Volkl Nunataq — Ski Review

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This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Anton Sponar

Shop for Volkl Nunataq backcountry ski.

Anton riding the Nunataq in South America.

Anton riding the Nunataq in South America.

Having skied extensively in the Andes Mountains for the last five years, I frequently get asked what it is like to ski there. My answer is a simple word: Different. No two days are the same. You could go up the day after a storm and have the best blower powder day of your life. That night the wind will pick up, and you will ski the most heinous crust or sastrugi imaginable. For this reason the Andes are a superb place to see what a ski (and a skier) are really made of. This year’s backcountry skiing victim: Volkl Nunataq.

First the specs:
Dimensions: 139-107-123
Radius: 27.4 m
Length tested: 178 cm
Weight per ski: 63 oz, 1786 gr (see WildSnow real world ski weights)
Style: Full Rocker (slight, see photo)
Binding: Dynafit FT 12
Skier: Ex downhill racer turned dirt bag ski guide at Ski Arpa Cat Skiing. 160 lbs (soaking wet). I like to go fast.

Volkl Nunataq review 2011 2012

Anton in Chile, Volkl Nunataq review 2011 2012. Is this the WildSnow SA headquarters? Stay tuned.

I skied the Nunataq nearly every day this Austral season — on nearly every type of snow imaginable. My report follows.

Volkl Nunataq rocker

Volkl Nunataq rocker

Powder (I know there are many different types of powder, but this is a ski review not an avi course):

It is my opinion that just about anything will ski well in powder. However, Nunataq were made for the fluff. It truly was a dream to have planks these on my feet after some of our big Andean dumps. Effortless is a good description, playful being another (but rather overused these days in ski reviews). I felt as though I could do anything on the Nunataq. At speed (and I mean SPEED) I could throw the skis sideways and begin a McConkey turn (basically a high speed pivot) that would last a couple hundred vertical. This would result in a 3-7 second face shot than can only be comparable to a surfer getting that extra long barrel ride. I was getting it every turn all day though. It was almost not fair. Almost. I have skied quite a few powder specific skis in my day, but the Nunataq is my favorite.

So, the pow day is over. Now what?

Crust (Cartton en Espanol):
The hair on the back of my neck stands on end when I hear this word. I have visceral memories of coming into sections of cartton that resulted in violent cart wheeling. Not fun stuff in any mountain range. The Andes seem to get crust that will destroy a skier’s soul. The Nunataqs can now also be called Soul Savers. Skiing the cartton was by no means easy on them, but my day was not ruined because of the crust. The full rocker helped to deflect the tip of the ski up on top of the hard layer of snow on the surface and break through it. In fact, I could ski it well enough to make my clients think that the snow was going to be good. This did not always end well for them, or any tips that may have been heading my way, but at least I was having a good time.

Hardpack (aka wind board or the natural groomer):

After long periods of wind and no new snow we start to develop what we affectionately call wind board. This is a hard surface layer of snow that the wind makes nice and smooth. I describe it to my clients as Triple F: firm, fast and fun. Initially this was what I imagined would be the weakness for the fully rockered Nunatag. However, I was pleasantly surprised. They by no means performed like a race ski on the hard stuff, but I didn’t expect them to. I didn’t get the usual bone rattling, totally unresponsive feel that I usually get with a fully rockered ski while trying to coax them down a smooth hard surface. In fact, I found that I could actually arc some turns. Wild!

Corn (Nieve choclo, literal translation that makes no sense to any Spanish speaker):

Much like in powder the Nunatag gave me a goofy smile that made it look like I had just gotten away with something that I shouldn’t have. My mother would be very worried about what I have been up to after seeing me ski these in the warm, soft snow of the spring.

Sustrugi (Hard snow formations created by wind that look like mini UFOs):

Nothing skis well on Sustrugi. Nothing. Snowcats drive over it okay — so long as it’s less than two feet high.

Rocks (not snow):
See durability.

That does it for the types of snow, now on to other aspects of a ski that I find to be important.

Touring:
If you prefer, you can purchase your Nunataq with a set of pre-cut nylon/mohair skins in a lovely shade of blue (cost additional). The tip attachment is a hole in the tip of the ski that a peg on the front of the skin goes into (same as the excellent K2 skin system that Lou tested and passed on Denali). It attaches to the tail with a clip. Once the skins are on they are super secure. Or, if you prefer for backcountry skiing, the conventional tip and tail of the Nunataq also work with nearly any other type of skin attachment. The slight but long rocker of the Nunataq makes touring through new snow very easy. Submarining the tip is easily avoided, hence less energy is expelled. The light weight of the ski also makes for an enjoyable tour to the top of your favorite powder stash.

All Around Backcounty Use:
Volkl Nunatag is made for the backcountry. The holes for the tip attachment can be used to make a makeshift backcountry rescue sled in case of an emergency. The tip holes also enhance the face shots! Bonus! The tails are flat so that anchors can be easily made. The flat tail also makes it easy to plunge the ski into the ground on those steep transitions. Again, the remarkably light weight vs width of this bigger ski has is another obvious benefit to backcountry human-powered use.

Volkl Nunataq graphics, most folks like.

Volkl Nunataq graphics, most folks like.

Durability:
In my opinion this is the one drawback to the Nunatag (though any ski made lightweight for human powered uphill may need to compromise in this area). The bases are quite thin. Indeed this contributes to weight reduction, but having every rock hit become a core shot gets old. (Disclaimer: I used the Volkl Nunataqs in the Andes. The rocks there are sharp and everywhere. I am also a person who views their skis as tools, not jewels. I ask a lot from the durability of my ski.) The other issue that I could see arising is that of the construction of the ski. It has a wood core, but has what I can only describe as air pockets. This is huge as far as keeping the weight down, and as far as I could tell did not impact how it performs. It does make me think that the life of the ski and its durability may be suspect. This is only my assumption though. I had no issues with it over the three months that I used them.

Anton on Nunataq, in Ski Arpa

Anton on Nunataq, Ski Arpa, Sud America.

