Remarkable Conditions & Remarkable Skis — Voile V8

Post by blogger | October 23, 2014      

Tony Nitti

The spring of 2014 in and around Aspen was one that backcountry riders won’t soon forget. Mid-March brought an extended melt-freeze cycle that turned our typically-treacherous snowpack into a uniform, solid structure that inspired great confidence. As a result, the types of big lines that are rarely ready before late spring–if they become ready at all–were welcoming skiers before the calendar turned to April.

Voile V8 2014-2015

The ride that made it happen, Voile V8 2014-2015

Even better, subsequent snowfall came sporadically and in small doses, providing a recurring string of pow atop the rock-solid foundation.

Such rare and remarkable conditions require a rare and remarkable ski: a ski light enough to make quick work of the 4,000 to 5,000 foot accents required to gain a summit from the still snow-covered valley floors, but also wide and stable enough to make the way back down everything you dreamed it would be.

Lucky for me, I was armed with a pair of Voile V8s, the perfect ski for those perfect days.

I tested the first iteration of the V8 for Wildsnow in 2012, before it became available to the public, and spent more time gushing than a tween at a One Direction show. True to my word, I went out at the beginning of last season and grabbed a pair in the 176 length.

Because the V8 remains virtually unchanged for 2015 (aside from a minor change to the top-sheet graphic), my 30-plus days on the 2014 version of the ski should be equally applicable to Voile’s latest offering.

The 176 length sports a 112mm-width and weighs in at just a tick over 7 lbs for the pair, representing success in the fat-but-light engineering struggle, particularly given that the V8 has only a single layer of carbon fiber in its construction as well as attractive prices — on sale or not. Or, if you prefer terms created by Mad Scientist Dawson to quantify just how amazing that weight-to-size ratio is, the 176 V8 scores an impressibly low weight vs surface area score of 76, which is only a bit heavier than the full-carbon fiber feathers. In addition, the V8 gets a 9.24 on the Wildsnow weight vs length chart (which doesn’t consider width). That’s average to below average even compared to narrower skis, meaning you still get some bang for your buck when you consider the weight and width of the V8.

While any number of playful analogies describe how well the V8 climbs, I prefer to put it into terms the backcountry skier can appreciate. When the calendar turned to mid-April last season, ample powder remained at the higher elevations, but with the chairlifts closing, sidecountry excursions became a thing of the past. As a result, the buy-in necessary to sample that powder became much more expensive: generally in the neighborhood of a 5,000 foot climb.

It was at that moment that the remainder of my ski partners swapped out their fatter skis for skinnier tools, sacrificing the fun factor on the descent for easier skinning on the up. I, on the other hand, stayed true to my V8s, knowing I’d suffer virtually no weight penalty on the climb, and that I’d be laughing on the way down while my partners longed for their wider boards.

That is not to say the V8 is always the perfect choice for a big climb, however. Be warned: when your partners witness you with fresh legs and sporting skis with a 141 mm tip (in the 176), they’ll always be looking to you to break trail.

Of course, it’s once you’ve reached the top that the V8 really shines, particularly on those picturesque powder days that were the norm last spring in Colorado. With its wide shovel and a touch of rocker in both the tip and tail, the V8 floats every bit as well as your trusty resort fat ski. They are also both stable at speed yet playful and responsive, meaning they were just as fun smearing big turns on the wide-open flanks of Garrett Peak as they were hop-turning down the narrow confines of the Pearl Couloir.

When you reach the lower elevations and hero powder gives way to crud or chunder, the light weight of the V8 may briefly serve as a detriment, causing the tips to get kicked around a bit at speed, but not nearly as badly as some other light skis I’ve sampled.

Should the lower flanks be covered in glorious spring corn, however, the V8 thrives once again. With a tight sidecut, impressive torsional rigidity, a tapered tail and a 17 meter turning radius (in the 176), the ski carves fantastically well when things get firm, with nary a trace of chatter at high speeds.

Lastly, the V8 will win your affection even when resting in your garage or office, as its simple, surf-inspired top-sheet graphics are a purist’s dream.

Perfect days can be hard to come by in the backcountry. But when they happen, you don’t want to find yourself kicking yourself for your choice of skis, sullenly repeating to yourself, “I should have had a V8.”

In addition to the 176, the V8 is also available in lengths of 165, 186 and 193, with corresponding waist widths of 107, 115 and 119. You can purchase the V8 from Cripple Creek Backcountry (free shipping).

(Guest blogger Tony Nitti is a CPA specializing in tax planning. He lives in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado with his wife and two children. When he’s not skiing or skimo racing, he has fun writing about tax policy at, so he’s uniquely prepared for battering at the hands of extremely passionate commenters and talk show hosts such as he-who-shall-not-be-named.)


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


74 Responses to “Remarkable Conditions & Remarkable Skis — Voile V8”

  1. Peter October 23rd, 2014 11:15 am

    quote: “light weight of the V8 may briefly serve as a detriment, CAUSING the tips to get kicked around a bit”

    Hey Lou, I thought Wildsnow was the one place that didn’t bow to this backwards dogma? 😉 (/sigh)

  2. Lou Dawson 2 October 23rd, 2014 11:25 am

    Peter, I saw Tony had written that and chose to let it ride, as his take. Grist for discussion (grin)? Thanks for reading!

    I’d have written it more like “ keeping the ski light, Voile probably left out some damping material as the tip of the ski did get kicked around a bit in the crud and chop.”

    Recent example, my confusion about DPS Pure2 and Pure3 weights. According to DPS, Pure3 is heavier “because of additional damping material,” which ostensibly makes it ski better.

    As you point out, our “offical” take here is that lighter skis can ski well, but it’s harder and sometimes more expensive to engineer them to do so.


    ‘best, Lou

  3. David B October 23rd, 2014 5:29 pm

    Ah Lou, damp & light.

    The nemesis on many a ski manufacturer.

  4. See October 23rd, 2014 8:15 pm

    I should probably leave well enough alone, but I’m genuinely interested in this and Lou does seem to be inviting discussion so…

    Dampness helps on firm snow, and a light ski can be made damp. But when it comes to dense, chunky snow (“crud or chunder”), greater mass reduces the amount the ski gets knocked off course. Dampness helps, but if you’re optimizing for these conditions, something with some heft would be the ticket. Skiing heinous crud on superlight skis is more a matter of technique than technology.

  5. Peter October 23rd, 2014 9:11 pm

    @See this has been discussed so many times, and I keep trying to keep coming up with a better way to explain it….dunno.

    How about this?
    Pretend you have 2 pairs of skis.
    Ski 1 is made of Unobtanium. It weighs 1gm, but it has the stiffness of a 1000 railroad tracks. You can literally pick up a train with it because it’s so stiff and strong.
    Ski 2 is made of vulcanized rubber. It weighs 10kg, but it’s so soft a child could twist it around with their hands.

    Now, you go down a hill with these 2 skis, which one gets “deflected” by snow?
    Not the light weight one. It transmits ALL the force into your leg because it’s so stiff. Your leg might deflect, but not the ski.
    And, the opposite for the heavy soft ski, at the first bump you hit it will crumple like a wet noodle without even transferring a bit of force to your bindings.

