As a dedicated gear junkie, after being given the opportunity to review a new piece of equipment, my reaction is limited to one of three possible responses:
“I wouldn’t turn it down if someone handed it to me for free.”
“I’m intrigued. I’ll buy it, give it a shot for a while, and see how it goes.”
“MUST. HAVE. IT.” Wipes drool from chin, raises limit on credit card.
(You’ll notice that response #4 is not included; actually giving the gear back. That wouldn’t make me much of a junkie, would it?)
This winter and spring, I’ve been fortunate to do a fair amount of backcountry ski reviews for Wildsnow. Yet none of the test planks engendered the third, and obviously most enthusiastic, response. That all changed when Lou handed me a pair of 2013-14 V8 by Salt Lake City’s own Voile.
Voile will add the V8 to its stable of current planks, which includes the Vector, Charger and Buster; a collection which has quickly built an avid following among the human-powered skiing crowd for its industry-leading combination of low weight and powder performance. Also forthcoming from Voile is the WSP – an entry-level ski-mountaineering race ski. But let’s be honest: we don’t drool over skinny race skis; rather, our Pavlovian response is reserved for big powder boards.
And that is what we’re getting in the V8: a 110mm-underfoot soft snow dream in the 176 length, to be exact. Word is the ski will also be offered in 165, 186 and 195 lengths, with the waist growing along that range from 107mm to 119mm.
At first glance, the V8 may look identical to Voile’s enormously popular Charger, but there are some subtle differences that make for a very different ride.
For starters, while the 176 V8 sports the same size waist as the 171 Charger, the V8’s tip is 140mm wide compared to 134mm for the Charger. The V8 has noticeably more sidecut and a shorter turning radius, making for a more playful ski and better carving on spring corn.
In addition, Voile removed one layer of carbon from the Charger construction when putting together the V8. While this may make for a slightly less lively feel to the ski, it leaves the V8 at less than 1800 grams in the 176, resulting in the smooth, light uphill performance that has become the hallmark of the Voile line. Indeed, according to our weight spreadsheet the V8 176 scores a weight vs surface area score of 76, which is just above the carbon fiber feathers. V8 gets a 9.24 on our weight vs length chart (which doesn’t consider width). That’s average to below average even compared to narrower skis. In other words, you get some bang for your buck when you consider the weight and width of the V8.
So how does the V8 ski? First, a confession: I wanted to love the V8, for no reason other than it’s beautiful to look at. The rockered tip, the tapered tail, the clean, surf-inspired topsheet — the V8 simply begs to be held, admired, and yes, skied.
And it delivers. Without naming names, I’ve been on over a dozen backcountry skis this season, and the V8 was the first that I simply had to have. I put it through its paces – on frozen hardpack, sun-baked mashed potatoes, day-old chunder, and in two feet of pristine, blower powder. The V8 never disappointed.
Obviously, a ski with these dimensions is designed to float, and that is certainly what the V8 does best, smearing high-speed turns in bottomless snow just as well as your trusty front-side Rossi S7. This is not a coincidence, as the S7 is the ski the V8 is admittedly patterned after.
When things turn a little less ideal, the V8 becomes a bit of an engineering marvel. Like Dynafit bindings, the V8 gives you the feeling that it’s both lighter and stronger than the competition, refusing to get kicked around by heavy or refrozen snow despite its paltry weight.
If you’re looking for a complaint, like most skis with a light weight and rockered shovel the V8 is prone to a bit of tip chatter when skiing the front-side at high speeds. Also, here at WildSnow we prefer skis with less tail rise (so they jab in snow more easily as anchors, and weigh a bit less per unit surface area). We also like tip and tail rescue holes. But truthfully, that’s all I’ve got. The V8 won me over, and I can happily pay the ski the ultimate compliment a dedicated gear junkie can offer. Next season I will own a pair of a pair of shiny new Voile V8s. Credit card limit be danged — and if Lou doesn’t include these in the Ultimate Quiver I’ll eat my boot liners.
(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 Forbes.com, 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.)
Beyond our regular guest bloggers who have their own profiles, some of our one-timers end up being categorized under this generic profile. Once they do a few posts, we build a category. In any case, we sure appreciate ALL the WildSnow guest bloggers!
What boot did you test ride these skis with? Would you recommend a beefier boot to drive this wide of a ski? I ski the dynafit TLT 5 mtns.
Mike, I test all Lou’s quiver skis with Dynafit One boots. They are NOT a beefy boot: a 110 flex, and fairly light. And believe me when I say, these skis are not heavy; my guess is your TLT 5s would drive them fine.
