Quiver Arrow of the Week — Voilé V6 Ski Review


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | March 9, 2016      

Julie Kennedy

Shop for Voilé skis here.

Guest blogger Julie wrings out the Voile V6 just a few days ago.

Guest blogger Julie wrings out the Voile V6 just a few days ago.

Spring has sprung here in the Colorado Rockies. Time to put those big fat boy skis to bed and get out the moderate width lighter weight planks for enjoying boot-top powder and velvet corn.

Deep, blower face shots are indeed the dreamiest and my all time favorite ski turns, but it’s hard to complain about skiing in a light shell, baseball hat, and rippin’ carving skis.

Testing touring skis where they should be tested -- in the varied snow of the backcountry.

Your guest blogger, testing V6 touring skis where they should be tested — in the varied snow of the backcountry.

When asked to be a part of the WildSnow Girl ski testing, without hesitation I jumped on board and took out a pair of Voilé V6 in 163cm length and 97mm underfoot.

Voile V6.

Voilé V6.

I began my testing by skinning up and skiing on a local resort hill. Goals: Evaluate weight and swing on the uphill, then tune into the performance on the down. Weight vs. performance — always the big dilemma when purchasing alpine touring skis. Lord knows the going up isn’t getting any easier for some of us — if the ski down makes you giggle with enough joy, you go right back up for that second lap. That’s what happened here.

Voilé V6 weighs 1345 grams per ski which translates into 5 lbs/15oz. per pair. Having skied all winter on my fat powder boards which were 112mm under foot, and weighed 1450 grams, the Voilé V6 felt quite a bit easier on the uphill.

The ski down on the V6 was a surprise. I was able to run these skis at a much higher speed than I have ever allowed myself on an alpine touring skis. I was blown away by the overall performance of these planks. Edge control from ski to ski was right there, deliberate, with zero chatter, tip to tail. It was all about throwing my hip into my turn and letting the ski just rebound into my next turn. The feeling was magical, I do not exaggerate.

Being super psyched on the way Voilé V6 skied, I opted to take them to our backcountry ski cabin for a test in “real” conditions — the good, bad & the ugly. And yes, we experienced all conditions from wind blown blower plate, to breakable wind crust, to dreamy cream cheese.

My take away was pretty simple: “trust.” I fully trusted the V6. I felt I could rock this ski in any condition. Need I say more?

Admittedly, 1345 grams is not the lightest 97mm x 163 cm ski on the market, but given its excellent performance on the downhill, the bit of extra heft is acceptable. And perhaps most impressive about the V6 (and Voilé in general) is the cost. MSRP for the Voilé V6 is $695 and end-of-season sale prices may drop even lower. A bargain worth considering.

For more, read WildSnow’s previous review of Voilé V6. V6 has been in play for a while now, with no reports of undue fragility or other issues that rise in “consumer testing.”

Shop for Voilé skis here.

Length tested: 163 cm.
Weight: 1300 grams per ski.
WildSnow weight/surface score of 75, which is below average and similar to many other top quality skis that are optimized for touring.

(WildSnow Guest blogger, Julie Kennedy, former owner of Climbing Magazine, founder of the 5Point Film Festival and terrific skier — WildSnow Über Girl!)



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Comments

29 Responses to “Quiver Arrow of the Week — Voilé V6 Ski Review”

  1. Maciej March 9th, 2016 11:15 am

    Julie,

    How much do you weigh? What other touring skis have you used?

    I’ve found the V8 to be notably gutless in the shovel, which is a bummer because Voile skis are otherwise well built and reasonably priced. Maybe the narrower version has shovels that deflect less? Voile Busters had a WAY stiffer (better) tips, but aren’t available anymore.

    I’m 5’9″, 155-160 pounds and prefer to ski aggressively (driving the front of the skis rather than guiding them through turns).

  2. See March 9th, 2016 11:33 am

    I haven’t skied Voiles since the Carbon Surf, but it looks like they make so many sizes that I wonder if you can’t fine tune the performance by just going up or down a size.