    This is when someone mentions something about inertial mass, and how the tip of a heavier ski is “harder to push out of the way”. Bollocks.
    First, if this were true World Cup downhillers would be gluing lead to their skis to make them ski better.
    Second, your ski tip is part of a bigger system. The amount of force used to overcome “intertial mass” is less than insignificant compared to the amount of force to flex a ski, or to make the ski transmit force to your foot and move your (much heavier) body. The forces being thrown around by a few hundred pounds of skier traveling at many mph and hitting dense snow are many orders of magnitude more than this change in inertial mass at a ski tip from a heavier/lighter ski -> red herring. The ski tip is not by itself, it’s attached to a huge system; you.

    Mass is a symptom of the normal construction techniques to make a damp ski, not the cause. Not so long ago skis were made of solid hickory to be damp and stiff enough, now they’re carbon and paulownia. Who knows what they’ll be in a few years more….”normal” will keep changing. And when normal skis weigh 5lbs/pair and someone comes out with a 3lb pair, someone is going to argue that it won’t ski well because it’s “too light to be damp”.

    (source: 14 years as a Design Engineer, including over 5 years designing high end carbon and fiberglass composite sports equipment)

  6. Tom Gos October 23rd, 2014 9:24 pm

    I’m with Peter, his post is spot on. I think much of problem comes from the way skiers use the words “damp” and “stiff” and “stable”.

    And, historically many light weight skis were also quite soft and flexy. This doesn’t have to be the case, but in the past it often has been. Having said that, I’ve skied very heavy metal laminate skis that were also quite soft in flex and consequently skied very poorly in variable snow. The more widespread use of lighter, stiffer, stronger, and more damp materials is changing this all – but usually at a premium price.

  7. See October 23rd, 2014 9:33 pm

    World cup downhill conditions are different from the ones I’m talking about.

    “The ski tip is not by itself, it’s attached to a huge system; you.” I like heavier skis for “crud or chunder,” (which would make a very interesting world cup downhill course).

  8. RDE October 23rd, 2014 9:38 pm

    “Remarkably light”? My 4 year old PM Lahasa Pow hybrids weigh 4.3# per each, but they are 140-112-120 and a full 186 in length.

  9. JCoates October 24th, 2014 4:48 am

    Shhhhhh. Don’t ruin it. The common belief that you have to rock 15 lb race boards (with a 120mm waist), frame bindings that go to 16, and boots with “that extra buckle for stiffness,” is the only thing helping us older guys stay ahead of the young guys coming into the sport.

  10. Lou Dawson 2 October 24th, 2014 5:48 am

    Another way to look at it would be to say that when skiing crud, some mass in the ski could be a cheap way to substitute for better materials and engineering (grin).

    Seriously, what puts the lie to the theory about “weight for skiing chunder” is that all skis have become lighter and I don’t see anyone taping weights to their skis. Since lighter weight gear is so desirable, skis will continue to become lighter. Will all the lighter skis be poor in the crud? I doubt it.

    By my observations and loose calculations, touring skis become about 2% lighter per year overall. See

    Does that mean they ski 2% worse? Not a chance.


  11. Peter October 24th, 2014 7:09 am

    all this bickering aside 😉 I have to say this is a really good *season long* review. Thanks Tony. It’s rare to get ski reviews based on more than a few runs on a lift, and even rarer to get good reviews based on lots of skinning. This is why I come here.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 October 24th, 2014 7:32 am

    Peter, indeed, we are aware of how important the long-term review is. Thanks for noticing. Lou

  13. See October 24th, 2014 10:06 am

    I’m still not sure I agree/understand entirely how materials/design/construction can make a light ski perform like a heavy ski across a broad range of conditions, but I very much appreciate how you guys have gone out of your way to explain it. Thanks very much.

  14. Peter October 24th, 2014 10:38 am

    @See i think the most important concept is cause vs. symptom. Just know that increased weight isn’t a cause of a damper ski, it’s a symptom. Most heavy skis are damp, but not all damp skis are heavy.

    Case in point. I replaced a pair of K2 Coombacks with (non-carbon) BD Converts. They’re pretty close in overall dimensions, but the Converts are a pound lighter. The speed limit is way higher on the Converts before the tips start to chatter. Real world example of a much lighter ski that is also noticeably damper.

    Could the Converts be damper still if some heavier materials were used? Yes. but the fact that they’re light doesn’t *cause* them to be less damp than a heavy ski.

    The Converts manage to do this by using a lower density core and pre-preg laminate (lighter because it has less resin in it). These modern materials and methods saved enough weight that BD could add ABS sidewalls to the ski.
    The ABS sidewalls dampen the ski a lot more than the Coomback’s cap construction with resin-heavy wet layup and thin-but-dense core.

  15. See October 24th, 2014 1:46 pm

    Thanks Peter. Very clear explanation. It’s been interesting to observe how sidewalls (and wood cores) have come back in a big way over the last few years. I had pretty much concluded what you confirmed— abs sidewalls improve dampness with little weight penalty. Now if Lou would only take the cut-off saw to those Volkl V-Werks…

  16. Matt October 25th, 2014 2:14 am

    Thanks Tony for revisiting the V8s from an owner’s perspective. My “daily driver” for sidecountry skiing & touring is a ski with a similar design: the Armada JJ. I have these set up with Marker Barons, & have enjoyed the downhill performance of this combo, especially in the (in the tight, technical trees, pillows & chutes I favor) but obviously stand to save a lot of weight this season by purchasing a true touring setup w/ tech bindings.
    I demoed over ten tour-worthy skis in the 105-115mm waist range last season, but found none to my liking, & was trying to track down a set of V8 demos right when the snow gave out here in the Sierras.

    Fast forward to today: your follow-up article on the V8 arrived, right on cue, just as I was about to relaunch my ski search.
    Reading the ensuing discussion on lightweight construction, dampness, & deflection, it was like someone had been reading my mind: I’ve been wondering just how much crud performance I’ll be giving up by knocking almost 2lbs off my current skis.
    I demoed a certain ueber-hyped yellow ski with honeycomb tips and tails last season & was *horrified* by how gutless the ski was in variable snow: tips & tails flapped wildly & deflected at the smallest snow-surface irregularities & simply folded if you actually hit a pile of anything bigger than a molehill.
    QQ: This leads me to my question:
    You state that in Crud the V8s tips: “get kicked around a bit at speed, but not nearly as badly as some other light skis…” Can you position the crud performance of the V8 relative to some other skis I might be familiar with?
    I’m not after a crud-destroying steel girder: I only weigh 150lbs & didn’t like fighting the “no flex is good flex” builds of Moment’s hard-charging Exit World or Underworld in tight quarters. That said, I can’t live with a gutless wonder like the Soul 7 with its cardboard tips & torsional rigidity of a wet noodle.
    I like poppy, energetic, playful skis that will hold an edge when the snow firms up, and like the looks of the V8s profile: similar dimensions to my JJ, but more “directional” with less tail rocker & tail height.
    Do you think the V8 offers the balance I’m looking for?

  17. Matt October 25th, 2014 3:07 am

    Further food for thought for Peter & Tom Gos:
    I’m with you on dampness & chatter at the tips on hard surfaces. I have enough experience with the progression of road bike chassis over the last 30 years to have a good feel for just how much dampness can be coaxed out of an ultralight system with good materials engineering.

    That said, when talking about crud performance, we are talking about crud *busting* – not the ability of a worldcup DH ski to maintain tip contact over small surface irregularities in an icy surface, but literally the ability to punch through sizeable clumps of snow that can vary wildly in weight, hardness & depth. In this situation, mass clearly plays a role. If I want to punch a hole in a wall, I grab a heavy sledge, not an infinitely stiff “unobtanium” hammer weighting 1gram, regardless of how much of my 70kg mass I can put behind it.