I don’t know why this myth persists that you need a heavier boot to pair with a heavier ski. It’s not that simple. Depends on length of ski, style, weight of ski, type of boot, and so on. Mike, Tony is probably correct in that your TLT5 would work, but please give us a bit more of an idea on who you are as a skier so we don’t steer you wrong. Lou
I’m still skiing Dynafit mounted Asylums as a dedicated mid winter BC setup. Awesomely light. They float. They’re nimble in trees. You can carve them. Okay, they have a speed limit. So do I. They’ll be replaced after next season with another Voile ski. I like the weight and they ski well in soft snow. And what the author didn’t mention is that they always run a hundred bucks less than their competitors. I’ll take it.
Thanks for the fast response. I currently ski the TLT 5 mtns with an 172cm atomic tacora (117/80/104). I ski pure backcountry (never lift service) and do so in northern california. I consider myself an advanced skier… I am comfortable on slopes up to 45ish. Sometimes I wonder if a bigger boot would help me drive my tacora’s through the sierra cement… or perhaps I just need a wider ski like this voile and or something with a rocker. I am looking for that ski that maximizes the weight to performance ratio… I guess who isn’t. But I err on the lighter side of things when I have to make a choice. Thanks for the advice!
Ayyeee. Voile scores again. Just when I thought it was safe.
Any word on whether there will be a “BC” version (waxless) of these skis?
From Bruce Tremper’s book, alpha angles:
Continental 19-22 (Colorado)
Remember these are used to figure maximum extent of a slide’s run (or figure if a slide can get to your campsite or route), they can go shorter but generally don’t ever go past the lower number unless very extenuating circumstances. Tremper does a thousand times better at explaining it all than I’ll ever do.
loving the comments. exactly the ski i want. owned s7’s for 4 years. love them, minus the weight penalty.
what is the width of the 186’s? is there a sideview pic to show rocker profile?
Ryan, sorry about no pic of rocker, my plan is to start always adding that, but the skis are out for testing with some guy who is cruising around in his new Sportmobile and he’s been hard to pin down (grin).
Speaking of the S7, we have Soul 7s here in testing. They ski fine as a backcountry ski, but while no doubt lighter than previous models they’re still too heavy to make our cut for Ultimate Quiver, seeming as we have skis like the V8. We are all really high on Voile with the V8. I mean, the price will be right, they’re light, everyone likes the way they ski, and so on. I just wish they’d trim a bit of the vestigial appendage off the rear. They’d be even lighter and more useful for mountaineering with less of a tail-tip. I guess everyone at Voile skis backwards or something (grin).
This sounds like a very nice ski. How tall/heavy are you Tony?
I am lookimg to add a fat tourimg ski to my quiver (only one ski at present!) I currently use Scott Crus’air 179 and am happy with these as a do it all touring ski for a wide variety of conditions. However, when their is powder something wider would be fun. Currently weighing up a number of powder options – but towards the top of the list is e new BD Carbon Megawatts or the Voile V8s. I also own older K2 Coombacks’s but dont get on with them.
Any thoughts / suggestions on what I should take into account and more specifically differences between these two skis?
Sizing question on the Voille V8: I am 180lbs without my pack, 6’1″, 62YO, ski at moderate pace, ski all terrain, trees and chutes, will mount with dynafits, transitioning from tele skiing the last 40 years to alpine with little alpine background.
As an old fart, would i get the 176 or the 186. I am a pretty cautious skier. I plan my turns and am not reckless.
More than you wanted to know. What do you think?
I’d probably put you on the 176 for ski touring. It’s plenty wide. Let us know how the transition goes, 40 years of tele with little alpine skiing might result in somewhat of a learning curve. Lou
The heal has been free for a long time.
JonB: Eat less granola and more strudel; the heel lockdown will seem more natural.
Zip, finally, someone explains how come I ski the way I do. As always, wisdom of the wildsnowers! Thanks, Lou
Hi Lou d,
Grettings from across both the equator and the international dateline.
After reading your response before heading out to the hills yesterday, I was thinking about it while in the skin-track….
The warm feeling I got from being included as a “wildsnower” was a lot like when Benny Wilson looked me in the eye, took my hand, and pressed an Air Force patch into it.
Between that, and the implication that I posess some sort of wisdom, you can bet your strudel that I was on top of the world!
I do have another theory about you, your preference for AT, and your derision of all things Telemark. For now I’ll just keep that to myself.
P.S. It is “zippy” (feel free to capitalize), not “zip.” The connotation is quite different. Thanks.