Overall Impression:
Volkl Nunataq is a backcountry skiing powder machine, and it should be used as so. If you are looking to add a light weight rockered pow ski to your quiver, that could also be used as an everyday ski if need be, look no farther. I also got quite a few positive remarks on the aesthetics of the ski. This may help me with all the ladies in the backcountry, or something? This is the ski that I will use to get to all my powder stashes in the Elks all winter. I am starting to shake with excitement just thinking of the fun I will have doing that.

Shop for Volkl Nunataq backcountry ski.

Volkl website with Nunataq information.

(Guest blogger Anton Sponar spends winters enjoying the skiing ambiance of the Aspen area, while summers are taken up with slave labor doing snowcat powder guiding at Ski Arpa in Chile. If Anton didn’t ski every month of the year, skiing would cease to exist as we know it. He sometimes spells Nunataq as Nunatag.)

Comments

105 Responses to “Volkl Nunataq — Ski Review”

  1. Harpo September 16th, 2011 8:52 am

    Just to confirm, from “full rocker” and pic, these have no camber under foot?

  2. Lou September 16th, 2011 8:57 am

    Harpo, exactly. They take rocker to its ultimate conclusion…

  3. Jodie September 16th, 2011 9:39 am

    Great review Anton. You certainly know your stuff!

  4. Eric September 16th, 2011 9:50 am

    Would a TLT5 Mountain be enough to drive this ski?

  5. rod georgiu September 16th, 2011 9:53 am

    thanks for the review, great info.

    How would these ski do if you, god forbid, encounter some ice?

  6. Lou September 16th, 2011 9:57 am

    I skied Volkl Nunataq a number of times last winter. You’d survive on ice, but just. Really, no ski does everything, these are soft snow skis.

  7. Bill H September 16th, 2011 10:21 am

    Hey Spooner, was that a ski review or a rub-it-in-my-face on your season in the Andes?? Thanks for sharing heheh, I’d looked at that ski too but grad-school budget conciousness led me to pick up a pair of last years Sidestashes from the sale rack in CB this summer. Will be the first year I haven’t been on Volkls for a bit. Hope to see you in the greater Roaring Fork play pen this winter, and with any luck, it will be me skiing by you on nice pooder day as you’re helping your lesson of 14 year olds with giant braces and iPhones find their skis under the snow in Highlands bowl…Cheers!

  8. Matt September 16th, 2011 10:24 am

    How stiff are they?

  9. Lou September 16th, 2011 10:27 am

    Bill, should we be asking how the Nunataq is are for teaching skiing to pre-teens?

  10. Lou September 16th, 2011 10:28 am

    Matt, moderate to supple would be my recollection for the Volkl Nunataq flex. Anton refuses to bring them back over here.

  11. Matt September 16th, 2011 10:45 am

    Cool, hopefully I can try them out. Volkl’s are back to being made in Germany now right?

  12. SB September 16th, 2011 11:43 am

    I’m riding Gotamas inbounds. The thought of having nearly the same ski (dimension wise anyway) in the backcountry is tempting. Any idea of how much performance I’d loose with the lightweight construction?

  13. Harry September 16th, 2011 1:21 pm

    SB, I skied them back to back in some pretty rough conditions last year. The short answer is that you loose a lot. Specifically stability and edge hold (directly related to torsional stiffness in this instance, IMHO) which made me feel the ski was less predictable and confidence inspiring. I would not tour with a gotoma though because of the weight.

    I would say it is near imposible to make a soft, full rocker ski stable on hard or variable snow w/o a lot of mass to damp it.

    I had a similar experiance with the Nanuq, which is the 10-11 Mantra with the 11-12 camber profile. The Nanuq was good, but not trancendant, it skied similar to other light mid 90 waisted skis.

    I liked the Volkl touring skis, but if you have Volkl alpine skis and are thinking that the “Volklness” has translated into a lightweight touring version in terms of feel you will be disapointed. The touring skis need to be thought of on there own and compared to their lightweight competition rather than related alpine skis.

    Same for the new Nordica sidecountry skis.

    Is the answer to the new anti-spam “binder” or “bindings” depending on the region your post from?

  14. Tyler September 16th, 2011 1:53 pm

    SB, I would disagree a bit with Harry. I thought the Nunataq skied distinctly like other Volkls. You are obviously loosing a hair of the underfoot dampness of the gotamas as well as the tip and tail being a bit softer. I think most of the difference comes from how much lighter they “feel” on your feet. The vertical sidewall (sandwich) construction leads to impressive edge grip and a relatively high energy ski. These skis are amazingly quick, much more than the 27m would indicate.

    When Anton says he likes to ski fast, he isn’t joking. I think the fact alone that he liked them says something for how confidence inspiring this ski really is.

    I will caution that if you have poor or relaxed technique you will not get much out of these skis. A skier in the front seat with with good angulation will be surprised with how well they perform on the hardpack. As Harry indicated, they should not be compared to an full on alpine ski. I wouldn’t ski them as an in-bounds ski, but they are perfect for touring (as designed).

  15. Lou September 16th, 2011 2:19 pm

    Thanks Ty

  16. mtnrunner2 September 16th, 2011 5:11 pm

    It makes me feel a little better that even way better skiers than me can have trouble with firm snow :)

    Yeah, I was going to say the profile of that ski looks like the recent Gotama. I’ve skied that one at the usual early-season demo days in crummy thin conditions and was really wowed at the way the full rocker hooked up on edge. Super solid.

  17. Harry September 16th, 2011 7:40 pm

    Ty, I am not disagreeing with Anton’s assessment, or yours. I agree with you that if skied properly it can handle difficult conditions. I am sure that Anton is a significantly better skier than I am, and can get much more out of any ski than I could. However I think we disagree on what makes a Volkl a Volkl, or at least the expectations that people would have of them coming from their experience with Volkl in the alpine world. Expectations are everything when it comes down to being happy with a ski choice. As our sport becomes ever more popular, and the large alpine companies follow their customers into the side country and backcountry, those customers will expect the large alpine companies offerings to have a family feel between brother skis that emerged from the same mold, as evidenced from SB asking for that comparison. Of all the large market share companies Volkl has the strongest brand image associate with specific traits, which is why it was so attractive to K2.

