Seeking Objectivity with the Voile Objective — Ski Review

Post by blogger | April 18, 2016      
Voile Objective touring ski, proof that the one-kilo option is real.

Voile Objective touring ski, proof that the one-kilo option is real. After ‘discovering’ this low-mass sleeper, I re-mounted with lightweight bindings that do them justice.

I try to be objective. I really do. But I’m still a weight weenie and when a ski comes in this sleek and affordable I perk up and take notice. What’s excellent about this testing cycle is I weighed the Voile Objective _after_ I skied it with a heavy binding. I didn’t know it was a feather that’s just about the lightest ski we’ve ever tested. It skied quite well, handling hardpack in an understated yet reliable style, and on the soft stuff feeling like the supple 84 mm waist ski it is.

There are more exciting skis, there are more expensive skis, and there are heavier skis. In other words, as tester Bob Perlmutter said, “throw the lack of weight, lack of coin and reasonable performance in a hat, mix it up, grab a handful, you’ve got a winner in the Voile Objective.”

Lack of edges and protector at tail reduces weight and probably helps with cost.

Lack of edges and protector at tail reduces weight and probably helps with cost. We are conflicted. Less weight is good and winter ski touring in Colorado is easy on skis, but abuse your ski tip or tail in icy or rocky conditions and you might need more protection. But, if you’re going to forgo edges to save weight and cost, why not go farther and see what happens? To that end, we’d like to see is a ski such as this that totally goes for the “edge elimination” by only having steel under the non-rockered mid section. Or, how about a “powder” touring ski with no steel at all, just some ABS edges? Nordic skate skiers seem to do ok without steel, why not powder skiers?

Voile trimmed mass from the Objective by truncating the steel edges some distance from tip and tail. We don’t mind that at the tip, but be aware that if your type of skiing involves much scrounging through rock fields and hopping dirt patches, a tail without much of a protector is vulnerable. One other thing about how it skied, short. Due to how supple this plank is as well as having a bit of “tip” and rocker in the tail (as well as plenty of rocker at the front) my 178 cm testers definitely felt shorter than that. So go with forehead height if you want this guy to work like a normal plank.

Rocker begins at 32 cm.

Rocker begins at 32 cm.

What would we recommend these for? Clearly, at the Objective’s price and weight this is the best “entry level hut touring” ski we’ve ever seen. Example? You’re in Colorado and heading to some of the 10th Mountain huts that involve fairly long walks as much as they do actual skiing for turns. You’re a good skier but on a budget. Grab a pair of Objectives, mount any brake-less lightweight tech binding, pair with a touring shoe such as Scarpa F1 or Dynafit TLT, throw on some 100% mohair skins, have fun.

– MSRP $695, available August 1, 2016

– Weight 1092 grams, 178 cm

– 117/84/100, 19.5 meter radius.

– Binding offset 21 cm


Notes: This is 6th lightest ski we’ve measured in weight/surface chart with a score of 64, and one of our lightest in plain weight/length ratio as well. Some of this has to do with truncated edges at both tip and tail, along with construction that’s clearly optimized for touring not for hardcore downhill skiing. When flexing out, tail seems slightly soft, luckily Objective is not too rockered or turned up at the tail, otherwise it would wimp out.

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25 Responses to “Seeking Objectivity with the Voile Objective — Ski Review”

  1. Aaron April 18th, 2016 3:14 pm

    I love my Vectors and am looking for a lighter/skinnier option. Thanks for the review.

  2. Eric Steig April 18th, 2016 5:45 pm

    I might be disappointed. I don’t like the shortened edges idea. These aren’t lighter than Cho Oyo are they? And not much less expensive. I am intrigued, because of the no-wax base option for mellow spring skiing (e.g. long approaches, ice fields) in British Columbia. But except for that, seems to me a Cho Oyo might be a better choice.

    Thoughts on that comparo, Lou?

  3. Lou Dawson 2 April 18th, 2016 6:05 pm

    Well, I was out on them again today, in good snow and difficult snow, was impressed. Hard to compare to Cho Oyo. Cho is a “sidecutty” feeling ski that’s fairly stiff and doesn’t have much rocker. Objective is supple, has plenty of tip rocker, and does not feel nervous. Cho has its place. It’s fun to ski because it is lively and pops. This ski is easier but not as lively. Apples to oranges somewhat…

    Both Bob and I have tested these extensively now, I’m racking them up and moving on to the next plank, or, if I want something for a long tour I’ll put some mohairs on these and go, or, perhaps I’ll grab the Volkl VTA88, or?


