Dawson May 10th, 2014 4:07 pm

    All, please place Beast comments about binding compatibility on this post:

    https://www.wildsnow.com/10629/skiing-release-binding-dynafit-beast

    I’ll move the comments above when I get a chance.
    Lou

  21. phil July 12th, 2014 3:50 pm

    HI

    I just had a look at these in the shop yesterday, down here (new Zealand) they about twice the price of the Nunataq and new zenoxide 105. the zen oxides are also lighter. can one of the testers comment on the differences in the performance. does the BMT really justify the price?

  22. Lou Dawson 2 July 14th, 2014 7:30 am

    Phil, price is a moving target and everyone has a different style of use so “justify the price” is difficult. My take on BMT is that it is a full-on alpine ski that tours, while the Zen and especially Nunataq are backcountry skis. What that means exactly? If you beat up skis, for example, the BMT might have an edge on durability. But if you don’t beat up and break skis as a habit, perhaps that’s a non issue? Or, perhaps you ski really fast and hard? Then a “full on” ski could be more your cup of tea. I’d say if you’re primarily touring and need to watch your spend, going with the less costly choices would be fine. On the other hand, BMT as Joe alludes to is quite something. Lou

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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