    Volkl: huge sweet spot, stable, energetic, good on ice.

    The entire touring series from Volkl uses the shapes and molds developed for very popular alpine models. The Gotoma and Mantra have been huge sellers for years, and along with the All-Star and Tigershark lines they have come to define the brand for several generations of skis. The secret of these skis is that you can take an intermediate level skier, throw them on an “expert” ski and within a few turns they feel confident and in control where on previous “expert” equipment they were flailing because they weren’t hitting the sweet spot, or it was too stiff, or whatever. Many aggressive skiers lack the ability to be self critical of their technique when making their ski choice (there are convoluted ski design theories about putting back seat skiers in super stiff tailed skis so that when they lean back the front of their ski still has edge contact…)

    You could put a true expert skier on the same skis and they would praise the skis edge hold, dampness and pop.

    The downside of this market and on snow versatility was either extreme weight (All-Star, Gotoma, Mantra, Katana), or extremely complicated skis with stuff such as adjustable tension carbon rods on Tigershark, Grizzly w/power switch, pistons, motion control secondary power arms, the list goes on.

    By using the same molds, cambers and shapes as their heavy skis, but striping them down to their minimum elements, they also stripped away those things that make them Volkl in the way that many owners of those skis understand them. As you said it is important to use good technique, not everyone has good technique, and if they do it often goes to the wayside when conditions get tough.

    A current Volkl alpine customers should definitely look at the Volkl touring skis because they are good on their own merit, but not because of any particular relation they have to skis already in their quiver. These skis are not lighter Gotomas and Mantras.

    If backcountry continues to grow as it has, alpine companies will bring their massive R&D money to bear, and launch innovative products that will push limits of what is possible with skis. The Volkl touring models I skied don’t expand the weight/performance/usability envelope they way I would expect given the brands reputation for innovation.

    A side note on sidewall. Sidewall over the edge is superior to cap construction in maintaining edge angle because it places material on top of the entire thickness edge, instead of having the joint between the plastic cap and the structural metals and fibers of the ski be on top of the outer part of the edge. When is ski is very wide underfoot, it doesn’t matter how accurate the edge angle under the sidewall is if the entire ski folds along the centerline. A easy way to stop that is a nice thick sheet of metal, which is heavy, and works on the Mantra, Nordica Enforcer ect., or uni-carbon like some other companies use, which is expensive.. If its taken too far then there is too little centerline flex and it is difficult to initiate and release a turn. W/o a lot of reinforcement skis feel the way all of our wood and fiberglass wide light touring skis do with comparatively little edge hold and stability. I think that is why I see a lot of Dynafit bindings on Mantras and Katanas. It’s an easy way to shed weight with out loosing an alpine feel.

  18. Lou September 16th, 2011 7:56 pm

    I’d add that many of these types of skis do MUCH better on hardpack with pro tuned edges. When doing a demo, be aware of that factor. What happens, is when the skis go out of tune many of them fail on boilerplate as they just don’t have the structure and torsion to force a dull edge to grab. This syndrome can be terrifying, and downright dangerous.

  19. Europa September 17th, 2011 11:58 am

    Great site, blog and post, looks good and fun :-)

  20. phil September 17th, 2011 4:48 pm

    I was also intersted in the gotama comparison, but i think that has been well answered. maybe a better question is how does this compare to the stoke or other touring skis of similar dimensions. I’m skiing in new zealand so it great to have a review based on conditions closer to our own.

  21. Steve September 18th, 2011 11:24 am

    The review mentions that the tails are flat-they don’t look flat in the picture? Just wondering?
    Thanks

  22. Lou September 18th, 2011 11:45 am

    Steve, we tend to call anything other than a twintip as “flat.”

  23. Tyler September 18th, 2011 6:59 pm

    Harry, quite a response! Volkl happens to be my ski of choice, but in the last couple years I’ve been skiing K2, and DPS in the backcountry because of Volkl’s lack of a true BC offering. I would say this ski is finally a true BC offering. I’m not sure where you got that they aren’t lighter than the Gotama or Mantra? The gotama’s posted weight looks like 4,670 grams in a 176cm and the Nunataq looks like 3572 grams for the 178 cm.

    I’ve spent a bunch of time on the Gotamas and have 6 other pairs of volkls in my current quiver. The Nunataq certainly seemed volkl reminiscent to me. I’m excited to finally see a legit offering from Volkl and extremely excited to see a true vertical sidewall in a touring weight.

    Bottom line. If you like the gotama but want a ski you can tour on, I’d go with the Nunataq.

  24. harpo September 18th, 2011 7:30 pm

    Tyler, what DPS skis have you been on? How does the Nunataq compare?

  25. Tyler September 19th, 2011 8:03 am

    Harpo, I have a pair of Wailer 95s 185cm. I would say they are a very very different beast. The 95s have a more traditional camber and are twin tips. The carbon in the ski makes it feel like nothing else I’ve ever been on. (I wasn’t the biggest fan) They are incredibly light weight for the skin up, but I couldn’t find what conditions they really excelled in. They were ok in powder, pretty good in corn, not so good on hardpack, etc, etc. To be fair, I know DPS has changed some of their construction and design processes. I think their new sidewalls and layup has made for a better ski than the iteration I have. (I may have the 08 or 09′ model?)

  26. SB September 19th, 2011 10:16 am

    Thanks for the feedback on Gatama vs Nunataq. It is a logical comparison to be made. And no suprise it isn’t as torsionally stiff or as damp. I don’t ski quite the same in the backcountry and I don’t huck on Dynafits.