    Skis need to flex to float & turn well. Given the flex between shovel & binding, not to mention your boot, no real-world ski will be driving your full “system weight” of 60-100kg straight through the skitip & in an ideal line straight through a mound of heavy variable snow.

    Yes a stiffer ski will deflect less, and a damper ski will buck the rider less violently on impact, but surely the mass of the tip of the ski plays a similar role to the mass of a sledge when trying to break through a barrier?
    Given equal flex, would not the ski with greater mass move more snow than the ski with less mass?

  18. Peter October 25th, 2014 6:26 am

    Good question Matt, and the answer is Yes, a heavier ski will move more snow than a lighter ski (assuming the exact same flex). The difference will be proportional to the difference in total weight hitting the snow. And how much is that?

    Let’s take your sledge example. If a 100lb person and a 200lb person can each drive the sledge head to the same velocity (a unlikely situation, but go with it) then the same damage will be done to the wall. It doesn’t matter that one person is bigger, their body weight is not moving with the sledge head, it’s not part of the momentum. (and don’t start talking about follow-through! we already said both people are applying the same force, F=mA, same speed = same force behind the head). Change the person to a pneumatic-sledge-swinging-machine if you need to…the weight of the swinger doesn’t matter if the head speed is the same.

    The same is not true of skier. Matt, you postulate that the skier is not really part of the ski-system, but the skier really is, otherwise you wouldn’t care what DIN you bindings are at. Take 2 pairs of skis, ghost-ride one pair down the hill with no skier attached. Attach a 200lb skier to the bindings of the second pair. Do they hit piles of crud snow differently? Yes. That skier mass is affecting the tips of the skis in *huge* way. Without a skier attached the skis just fly up into the air, no busting at all, it’s ALL about the total system.
    Whereas the if you threw a sledge at a wall it would NOT bounce off the wall. It would have pretty much the same impact as if the person held on to it.

    So, where is all this going? The impulse ( of a ski hitting a pile of crud snow includes the weight of the skier attached to those skis. Let’s say the whole package weighs 200lbs. If the weight of the ski is changed by 1lb, without changing the flex at all, then the change in impulse will change by roughly 0.5%.

    This is not the same as the sledge situation. In that case only the sledge is moving. If the an 8lb sledge becomes a 9lb sledge and is used at the same speed then the impulse is increased by 12.5%. Literally two orders of magnitude more difference. We’re not even in the same scale for comparison.

    A big change in ski weight has a proportionally tiny change in its effect to snow. It’s literally negligible. The skier could take a piss and make a bigger difference. A change in flex stiffness, however, would be very significant. This would affect the “t” time variable in the Impulse equation, and a change of 1/100th of second of impact time makes an enormous difference in Impulse.

    Now, to really drive home why this is important, now let’s consider the same ski weight change going uphill. In this case, one ski stops completely with every step, and then is fully accelerated to faster than the person, and then is stopped again. The person is no longer part of the system when the ski is moving (the body is lifted by the stationary leg). The energy put into moving each foot forward is proportional only to the ski/boot/binding/skin weight. Let’s say this is 10lbs per foot. If you cut 1lb out of the ski you just made each step 10% easier…..but you only lost 0.5% of crud busting on the way down. Pretty good trade.

    Anyone who doesn’t like this explanation is more than welcome to glue 1lb weights to tips of each ski and go ski some crud. Let us know how it goes.
    Also, remember that bit about stiffness, Impulse, and 100th’s of a second. A small change in ski stiffness is incredibly significant to crud-brusting, a large change in ski weight is not.

  19. Lou Dawson 2 October 25th, 2014 8:24 am

    Peter, excellent, thanks!

    Another thing to consider is the relationship of mass and speed when it comes to energy. Example being the difference in hunting a deer or elk with different weight bullets at different velocity (e.g., .270 vs .306 with various loads and bullet weights). The lighter bullet can pack a wallop when it’s fast. Point being that when a skier and ski are moving down the hill at a decent clip, they’ve got a quite large amount of energy available, that’s yes, their total mass with velocity, transferred to the snow through the skis.

    In a word, thinking that heavier weight of a ski is a big factor in performance is “sophomoric.” There are so many other factors.

    Perhaps most of you guys are thinking that weight is just a part, perhaps a small part. I’d say that’s a more accurate view, but still, as one who’s ridden skis for around a half a century, skis of all weights, I can testify that skis have become incredibly lighter (they seem to halv in weight about every 25 years) and actually ski much better overall, thus 100% disproving that weight of the ski is important in performance.

    Now, I’ll also remind everyone that yes, over the years certain skis have had “dampers” and other forms of weights attached to them. Those were not just weight and were carefully designed. More, they never really caught on. So I’d say their use disproves the theory as much as proves it. A wash.


  20. See October 25th, 2014 10:13 am

    Maybe a coincidence, but both commenters who seem to believe a bit of mass is nice in crud are Sierra skiers.

    And, fwiw, my current favorite bc boards are Carbon Justices with Verticals. They way about 2330 grams each.

  21. See October 25th, 2014 10:18 am

    And by “way” I mean “weigh.” We sophomores don’t spell to good.

  22. Matt Kinney October 25th, 2014 11:49 am

    Demoed this ski for a week last April. I ended up on 186’s which was a bit long for me. Solid ski and could certainly feel the “dampness” under foot. Skied them under mostly variable conditions(tele with p-turns) and really liked how they blasted over rough snows like sasturgi. Of course they skied great in powder as most skis these day do. I almost got this ski, but went for the Converts as they seem more active and nimble. More and more, rockered skis just do so well in bad snow. Wish I would have had a bigger boot to drive the ski more aggressively, but if I can tele this ski, a good AT skier should enjoy it even more. All in all better skis mean less resistance to skiing lousy snows, which adds up to more ski days.

  23. Frame October 25th, 2014 1:02 pm

    Peter, I was struggling, but thanks for explaining things so well, makes for interesting reading. See also for asking the questions to get the response.

  24. Matt October 25th, 2014 1:36 pm

    Good discussion here.
    Thanks to Matt K for the demo followup. I too prize “nimbleness”, my JJs are the most playful skis I’ve ever been on. I’m a very centered finesse skier, so I don’t fetishize flat, ultra-stiff tails the way some ex-racers do. That said, I don’t ski powder switch, so I’m willing to trade away some of the pivotability of the JJ’s 7cm twin tail rise for a flatter tail rocker profile that will be there to stand on when the going gets rough at speed.
    My main concern for the V8s is that they have shovels that are stiff enough to support more aggressive speeds & lines, otherwise tail shape is sort of a moot point.
    Just out of curiosity, what is your height & weight?

  25. Matt October 25th, 2014 7:29 pm

    @ Peter & Lou,
    Thanks for unpacking the stiffness & mass argument further.
    As for uphill weight, you’re preaching to the choir: in cycling, I’m a climber & endurance racer who prefers aluminum fasteners because Ti doesn’t save enough weight.

    As for downhill crudbusting & mass, I never postulated that the skier is “not part of the system.” I merely stated that ski flex means that the entire system weight is not available at the tip of the ski at the moment of impact – exactly what Peter is stating with the “impulse equation.” If a ski is not infinitely stiff, there will be deflection, so the question I was trying to present is how much ski tip mass works to limit deflection *before* a flexing ski can deliver the rest of the total system energy to an impact.
    My analogy to a sledgehammer was an admittedly poor one: almost the entirety of the accelerated mass is available at the leading edge of the impact. FWIW though, the bullet analogy likewise fails for the same reason (unless we manage to attach a ski shovel to the projectile ;~> ).
    I asked a genuine question about the significance of ski mass because I lack the engineering background to crunch the numbers. I’m not a even a freshmaniac engineer, much less a sophomore. I did, however, once manage a 4 on my AP Physics Exam, so I am in a position to follow a cohesive argument based on the laws of physics.