Just got back from a hut trip last night, and while we were out in the hills, and only a few days after you taking me in as a wildsnower, I was doing a field repair on a Dynafit binding!
Seems the plastic thingy that sits under the heel had slid out laterally, and into the snow. I’m no Dynafit guru, but it looked like it might have been an AFD type of thing. When the skier looked at her other ski, the binding was completely missing that part.
She couldn’t get it back in its track, but with a little bending and a little pushing/sliding I managed to get it back in. It didn’t seem very tight, like it might have fallen out again. It wasn’t as as loose as a strudel sliding out of a greased pan, but not very solidly connected either. Is this something that would benefit from some adhesive (epoxy?) or is the sliding part of its function? Also wondering how safe/dangerous it was for her to be skiing with the piece missing from her other ski.
One of the other skiers took me for some kind of information source for Dynafit bindings and started asking me about the Beast, so I natrually sent her to your “week of the Beast” coverage.
Known defect of early Radical series models FT and ST. The defect was fixed with an inline change. If your friend got the binding from a dealer, dealer should honor the change by doing a warranty swap to the improved brake unit. Binding functions without the part, but is safer with it. Yes, it’s an AFD.
I guess if you’re a telemarker fixing Dynafit bindings, that counts for something (grin).
Thanks for the info, I passed it on to the skier in question.
In my opinion, part of being a _good_ backcountry skier is ability to effect field repair of your own gear.
Part of being an _excellent_ backcountry skier is ablility to effect field repair of your touring partners’ gear as well. In a sense, you depend on your partners’ gear almost as much as your own, since a failure in anyone’s gear can have serious consequences to all in the party, especially on longer (e.g. multi-day) tours.
I strive for excellence.
If, however, you were to whip out some good chocolate (or a nice strudel) to share with touring partners while you fix their bindings, that would nudge you towards the “superb” category.
Best, whip out a smartphone with WildSnow.com 100% cached for access anywhere. Lou
Have to disagree with you on two points:
1) If you or your partner is on Tele or a splitboard, wildsnow,com is of little to no use.
2) Smartphone isn’t nearly as tasty as strudel.
Lou, this ski seems to be in the space of the Dynafit Huascaran… are they pretty similar and, if so, do you think the edge goes to the V8 because of the lighter weight? Or is it that simple?
Also, I’ve only skied skinnier 167cm Voodoo skis with a 88mm waist and am not sure how to go with length on fatter skis like this.
I love lots of aggressive turns rather than speed, am an intermediate/advanced skier, at 5’6″ and 155lbs. Would you suggest I’m more of a 165cm guy or a 176cm guy for a ski like this???
Tony, If you had to make do with one pair of skis for touring and front side would you pick the V8?
Lance, if you’re touring and like turning, I don’t see why the 165 wouldn’t work fine. Remember the tail-tip makes the ski short for given length. In terms of comparison to other good skis, difficult, but the price of the V8 is such a good value…
Lou, back in May on this thread you mentioned testing of the Rossi Soul 7s. There has been so much buzz lately about the Soul 7 as a powder oriented one quiver (though admitedly heavy for all day tours). And sense of the down hill comparison between the V8 and the Soul 7?
Please excuse a similar question… I’d like to pair these in a 186 with Dynafit Speed Radicals and TLT5 Mountain boots… Just hoping for the best light powder set-up that can handle a wide range of conditions. Does this set-up make sense to you?
I’m 35 years old, 6″3 / 165lbs, ski fast and aggressively (mostly alpine / some trees), do some long tours from Atlin, BC and Skagway AK (continental climate to high precip coastal).
I already own a new unused pear of TLT5 Mountains. If another great, versatile pow ski comes to mind, please let me know. The Manaslus came to mind but my skis will see a lot of wind crust and rocks too!
ET, the Soul 7 is not a lightweight ski by our standards. It was one of the heaviest skis in our tests last winter. In terms of how it skied, we found it to be average. Meaning pretty good since all the skis we test are the top in terms of performance. So, what other pow skis? Voile V8 and Dynafit Huascaran come to mind…. Lou
Any recommendations for a ski from Voile, 4FRNT, La Sportiva, Faction, Icelantic, RMU, Liberty, Bluehouse, or Moment that can handle variable conditions with minimal chatter in high alpine terrain (hard pack to powder). Thanks!!
Im looking to downsize my quiver and get a ski that can handle it all in the backcountry. I weigh around 185 lbs and am 6’1″ I ski aggressively and love my S7’s but am on the fence about purchasing the Voile V8’s or Chargers in the 193 or 186 length? Any recommendations?
