The Volkl Kenja is a bit more frontside oriented than the Volkl Aura, but still retains the same speed loving construction and versatility of the Aura. It’s the perfect ski for hard charging women who like to rip the frontside groomers, but may occasionally venture off piste.
Conditions: Soft Snow (5”), Crud, Groomers, Hard Pack, Bumps
Bindings: Marker Griffon
On the Snow Feel: The Volkl Kenja is stable, while still being maneuverable. When on edge the ski feels quite locked in, and requires a bit more drive and aggressive style, but when flat or at low edge angles it’s still maneuverable and easy to turn.
Powder: The Volkl Kenja of capable of riding in deeper snow thanks to a bit of tip rocker, but at 87 underfoot it’s not going to have great float. If you don’t plan on spending a ton of time in the powder, this is less of an issue, but for those skiers who want more soft snow versatility without sacrificing a ton of carving ability, would be better off looking at the wider Aura.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Volkl Kenja is a ski that caters to a more aggressive style of skiing. The rocker in the tip helps to ease turn initiation and maneuverability, and at slower speeds you can still turn the ski. Pick up speed though, and the Kenja really comes alive. At higher speeds the Kenja seems to respond quickly to any input and if you’re not ready to turn you might be thrown off. The Bio-Logic Geometry is wider in the tip than the tail (compared with unisex or mens skis). When you roll the ski on edge (especially at speed), the tip engages quickly and pulls you in the direction of your edge, and helps to bend the tip into the turn. There were several times we found ourselves to far forward, and the tails would slightly wash out, but as long as we stayed a bit more center it was never an issue. Flexing the stiff ski into the turn really allowed us to rebound with a lot of power and energy. The smaller tail allowed us to release from the turns quickly and with a small amount of tip rocker it was easy to swing from edge to edge. It’s a ski that really likes to rail the groomers. If you put a lot into the ski, it rewards you with power, precision, and control, but it’s still approachable for less aggressive skiers. No this is not a frontside specialist, but for those who like the feeling of a good carve, the Kenja is able to deliver.
Speed: The Volkl Kenja is built with the same Power Construction (full sidewall), and titanal laminates as the wider Aura, and like the Aura performs well at high speed. The stiff flex allows aggressive skiers to push hard at speed, while the titanal laminates help to reduce bad vibrations. The Kenja is fun at speed, especially when railing the frontside groomers. Just remember that the ski is quite responsive, and the faster you rail, the quicker the ski responds to any input you make. Hard chargers will love the responsiveness, but intermediates may find it a bit intimidating at first.
Uneven Terrain: The rocker tip of the Volkl Kenja does a decent job of keeping you on top of the crud, while the stiff construction underfoot helps to keep you tracking straight. I wouldn’t necessarily call the Kenja a crud busting ski, but it was plenty capable after things started to get tracked out. In these conditions I tend to prefer skis that are a bit wider, and really help to spread out the chop over a wider area and really smooth out the ride. That being said, the Kenja sort of knifes through the chop, and with a stiff construction we never really noticed much tip vibration or deflection. It’s not as dead easy as a heavier, wider, burlier ski, but it could handle the crud well enough.
Moguls: The Volkl Kenja is quick, responsive, and maneuverable, but you better stay on your game. It doesn’t like a timid approach, and the harder you push it the more it responds. It will reward good technique in the moguls, but don’t get too sloppy or it may punish you.
Edge Hold: The Kenja has the same stiff construction as the Aura, but in a narrower package. This really helps to increase the torsional rigidity and feel stable on hard pack and ice. This is a great ski for the east coaster who might experience these conditions a bit more often. It’s not the best ice ski out there, but at 89mm underfoot, it was pretty impressive how well the ski hold an edge.
Flex: The Volkl Kenja is a stiff ski that rewards aggressive riders.
Jumps and Park: The Volkl Kenja wouldn’t be my first choice for a park ski, but it is capable of having some fun off of rollers and bumps. A good amount of camber underfoot helps to increase pop, but it’s not a very forgiving flex, nor will be as good at absorbing shock as skis that are more park oriented.
The Volkl Kenja is a fun frontside oriented all-mountain ski that rewards aggressive skiers with a powerful and lively ride. It’s still approachable for less aggressive skiers, but it’s responsiveness at speed may catch intermediate skiers off guard. It rails the groomers with a lot of precision, and yet has the versatility to take you off piste on occasion. It’s stable at speed, and does a good job of busting through crud (although it does take a bit more effort). It’s not a dead easy ski to ride, but it will reward those who can handle it.