Equipment Review: Volkl Supersport 6 Star All Mountain Expert Skis 18
Author thumbnail By John Sherwood, DCSki Columnist
Timberline Resort on Saturday, December 18, 2004. Photo provided by John Sherwood.

I just returned from an enjoyable opening weekend at Timberline, West Virginia. The resort opened five trails this weekend, including one the region’s only expert runs, White Lightning. One expert trail covering a respectable 1,000 feet of vertical with 30-40 inches of base was more than enough to keep me happy and satisfied. I devoted all my runs to this trail.

Saturday offered clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid thirties -; perfect weather for my first turns, which I made this year on a brand new set of skis. Making your first tracks on new boards is analogous to driving off the lot in a new car. It’s exciting to be driving a new vehicle but there’s also a sense of buyer’s remorse and a fear that maybe this is not the right the car for me. I fell in love with Volkl’s Supersport 6 Star skis at St. Moritz, Switzerland last season. The skis performed exceptionally well there under a variety of conditions, ranging from glaciers to lower altitude village access runs. I wondered, however, if my feelings of enjoyment were connected more to the resort as opposed to my rental equipment. St. Moritz is renowned for its impeccably prepared slopes, light powder snow, and stunning scenery. Heck, any pair of skis would feel good in that type of setting.

Well, I am pleased to report that these skis performed superbly on the less flattering surface conditions we often experience early in the season in the Mid-Atlantic. By the time I unpacked my car, picked up my season pass, and hit the slopes on Saturday, it was 1 pm and White Lightning was already getting tracked out. By 2 pm, several sections of the trail had turned icy -; a perfect test bed for an East Coast ski. Reluctantly, I made my way down this familiar slope wondering how these skis would behave on ice. Fortunately, they proved bullet proof. What’s more, as the snow and ice turned colder and I learned how to better handle the ski, I started having more and more fun with it. Various people recommended that I purchase 168s as opposed to 175s because they would make skiing easier and less tiring. They did. Going from my old 188 cm Volkl G-31s to these skis was like going from an SUV to a sports car.

It snowed on Sunday, turning Timberline into a winter wonderland. Changing surface conditions made every run unique and interesting. A lot of people hate skiing in snow because it reduces visibility and makes trails more difficult to handle. I love snow storms for exactly the same reasons. Snow makes Timberline’s generally benign groomers bumpier and rougher to ride. Once again, the new Volkl’s stood up to the challenge. Their short length made quick fire turns around small bumps and falling skiers a snap. What a relief! I think I bought the right skis, but only time will tell. It will be interesting to see how these skis hold up on more challenging terrain like Off the Wall and Lower Shay’s Revenge.

NB: Volkl Supersport 6 Star skis are available at Ski Center, Ski Chalet and other fine ski retailers. They come in 154, 161, 168, 175, and 182 centimeter sizes. Their sidecut is 114-68-99 and their construction is double grip carbon with a core of sensor wood.

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About John Sherwood

John Sherwood is a columnist for DCSki. When he's not hiking, biking, or skiing, he works as an author of books on military history.

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DCSki Sponsor: Seven Springs Resort

Reader Comments

SkiBumMSP
December 20, 2004
At the same time you where breaking in those new 6-stars, I was at Massanutten to break in my brand-new 5-stars (with the Motion AT/w P.C.O.S bindings). I have the 182 cm, which is on the long side, but I have no problems turning these things, though.

Massanutten only has the two beginner slopes, but they did have Rebel Yell (one of their intermediate slopes) opened from top to bottom, so at least that was enough of a slope to get a feel for these things. The slope was complete with both ice, hard-pack as well as some of the softer stuff that tends to pile up near the edges of the slope.

My first run down with these skis felt stiff and awkward. Not only was I trying to "get back into it", but I was on new skis. A couple more runs, and I was enjoying life with these 5-stars. They held nicely on the ice and they did seem to be responsive from turn to turn. They are definitly stiffer than the Volkl Carver Motions I had before. I really like what I've found thus far. Hopefully, next weekend, I'll have more terrain to try them out on, as I'll be heading up to Uniontown, PA to visit my younger brother and family. That means a trip to either Hidden Valley, Seven Springs, or Wisp is in order (I'll only have time to visit one, maybe two).