V8 193 would be something…
I am 185 lbs, 5’10” and ski half my time at the resort and half my time in the backcountry around Mt. Baker. I am an advanced skier but with a conservative approach. Currently riding K2 Backlashes so this will be a big jump for me. What size would you recommend Lou? Thanks in advance for your input.
I was looking around for a fatter ski after skiing the mt. baker superlights for the past 4 years or so and came across the V8. From the review and the descriptions it sounds like it could be a ski for me. I do almost 100% touring during the year, from single to multi-day tours in all kinds of conditions in the alps. My main complaint about the Mt. Bakers is that in choppy snow they seem to bounce all over the place.
So two questions: a) how well does a ski like this work if the terrain gets a little bit steeper and hard? Ideally I’m looking for a ski that I can use all the way into spring. and b) is thinking of using a ski like this with Scarpa Spirit 3s crazy? I’m 6’1” about 160 lbs. and a moderate skier.
I just bought the Voile V8’s in 186 and plan on mounting them with a pair of Dynafit Speed Radicals. Any suggestions on where to mount?
I have had the 188 cm Rossi S7 and did not like the deceleration secondary to the tips folding when going from less dense more dense snow; tips seemed to deflect a fair bit in crud as well. Also, seemed to ski quite short for a 188cm ski (Rossi 188 cm isn’t a full 188cm)
Any problems like this with the V8?
Your website is a fantastic resource! Thx!
Can anyone give me a comparison of the Voile V8 and The G3 District? Is the district stiffer? WHich would you say is a more playful ski? Thanks.
District is really stiff. And heavier than marketed. My 179 pair came in at 4.1kg
Any thoughts on the V8 vs. the Zenoxide C3? (I realize those are very different skis in basically all senses.) I’m 5′-10″, <160lbs, and ski around Lake Tahoe. I'm looking for a replacement for my K2 Backdrops at the end of this season. The goal is to get a lighter setup to help keep up with my lighter, fitter buddies who ride 1,300-1,500g skinny skis. I'd describe my skiing style as aggressive in uniform snow (either powder or groomers) but slow down a lot in crud or ice, and love tree runs. From what I've read here, the V8 sounds like it may ski more like my style, but the weight and all-around versatility of the Zenoxide is really appealing. Binding will most likely be the Vipec, as I'm having issues with my Radical STs releasing early and its pathetic brakes, and I'm wary of the idea of a leash (Radical Speed).
My third contender would be the Cho Oyu, but it's so different in weight and dimensions, I figure it'd be better off as a whole separate setup for ultralight days.
I bought a pair of Zenoxide and was turned of by stiffness. Not a round stiffness either. Returned before mounting. Bought V8 and it is softer and much rounder flex. Should be a great tree ski.
Thanks Paul. I did more reading after my post, and was starting to get a bit wary of the reported extreme stiffness. I’m now thinking I’ll wait to some of the new skis Lou has been reporting on (Voile V6, Dynafit Denali, and BD Carbon Convert) come out and go with one of them. The V6 sounds very attractive (slimmed down version of the V8) especially with the low price and being American made, but the lighter weight of the Denali will be really tempting.
Well I skied the district in a 179 and I didn’t like it. Stiff and not a nice snappy feel just stiff. I’ve bought a pair of v8s in186 and ill have them in the back country for 7 days starting Sunday. Ill let y’all know how it goes.
Rode the V8’s yesterday on windblown hardback. The skin up was a breeze but the ski down was work! These skis like to go fast but skip out when you lay them on edge with any sort of speed in variable conditions! Probably due to how soft and light they are. Not the most versatile ski out there but for the weight I can’t complain.
Wondering if anyone has skied both the V8 and the K2 Backdrop and can compare the two. Currently skiing the Coomback which I love. Ski about 80% backcountry and 20% in bounds and find the Coomback handles just about all conditions well but several seasons old now and looking toward the future. I like the idea of a bit wider ski (hasn’t hurt so far) but want a ski that will be as versatile. Like that the V8 is a 1/2 lb lighter than the K2 but not if it’s at the expense of versatility. Lastly I’m 5’7″ & 140# currently skiing the 167cm Coomback. Would stick with that length for the Backdrop but undecided on length for the V8? All thoughts welcome.
I just spent 6 days in the backcountry on a pair of 186 cm V8s. They’re a lot of fun but I’ve got to say that I don’t think they’re quite as versatile as reviewed. We had a lack of new snow and I found they were a little bit squirmy on the stiffer stuff. I have no doubt they will kill in the deep fluff but I have to say that I think I prefer my chargers for versatility. The v8s light weight was welcome on the way up but I think that’s were I think the squirminess comes from. Has anybody else had that experience? Also, I mounted my Tele binding a little back of the manufacturers suggested spot and I’m not convinced its far back enough. Any experience from anyone on that?