    I know many people who have been touring Gotamas over the last few years. I don’t think they are particularly heavy for an alpine ski or crazy stiff like many other Volkls. However, the thing I like most about them is the full rocker and large sidecut, so I’m interested in going that way in the backcountry. My current ski is a BD Verdict, which I think is only so-so for my interests. Planning to go fully rockered this winter. Thinking this or the Sprtiva Hi5 would be fun.

  27. albatross September 19th, 2011 4:48 pm

    Really surprised you haven’t reviewed any DPS skiis. They have a huge cult following and are superlight. The comments here I think show a need for a good review aside from the typical TGR tripe.

  28. Lou September 19th, 2011 6:09 pm

    Alb, we expected to do a DPS test and review last season, but the samples got sent to someone hipper than I am. Too bad for DPS, but perhaps we can make up for it this season and receive some love from the WildSnowers. Thanks for bringing it up, I know they’re good planks.

  29. Jon Moceri September 20th, 2011 12:17 am

    Albatross,
    I skied the DPS 112RP Carbon ski with the ATK RT (now LaSportiva) bindings while wearing Dynafit TLT5 Mountain boots for much of last season. I probably had the lightest, most amazing gear on the mountain, and I had the best season skiing of all time. I wrote a little review here and on the Teton Gravity forums. I’ll be skiing on the same gear again next season.

  30. Scott September 20th, 2011 10:38 am

    The DPS skis don’t look too superlight from their specs. They’ve got super expensive covered, though.

    Calling people’s comments TGR tripe is pretty lame, I think.

  31. albatross September 20th, 2011 2:17 pm

    Hey Scott; I sift through TGR often enough for the stand-out gems that do get posted there, so it’s not like i’m pulling a holier-than-though attitude. There is plenty of great stuff, which is what i DO like about the site, but the level of juvenile nonsense can be rather high. Many of the ski-reviews are just plain goofy or just very biased as well.

    Lou & Jon Moceri: Thanks guys. Hopefully DPS will get it together and work with Wildsnow for a large-scale review.

  32. Lou September 20th, 2011 2:53 pm

    Tripe is all over the place on the web. I daresay even here, and I’ve most certainly been guilty and been called on it. Nothing wrong with calling it like it is. Reality strikes… both here and on TGR. Calling that call lame is tripe (grin).

  33. Scott September 20th, 2011 5:43 pm

    Sorry, I thought he was calling the comments tripe. I didn’t mean to defend the review ;)

  34. Jay September 20th, 2011 9:18 pm

    Same weight as the DP112 Wailers(185). Curious…..

  35. Jon Moceri September 21st, 2011 12:49 am

    @Scott

    The DPS may not be the absolute lightest. I also have the Goode BC 95 ski mounted with dynafit bindings. They are lighter than the DPS 112RP, but there is just no comparison in performance. DPS is the clear winner.

    BTW, I just looked at the Goode website. There are some changes in the product line this season i.e. they have rocker now. Finally, they woke up. It’s about time. Interesting.

    Yes, the DPS 112RP Carbon is very expensive. The carbon version is $400 more than the hybrid version. But they are light, very responsive and fun. Sports car like handling and not for the faint of heart.

    So, for all that extra fun, it is just a little more than a dollar a day for a year. Or 50 cents a day over two years. Or….. you get the idea.

    Just stop drinking the Frappachinos at Starbucks for a year, cancel the cable TV and stop buying your girl friend all that S#!T she wants and you’ll have enough $$ to buy yourself a superlight, superfun pair of skis. Then have her buy you the ATK RT bindings for a Christmas gift — ’cause you are such a great guy and you deserve them. If she won’t do that for you, she’s not worth keeping around. Just my opinion.

    Sorry, now this sounds like a TGR rant. And I have to get back to my Benromach 21 year old single malt scotch.

    Cheers!
    Jon

  36. Vincent September 23rd, 2011 3:32 am

    Lou,

    not related to the Nunataq, but to 2012 gear. But I’m wondering if there’s some review in the pipeline on the new Titan Ultralight? Seems like nobody has used or tested them so far as I can’t find any reviews on them yet.

    thanks,
    Vincent

  37. Jason September 26th, 2011 7:44 pm

    Aftter reading the La Sportiva Hi5 review back in June I figured that was my powder AT ski for this winter but now I guess it’s the Nunataq.

  38. Chris October 5th, 2011 10:42 pm

    One thing that IS absent from the discussions of many of these skis is that different lengths of a ski like the Nunataq might as well have different names. A person who is 5’4 on 107 under foot at 174 cm is skiing a superfat, and a 6’4 person on the same ski dimensions on a 194 cm is on an all mountain powder board. Would like to see more manufacturers give all skiers the same ski if they are going to call it one thing…

  39. Chris October 5th, 2011 10:54 pm

    Not just picking nits here. The radius changes, and I would assume they leave the thickness of the materials the same too….so the flex would change as well at different lengths. You end up with very different skis. Seems like the only way to assess a ski like this is to get some feedback or a demo on THE SIZE you are interested in. Seems like bean counters were involved.

  40. Andrew October 11th, 2011 11:31 am

    Very interesting review and comments, thank you all! I’m just curious why Anton has the skis mounted without the front half of the fiberglass connectors for his Dynafits? Are they missing all-together up front for some sort of ramp angle change? Just broke off? Something trick going on I should know about?

    @Chris, I do love that Voile has different widths to maintain side cuts on different length skis.

  41. Anton October 19th, 2011 9:59 am

    @Andrew. I think you are talking about the fiberglass piece that runs from the toe piece to the heel. These bindings are actually Lou’s, but I do the same to mine. I feel as though that piece is basically useless so I cut it off. I know it is kind of a nit picky thing to cut off something that weighs so little, but if it is not doing anything I would rather not have it.
    If you are talking about the fiberglass that is around the toe piece you will have to ask Lou. To me it looks like they were modified to fit ski crampons.