  4. Andy Carey April 18th, 2016 6:15 pm

    Voile is rockin’ now! I bought a pair of Vector BCs and mounted them with speeds and liked them so much on XC Ski Patrol that I bought a pair for my wife mounted with Vertical STs! My experience with the Vectors and Wildsnow reviews prompted my to get a pair of V8s (mounted with Plum Yaks) to replace my Stokes, Mantras, Nanuqs, and Bibbly Pros (all gone now!) as a deep snow ski; with my Mercuries, they were a blast skiing powder side-country lift-served. But I’ll have to pass on the Objectives as I really do like my Cho Oyus for firm to shallower soft snow and my Movement Shifts (with Plum Guides) for medium deep soft snow; I’m looking forward to trying the V8s bc, but haven’t had a chance.

  5. Mr. Tall April 18th, 2016 10:18 pm

    178 is the longest length? Ya gotta be stinkin’ kiddin’.
    I like my V6’s. I’ve been wanting a set of Vectors and the Objective looks nice too.
    Sure wish Voile would make some longer lengths in their skinnier skis.
    Voile are you listening?

  6. See April 18th, 2016 11:15 pm

    Anyone know what size V6’s were available at introduction?

  7. Mr. Tall April 19th, 2016 1:06 am

    I bought mine the first year and they are 188. I’d a bought a 195 if they made them.
    Vectors been around a good while now and still no longer size.

  8. Eric Steig April 19th, 2016 9:24 am

    Lou and Andy: thanks to both of you for the feedback on the Cho Oyo vs the Objective. Interesting. “Easier” does seem like the right thing for a pack laden long tour. I know people are down on no-wax, but in the PNW, such bases work incredibly well in nearly all conditions we get. Sounds like I might “need” a pair of each.

  9. Wod April 19th, 2016 10:09 am

    This seems like an interesting ski but if the longest length is 178, not for me. Had the V8 176 which skied too short (I’m 6’1″, 185 lbs) then got Charger bc 182 and loved it! Except for the no-wax. Turns out I like glide and a packed or icy track has the scales noisily slowing you. I loved the idea of it but not practical for the type of skiing I do. Feel like Montana stone grinding those things off but no.

  10. Lou Dawson 2 April 19th, 2016 10:10 am

    Eric, the problem with “no-wax” for me isn’t so much the grip (you can always stick some ski crampons on), it’s how they ski downhill. I hate the way they feel. It’s like having bad wax on x3. My take, anyhow (grin). Lou

  11. Lou Dawson 2 April 19th, 2016 10:11 am

    You guys realize we tested the smooth base version of Objective, right? Lou

  12. Bryan April 19th, 2016 11:57 am

    “Entry level ski” = me cringing. Nothing worse than sending entry level skiers out into the backcountry with light skis. Lets face it…the weight penalty going up is irrelevant if you’re skis are deflected 6 ways to Saturday every time you point them down. Light weight skis NEVER go down hill well. They might be “good” if you’ve been backcountry skiing for 15 years…but not if you’re new to the sport.

    Expert skiers, sure these might be great…but we really gotta keep beginners out of this type of gear. It’s a recipe for disaster.

  13. Rick April 19th, 2016 12:57 pm

    I see recipes for disaster relative to beginner skiers in the backcountry on a constant basis – gear does matter to a certain extent but first and foremost beginners might be better served learning to ski in a more controlled environment .. just my two pennies ..

  14. Paul April 19th, 2016 1:14 pm

    I think “entry level” needs to be defined. Most newbies I see in the backcounty are strong skiers new to the aerobic side. Sending a good skier out on heavy gear to suffer through 3k vertical to ski something that was regularly skied on 210 long x 55mm wide skis and leather boots 25 years ago is not doing them any favors. It does limit the crowds, of course.

    I’d disagree that light skis NEVER go down hill well. Weight ? skis well and light ? skis poorly.

  15. G. Kuchyt April 19th, 2016 2:57 pm

    Was this a pre-production ski or is this the final product? I thought the Objective was supposed to have a skin tip notch like the WSP? Did that get axed?

