The Volkl 90Eight is really a ski that can do it all. Volkl somehow managed to combine edginess and carving ability, with playfulness and maneuverability. The 90Eight also has solid stability at speed, and decent performance in chop, soft snow, and powder. This would be a great daily driver for east coast skiers that want to ski all over the mountain, but still have a ski that is capable when things get a bit icy. The only downside is that you sacrifice a little in each category for overall versatility, but it’s good enough to be a quiver killer for many skiers.
Volkl 90Eight All Mountain Ski Review
Conditions: Soft Groomers, Soft Chop, Hard Packed Groomers
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Marker Griffon
On the Snow Feel: The Volkl 90Eight is lightweight and maneuverable, while still being quite stable when you get it on edge. It’s such a fun combination, and really caters to a very big audience of skiers.
Powder: The Volkl 90Eight is actually really fun in deeper snow, given its relatively narrow 98mm waist width. Sure it doesn’t float like the Volkl Shiro, or even the 100Eight, but tip/tail rocker and an early taper tip allow you to float and maneuver in deeper snow better than a lot of skis in the category.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Volkl 90Eight is lightweight and responsive, making it feel very nimble and easy to turn. At slow speeds the ski is easy to maneuver, and at low edge angles the ski is playful and easy going. As you pick up speed it’s still really easy to surf and play in the softer snow. Then when you want to tip it on a high edge angle, you’re able to carve turns like a frontside ski. The ski is surprisingly edgy and powerful despite being so lightweight. The 3D Ridge tech allows the ski to be thin at the edges and yet still have strength underneath to be a very capable carver. It has a moderate sidecut that prefers moderate radius turns, and yet it still feels quick from edge to edge. Rebound energy is good, but not quite as snappy as the narrower Kendo or Kink. It feels relatively smooth and easy going, but can give you some excitement if pushed hard enough.
Speed: The Volkl 90Eight does surprisingly well at speed. The thicker ridge in the center adds strength, while the thin edges reduce weight. This makes the ski feel very lightweight and nimble, but have enough torsional rigidity and stiffness to feel damp and stable. On groomed snow, the ski feels smooth and I never noticed any chatter. It does a good job of dampening vibrations, and I never worried I’d hit the speed limit. This was less true on chopped up snow, but even though the speed limit was slower here, it was still a very capable ski at speed.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: For such a lightweight ski I was surprised at how well the Volkl 90Eight could handle the crud and chop. Its large shovel seems to help keep your tips above the chop and a stiff flex keeps the ski from getting overpowered and deflected. It definitely takes a bit more of a lightweight approach where you can keep the ski nimble and maneuver around and over the chop rather than blast through. These with a more playful approach will like how well you can bounce the skis in chop and look for features in the terrain to play on.
Edge Hold: The Volkl 90Eight has surprisingly good edge hold on hard packed groomers. It does have a decent amount of camber underfoot, and plenty of torsional rigidity. Still I think I prefer the 90Eight on soft snow, but it’s nice knowing you can trust it when things firm up.
Bottom Line: The Volkl 90Eight is a super versatile all-mountain ski and could work great as a daily driver in the east. It’s a ski that is nimble, maneuverable, and surprisingly playful. It does well in the softer snow, and prefers to be off piste than on. At the same time it has an edginess, liveliness, and quickness that rivals some frontside skis. Those looking for a similar ski for the west should look at the slightly wider and more soft snow oriented Volkl 100Eight.