  42. DG November 4th, 2011 1:27 pm

    @Anton – I’m curious to know how you felt about the 178 size. I’ve long been a fan of Volkl skis and am really excited about the possibility of a lighter weight backcountry model that can handle a variety of conditions, but specifically powder. In-bounds I’m at home on skis in the mid to upper 180′s but in the backcountry don’t like to go longer than I have to. I’ve got about 10lbs and probably a couple of inches on you and was thinking that the 186 might be a better choice as it seems that every tip/tail rockered ski (Volkls included) I’ve been on skis pretty short.

  43. Jack November 5th, 2011 8:43 am

    Just mounted up a pair of Nunataq with some Dynafit FT bindings. I used the boot sole center mounting mark on the skis which put the boot toe on ski center. The bindings are mounted back 50mm or more that any other skis that I have ( K2 Coomba, K2 Obseths, Atomic Sugardaddys) Is this right or is the boot sole mark in the wrong place?

    Thanks Jack

  44. Lou November 5th, 2011 9:01 am

    We mounted using the mark and they worked fine. Carpe skium.

  45. Sebastian November 5th, 2011 11:58 am

    Hi, I was thinking about getting the K2 Sidestash with Dynafit FT Radical and use them as my everyday ski. I ski Andorra and European Alps. Allways backcountry and I ocasionally use the skins (about 8 days per season).
    Then I saw this Volkl Nunataq and have some doubts in choosing the skis.
    Could anyone explain me the main differences between the two skis and specially the influence of the different rocker of each one while skiing?
    Thanks!

  46. MH November 6th, 2011 8:11 am

    It sounds like these are great for the downhill but I’m curious how a fairly soft, wide, and rockered ski climbs when the snow gets a little firm. It seems like even on powder days I end up traversing firm snow up high and would like a little edge hold for those conditions. I spend a lot more time on the uphill so it’s something that I have to consider and skinning performance never really gets talked about.

  47. Anders November 18th, 2011 3:14 am

    Do you use dynafits ski crampons to your nunataq? I tried them on in the shop and it seemed a little bit tight (the “110 mm” are apparently 108 mm this year – I asked dynafit). Might be possible to apply a modest amount of violence, but I don’t know if that’s advisable…

  48. Lou November 18th, 2011 6:36 am

    Anders, one of the Dynafit products I have here in my hot little hands is the 110 mm cramps, thanks to my amazing almost psychic foresight last winter. Yes, the stamping pattern narrows the actual clearance of the crampon down a couple of millimeters, to about 108. Remember, for ski crampons to work the best a tight rather than loose fit is ideal, so that the fit to the ski keeps the crampon from twisting. On the other hand, you don’t want it to bind when it goes down over the ski.

    Back to the Dynafit “108 mm” crampon. I took it out to the shop and did violence to it. In doing so, I didn’t have any success with bending it wider, as the stampings are incredibly strong. And knowing how aluminum behaves (bend it once, it might get strong, bend it twice, and it can quickly weaken) I saw no purpose in breaking them. At this point, you have a right to be annoyed that a crampon is touted as 110 but it’s actually 108mm, yet on the other hand, at least it goes to 11 (grin).

    Solution? Contact B&D (see ad to left).

    Lou

  49. Jonathan Shefftz November 18th, 2011 6:56 am

    More on those crampons at this very site:
    http://www.wildsnow.com/1813/wide-ski-crampons/

  50. Erik November 22nd, 2011 2:37 pm

    Great review, how does this ski compare to the Voile Charger?

  51. Jeff P. November 29th, 2011 1:02 pm

    Just picked up a pair of Nunataq’s for BC this season. Anyone know where I can get the Colltex skins? The Colltex website isn’t helpful far as pointing you to a way to purchase the specific Colltex skins for the Nunataq’s.

  52. Al Mandell December 29th, 2011 1:09 pm

    What a review and series of follow up comments. In the end, it comes down to the skier. I have 2 sets of Mantras (one with a Fritschi & one with an alpine binding). I also have Nanuq’s and they ski great in all conditions. They hold absolutely fine on hard eastern ice with dynafits. They work fine as a mogul ski as well. So, it comes down to the skier. The nanuq is a mantra sans metal and it skis great.

  53. Brandon Clifford January 9th, 2012 12:06 pm

    I just picked up a pair of 186 Nanatuk’s, Titan Ultralights and TLT Verts. Unfortunately I have yet to ski them other then with my 3 year old daughter due to the Elk Mountain drought.

    Does anyone have thoughts on mounting position? I feel like the center mount seems back a bit. I also felt this way about the Katana.

  54. Brandon Clifford February 6th, 2012 1:10 pm

    Follow up on my last comment. Titan Ultralight = most uncomfortable boot I have ever skied in. Fortunately I was able to trade them in after a couple tours. The arch area of my foot felt like it had been hit with a hammer. Nanatuk =
    Light but skis like wet spagetti. The ski is so soft that in variable snow when powering though a turn the tip flexes like a lady ski. Back to the drawing board and my Katana’s.

  55. ellen hollinshead February 17th, 2012 7:21 am

    Why do so many of these new fat skis have a turned up tail? Seems like what you gain is little for how annoying it is in the backcountry – skating on a road is a pain…sticking your skis in the snow….Would it be crazy of me to think I could cut off that tail to make it flat?

  56. Lou February 17th, 2012 8:40 am

    Ellen, it’s part style and part what some folks want… and annoying yes. You can cut tails off, but there are plenty of good AT skis without turned up tails…

  57. ellen hollinshead February 17th, 2012 9:47 am

    For sizing with the Nunutaq – is the early rise significant enough that you have to buy it longer? It doesn’t appear to be….which is good because I really don’t want to lug around a longer ski and more skin…

    The ski I’d like is the Movement Jackals – 170cm. A light, traditional fat ski. But I can’t find them anywhere. So if anyone has a pair…..

  58. ellen February 27th, 2012 2:54 pm

    I’ll answer my own question in case other folks had the same question – but volkl wrote me back and told me that you don’t have to size up with this ski. So if you’re on a 170 traditional ski, they recommend buying the same size in the nunataq.

  59. phil April 6th, 2012 6:30 pm

    hi Anton

    I see you also tested some of the voile skis can you share your thoughs on the chargers compared to the nunataq’s.