Also, hopefully, Massanutten will get more terrain opened up as well.

However, after reading your review, I would be curious if there really is much of a difference between the 5-stars and 6-stars. I would imagine the 6-stars is a little stiffer than the 5-stars, and perhaps a little bit more responsive from turn to turn. But I'll admit, I am thus far pretty darned impressed with my new 5-stars. I cannot wait to get to try them in more terrain.
John Sherwood
December 20, 2004
SkibumMSP

There are people on this forum who understand ski equipment much better than myself. I simply reported how I feel on these new skis without getting too technical. I hope it helps some unedecided ski buyers out there.

I can't believe I am actually skiing on 168s. I used to ski on 195s as a kid. The sales person at Ski Chalet, my wife, and a friend on the DCSki Forum, all pushed for me to buy the shorter ski, arguing that you only need length for really deep snow--something I rarely ski on here in the Mid-Atlantic or elswhere for that matter. These shorter skis give you a lot more stamina in varied conditions, especially bumps. It's easier to make short, quick turns in them. It's like driving in Georgetown in a Porsche Boxer compared to a Chevy Suburban. We'll see if people are right. Only time will tell.
KevR
December 20, 2004
I am 6'1" and I ski 170s cm skis. When I grew up learning to ski, you weren't any body if you didn't have 210s! Times have changed, and they have changed for the better. In fact, I know folks in my size range than going down even further!
Not only are skis shorter (which cuts out a huge host of nasty things that are likely to happen to you while learning to ski) but they turn easier and the ski technique is vastly simplified and more intuitive (leaning boths edges one side or the other turns the skis)...
In short (ha ha) -- there's no reason not to SKI these days!
Doug C
December 21, 2004
I started skiing about 6 years ago on a pair of Dynastar 192 shaped skis. I sucked really badly. Then some instructor told me I'd be much better once I tried some shorter ski's I got a pair of Volant Machetes @ 183cm and the next year I got some lighter, more nimble Atomic C9:18s @ 180cm. I learned on the long boats and have been getting shorter and shorter but I am now stopping @ 177. I need stability. When I fall it's like a Warren Miller production.
Sure, it's easy to turn with 160's. But since when is skiing supposed to be easy? I want people to get fustrated (like I did) and leave the slopes early. I know I am a pessimist but empty mountain more gooder.

My point: I just got some Volkl Vpro 724 177cm's. I am in love. I skiied these in utah at Solitude. Flying down groomers and just pounding the sloughed up bowls and bins. They do everything! Your review John is just like mine. These ski's can tackle anything!
John Sherwood
December 22, 2004
Doug:

These new skis (168cm) are a tad less stable at extreme speeds than my 188 G-31s, but the trade-off is worth it in my opinion. Those G-31s were a bear to ski on bumped up terrain. Taking two consecutive runs on Off The Wall was a serious challenge, and I have to confess that Lower Shay's was a survival run on those old skis. With these new skis, I suspect I could spend an entire morning on OTW and tear Lower Shay's appart with little problem.

If your idea of skiing is letting er rip on on groomers, go for a long ski, but if you want to tackle diverse terrain, shorter is better.
KevR
December 22, 2004
agree with JS: i bet you can find a nice stable short ski to match your weight and aggressiveness. why run longer than you need?

there's a ton of great skis out there, try some shorties in differing tunes and see what happens.
JohnL
December 22, 2004
SkibumMSP,

From the reviews I've read (www.realskiers.com in particular), the main difference between the 5 Stars and 6 Stars is that one is a red ski and one is a black ski. This year's models are virtually the same ski (identical sidecut) whereas last year's models were very different. More details can be found on realskiers.