    So I do grasp Peter’s math that, given identical flex patterns, adding 1lb in ski weight only adds 0.5% to the cumulative crud-busting impulse.
    If we really were to add the entire 1lb mass to the ski tip, however, would not the added mass work to limit the actual deflection of the ski from the initial angle of attack?
    I guess I’m just trying to grasp the way a flexing ski’s delayed delivery of system mass translates into deflection. In other words, how much further would I be knocked off line by a lighter ski that is waiting to deliver the full force of your system weight, than by a ski that delivers more at the instant of impact? Could it be that a relatively small change in deflection would translate to a meaningful change in the trajectory of the ski?

    Perhaps my instincts are guided on this by another faulty analogy, but I have to fall back on my other main source of real-world-physics experimentation. I chase downhill Strava KOMs for kicks. On my road bike, I experience a significant gain in tracking stability on rough roads by switching to heavier wheels (it’s mostly rim weight, same tires, hubs & spokes). Simply put, my heavier wheels aren’t as susceptible to upward deflection by small but repetitive hits like rough chipseal or rippled tar, and the rubber stays on the damn ground. At 50mph+, that’s the difference between descending confidently, and coming off. If we crunch the numbers the difference may look small, but it means a hell of a lot to me at speed.

  26. Peter October 25th, 2014 8:09 pm

    Gotcha Matt. To answer your question to the level you need another analogy from me won’t do the trick. I’m going to have to do the math out for real, which I could…..but that’s a bunch of hours. Maybe Lou and I can talk about doing a real engineering “proof” of the difference in ski tip motion due to various factors.

    As for your heavy wheels, I’ll postulate, but I’m not sure. First, it could be centrifugal force, gyroscopic stuff, but this sort of thing has been “disproved”, I think….I don’t really grasp it all :
    I do know that rim weight has a HUGE effect on bikes, especially at higher speeds. You have rotational AND translation kinetic energy, both velocities are being squared and multiplied by the mass. At, 50mph there is a TON of kinetic energy stored in a bicycle rim….the dynamics of which are beyond my experience….and a lot of other peoples’ too it seems:

    Are the heavier rims wide, are you getting a better tire profile? It could be damping? Are the light rims 3K UD carbon and your heavy rims are 6000 AL? Decent stiffness difference there, especially if they’re low spoke-count rims.
    Or, it could all be in your head. They sound different and one makes you feel more comfortable. Nothing wrong with this. The entire mountain bike carbon fiber seat post and handle bar market is based on it….people swear it helps dampen vibrations – on their 120mm travel full-squish bikes with 2.3″ tires, ha! All kinds of sports equipment “works” only because people believe it’s better. The placebo effect is real and well documented, don’t fight it.

  27. See October 25th, 2014 9:04 pm

    “If a ski is not infinitely stiff, there will be deflection.” Even if a ski is infinitely stiff there will be deflection, defining “deflection” as the ski being knocked off course. Some increase in ski mass would reduce this deflection, but probably not much.

    If I understand Peter’s explanation of how to make a light ski perform well in crud it comes down to dampness. I can see that, but it doesn’t seem to me that a bit more dampness would make much more difference than a bit more mass. But even a small difference in mass matters going up.

  28. Matt October 26th, 2014 12:38 am

    @See: my bad, that sentence should have read “flex leading to deflection.” An infinitely stiff ski would be able to bust through crazy dense crud with far less deflection than we’ll ever experience in the real world, but yes, as long as we are defining “ski” as something with an upturned tip, and it hits something more dense than the rest of the ski is planing in, that thing is going up.
    My line of inquiry on tip mass & deflection essentially amounts to “how much is enough to matter?”

    Peter’s answer confirms my fears that crunching the numbers would be a crazy amount of work, & I respect that. Knowledge doesn’t always come cheap & easy.

    It’s harder to intuit the dampness part of the equation, but I have definitely experienced the magic combination of damp, light & stiff with good carbon components on a bike, so I definitely buy that line of thinking.

  29. Matt October 26th, 2014 1:47 am

    I saw the placebo riposte coming from a mile away. I love the placebo effect. I get relief 5 minutes after taking Ibuprofen, even though my wife, who is an M.D. assures me this is physically impossible, since it’s not in my bloodstream. God save the placebo.

    As for the road wheels, I have several sets: all aluminum, nothing less than 20 spokes. Two are identical down to the rims, which differ around 100g each in mass. All run the same tires at identical pressures (I use a digital gauge accurate to 1/10 psi). The effect is independent of rim width & shape, but increases with wheel mass.
    Going downhill at 40-60mph on 23mm tires is definitely a huge mind game, and having the right tires at the right pressure is the single most important variable in the whole equation, hands down.
    That said, there’s nothing imaginary about having your tires kicked up and entirely off a rough road surface. If you have to brake or initiate a lean at that instant, you’ve either got traction or you’re going down.

    Anyhow, my point is that even as a weight-weenie, I’ve come to appreciate the benefits of mass in certain situations on a bike.
    Is the “mass at the extremeties” analogy transferrable to our discussion of skis?
    Sounds like the answer to that is as complicated as answering the ski mass / deflection question itself.

  30. Lou Dawson 2 October 26th, 2014 5:53 am

    Another thing occurs to me. Those of you who subscribe to the theory that “heavier skis ski crud better” need to define what you mean by a heavier ski, as well as qualify that idea.

    For example, one of the lightest skis out there is the Sportiva Vapor Nano. Do you mean that any ski that weighs more than the Vapor Nano is going to ski better in crud and chop? Or just some skis? Or is this an “all other things being equal” theory? In the later case, since skis are not equal, then does the theory really apply in real life?

    What if you tested two pair of skis. One lighter than the other and the lighter ones skied crud better. Would you still subscribe to the theory that heavier skis do better? To that, with our WildSnow quiver here at HQ I could probably pick you out a couple pair of skis, one pair of which were lighter but skied crud better than the other pair. What would you say after that?

    If my ski pick was unusual and difficult to come up with, perhaps the exception would prove the rule. On the other hand, say I could come up with several test pairs. That would seem to disprove the rule.

    I’ll bet many of you who keep a pile of skis at home could come up with a heavy pair of skis that don’t ski crud as well as some of your lighter ones. Or?


  31. See October 26th, 2014 9:51 am

    Speaking for myself (obviously) I’m less interested in proving or disproving my subjective impression that really light skis seem to take a bit more effort to keep on line in crud, than in eliciting the sort of specific engineering information Peter has generously provided.

    I’m definitely not on some kind of campaign to promote heavy skis. I’m just curious about the specific engineering that has enabled “touring skis (to) become about 2% lighter per year” while maintaining or improving performance. And what cool stuff is in the pipeline? Honeycomb or partial width cores? New (or old) sidewall materials? I know of no better resource than Wildsnow for separating the piezo electric dampers and Ultimate Vibration Objects from the core construction and glass/carbon layup schedules.

    Do I buy skis based on any of this? Not really. Honestly, I don’t even demo skis and I take reviews with more than a few grains of salt. Mostly, I just find a gap in the quiver and go for something the right length, width, sidecut, flex, weight and price, (as long as the graphics aren’t too obnoxious). I’ve been doing this for decades and I’d say it’s worked about 75% of the time.