  60. Mark Staples September 28th, 2012 2:11 pm

    Lou and/or Anton,
    I was thinking of buying the Nunataq’s this season. There have been a couple of posts about sizing them. Do you guys have any feedback on how to pick a length. It looks like I might be just a tad heavier than Anton.

    Personally, with some of my recent ski purchases I haven’t gone wrong buying something in the 180′s, but I haven’t purchased any skis in the 170′s recently, so I have nothing to compare them to. Too short usually seems to be more of a problem than too long (aside from the weight penalty). Do you guys have thoughts?
    Thanks
    Mark

  61. TC November 6th, 2012 6:58 pm

    I’m debating between the reverse camber Nunataq and the more new-school huge early-rise/normal camber Hi5. Great reviews for each. I noticed that the turning radii are hugely different:
    Hi5: 17/23 (progressive sidecut)
    Nunataq: 27.5

    Despite the huge turning radius, the reviews all talk about the Nunataq skiing short, turning easily (yet being stable in big turns).

    Any experience out there? Is it a ski that takes a lot of work to ski shorter radius turns (powder, hardpack)? Or is it soft enough that a non-racer will have fun on it?

  62. Jeff P. November 7th, 2012 7:44 am

    Can’t speak for the Hi5, but I have the Nunataq’s and love them. I spent 8 straight days on them in the backcountry of the Italian Alps last March and they are a really great all around performer in variable conditions. And boy did we have variable conditions. We had everything from reasonably deep powder, to windblown crust, to boilerplate, to fields of grass and rocks. No kidding.

    They performed extremely well in good snow regardless of depth. In the crust, I’ve yet to ski on a backcountry board that is equally at home in windblown as it is in deep stuff, but the Nunataq’s did fine and didn’t make me nervous at all. I agree with the original review of these skis that they did better than expected in the hardpack and I was glad I had them, versus a ski more suited to icy hard snow as I enjoyed touring with the Nunataq’s and they were there for me when the snow softened up. I had no trouble making quick turns in tight spaces and did not find that the stated turning radius was an issue at all for these skis. They were equally solid regardless of the arc I was trying to make.

    Last comment. Durability. I hit A LOT of rocks. Took the skis in after returning home and had them professionally cleaned up and re-tuned and they look like new again. Can’t wait to use them again when I return to Italy this year.

    BTW, I’m 5’10″ and 160. I’m on the 178 cm ski.

  63. TC November 7th, 2012 9:17 am

    Thanks Jeff.
    It’s nice to get more feedback. Just wish we could test more skis before buying. Good luck dodging rocks this season!

  64. Bryan Williams November 7th, 2012 11:13 pm

    Anyone else feel like this ski is hooky in the soft snow?

    Everything positive I’ve heard about this ski is true: It skis great, holds an edge if you get on anything hard, is really light especially considering the width, felt great landing a couple 10 footers, and it skins great. Pretty much everything you look for. I just feel like it gets hooky in powder. Anyone else want to chip in?

    Great ski I would recommend though. I use it with a Dynafit TLT Vertical. I’m 6′ and 165 pounds with gear. I got the 178 and am really glad I got this size. Normally ski a 170-178 on alpine.

  65. Lou Dawson November 8th, 2012 4:56 am

    Detune the edges a bit up near the tip, and/or mount your binding another centimeter or so to the rear?

  66. Alecc December 3rd, 2012 9:17 pm

    Hi, I am having a debate between volkl gotama and nunatuq i like twin tips and love jumping dropping flipping etc, but i also love touring long treks are fun! Not super hellbent on weight reduction just having a hard time deciding any advice?

  67. Lou Dawson December 4th, 2012 7:37 am

    Simple, if you like twin tips, get something with twin tips! Lou

  68. Chris December 4th, 2012 7:06 pm

    Mounting Question: have the 186 Nunataq they are getting a set of the new radical speeds.
    No reference mark on the nunataqs, chord centre puts thenunataq toe waaay (8 cm) far back from the toe mount (according to the volkl reference mark) on my Gotamas from a few years ago (set of ST’s on those, they’re getting tired and a bit heavy but very, very fun and versatile…) I have always preferred a slightly forward mount to quicken up the ski, but not quite sure on this one. Of course the volkl website has nothing helpful to offer.
    Ideas?

  69. Chris December 4th, 2012 7:31 pm

    here is an interestig read at least… I will measure this up and let you know how it goes

    http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/97891/bof-mounting-point-method-for-the-21st-century

  70. TC December 4th, 2012 10:41 pm

    I don’t have a pair of Nunataqs in front of me, but I believe the Volkl boot centre line is marked by an letter “I” on the sidewall. Perhaps a ski tech can confirm.

  71. Bryan Williams December 5th, 2012 8:44 am

    Alecc…the Gotoma’s and Nunataq’s are very similar except the Gotama is a twin and the Nunataq is not. I’ve seen a couple websites listing the Nunataq’s as twin but they are certainly not! I have a pair. There is a slight, very slight turn up at the tail to help the ski release a turn but it’s a straight tail that easily makes an anchor. They’ve been solid on the couple ten footers I dropped into soft snow but I wouldn’t jump these on the resort or in the park. The other difference is weight. The Nunataq does not have any metal so it’s a lot lighter. If you’re not concerned with weight than go with the Gotoma but that is a heavy ski to do any long tours on. And it probably wouldn’t be very fun skiing the Gotoma with a lightweight tech binding. So what are you using the ski for? Touring or resort? The Nunataq does carve surprisingly well on the hardpack but I wouldn’t use it as a resort ski. And the Gotoma is just too heavy for any real touring.

    Chris…TC is correct. I have a pair of Nunataq’s in front of me and the reference point is the “I” mark on the sidewall. That being said, mine are mounted on that mark and I feel the ski is hooky in powder. Lou recommended detuning the tips (haven’t skied these detuned yet) or mounting further back but I’m not going to pull the bindings and re-mount, especially on such a hollow ski. As the epic thread points out there are lots of preferences for mounting points any more. But my experience with this ski is mounting it on Volkl’s reference point has made it a bit hooky.