If you are under 200 lbs, do you find the 5 Stars @182cm a bit difficult to turn at lower speeds? Just about any ski will be responsive at speed, the big difference occurs when you are skiing slower (such as your first few turns, tight turns in bumps, steeps, trees, etc.)
SkiBumMSP
December 26, 2004
JohnL said:

From the reviews I've read (www.realskiers.com in particular), the main difference between the 5 Stars and 6 Stars is that one is a red ski and one is a black ski. This year's models are virtually the same ski (identical sidecut) whereas last year's models were very different. More details can be found on realskiers.

I say:

That is interesting. I'll have to go check out that "realski" website.

JohnL said:

If you are under 200 lbs, do you find the 5 Stars @182cm a bit difficult to turn at lower speeds? Just about any ski will be responsive at speed, the big difference occurs when you are skiing slower (such as your first few turns, tight turns in bumps, steeps, trees, etc.)

I say:

I about 6 foot tall and around 230 pounds, so I am fairly big person. That first run down on these things was probably more because I haven't skiied since last March, and having to "get back into it", as well a being on new skis that I had to get used to. Subsequent runs were easier. Today, I am going to head over to Seven Springs and try them out more.
skier802
January 16, 2005
My 6 Star Volkl skis are defective and back at the factory for 3 weeks so far during this short season.
The edge side was comming thru the base after 5 days on the hill.
MrkSn
January 30, 2005
For those interested in buying these skis trying to decide ski length, what are the height/weight recommendations? I'm 5'6" and 130lbs. Should I go for the 161cm or 168cm?
Todd B.
January 31, 2005
Agree with most of the comments above. Both are great skis, but 6's may require a bit more input from the skier. That little extra "in-" is returned, however, so hang on. Out to the side with high edge angles and these things are rockets!! Compared them to Nordica's Speedmachine 14's during a demo yesterday. The SM14 is a nice ski, fun and somewhat more forgiving than the Volkl Six Star, but my fav is still the more powerful Six.
For length, don't be afraid to go short. Questioner above should think seriously about the 161. I'm 6-1, 190 and ski the 175, but could easily have gone 168. Personal preference should be the deciding factor -- Volkl reps usually say "short", shops tend to favor the next size up. For those not interested in application of power or preferring shorter radius turns, stay short. Have fun!
John Sherwood
February 2, 2005
Thus far, I have no regrets going for the 168s vs. the 175s. I'll report back at the end of the season. These things are rockets, but they can also handle bumped up terrain, as I learned two weeks ago playing on OTW at Timberline and a bumped up version of White Lightning.
Crush
February 2, 2005
Daaaauuummm!!! I demo'd both the 5 and six stars ... put it this way I just ponied up $660 for the six stars! By god these are like race-stock skis! I have never, ever laid out soooo far with total confidence in edge grip. I went with the 161s (I am 140 lbs with strong legs) and I can crank over and touch my inside hand onto the snow! The 5 stars are good in fact they give a slightly smaller turn radius because they are not as stiff (I can definitly feel it) and I over-pressured the tips a few times but they are better in bumps. But I like to carve and the 6 stars were where it is at. Plus they ride way more damp and I have no fear throwing my body to the inside of the turn with full body inclination, full hip angulation, full knee angulation .. the works!

The 6 stars need to be loaded very gradually and smoothly no chop-chop edging a very steady edge increase yields the most amazing grip and ohhh boy watch out for the rebound!!!!!! It unloads with a lot of energy but boy I feel like a world-cupper on it! :-)
John Sherwood
February 4, 2005
Crush:

I'm just starting to get into carving thanks to those skis. You hit the nail on the head when you say,

"It unloads with a lot of energy but boy I feel like a world-cupper on it! :-)"

!!!! :)
John Sherwood
February 4, 2005
Crush:

I'm just starting to get into carving thanks to those skis. You hit the nail on the head when you say,

"It unloads with a lot of energy but boy I feel like a world-cupper on it! :-)"

!!!! :)
Steve Stone
February 20, 2005
John,
I tried a demo Six Star yesterday. Wow, what a ski. What bindigs do you have on yours?
John Sherwood
February 24, 2005
Marker Motion AT.
John Sherwood
February 24, 2005
I skied the 6 Stars on the Schladming Downhill Course last week. As Crush mentioned, they did make me feel like a World Cupper. ;)

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