  3. ShailCaesar! March 9th, 2016 12:28 pm

    That weight question if pretty funny!

  4. Lou Dawson 2 March 9th, 2016 12:33 pm

    Indeed, you guys need to understand something, we have women’s ski reviews. However stereotypical it may be, we would not include the gal’s weight in the review, nor would we analyze the exact percentage of aspen wood vs resin in the core, or the percentage of running surface taken by rocker…. get the point (grin)?

    As for what other touring skis Julie has used, the list would be several hundred long. Seriously. That’s not including alpine skis.

    Lou

  5. Nathan March 9th, 2016 1:58 pm

    Maciej,

    I suspect you’d be happier on a longer V8. I’m 5’8″ and 200lbs and a very aggressive skier.

    I have none of the issues with the V8 (186) that you seem to have, but did experience similar on the Buster (176) and I believe 100% that the size made the difference performance. I still love the Buster, but wish I could’ve gotten it in a longer length.

  6. Maciej March 9th, 2016 4:18 pm

    Lou,

    I know it’s a touchy issue for some folks, but how a ski responds is directly related to skier weight (far more than height or gender).

    Nathan,
    You may be right but I had a set of 176 Busters and they were fine for my size (I unfortunately ripped a Dynafit toepiece out of those, but that’s a nearly universal problem if you charge on touring setups and easily fixed with threaded inserts).

    At 5’9″ I just don’t like skis taller than me (about 175cm) for the backcountry. Kick-turns, jump-turns and the sort of billygoating that self-powered skiing often entails is way easier on shorter planks. I don’t think the shovels folding in dense soft snow and the ski loading and releasing HARD (like chatter, but lower frequency but higher amplitude) on firm snow would be better with a little more ski unless the shovels were a bit stiffer and more damped.

    As a contrast, I tried a set of 178 cm Volkl Nunataq’s this winter. They were light, lively, easy to ski at low speeds but amply rewarded being skied hard.

    My concern with reviews like these is that without relevant metrics (skier size, skiing style etc.) and some kind of comparison to similar products it’s hard to make an informed decision when purchasing a product. In a perfect world, we’d all demo 10 sets of skis every time we buy a set. Especially with backcountry skis it’s often difficult to try a bunch of skis-particularly across enough of a spectrum of conditions to really know how they’ll handle.

    Reviews like this one end up acting as ads for ski manufacturers-just saying a ski is good is an awfully anodyne description.

    I love how Wildsnow’s examination of bindings and boots is detailed and comparison between products is the norm. I know that’s a lot harder to do with skis but some consistent metrics beyond weight/surface area would be appreciated (and to be fair, almost nobody does ski reviews this way because of how involved the process is).

  7. Lou Dawson 2 March 9th, 2016 5:29 pm

    Sure, the ski reviews could be better. Am always working on it. In the end, there is absolutely no review in creation that is going to be able to tell you what ski you would be happy with as the “best” for you.

    As for height and weight, I think you are obsessing, all our testers use a length appropriate for their height and weight, if you shop, you should too and you’ll basically match what we do here. It’s not some kind of technical mystery, actually pretty basic.

    As for our reviews being advertising, they are not. In fact we are very careful about that, especially with guest bloggers who do sometimes get out of hand with breathless praise. But we do generally only review stuff we like, so the overall tone is positive and tends to appear to pump the products. That’s our way. If you want a lot of negative reviews, look elsewhere.

    I’d also add that the comments are indeed here for you to use to do clarification, and most folks here are quite helpful.

    Lou

  8. See March 9th, 2016 9:40 pm

    “I don’t think the shovels folding in dense soft snow and the ski loading and releasing HARD (like chatter, but lower frequency but higher amplitude) on firm snow would be better with a little more ski unless the shovels were a bit stiffer and more damped.” In my experience, longer skis are stiffer and more damped.