  72. rod georgiu December 5th, 2012 10:31 am

    Brian, interesting comment re: heavy ski not fun to ski with Tech bindings.

    I ski on a Blizzard Bonafide, lots of metal, 2100 grams, with radicals, and there is no issue whatsoever.

    By the way, there is more than edge grip with a lightweight ski.

    I was skiing heavy, wind affected powder last weekend, on my Bonafides, and I was the only one having fun in my group. Everyone else was on lightweight bc skis.??

    Unrelated to this post, but the Bonafide is an incredible ski. Firm, powder, wind affected powder, slush, it does very well. Not sure whym but it sure works.

  73. Lou Dawson December 5th, 2012 11:07 am

    Rod, you make a good point. I often tell people to first save weight with bindings, then boots, then skins, and lastly, skis. In fact, with modern skis you can often go bigger with very little weight penalty. On the other hand, with adjustments in style and technique many skiers can have fun on nearly anything in any conditions, as much of this is social, cultural, psychological in terms of what “fun” means to you. I’ve been schooled on this in Europe, where I see tons of people on ultra light gear who are definitly not autitioning for TGR on the descent, but seem to be enjoying themselves immensly. Lou

  74. rod georgiu December 5th, 2012 12:02 pm

    lou, use bd skins, and I ski on the Eastside of the Sierras, mostly spring, but some powder as well.
    What skins are lighter and still work in these conditions?

  75. Enrico December 12th, 2012 6:12 am

    FOR TC:
    Yes! the Nunataq is skiing short, turning easily and being stable in big turns.
    I’ve mounted them with dynafit tlt vertical in mid sole.
    Boot center is marked with an “I” on the sidewall.

    cheers from Rome!

  76. rob January 23rd, 2013 5:33 pm

    I too have a new pair of 178 nunatags I am going to mount with dynafit speed radical. I see the letter I on the side wall but this point looks REALY far back. Boot center on this mark? I don’t want to screw this up. I have a pair of surface walk free that where mounted by the previous owner and after skiing a few days I remounted them back 9 cm and they ski alot better. putting the two skiis side by side the nunatag mount will be even further back. any help would be appreciated!

  77. Harry February 4th, 2013 8:54 pm

    Already introduced at ISPO, and footage of this ski can be found already on the interwebs, is a new ski from Volkl in their backcountry line called the Katana VWerks.

    This ski is the opposite of my critisism of Volkls previous backcountry ski offerings as cynical retreads of good alpine skis constructed with less of and lower priced materials, marked up and foisted on consumers with the premium alpine reputation of the company behind them.

    The VWerks is based on the dimensions of the current Katana, but with a construction that I have never seen from a mainstream manufacturer. Overall weight is substantially reduced from the alpine ski. I don’t have official figures.

    I had the opportunity to ski it on the same condition that highlighted the faults of the previous series. Variable snow with glare ice and windblown crud/crust. It is an incredible improvement. While the stability was less than the full weight Katana, it wasn’t a reduction in edge grip or stiffness, simply less resistance to deflection as a product of reduced mass.

    Unlike many other full carbon layup skis the VWerks Katana didn’t strike me as a dead ski, and I enjoyed skiing it on hardpack. The lack of powder did not allow me to evaluate the ski in those conditions, but the time tested sidecut/camber and lack of increased longitudinal stiffness allows me to predict that it will be good.

    Mostly I feel I was very harsh on Volkl as a brand from what they had put out before, and I feel is should applaud them at least as loudly for their attempt at innovation and willingness to experiment.

    I hope that leads to success for them, and an example to other brands to step up their game and bring new ideas to the sport.

  78. Lou Dawson February 5th, 2013 6:05 am

    Harry, also an example of what we here at WildSnow are seeing as a new weight class of skis, it sounds like. This new weight class is a big deal, overshadowed by a couple of prototype bindings that very few people need or even want. Interesting how PR and marketing can sway things for a moment, but the compass dial swings eventually, and some of these new skis are real, they’re here for us to try, and they’ll really help progress the sport of human powered ski alpinism. Other examples are the Dynafit Cho Oyu and the G3 C3.

    Thanks for bringing attention to Volkl.

  79. Rune February 16th, 2013 3:21 pm

    Would a TLT5 Mountain be enough to drive this ski?

  80. Lou Dawson February 17th, 2013 8:33 am

    Rune, to get the most out of this sort of ski I’d want a boot that did not have the ball-of-foot flex bouncing around. Consider a Dynafit Mercury or Dynafit One, or Scarpa Maestrale RS.

  81. Rune February 18th, 2013 1:01 am

    But if I mod away the flex, and buy the performance. How would that work?

  82. Rune February 18th, 2013 2:16 am

    I want a light setup, and a good powder ski that wont let me down when I hit hard stuff. I know it’s a lot to ask for. :-) Do you think it will be a good setup?

  83. Lou Dawson February 18th, 2013 6:30 am

    rune, not sure what you mean about “mod away the flex,” do you mean mod the boot?

  84. Rune February 18th, 2013 6:39 am

    Yes, like you did with the nail here: http://www.wildsnow.com/6305/dynafit-tlt-5-flex-lockout/

  85. Lou Dawson February 18th, 2013 6:44 am

    Rune, oh, ok, yeah just rivet out the flex and it’s an entirely different boot. I’d suggest rivets instead of the nail. Something like the following:

    http://www.wildsnow.com/6305/dynafit-tlt-5-flex-lockout/

    Next year’s TLT6 will essentially be a TLT5 without the forefoot flex.

    Lou

  86. Rune February 18th, 2013 6:58 am

    Is the buckle relocated on the TLT6? Like the Vulcan and Mercury.