  16. Andy Carey April 19th, 2016 2:58 pm

    Eric Steig: I bought the Voile Vector BCs primarily for doing XC Ski Patrol on the MTTA system. Previously I had used the following waxless skis: Madshus Voss (NNN-BC), Salomon X-adv (3 pin), Karhu Pinnacles (3 pin) Fischer Outtabounds (3 pin), and Karhu Guides (Dynafit Speeds). One of my fellow patrollers switched from Guides to the Vector BC and recommended them. I now use the Vector BC with speeds because (1) they climb very well on all kinds of snow; (2) they handle all kinds of crud on the way down, even boot and snowshoe tracks; and (3) they are short, fat, floating, quick to maneuver, and hold and edge even on icy groomed snow, where there is just a tiny bit of buzz (much less than the others mentoned above). I ski them with TLT6 boots often without tongues or straps; in the more difficult snow, I’ll put in the yellow tongues. I have skins for them but have yet to use the skins even for low-level tours at Mt. Rainier. I plan to do a number of tours at Mt. R. on them (but I use my Chos for the apline/glacier skiing).

  17. Lou Dawson 2 April 19th, 2016 3:23 pm

    Bryan, I hear you about “entry level.” If I use that term I mean it in a positive sense, in that every consumer item is a combination of shopping goals, and that the newbie has a different set of goals, often including price since they’re getting hit with buying a big kit all at once. If we find a ski that goes ok to good on the down, isn’t too heavy, and costs less, then I’d call it “entry level.” Of course if the “entry level” customer wants the best, there are plenty of online stores, website affiliate links and retailers who will be happy to advise (grin). Lou

  18. Lou Dawson 2 April 19th, 2016 3:33 pm

    G. It’s from the batch of skis they make for ski testing, which sometimes is part of the greater production run and sometimes not. The photo on the Voile website does not show the notch. Me, I wish they’d put it in as we love that type of skin attachment. Lou

  19. Eric Steig April 19th, 2016 8:04 pm

    Lou: I hear you on the no-wax. And ues, I realize you were testing the smooth-based version.It can drive you crazy, and for what you do 99% of the time it doesn’t make sense. I wouldn’t look twice at them if I still lived in Colorado.

    But on a spring corn day or a wet “powder” day in BC, or any mellow tour with lots ups and downs, it’s can be pretty darn wonderful. I love my Karhu Guides for exactly this reason.

    (This is old now but back in the day I was teaching the kids, they were great for resort use: I was on telemark bindings and if the kids needed me but were uphill from me, I could just turn around and go uphill.)

  20. Scott Nelson April 21st, 2016 8:09 pm

    Skied these yesterday in some new, wet spring-like, very, sticky/grippy snow. Really nice on the up. Lightweight. Even liked the Voile skins, great glide in the wet snow, no clumping. Downhill, due to aforementioned snow conditions, I did not like them. Snow was very sticky, so hard to get an accurate impression of the skis capability. Did think that the tails are pretty soft though. I imagine in better snow, they’d ski pretty well. I’d use them for an versatile uphill fitness rig.

  21. See April 21st, 2016 8:40 pm

    In my opinion, pattern vs. smooth base is the same for at and nordic— skating is more fun.

  22. Jim April 27th, 2016 9:06 pm

    Don Sharfe of Rocky Mountain Outfitts (great shop by the way) in Kalispell turned me on to kicker skins this winter, short skins under the foot. Any shop has a dozen sitting around they’ll give or sell for a few bucks. Great for the long road approach.

  23. Chad October 7th, 2016 8:55 pm

    Are you going to do a review of the BD Helio 88’s?

  24. Rick Edwards October 9th, 2016 8:07 pm

    Hello! I love the idea of the Objective, but they are twice as expensive as the Madshus Annum. Are they that good? Thanks for your input!

  25. Eric B. May 6th, 2017 4:00 pm

    Doubt if I need these new Voile’ skis.
    I have two pair of BC skis:

    1. old ATOMIC TM 22 Tele skis for steeper terrain
    2. Asnes Combat-Combi Norwegian army skis (ONLY from Neptune Mountaineering, Boulder, CO) These are for BC touring on less challenging terrain.

    I have Voile’ release bindings on both and use Voile’ cable bindings with them. My boots are Scarpa T3 and they do very well on the Atomic TM 22 skis. My old Vasque leather 75 mm ski boots are better with the Asnes skis.

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