  9. Truax March 9th, 2016 9:41 pm

    I also vote for proper length based on your skiing preferences. I’ve owned the 173 and 183 V6. I’m 178cm/150lbs max. Backcountry skiing only. Type III skier who enjoys all aspects of touring and enjoys opening it up when possible.

    The 173 was lackluster and underperforming while the 183 was SO much better. I was hoping the smaller and lighter 173 would do the trick but learned my lesson by skiing them.

    As for WS reviews, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that reviews like this (and some other ski reviews here) are sometimes underwhelming. I know this is no blister gear review, but maybe some more standardization and info (verified specs, profile pics, etc) could be brought into the format. As always, I appreciate all WS has to offer and just thinking there’s room for improvement.

  10. See March 9th, 2016 10:08 pm

    I recently got a pair of skis where the two skis had markedly different flex. IMO, unless and until skis achieve greater standardization (quality control), reviews that claim to describe the performance of a given make/model in minute detail across all sizes are mostly blowing smoke. (Incidentally, according to Voile website, V6 comes in 163, 173, 178, 183 and 188.)

  11. Wookie March 10th, 2016 2:22 am

    I love these skis. You may also love them. If they are not reviewed on Wildsnow – they are either unknown to Wildsnow, or they are not loved. If you think Wildsnow and your style of skiing are similar – you might wish to consider the skis Wildsnow loves.

    That is about all I really want from a good ski review.

    I find the endless stats, measurements and comparisons between A, B and C tedious – and pretty useless when trying to find a ski to buy. Skis are all unique – I have multiple pairs and and I would call them ALL polar opposites to each other – which is an oxymoron in itself – but illustrates the point that these things are kind of “uncomparable”.
    I personally like Lou’s reviews because from what I know about him, I think we have a compatible skiing style. I figure if he likes it, I’ll like it. Beyond that – I’d like to know what he likes it for, and if he foresees any possible deal-breakers, like “won’t fit with binding A” or something like that. Everything else is for the breathless review guys at blister to obsess over, or the marketing machine that is TGR to slobber about.
    If you are 5′ 9″ you should probably be on skis made for 5’9″ people – its not valuable to me to hear all the minute differences between the different lengths of skis. All I really need to know is: “they ski short” or “they ski long” – thats enough for me.

    As for these skis in particular: One of the reasons they are so good is that they are a rounded package. They aren’t all things to all people, but the tips are matched to the tails, the weight to the performance, the butter to the grip. They are – in nearly all respects – unremarkable – which is, in my opinion, the definition of a great ski, one you kind of don’t notice. You just ski.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 March 10th, 2016 5:59 am

    See, I’d agree, it’s true that writing style might imply that one of our testers liking a ski means it’s good for anyone, any size. While a good ski can translate across sizes more often than not in my opinion, it’s true our reviews are specific to one user, sometimes one gender, sometimes one style of skiing, and one size ski. I’ll keep that in mind while writing and editing.

    In the case of V6, it was reviewed by a tall guy, good skier who does a lot of backcountry, then by Julie, gal on shorter skis, who does a lot of backcountry. Both approve of the ski.

    As for quality control of any product, any ski pair should be checked for similar camber and flex once you get yours… or perhaps in the ski shop before you even buy them? Another reason to work with a shop instead of etail?

    And thanks Wookie, good points. We do seek a more narrative style of “reviews” and come from the POV there is no magic formula of ski specifications but that ski design and production is an iterative process, involving on-snow testing, that’s tricky to reverse engineer but just stating metrics as comparison between products.

    Ski publications have for years attempted to chart the differences between skis, in terms of flex, geometry, construction, etc. While some things really do hold true in terms of what ski a person might like (e.g., metal or no metal?) I’m convinced that some metrics are good to have but it can easily go overboard.

    Lou

  13. Lou Dawson 2 March 10th, 2016 6:07 am

    Truax, like I said above, we definitely have a gender specific agenda with how our female reviews are presented. We intended them to be less technical, with more talk about overall feeling of the ski and perhaps just some feel-good words about skiing in general, as Julie did.