    Re. which skis would I choose for skiing crud if I didn’t have to haul them up the hill under my own steam? I’d probably almost always go with the heaviest ones in the pile— the Megawatts.

  32. JohnJ October 26th, 2014 12:11 pm

    I am enjoying this discussion very much.

    Lou, while you are suggesting that some definitions should be provided, I think it would be a good time for somebody to give us a technical, objective definition of what dampness is in a ski.

  33. Peter October 26th, 2014 1:15 pm

    Good point JohnJ.

    Damping refers to a characteristic of cyclical motion. Namely how quickly the system loses energy. It is a type of resistance to motion, but it’s different than stiffness. Read more here:

    Many people confuse stiff skis with damp skis. They often go together, but not always. A very damp and a very stiff ski will both resist initial bending, but in a slightly different way. It’s like the difference between bubble gum and a rubber band. They could both require the same force to stretch them out, but one is storing the energy to spring back and one is dispersing the energy and it will be lost from the system. In actual use it can really, really difficult to tell the two properties apart. The sweet spot for a ski is storing enough energy to spring back out of a turn and reward the skier’s input, but not so much that it continues to jiggles like the end of a diving board.

    Any mtb’ers here should be familiar with setting the spring pressure and the damping on their suspension separately.
    Many of us also might be familiar with setting the gas spring on a screen door. You need the spring stiff enough so the door closes but the damper (in this case an annular valve) firm enough that the door doesn’t slam.
    Mechanics will know the difference between shock absorbers and coil springs, the first is the damper the second is the stiffness.

    Also note: the word is NOT “dampENing”. That’s making something wet. While some texts use the two spellings interchangeably, they are wrong, so says me and the other pedants out there, harrumph, bahumbug.

  34. JohnJ October 26th, 2014 3:26 pm

    Very good, Peter. Thanks.

    I don’t see any reason why adding weight to a ski would alone inherently increase dampness. Do you have any comments on what construction materials or techniques would have that effect? I notice that you mentioned pre-pregs, light core, and ABS sidewalls above. Would you care to elaborate on this?

    I also note that See’s comment a few posts above is aimed in the same direction.

  35. tony nitti October 26th, 2014 6:22 pm

    Sorry all, I was traveling for work the past few days and didn’t realize this had published! By the looks of the comments, I have a lot of catching up to do.

    Matt, I prefer not to name specific skis I didn’t care for on the blog because that type of thing is so personal, but if you’d like to email me at, I’d be happy to discuss specifics through email.


  36. tony nitti October 26th, 2014 6:33 pm

    Oh, and Matt, here in the comments I will favor long-winded honesty over providing a concise review. The V8 is the first “touring” ski I’ve ever owned where I could ski the 1,500 vertical of Highland Bowl in ideal conditions and not reach the bottom and say, “I wished I had my alpine boards.” In my opinion, they are a technological marvel in the way they handle everything from hero pow to spring corn. And I shouldn’t say “handle,” because they really, really rip. I am a serial sampler of bikes and skis and such, and rarely is there a piece of gear that I find irreplaceable. But if my V8s got stolen or broken tomorrow, rather than consider that an omen to try something new, I would immediate go out, buy a new pair, and make them my everyday touring ski again. To me, that’s the ultimate compliment.

  37. John October 26th, 2014 7:34 pm

    One example that could work for “crud busting testing” would be the two types of DPS skis, the lighter Pure and heavier Hybrid for direct weight comparison. Does anyone want to throw down on 2K worth of skis to test this? Maybe there are some other companies that do the two versions of the same ski but it would be an interesting test. PMGear maybe?

  38. See October 26th, 2014 7:52 pm

    One thing I find interesting is how few “carbon” skis are actually all carbon, as opposed to glass/carbon mix. (I guessing here). Combine full carbon layup with very low density core (e.g. honeycomb) and you get a ski in a different weight class, yet glass and wood still figure prominently in most high end skis (again, I haven’t actually dissected any $1000 skis to confirm this, so correct me if I’m wrong).

    Cost obviously is a major factor, but I wonder if wood and glass aren’t just plain hard to beat when it comes to making a ski that has the elusive “feel” that makes a great ski.

    (And Matt, why not just use 25 or 28 tires instead of the 23’s? Higher volume, lower pressure, better compliance.)

  39. Jim Milstein October 26th, 2014 9:16 pm

    Adding weight to a ski does not affect its dampness, but the added weight does lower its resonant frequency. This suggests you can “tune” skis to your favorite chatter frequency by bolting small pieces of depleted uranium to tip and tail. I have some other ideas too about how to ski in close harmony.

  40. Bar Barrique October 26th, 2014 10:47 pm

    Hmmm; I have been watching this thread for a while, and, I guess that I will add my 2 cents worth:
    1. Yeah; ultra lightweight skis may not be the ultimate crud busters, however; I am still not going to carry the heavy weight stuff “just in case”, I might meet conditions that favour them.
    2. If you should encounter really “crappy conditions”; the limiting factor may be your “tech bindings” (limited anti shock) rather than the performance of the ski.



  41. Matt October 27th, 2014 12:24 am

    Wow, despite my longwinded interjections, this thread just gets better & better.
    I’ll try & keep it short for a change:
    @Tony: I will reach out via email. High praise indeed.
    @John: +1 on the idea of head to head testing of 2 DPS versions. I believe Black Diamond also makes models in carbon / non-carbon versions as well. Would this give us “identical” flexing skis at different weights? Dunno, but it’d be a start.
    @Lou: like See, I’m in this discussion for the ideas, not just to flatter my own bias. As far as lightweight crudbusters, I’d love to “ski it to believe it” (unlike See, I love to demo). I’m here on your site, however, because access & time limit my ability to ride everything of interest. A focused article / shootout on mass vs. crud would definitely have my attention.
    @See: I have a big stack of the Conti 4000s in the garage in both 23 & 25mm. 23mm saves a bit of weight for big climbing rides, and are thus on my lightest climbing wheels, but since I’ve started using newer, 23mm+ wide rims as my daily drivers, I’ve become a big believer in 25mm tires. Both 23mm & 25mm work a lot better when you open them up wider, no question. I do use 28mm for gravel road riding, but for the road that’s overkill.

  42. Dan October 27th, 2014 1:15 am

    Lou et al: I’ve pretty much decided on V8’s as my next ski, but I’m undecided on length – 176cm or 186cm. I could use a little sage advice.

    ME: 5’11, 165 lbs, 30 years old
    BOOT/BINDING: BD Factor, TLT Speed Radicals

    SKIER INFO: I’ve skied 4 seasons in Whistler totalling 300-400 days almost entirely on 188cm Rossi S7’s with Dukes. I love them but they’re worn out and heavy – hence the Voile V8.

    USAGE: For the next few years I’ll be doing 100% backcountry (Coastal Mtns). I’m an aggressive skier. Not into slow, loopy turns. I ski all the usual good stuff: steep chutes, tight trees, moderate drops etc.

    WHERE I’M AT: I assume I can handle the 186cm V8’s, but I’m tempted to go with the 176 because it’ll be more practical (lighter, easier kick turns, fits in my little car better etc). However I do like to open the throttle, so I wonder if there will be a noticeable loss in performance at speed. It’s a tough decision because I’ve skied a lot but I’ve only really ever skied one ski. I did buy BD Drifts 176cm two years ago but they flopped around at speed so I sold them quickly. Supposedly they are a soft ski though.