Todd, I haven’t skied the V8 yet, but I am currently on Backdrops (174cm @ 5’10” 160#). They seem to be very decent all-around: float decently (feel surfy in light snow), edge ok, don’t chatter on hardpack, and have a flat tail with a notch for skins. My biggest gripes are weight, wide turn radius (esp. in crud), durability (I’m quickly munching up the sides), and snow buildup on the top sheet (it’s dark and rough, not light & smooth). I got them on sale last spring for like $425 – for that price I think they’re good value, but I wouldn’t consider paying retail for them. That being said, I will probably keep these as a dump day ski, and grab something in the 100mm range (my eyes are on the new Dynafit Denali & Voile V6) next season for normal conditions.
I’ve skied the V8 ~13 days this month. Before I even mounted them up with NTN Freedoms, I did a stone grind and set edges with .75 deg base and 2 deg edge. Most days on hardpack and windslab drifts, some sections of even bullet proof man made ice, with ~5 days in boot top powder, lots of trees. Little bit of skinning. These skis are fantastic in all of these conditions. Carve like I’m on rails, most other patrollers I ski with are on narrower full camber skis if they can, barely keep up. For reference I have a pair of Volkl P40 GS racing skis mounted with NTN Freerides that I love to carve on, but have not been on since getting the V8’s setup. Enough float to make shallow 3-4″ fresh fun and ski great in deeper pow (Mount Bohemia, look it up). The V6 looks great and I’ll pick up a pair if they do a BC version.
Did you mount your tele bindings in the place the manufacturer suggests on the ski?
Sorry for the late response: Yes I did, mount center. However, the sticker indicating the center did not match the mounting chart http://www.voile.com/Voile_Ski_Boot_Center_Chart.pdf, on Voile’s web site. I went with the number on the chart and ignored the sticker.
Does anyone who has skied the 186 feel it skis relatively short? I usually ski 190+ type stuff but looking for this to be an all around touring specific ski- so leaning toward the 186 unless it skis super short and doesn’t float a 6’1″ 180 guy. Haven’t heard of anyone on the 193s.
Regarding the length of a 186cm V8. I skied a 191 Charger before and although I liked it very much I sometimes found it just a little long. I also am about 6’1″ 175 lbs and although the V8 i now ski is only 5 cm shorter it feels even shorter than that because of the tighter turning radius and the earlier rising tail resulting in a further forward binding mount. I do not find them too short but they definitely ski quite differently that the 191 Charger. They are much quicker to initiate the turn and they want to play. If you know what I mean. I’m enjoying them very much. I’m also the same guy who mounted back a little from the manufacturer’s spec. That did not work out. It was the reason I was finding them a little odd. I moved them up to the spec and they’re skiing great.
Great color Thomas thanks. This echoes others sentiment I have heard. It sounds like the 186 will be the right call.
Since I posted back in January I purchased the V8 in the 176cm length and got them today. I’m a bit concerned they’re too long but the 165cm seems like they’ll be too short! I’m 5’7″ around 143# (without any gear) and currently I’m skiing a 167 Coomback and have found that length to be good in that ski. My thought was for a ski with both tip and tail rocker a little more length would be what I want but before I mount them looking for some community feedback. Will primarily be used in the backcountry. I’m a very good skier, mostly skiing glades and trees with an occasional bigger line. Might use them on a powder day in bounds. Thoughts?
Todd- I ski the 176 v8. I am 5’7″. 165#. Great ski. Felt a bit short at first due to rocker, but I quickly got used to it. It’s super playful, loves quick turns, fun in The trees and powder. Solid ski. Mounted bindings at factory specs.
as a long-term reader but not writer I am following your blog for quite a while now. Many thanks on sharing your valuable opinions.
As I was in the mood for new skis this winter, after reading tons of reviews I ended up with the Voile V8. So far I do not regret the choice; in fact they are so brilliant, I am writing to you for the first time. Coming from trusty Dynafit Seven Summits, this ski was a revelation to me – I didn’t knew how much fun skiing can be.
I am 30y joung, 185cm, ~80kg + gear, I live in the Alps of Switzerland with mostly variable snow conditions (often the snow changes from powder to crust to wet spring-like snow in the same run). I got the ski in 193cm length, which seems to be fine, perhaps a bit long when it gets really narrow.