    But we’ll vary it, and sometimes we’ll put in more of a factual breakdown.

    V6 is just simply an excellent backcountry ski. We could do some kind of star chart broken down to 16 types of snow, along with testing it for vibration frequencies in a physics lab (oscilloscope photos, anyone?). But we don’t do that, and don’t feel the need…

    As for us doing better. We of course are always trying to define “better,” but we do listen to you guys and consider the feedback.

    I’d also add that here at WildSnow we are blessed with having some VERY experienced skiers do our testing. Myself, I’ve got nearly 50 years on skis in the backcountry. Julie has been on skis for longer than that, but she’s younger than me (grin). Bob Perlmutter has done everything from Las Lenas to skiing 14,000 foot peak descents with me, has about 50 years on skis, and easily skis more than 100 days a year in backcountry snow as a powder snowcat guide. Our younger testers have deep experience as well, going into multiple decades on skis, with world travel from Alaska to Cham. What we’re doing here is not just fooling around with a group of friends, yucking it up between beers. This is real ski testing with skiers who have literally skied hundreds of pairs of skis. If these guys say they like a ski, I feel no need to put it on the oscilloscope.

    Lou

  14. See March 10th, 2016 7:29 am

    Sorry I didn’t make it clear in my earlier comment that I think Wildsnow ski reviews are excellent. One of the things I like about the reviews here is that they usually make sense (at least to me). This is not always the case with reviews from other sources which sometimes seem to be less a test of a particular model ski, and more a list of subjective impressions gathered from taking a few runs on a ski that may have been the wrong size for that particular tester, on that day’s snow, and their sandwich had the wrong kind of mustard.

    So, to be clear: three of the four pairs of skis I use regularly appeared in a Wildsnow ultimate quiver.

  15. Lou Dawson 2 March 10th, 2016 7:35 am

    See, all clear, main thing is we really appreciate your comments.

    And, what is the outlier ski you’re on, 220 cm Atomic race stock Worldcup downhill skis?

    Thanks, Lou

  16. See March 10th, 2016 7:48 am

    Those would be a blast for sure, but the outliers are old school Mustagh Atas, which are entering semi-retirement. Pretty soon my only regular skis under 100 wide might be my skate skis (which I wasn’t counting).

  17. Lou Dawson 2 March 10th, 2016 8:09 am

    The “100” width is seductive if you do much natural snow skiing, for sure… But it’s funny how fun it is to mix it up, at least for me. Probably something to do with human nature; getting used to the same thing and craving stimulation. Lou

  18. See March 10th, 2016 8:41 am

    Definitely not getting rid of the Mustagh Atas. Great skis that have served me well.

  19. Jim Milstein March 10th, 2016 1:48 pm

    I just took a census of my current ski gear. Almost all of it was reviewed here on WS. I’m very happy with it. You are doing something right; don’t stop, Lou.

    PS, for me equipment demo days are worthless. I need a few days and varied conditions with ski gear to know what I think.

  20. brandon March 10th, 2016 2:15 pm

    in utilty, how would you compare wayback 96 and v6, other than wayback being way lighter. I got a pair of v8s, 186 this year. If its soft they are so fun, but they are super fat, so i don’t feel they are a quiver of one. Unfortunately, no real weight savings for me with the V6.
    p.s. one blog to rule them all thx.

  21. swissiphic March 10th, 2016 3:36 pm

    “…ut it’s funny how fun it is to mix it up…”

    +1, Lou. It’s a great pleasure to ski deep pow with both 128mm underfoot and successively with 98mm underfoot the next day. Some factors may be different, but if everything is tuned correctly and the snow’s right side up, it’s the same damn turn. A mighty fun one, at that.

  22. Lou Dawson 2 March 10th, 2016 3:38 pm

    Hey Brandon, indeed, that’s a pretty tough comparo. Julie is a big k2 fan, so her liking the V6 is telling. We have a pair of tester K2 Talkback 96 in her length, 1344 grams per ski in 166 cm (or thereabout, I don’t see an “official” length printed on the K2, thus same weight as V6. She skied the Talkback and liked them but seemed to give the edge to the V6.