    Thanks guys!

  43. Matt October 27th, 2014 2:10 am

    First off, if you’ve really progressed in 4 seasons to the point that you are aggressively skiing Whistler’s burliest terrain, I’m a bit at a loss as to why you want a speed radical as your one & only daily driver?
    Simply put, if you’re charging hard in serious terrain, you want a binding with a brake: Radical FT fits the bill far better, if not a Beast. The style you are describing begs for one of Dynafit’s freeride bindings with a rotating toe, & heavier preload springs in the heel, not a brakeless, ultra-minimalist, touring binding

    Also, if your style is “aggressive, not into slow turns” why are you on an S7, and why would you consider the V8 with 40cm of tip & 30 cm of tail rocker?
    These are both playful, extremely turny 5-point skis, and do not suit the style you describe at all. Others will have to speak to the V8’s performance at speed, but the S7 has a well-defined speed limit. If what you’re after is a charger, there are a lot of stiffer skis with more substantial tails that fit the bill far better: almost anything from Moment, Volkl & Blizzard comes to mind.

    Hate to send you back to the drawing board, but you really need to be honest with yourself & align your genuine abilities & priorities: the gear you are considering is simply ill suited as a quiver-of-one for a straightlining hard-charger, & the length question would simply answer itself.

  44. Lou Dawson 2 October 27th, 2014 5:13 am

    Dan, I don’t get the Duke/S7 thing either. That’s like putting a 6.6 liter Duramax in a golf cart with aired down tires (grin). And none of our testers felt the S7 was the sort of ski that would feel solid at speed. V8 is in my opinion more of a performance ski, but still, with the tail tip it is indeed not what I’d call aggressive nor designed for fast skiing. So, taking you at your word about what you want in your future ski, I agree with Matt, go for something designed for fast aggressive skiing. As for bindings, if you’re going 100% backcountry, in freeride style, again if you’re used to Dukes I’d think you’d want a tech binding designed for that, as I’m assuming you’re using big boots and will indeed be on big skis.

  45. Lou Dawson 2 October 27th, 2014 5:29 am

    Matt, regarding your time budget. It sounds like you might substitute some skis for your wheel quiver (grin)? Seriously, I do make the bicycle analogy once in a while, I’ll do it again. If you don’t have more skis than you have bicycles, and sell/upgrade skis just as often as your bicycles and wheels, it’s time to channel Obewhanskinobee and get your prana flowing through the beneficent chakras.

    And all, you’re psyching me up to continue to work with our local testers here in Colorado. Most ski companies are very willing to provide us with planks with long or short-term loaner programs, we just need to stay on the case with testers such as Tony, Perl, the Christoff brothers, Louie, myself, Lisa, Joe Risi, etc.

    Which reminds me, we’re seeking another intern, 8 or 12 month commitment. Duties include organizing ski testing and hot tub upkeep. Please contact via Facebook.

  46. Peter October 27th, 2014 6:45 am

    @See. Yes, all of your assumptions are correct.

    @matt, re: testing carbon vs. non-carbon models back to back. Unfortunately, I don’t know of any that have the same flex…..maybe DPS? The BD skis are quite different flex between the models.

    There are a few reasons for that. One of them may be the target market. And this brings me to another point:

    *A LOT* of people are convinced that carbon fiber is brittle, or fragile, especially bikers. They say things like “carbon just breaks” or “my carbon toy wore out”. The truth is carbon composites are ridiculously strong AND tough (per weight and volume) and have a near infinite fatigue life ( But, we as consumers are bombarded by images of broken carbon fiber race gear.( Why?
    Think about the target market of all-carbon gear. They want the absolute lightest and highest performance and are not afraid to pay for it. They are not looking for comfort or long life, they want to win! So, designers in general, make carbon fiber products on the bleeding edge. And these products fail when pushed past that close edge. Contrast this with someone buying a mid-price point product in any sports market (skis, bikes, boats, lacrosse sticks).
    So, just like weight is not the CAUSE of dampness, carbon is not the CAUSE of fragile products. Carbon is the material of choice of designers when they’re making a product to push the envelope. A designer could make a product that is much more durable than an comparable steel/aluminum/wood/etc product, but who would pay the big increase for it? The weight and performance benefit would be reduced and the cost would be even higher (more material). Hi-end super performance products have always had less life span and higher risk than mass-market general products (even steel bikes The fact that recently they’re made out of carbon fiber is not the carbon’s fault.
    So, next time someone says something stupid like, “Carbon is brittle” correct them and say, “no, hi-performance race products are brittle, they just happen to be made out of carbon these days.”

    Fortunately, this tide is turning. Companies like Whisky Parts, Foundry Cycles, and DPS are producing carbon parts geared more towards durability and adventurous use, not just lightest weight. As carbon manufacturing gets more main stream you’ll see the public’s opinion of the material shift. Anyone remember the opinion of aluminum bikes when Gary Klein started out? Now look at the bike market….even steel tubes are going oversize and thin wall.

  47. Fraser October 27th, 2014 9:36 am

    The esoteric points of ski weight vs. dampness makes for an intestine discussion; but today’s reality is that the best skis available to ski in heavy crud weigh more than the average touring skis. Usually in the vicinity of 2.2 – 2.6 kg.

    But you’re probably not going to be skiing one of those skis with Pintech bindings and a touring boot. Interested in how the new carbon V-Works Katana will compare to some of its heavier rivals.

  48. Matt October 27th, 2014 10:35 am

    @Lou: wish I lived in CO to give you a hand with testing. You’re right: I probably should use the buy/resell method more as a channel to try new stuff rather than chasing demos all over NorCal & NV. I’m less of a serial-owner than a find-the-ideal-rig-&-tweak it guy. I retired from eBay selling after some bad experience with seriously psychotic buyers, but I probably need to take a deep breath & dive headfirst into Craigslist. As for the wheels, they get ridden into the ground each & every day I’m not on the snow: that’s the advantage of living just below the snow in CA ;~>

    @Peter: I’m an ex ski & bike industry guy. When Scott first introduced carbon poles, they brought 3 sections of tubing, one steel, one aluminum, one carbon. The rep then proceeded to dent the sh*t out of the metal tubes with the carbon tube, and then handed us the carbon for inspection: not the slightest sign of damage. I think the average cyclist has come petty far in the recognition that it’s bomber design that makes bomber parts, not the material. Exhibit A would be the huge success of carbon All-Mtn & Downhill bars in the 740-760mm range.
    When Pinkbikers aren’t afraid to drool over carbon bars in the forums, you know even the broalition is on board. My new Santa Cruz Solo came with SC’s 760mm / 35mm carbon bars, & they are mind blowingly strong & precise. They’ve shrugged off crashes & let me tease every last bit of lateral precision out of my Pike.
    Apropos Santa Cruz: they should also be on the list of carbon-for-strength builders. The bros sniffed early carbon SCs like the 4″ Blur suspiciously. When the Nomad went even stiffer in carbon, however, they began singing in the choir.

  49. Dan October 27th, 2014 12:11 pm

    Matt and Lou,

    I really appreciate the voices of reason. My winter plans involve several multiday cabin trips & long traverses with people on lighter equipment, so I’m trying to shave weight off my S7/Duke/Factor setup without heavily compromising the skiing, but I’m not good at making these decisions.

    My first attempt at dropping weight was 2 years ago with Black Diamond Drift skis/Vertical ST/Dynafit Aero FR boots. The boots were too soft, skis had an intolerably low speed limit but the bindings seemed okay. I had the DIN at 9 and I popped out sometimes but it was tolerable.