Of course in powder the V8’s are brilliant – lot’s of floating, you can go fast with them, but they also like to turn narrow if you like them to do so.
I am really surprised how well the ski handles in the other stuff; they are a lot more forgiving than my seven summits in all conditions so far. Sure, when conditions get harder / Icy they do not have that much grip when you do a traverse (-> Harscheisen needed sooner than with narrower skis, but that’s normal in this size).
I’ve mounted with a dynafit speed radical and am driving them with TLT 6 Mountain boots. This works fine, it is really not a heavy ski. So far my longest ski-tour was made with the V8’s, that was about 8000 feet vertical in one day; and it did work fine!
Thumbs up for you wildsnow, thank you that you’ve inspired me to try these out!
Regards from Switzerland,
Priy, thanks! We don’t mess around with our ski reviews. If we say something really works, we mean it and that opinion is usually based on a number of guys skiing the ski in full natural conditions, multiple times, over the course of weeks if not months. V8 conclusions were arrived at that way. We actually had and still have multiple pairs in play. One caveat is we are indeed biased to lighter skis due to our 100% focus being human powered skiing, so everyone should keep that in mind. Beauty of V8 is it’s below average in weight and above average in performance. That’s the magic sauce we’re always looking for.
What changes the sauce is that the “average” weight of a ski keeps getting lighter.
1st congratulations to this website which is a very useful resource for BC skiers. I am an avid readers of the various posts.
I have a few questions on the Voile V8, which looks very promising. I ski in French alps (mostly in Haute savoie Chamonix, nearby Swizerland Valais ) and do about 25 days of skitouring a year. I keep updating my skis to wider underfoot and I am wondering if Voile V8 would work as a daily quiver ski for European skitouring (except for spring season where I would use skinner ski, as I do believe that 110 underfoot is too wide). I like skis that are versatile (can handle any snow, not just powder, that are light and forgiven as I don’t have a perfect technique downhill when snow gets more difficult) .
-My questions to you skiers experts: can a ski like the voile V8 be used as a one ski quiver in European conditions?
-Which size is right for me ? (I am a light skiers63 kg and 1 meter 77), I am not a freerider, but like to go a bit faster when the snow is good. I would lean towards 176 cm as 186 cm way too long, any opinion on this?
– What are the benefits of a ski of 110 mm underfoot ski versus 95, (I usually tour on Zag Ubac which have a 95 mm underfoot & are light (2kg8 the pair of ski) I found them really nice in most conditions (see the specs of the skis here : http://www.zagskis.com/fr/nos-produits/skis/24-ubac.html) and in bound / lifts on Atomic access (100 mm underfoot, very easy in powder, forgiven ski but works OK on piste too, just a bit too heavy for skitouring (3.8kg).
I get that you get more flotation in powder with a wider ski but does it also help when conditions are tougher (like crust which I have difficulties to ski well) or is that more linked to my own skiing abilities?
I am trying to single out the benefits of such a wider ski for touring for my own skiing abilities and if I would be able to ride and enjoy a ski of 110 mm underfoot (and not only in ideal powder conditions of light powder snow) in Europe.
Thanks for your help!
Laurent, opinion will vary but for ski touring in Alps or North America I like the <> 100 mm width best. They have reasonable weight, fit nicely in the skin tracks but have plenty of float. Skis wider than 100 mm are nicer in certain conditions, such as loose “muck” snow. Wider skis are fun in powder, and also support certain styles of skiing with types of turns and riding that lend themselves to a wide ski with lots of rocker. I know guys that simply like to ski that way, so they use big long wide skis. They have fun, but what they’re doing is optional. In my opinion using a ski wider than 100mm for touring is usually not necessary.
As for length, in the 100 to 110 mm skis going with something around your body height is always a good choice for ski touring. If you ski a bit faster with open turns, and the ski is rockered, be careful of going too short. A 176 sounds about right. I constantly experiment with skis that come up to my cheek instead of forehead as I like shorter/lighter skis that are easier to carry on my rucksack. Funny thing is, skis without rocker are easier to ski shorter, so many skis have actually gotten longer again! Nonetheless, I’ve found that if a ski doesn’t have too much rocker and I keep my speed down, I can enjoy at shorter lengths, so once the powder season is over and we ski firn I tend to grab the shorter skis if the day involves much alpinism.
Getting back specifically to the V8, it is a very good ski but somewhat specialized in that you need to 1.) Enjoy a somewhat wide ski. 2.) Enjoy significant “tail tip.”