    So, point being that the Talkback is higher performance version of Wayback, so if Julie thought Talkback and V6 were in the same class, then that leaves Wayback behind. I’d agree with that take, having used Wayback quite a bit. Good ski but not a quiver of one.

    Lou

  23. Harold March 11th, 2016 12:49 pm

    Lou,
    I generally like your reviews but sometimes think they could be a bit more detailed.
    I mean it’s known that you guys tend to use the skis for a longer time period before you review them, so why not talk a little more about how they work in different snow conditions? No need to get super nerdy about it either.

    As for the “womens” ski reviews, i really think you’re doing your female readers a big disservice by assuming they don’t want a more detailed technical talkup of the skis you review. Readers can always skip over the overly technical jargon anyway.
    In the case of someone like Julie K. reviewing the ski i really don’t think it’s unreasonable for a man of the same approximate weight and skiing style to at least appreciate what she would have to say.

    So yeah, guys might appreciate a womans take on ski performance, you really should have a little more info on female ski testers height/weight and ski style.

  24. Lou Dawson 2 March 11th, 2016 3:44 pm

    Harold, point taken, but I’m only the messenger. I don’t write the reviews the gals are doing. Lisa takes point on that and she edits what comes in. If someone of the female persuasion wants to write a techie review, we’ll publish it. But seriously, I don’t think doing so is essential to the integrity of WildSnow. Lou

  25. Jacquie March 19th, 2016 1:09 pm

    I’d like to weigh in on the skier height/weight factor. At 5’0″ and 120 pounds, I’m pretty small, though a very good skier, if I dare say so myself. I suspect my size has quite an effect how I perceive a ski’s performance and I’d put more weight on reviews by someone closer to me in size. Therefore, information on the tester’s size is important to me.

    I’d also like it if manufacturers put some information on their websites about the length of a given ski for various size/weight/ability of skiers.

  26. Lou Dawson 2 March 19th, 2016 4:13 pm

    Hi Jacquie, you do have a point, but please know that how a given length in a ski does for a person has much to do with their style of skiing. Knowing someone’s weight is not a magic formula for translating the length they like to the length you might like. Some of the manufacturers do try to offer recommended lengths vs weight, but depending on style you can go a whole step above or below that.

    As for you in particular, what length skis do you usually ski on? That can sometimes be easily translated to what you’d like in a different brand-model. After all, it’s not like there are dozens of choices, it usually comes down to three different lengths, with one length obviously quite short, one close to your height, and one that’s quite long and best for fast aggressive skiing.

    Also, it’s worth noting that the use of a person’s height to pick a ski is as much based on average weight as anything, but also has to do with what tours easiest (kick turns) and saves weight.

    Lou

  27. Daniel May 4th, 2017 12:42 am

    Which size V6 do I want? 183 or 188?

    6’2 180lbs, medium fast, controlled skier (don’t dare saying finesse) 50/50 resort/bc, tours can be 6000ft vert.

    Current skis are a barely tip- rockered 179 Scott Crusair and a 184 Wailer 112.

    Thanks for your input!

  28. Daniel May 4th, 2017 1:24 am

    body eight is 187cm to clarify

  29. Daniel May 9th, 2017 9:02 am

    Classic quiver-of-one dilemma.

    Looking for a 100mm Ski to replace a 92mm AT ski and a Wailer 112.

    Candidates: V6 183, W99 hybrid 184, (Coomba 104 177, I dread the longish 184 for touring)

    I remember liking my 1st gen Coombacks until toe piece ripped out. I like my Wailer 11 2sin good snow, less so in manky conditions.

    6’1-6’2, 180lbs, good but not great skier, 50/50 inbounds/tour. weight is no major concern, everything sub 2kg will do.

    Would appreciaty input and comparos between wailer and V6, and maybe coomba/coomback 104. thanks!





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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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