    BOOTS: BD Factors already have a season on them, so they’re staying.

    BINDINGS: I think you guys are right about the Speed Radicals. I’ve been thinking of bindings as the best area to save weight but this may be going too far. The thought of tomahawking down a chute with skis on leashes is scary. Eventually I’d like to get some skinny skis for fast traverses so I was hoping the Speed Radicals could do double duty, but they may simply be unsuitable for my primary usage. The new Radical FT 2.0 bindings might be the best weight/performance compromise if anyone actually gets them in stock. Hmm….or the G3 Ion. I’ll do more research.

    SKIS: I’ve been debating both the Voile Charger and V8. I think I like the S7’s because they’re nimble in the trees and steep tight chutes (Fissile, DOA, Decker Finger chutes) and I haven’t noticed a speed limit. I’m concerned the Chargers are going to be a handful in tight trees and thus more of a one dimensional straight line ski.

    Thanks again.

  50. Matt October 27th, 2014 11:41 pm

    The short answer:
    S7 speed limit 40mph. For truly fast skiing 185cm+. You want a turny ski, not a charger.
    The sermon:
    If I understand correctly that you’ve only been skiing for 4 years and only on a Rossi S7, it’s logical that you haven’t noticed its limits: the ski has shaped your development, and you haven’t experienced a ski with a more substantial, supportive tail that is meant to be skied at big-line speeds.
    The S7 is a very versatile powder ski that skis remarkably well in many conditions for what it is, and you’re fortunate to have learned to ski at a time when some of the best skis on the market have designs that beginners & intermediates can actually handle & keep as they progress.
    That said, it’s a relatively soft ski with a highly raised & rockered pintail: what does that mean? Worst in class tail support when things get fast, landings get bigger, and snow conditions get more varied & challenging.
    This is not a dis on 5-pt skis: I own the Armada JJ: it’s basically a lighter, poppier S7 with less tail taper. I love this ski, but if I were skiing big, fast, consequential lines I’d leave it at home.
    I would strongly suggest you go out and demo some of the better skis designs on the market to get a feel for what your options truly are: what you’re saying your skiing style is vs. the ski you are asking for appears very schizoid to those versed in both ski tech & technique.
    I don’t know if you mountain bike, but it’s a bit like going onto the weight-weenie forum on MTBR, stating that you’ll be riding Red Bull Rampage this year, and asking which XC 29er would be best for the job. This = does not compute.
    If you’re concerned the Charger will be a “handful” in tight quarters, then you don’t want a big-mountain ski for high speeds. Voile’s Charger may be substantial for a touring ski, but there are true big-mountain rippers out there that will eat it for breakfast. Your concerns reveal that what you *really* want is a nimble, turny ski like your S7, just be clear that you can’t have both. On big lines, a big ultra-stiff ski will help you man up. In tight trees, it will manhandle you unless you have the power to show it who’s boss turn by turn. That’s why skiers tend to build quivers.
    The V8 will be nimble like your S7 in pow. It will be 3+lbs lighter. It will have a more supportive tail. It will NOT charge AK lines like Morrison’s signature model.
    Embrace that, and if it feels good, go for it.

  51. Lou Dawson 2 October 28th, 2014 5:29 am

    Thanks for the wise words Matt, you should be doing some guest blogging. Lou

  52. Dan October 28th, 2014 8:57 am


    I think your comments are spot on. Thank you for taking the time. Everything you said sounds insightful and I’ll put more thought and research into it. I’m leaning towards buying the the Radical FT 2.0 bindings which aren’t out until January, so that gives me more time to mull over skis. I’m on Vancouver Island this winter (ie. touring in Strathcona) so access to ski shops, demo skis etc is limited.

    For 1/2 of my first season I skied foam core 80mm waist ultra soft skis from a big box store. The tails would fold when I tried to land anything. When I bought 188cm S7’s the tails were a revelation, so I’ve always viewed them as stiff when actually my reference point is abnormal. The S7 = charger ski idea was reinforced by the knowledge that several Whistler area pros were/are skiing S7’s (ie. Matty Richard, Dan Treadway).

    I appreciate the Rampage analogy 🙂

  53. Laurent.f October 28th, 2014 9:14 am

    Hello the wildsnowers,

    I am looking for some advices.
    I ski in french alps, with a 95 waist ski with a as my daily quiver (zag Ubac) I found they work fine in most conditions except perhaps icy slopes where the edge is less good (perhaps due to the fact they are light too).
    Given all the praise that V8 have received, I am questioning whether they would be good for me or not as a second pair of ski (for touring and very occasional days at the resort) / perhaps 5-7 times per season). I would say I am an intermediate skier (I can ski quite well in good fresh powder and spring snow but not that well on crud or wind /really hard snow) and I don’t ski too steep terrain (max 40°). I skitour around 20-25 times a year from December till May and I am not afraid of significant heights difference (up to 2000m per day max)
    I am looking for a ski that can make me enjoy the way down without too much penalty and would be forgiven & easy especially in difficult snow. Of course I would put dynafit bindings on them, and would use my current boots (Sportiva spectre)
    In the alps, the snow can be variable, we know in ski touring we do not always have these perfect pow days we all dreamed of…
    Thus how do you feel about having this ski for the french alps?
    Would you feel secure to use them on a icy exposed traverse for example? or in a 40/45 ° couloir in average snow (meaning not hard snow but now 25 cm fresh powder either). As you know in Europe the standard for skis is rather around 85-95 mm max….so I am trying to single out the benefits of the Voile V8 with its 112 mm waist versus its drawbacks (which I assume are hard snow performance and the fact that there is more friction on the way up with a large ski despite the fact they are quite light for their waist).
    Would I be able to notice a significant difference versus my current pair of skis (which are already at 95 mm waist?).
    PS : please forgive if my English is not perfect I am French 🙂

  54. Lou Dawson 2 October 28th, 2014 9:44 am

    Hello Laurent, good to hear from France! No, V8 wouldn’t be appropriate for year-around use in Alps, due to prevalence of ice in dangerous places. It’s essentially a powder and soft-snow ski that’s fun on piste provided the snow is not too hard. I hope that helps. ‘best, Lou

  55. Laurent.f October 28th, 2014 10:21 am

    So I guess they would work fine as a second pair of ski (for soft snow /powder) so primarily for winter conditions from December till March.
    I am just trying to assess in case I screw up in the assessment of snow conditions if I could survive with such skis in case there is a part of the descent with steep icy /hard snow (e.g. couloir entrance, hard snow traverse) and I how much fun they are compared to my current skis in pow and soft snow in other more tricky snow conditions (crud, windsnow…)
    The other issue is that I like to try ski before buying them and so far, i don’t find any Voile dealer in France or Swiss neighborhood; I contacted Voile guys but no answers from them, I guess they don’t need to sell in Europe…any idea where I could test them?

  56. Lou Dawson 2 October 28th, 2014 10:45 am

    Yes, that’s why they’re in our Ultimate Quiver!

    Regarding use of wide rockered skis on ice, keep your edges sharp, that really helps with the survival rate (grin).

    Not sure about availability. Contact Voile through their website.


  57. Lou Dawson 2 October 28th, 2014 10:47 am

    Oh, come to think of it, I think Cripple Creek mentioned to me that they’re trying to sell international.