In particular, if you do want to try the V8 and have not skied twin-tip skis before, I’d strongly suggest hiring some skis that have significantly turned up tails and giving them a try first. They ski quite a bit different, though again, can be fun and support certain styles.
Thanks Lou that’s helpful, I ski in resort (off piste with lifts) using my atomic access which are indeed twin tip http://www.atomic.com/en-US/Products/Alpine/Ski/Powder/ACCESS/AA0024888.aspx?filter=
I found them nimble and forgiven and do OK on piste (except when it is icy) where I found they lose edge
How would the V8 compare to the atomic access ? Being lighter and fatter I suspect they would work better on touring in soft snow but not sure about the other snow conditions?
Laurent although I don’t have Lou’s wisdom and definitely don’t get to ski as many skis as he does I’ll throw in my two cents since I recently bought a pair of V8’s and have now had a chance to ski them a couple of times. I’m about 65kg and 173cm for reference. The ski I’ve been skiing for the last several seasons has been the K2 Coomback in a 167cm length (but actually is close to other skis I have which are 170 and 172cm) and I have absolutely loved this ski which is 102mm underfoot and has a bit of tip rocker. The K2 has truly been a one quiver ski for me both ski touring and even in bounds at the resort. I have both the K2 and the new Voile mounted with Dynafit bindings and use the Garmont Radium boot. I ski 50-75 days/year, mostly in the Idaho backcountry where I live and a bit in the resort when conditions are decent.
I cogitated on what length to buy for the V8 for quite a while (I have an earlier post on this question) not sure whether to go with the 166 or the 176. In the end I went with 176 and am glad I did. I got to actually see a pair of 166’s and they looked like they would have been too short. With both tip and tail rocker I haven’t so far felt I went too long. You’re about my weight and unless you are skiing nothing but big mountain lines at high speeds I would think the 176cm will be plenty of ski. My first skiing on them was in bounds on a trip to Grand Targhee. Conditions were packed or cut up powder. I found I could ski them adequately but they were not as competent as the Coombacks. Harder to get on edge and not as damp feeling. After 2 or 3 runs I went back to the car and grabbed the Coombacks. Last week we had a surprise Spring dump and I took the V8’s up to our little local mom & pop area, Bogus Basin, and for the first two hours could find untracked lines in 10-12 inches of new snow and they were incredible fun! I think the Coombacks would have also been fun but the V8’s definitely ski differently. More floaty is how I can best describe them. After that, however, when untracked lines were getting harder to find (there must have been a lot of people playing hooky from work that Wednesday) the skis seemed less manageable to me. They’re lighter and not as damp as the Coombacks and so got tossed around quite a bit more. Two days later I took them into the backcountry ski touring. For a big ski they’re light (although I’d like to see Lou do a weight comparison of skis WITH skins) and tour nicely. We were expecting to find untracked powder, but although we found untracked, it’s spring and definitely snow was heavier and anything that had caught some sun had a some crust which varied from very light to more difficult. Under the trees there was melted snow and even the “powder” was pretty dense. The V8’s were competent and I had a lot of fun on them in all of these mixed conditions.
Overall I would be hesitant to call the V8 a one quiver ski, even for just ski touring. Like Lou I think that underfoot width of around 100mm, no tail rocker, and a bit of tip rocker (which is very helpful in mixed snow and for touring) is the sweet spot for a one quiver ski. I have mixed feelings about how light a ski gets as my experience is too light and the ski gets tossed around a lot. I also think a more damp ski is more versatile. These are personal biases as up to a point I’m willing to do a bit more work on the uphill for superior performance on the down. I hope to get out on the V8’s a bit more this season. I know my Coombacks ski spring conditions well but I do want to try the V8’s and see how they do and will update once I’ve been out on them some more. Hope this single perspective is helpful.
Super take Todd, thanks!
thanks Todd & Lou !
Just one more comment
I don’t know if you have heard of this brand (Zag skis) these skis are designed in Chamonix and they have a few skis that you may want to test as they have earned good reviews in France for good ski touring skis that are both performant on the dowhill and relatively light (around 3 kg or less). I own a pair of Ubac 2012-2013 and I am rather happy with them so far as a one quiver ski
Not sure if you can easily find them in the US , but would be great if you can test and post of review of these to see how they compare versus the other skis of your ultimate ski quiver !
Hey has anyone used the Voile Buster. They were only produced for two years and are now discontinued but a few pairs still floating around online. I would use them soley for especially deep days in backcountry. I can’t find any good reviews on any of the gear review sites.
Sorry for the thread-jack.