  87. Lou Dawson February 18th, 2013 7:20 am
  88. Vt February 28th, 2013 12:19 pm

    What is the weight of a pair of 170cm Volkl Nunataq Skis? All I have seen are for 178. Thanks

  89. ellen February 28th, 2013 5:05 pm

    My 170cm Nunataqs weighed about 7.8 lbs before mounting. They are very light for how wide they are. I love that about them. Not the performance that I got out of my heavier G3 Hombres, but maybe that is because they are so much lighter? Similar feel to my Coombas. Sometimes they seem a bit too ‘turny’ for me but overall I am happy with these skis, especially for uphill. I wonder if I should’ve bought them a size longer for better performance, even though in a traditional ski I am definitely a 170cm, but I really just didn’t like the thought of the extra effort required with skinning and kick turns if I had bought a longer ski.

  90. Fredrik Edwall March 16th, 2013 10:31 am

    Hi,

    I have a pair of nunataqs that I realy like, but I have mounted them center. I got some tendency that they would dice in deep powder >60cm in Engelberg.

    I wonder how you have mounted them -2cm? or else?

    Grateful for feed back!

    Regards
    Fredrik

  91. Lou Dawson March 16th, 2013 2:26 pm

    Frank, I’m not sure what you’re asking. Do you mean “dive” instead of “dice?” Lou

  92. Fredrik March 16th, 2013 3:58 pm

    I meant dive,

  93. Lou Dawson March 16th, 2013 4:47 pm

    Fredrik, I’ve had no problem with diving and neither have our other testers. 2012/13 model mounted +1cm and 2013/14 mounted on the mark (tested +1 cm and it was too far forward).

    Are you sure you are skiing them long enough? Too much boot lean or binding delta?

    Lou

  94. Fredrik March 16th, 2013 5:13 pm

    Hii,

    I am 183cm & 85kg and have the 186cm skis. But I had to ski them with some back weight. The bindings are correctly mounted, I use the forward position in my green machines. So I was considering mounting the bindings a few cm back, wanted to see how you have done it?

    Regards Fredrik ps going to lyngen in a couple of weeks and wants everything to be tip top!

  95. Lou Dawson March 16th, 2013 5:43 pm

    Wow, no problem on the length of the skis! Try less forward lean in the boot, I really doubt you need the bindings to be farther back. Lou

  96. Fredrik Edwall March 17th, 2013 5:10 pm

    Hi,

    Would you advice me not to back mount with 2cm, and in that case why?

    Regards
    Fredrik

  97. Lou Dawson March 17th, 2013 6:50 pm

    Warning, following is just guess work since I can’t look at your skis or watch you ski: Yes, like I said, I doubt you need the bindings farther back than the mark on the ski. Why? Because if you get tip dive with a ski that long, it’s either too much forward lean and ramp angle, or something strange about the way you’re skiing.

  98. Bar Barrique March 17th, 2013 9:43 pm

    Just to add some perspective; when you are skiing a race ski in a course, you are optimizing your ski/binding for a set of snow conditions that does not vary much.
    When you are setting up your BC skis; the snow conditions will vary considerably, so you want a neutral setting that allows you the maximum ability to adjust your position on the ski to suit the conditions. It took me a while to figure this out, as I always liked lots of forward lean in my alpine boots.

  99. Fredrik Edwall March 19th, 2013 8:34 am

    Hi Guys,

    Ok I will let it rest and adjust to the environment. However, I like my forward lean on the boots. It feel strange to stand to upright.

    However, another question. How long ice axe should I purchase? In cm please :-).

    Regards
    Fredrik

  100. Lou Dawson March 19th, 2013 8:48 am

    Fredrik, it’s not “standing upright,” just not hanging your knees out over your toes…

  101. Larry G March 19th, 2013 9:16 am

    Fredrik…ice axe length depends on your height and how long your arms are. Generally speaking, you should be able to grasp the head of the axe with your arms hanging at your sides and the axe point should just touch the ground. For glacier travel, it can be a bit longer. For pure ski mountaineering, it can be a bit shorter.

  102. Fredrik Edwall March 19th, 2013 10:26 am

    Hi Larry,

    What about this one http://www.sport-conrad.com/page/product-detail/__/shop/prod/27299

    Salewa Freney G2 Alu Ice Axe 60cm

    I will use it for randone skiing and maybe some competitions that requires an Ice axe, I have never used one.

    I would like to thank you for the answers, I may take a pickture on my skiis to show you the rocker. It seems like the skiis on this article has more rocker than mine, but it may be due to the pic or my vision.

    Regards Fredrik

  103. Kevin April 17th, 2013 1:43 pm

    Hi Anton,

    Excellent review!
    I put my wife on the Nanuq’s last year and they seem like a great ski so far!

    Do you have any comments on the quality of the Volkl skins? I’ve heard the grip lacks on the way up.

    Also, was wondering if you’ve had a chance to ski any of the current Rossi S7′s or Squad 7′s? I’ve just returned from a trip to AK and like your review describes i hit the dreaded “crust” on Squad 7′s coming into the apron and tomahawked like no other. I travel down to Las Lenas every year and have never had problem with tips hooking into the crust down there; last year I was skiing on Shiro’s & Cham 107′s and loved them for those type of conditions. Just wondering if it’s just me or does the Rossi style rocker hook up in crust/variable conditions?

    Thx.

    Kevin

  104. Matt October 10th, 2013 7:37 am

    Wow, what a great review. I recently saw the Nunataq in a store and was pretty attracted to the light weight. I telemark a lot of moguls and trees and I’m looking for something wide-ish (>100mm) but still quick and playful. Is it crazy for me to consider the Nunataq when I don’t do any backcountry? (I do hike in bounds a little bit.) Or maybe something like the the Armada TST, Salomon Q-105, or Rossignol Soul 7 would be better? Thank you.

  105. Lou Dawson October 10th, 2013 8:16 am

    Matt, we’re not a telemark website nor are we a resort skiing website… thus, please don’t infer from our reviews that a ski we like could be good for telemark at a resort. My advice would be to pick from any of those skis based more on proven durability for resort skiing, which due to the amount of vertical asks much more of ski in terms of lasting strength. Lou

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