  58. Matt October 29th, 2014 1:03 am

    Gentlemen: in the sage words of my truth-seeking hero Irwin Fletcher, “ne dada.”
    And Lou, I’d be seriously interested in doing some testing & writing on some of the comparo projects mentioned above and on the tech binding thread, e.g.:
    DPS pure vs. hybrid for mass / crudbusting.
    G3 Ion vs Dynafit Radical FT 2.0 shootout
    In fact, it strikes me that these tests could be done simultaneously, and we could get two interesting blogs out of just mounting these two ski/binder combos.

    Yes, I’m in CA, but Fedex can help there.
    And I’m open to suggestions if you have other, more pressing projects you’d like help on.
    Ping me at the address I entered to publish this, and we’ll talk.

  59. Lou Dawson 2 October 29th, 2014 5:48 am

    Hi Matt, I’m working on the comparos and take your suggestions to heart. We’re not a big mainstream operation with a shipping budget, so it’s difficult to expand our “remote” testing program, especially since we live in a world-class resort area with thousands of terrific skiers available here as gear testers. But we could probably get you involved to one degree or another. Remind me again as things progress. Thanks, Lou

  60. Mark November 13th, 2014 12:16 am

    I’m considering the V8 for my touring setup, paired with my first pair of Dynafit bindings. I’m a bigger guy – 6’2, 230 and will be using this setup for half day or day long tours in the Wasatch backcountry. Any comments on the V8 compared to the K2 Coomback for a bigger guy like me? I’m also cheap and there are some killer deals on the Coombacks. I’m specifically wondering if the flat tail on the Coombacks make a big differences versus the tail rocker on the V8. Any comments?

  61. Lou Dawson 2 November 13th, 2014 5:36 am

    Mark, that is a super question. Both skis are excellent. If I recall our weight evaluations correctly, V8 is lighter weight but does ski quite a bit different due to the tail tip. If I were you I’d evaluate based on style. If you ski playful and enjoy having that turned up tail on your skis then V8 would be a clear choice. If you ski a more basic style and/or are used to having some tail behind you then the flatter tail would probably be nicer to have. At your size the percentage weight of the skis as compared to your strength is a trivial concern, I’d purchase by price and downhill performance needs.

  62. Jeremy G. December 3rd, 2014 10:35 pm

    Hi there. I’ve just discovered your website this winter, which has coincided nicely with my desire to do more backcountry skiing. I love your in depth reviews and civil, thoughtful discussions in the comments. I’m not sure if anyone is checking this thread anymore, but here is my question:

    I am an intermediate level skier looking to ski backcountry almost exclusively. I am looking for a ski that can handle all the backcountry conditions here in central Oregon with a bias towards powder and corn. I want something forgiving that isn’t going to be too much for me to handle but that I can grow into as I develop some more skill. I also need to hit the sweet spot between cost and weight.

    So it seems to me that this ski might fit the bill. Any thoughts? I’m 6′, 160 lbs. What do you think for length? Any other skis I should look at?
    Thanks so much,


  63. Lou Dawson 2 December 4th, 2014 6:30 am

    Hi Jeremy, when a comment goes up people see it either through email subscriptions or the “recent comments” list over on the right. So you got seen.

    You don’t need to look any farther than V8.

    In terms of length, if you’re an intermediate skier the 186 in my opinion would be a rather huge ski for backcountry. Start with the 176, it’ll be a bit easier to handle both on the up and the down.


  64. Jeremy G. December 4th, 2014 10:49 am

    Thanks! That’s exactly what I needed. I was paralyzed by the number of choices out there.


  65. Lou Dawson 2 December 4th, 2014 11:05 am

    It’s a plethorial cornucopia!

  66. Jeremy G. December 6th, 2014 6:05 pm

    So one more question if you don’t mind. I went to my local shop to order up some v8s and they were pushing the carbon convert pretty hard. With the deal they had going on they were the same price. Since they are so much lighter do you think it’d be worth picking up a pair or is the V8 still a better match for me? Just a newbie over here trying to make sense of the options. Thanks again,


  67. Lou Dawson 2 December 6th, 2014 6:19 pm

    Depends on your style of skiing. If you like having a more twin tip type ski do the V8, otherwise for human powered skiing the Carbon Convert would be good. In the end, if you are paralyzed with indecision, tell the shop you’ll buy the one that they knock another $50 off of and throw in a free mount of course. If they don’t help out, flip a coin. Lou

  68. Tom February 11th, 2015 5:44 pm

    Hi Folks,
    I am looking for a nimble, light, and floaty ski for backcountry here in VT. I am 5′ 10″ 165-170lbs and consider myself a solid veteran skier. I am aggressive, but I prefer slalom to straight-lining. Due to bugetary restrictions and the time rations of young father, I have skied on my single setup of 180 Verdicts, Dukes, and 130 Factors for a few years now both at the resort and in the local backcountry. I should also mention that this setup was heavily influenced by the deals at the time and while. While I have made them work for me and have appreciated the small amount of rocker in the Verdicts on the extra deep backcountry days, with a little more money in my pocket and time on my hands I would like to invest in something that is obviously lighter, has more float on deep days, and is quicker and more fun in tight trees. If I had my druthers, I would put Vipecs on V8s (have to keep the Factors for a while). The Verdicts can feel quite long at times with a more traditional tail and little rocker and for a while I have dreamed of a 175ish ski, however I am nervous that the 176 V8 will feel too short with more rocker up front and in the rear as well. However, I am having a hard time seeing myself weave through the tight saplings on the runout of my favorite local spot in anything longer than 180. I guess my question boils down to whether I’ll get enough float out of the 176s. Any thoughts would be appreciated and thanks so much for you time.

  69. Lou Dawson 2 February 11th, 2015 6:05 pm

    Tom, I’d say you’d get enough float out of the 176. The longer ones are huge skis. We’ve had them both around here so I know them well. Lou

  70. Dylan Witwicki March 23rd, 2015 2:36 pm

    Does anyone have advice on what size to get? I have been re-reading the comments section over and over and can’t come to a conclusion.

    I’m 5’10 and about 165 pounds. Looking to make this ski a dedicated touring ski. Not sure if I should go for the 176 or the 186. I like to make a lot of turns but still want to be able to float well as well as be stable enough in choppy/variable conditions.

    Im leaning towards the 176 but feel like i might regret not going for the 186.

    I think I just need somone to tell me that a 176 is ok or not ok haha!

    Thanks for any help!


  71. Lou Dawson 2 March 23rd, 2015 4:10 pm

    176 should be fine

  72. brandon mimbs November 4th, 2015 8:30 pm

    Pretty sure i am going for for the V-8. I’m 6’3″ + 175lbs. Assuming the 186cm is what I should get. right? would the radical ft be the better setup due to wider mounting plate? also interested in the V6, but only 2 onces less for the 188, why not go wider? curious- would the 183 be a solid ski for my size for spring/mountaineering? better weight savings. thx. ready to seal the deal.

  73. Bryn March 27th, 2016 7:03 pm

    I’ve been compelled by the V8 ever since its introduction to the Voile lineup, but didn’t like the length offerings (the 176 was shorter than I wanted to go, and the 186 too long). Happily, Voile has added a 181cm version for the 16/17 season (actually, they put a few pairs out as an end-of-season release, which I promptly took advantage of). Check their site, but I believe they’re officially out of the 181 V8 until Fall ’16…

  74. Bryn March 27th, 2016 7:59 pm

    I realize that this adds exactly nothing to the weight/dampness conversation here…but figured that this info might reduce the number of “which length should I buy” questions.

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