Your site is incredible, and your readers just add to it. Great review and discussion of the V8 but your arguments for the magic 100 mm ski make the V6 seem perfect. I am looking for a new fun, lively and turny ski for Wasatch touring but want it to be reasonable for those guests in town or high avy hazard days at the the resorts. The V6 seems to hit the mark and some of the local shop rats are very enthused. Thinking 173 cm – I’m 5’9, 150 lbs, pushing 60 but still like to ski hard and fast. Currently have Coombacks with radical ST and BD Justices mounted tele.
Have now had the chance to ski my V8’s several more days in the backcountry this season and am loving them. Not too surprisingly they’ve been a fabulous and fun ski in the powder but maybe more surprising to me is how good they’ve been in variable conditions. We had one day in particular where we’d had a lot of snow put down at varying temperatures and with a lot of wind so most runs had varying crusts. It was challenging skiing and several in our group had difficulty with tips diving and a few face plants! The V8’s were up to the challenge, however, and no doubt helped me avoid a similar fate. They’re light for their size so the climbing seems easier than with my Coombacks. I had debated on length but the 176 definitely seems like it was the right decision. Perhaps not critical in choice of ski I really like the subdued graphics and the tops seem to shed snow nicely despite their darkish color. Overall very satisfied.
Agree on the V6, excellent that Voile has nailed both width classes at the weight and price-point they’ve done. Their products speak for themselves due to combined excellent factors, the kind of stuff we like reviewing for sure!
You really can’t go wrong with the V8s as your everyday touring rig if you favor something with decent girth. Super well made, Voile is a sweet shop. Love these skis and will definitely purchase Voile again.
Day 1 on these skis was excellent. I’m 150lb, 6′, and tend to ski with lots of short turns (Euro Wiggle). I like a ski that flexes smoothly and easily, letting me engage turns from the center of the ski, without a ton of force or tip-driving aggression. Seeing how I was on TLT-5 Mountains with no tongues or power-straps, attempting to drive the tip into a turn would just result in my knee on the plank. My other skis are 174cm K2 Baker Superlights, which did this easy, centered, bounce-turn very well. The V8 continues the tradition admirably. The 176cm V8 is a soft ski that feels a little short with all that rocker, but stiff enough to provide reasonable edge hold. As long as I wasn’t really laying out on icy stuff, it carved firm snow beautifully. It also sliced through crud with little deflection or bounce. “Playful” is the best description, for sure. I assume it’ll rock in the deep stuff, when I manage to find some.
Sorry to revive a dead thread, but I am really curious about the V8 186 vs. 193 question. I am 6’1″ and about 185 lbs.
I ski in the backcounty probably 80 percent of the time, but I do ski inbounds occasionally. I previously had a pair of 190 cm liberty double helix that these will be replacing. I loved the double helix and they definitely did not feel too long.
I also have a pair of 180cm Voile Vector BCs that I love but obviously don’t ski well in the resort. They are more for long, mountainous springtime missions. I took them to the area recently and beyond the obvious fishscale slowness which was (and always will be) incredibly frustrating, I really enjoyed them… except for a consistently glaring feeling that I was about to go over the handlebars. There just wasn’t enough ski up there for me.
So, has anyone been on both lengths of the V8? I can pick up the 186 cm for cheap but don’t want to pull the trigger on something that will feel too short. Will the 186s feel hearty enough that I won’t want the additional 7 cm up front?
Hi Ethan, you are nearly 186 cm tall, so yes, you are indeed “between sizes” and will have to choose according to your style of skiing, previous preferences, etc.
My immediate take is if you are replacing a 190 cm ski, and are using the skis at the resort, you might want the longer V8. But those things are pretty big. If you were 100% backcountry and skied with a moderate style, I’d say drop back to the 186 V8.
What throws the wrench in the works is the constant attempt to have a great touring ski that’s also a great resort ski. The two can be the same, if your style of skiing allows, but most younger to middle age men who are not committed ski tourers but rather what you’d call a “freeride tourer” seem to prefer the ski that does best in the resort, as their style in the backcountry is somewhat more aggressive.
Thanks for your quick response. Given the fact that my only other ski is a dedicated touring ski, and that I am, in fact, a “younger to middle aged man” who does enjoy a ski that does well in the resort, even though I am doing most of my skiing in the backcountry, I am going to go with the longer ski.
Sure, it won’t be as light or as nimble, but I think for my purposes with this ski, the trade-off is totally worth it.
Thanks for walking me through that one. And thanks to all for the comments on wildsnow threads. They are super valuable.
Ethan, that’ll work… could you report back here please? Others will benefit. Thanks, Lou
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