Hi guys: I wanted to post this follow up to an earlier thread from like 2 years ago found here. Text
Before this season started I bought the Volkl 5*s in 168cm.
This ski is totally awesome and I have fallen in love with 'em. I am posting this Johnny come lately review because the ski is mentioned so many times as a comparison to others and this is still a ripping good ski and you can find a used version on eBay with tons of life left for under $300 w/ bindings. This is exactly where mine came from.
I bought these skis in the 168 length without demoing first. I liked the price and decided that if they stank I could easily turn around and resell them losing nothing.
Ski Make: Volkl
Ski Model: T50 Super Sport 5 Star Motion Rails version
Binding: Marker Motion M10 binding
Year Made: 2002 - 2003
Ski Length: 168
Snow Conditions Used In: Groomed, Hard Pack, Ice, Moguls, variable conditions, crud, powder, spring conditions,
Number of Days Used: 15
Your Ability Level: 8, proficient in most eastern type terrain. Not a great bump skier...
How Many Years Have You Been Skiing: 13
Avg. Days per Year Skiing: 20
Your Height/Weight: 5' 10" / 200 lbs.
This ski is the 02-03 model. It was mad before the 5* & 6* were split off and represents I think a meld of the two. It is probably more demanding than the 5* and on par with the current 6*s in that respect. This ski is a great do it all East coast ski. If you want a ski for on piste this High Performance Carver line is for you. IMO the 5* is a prime example of this type.
Rebound / Energy / Short Turns:
This ski has a 15M radius at 168cm so you would expect it to be a versatile carver. It is. Best things first: this ski has a ton of energy and can really lay out carves of just about any shape. Skiing shorter turns is a real joy on these babies. The sweet spot is pretty small and you have to really get forward to get the ski to come around in tighter turns. You cannot to tight turns fro the back seat. The ski gives back a ton of energy and since I opted to not get the piston system it is even more lively than usual. I like it a lot. The 168 is I think the correct ski size for me. Anyone under 180#s should look to the 161s. Only former football players or long turn enthusiasts should look to the 175s.
Carve / Long Turns: The ski is designed for 15M medium radius turns and that is its best most natural shape. If you relax while skiing you will get medium radius turns. Longer turns are possible as well. However the resulting higher speeds will wake you up if you happened to relax. The ski is very stable at higher speeds on piste.
I am convinced that I never was carving properly before I was on this ski. I had before this some K2 mid-fats and "all mountain skis". But I had never felt the sensation of a high-speed, locked into the tracks; carve like I can get with these. But well I defiantly have learned that trick.
Steeps: Carving the steeps takes both finesse and power to let the skis carve fully across the fall line in short turns. What typically happens to me is that I make 4-5 short turns then miss a turns and end up going mach schnell. Then have to maintain at speed or try to sk-arve it out to bleed off some speed before resuming controlled carved short turns. Skarveing and jump turns work well on the 5* as long as you're not on glare ice. So if you end up at high speed slowing down is do able, but only in relatively softer conditions.
Trees / Bumps: The 5*s are good enough for a few quick trips into trees and other ungroomed terrain. However its not their preferred home. Most of the glades around here will be just like ungroomed bump runs with a few extra obstacles in the way. The grip and energy help to with pumping out sort turns, combined with a short length and low swing weight make this acceptable in the glades, particualry if the snow has been well traveled and is packed down some. They also are an ok bump ski. The stiffer flex and the smallish sweet spot is smallish so if you get knocked off balance in the bumps you can be in trouble. I end up flailing about every 5-6 bump runs I take on these bad boys. There is a real difference between soft spring like bumps and hard icy bumps. Spring bumps are easy since the skidding the 5* in soft snow is easy. However on ice the ski wants to carve and in fact you have to carve it to get good hold in ice.
This brings up an annoying problem when it comes to very difficult conditions. I mean when you have 2-3 challenging conditions not in the same spot that is where the 5* is too much ski for me. For example 2 weeks ago lower gun barrel at round top had some tightly spaced and very icy bumps. I had a bear of a time in them. They aren't even very steep. Maybe it just wasn't my day but I got thrown a couple of times. But earlier in the season at Whitetail I was having a blast on exhibition with its larger and slightly softer bumps. Last Sunday at 7S I skied the bumps on the front side next to the Tyrol glades. Those were nice, but very tight and challenging. I was able to get through with little grace however. The ski is very demanding and while I can deal with difficult conditions one at a time, there is something about tight icy bumps even on a shallow slope that is a little much for me on these skis. Further, the anatomy of most local bump runs is such that carving through isn't really the best option. The bumps aren't particularly big but the lines are so close together and weird that round turns become hard to accomplish. I usually end up going mach schnell down icy bumps on these babies because of my inability to carve the tight bumps or to skid well in the ice. And I have taken a beating a few times for it. However I do only slightly better on my forgiving K2 Mod's in those conditions so it's probably me.
Ice / Hard Pack: The ice holding abilities of this ski have been so over discussed that any further analysis is redundant. The ski is as good as advertised, probably better than I expected. All I will say is that coming from K2 skis to this was a revolution in my enjoyment of ice. Yes enjoyment.
Crud performance: In light crud the stiffness of this ski prevents deflection and helps a ton with the versatility. This season has had a ton of rough snow conditions. They aren't as versatile as a pair of fats, but, given my low expectations, I am amazed how well they have done. I skied these in 18" or roughly chopped powder in western NY, 6 inches of slush at Whitetail in January. And the # of warm soft condition days I have logged this season is pretty high. You can't fly like on ice but there are not problems with stability or getting knocked around. Put 'em on edge, stay centered, and they slice right through soft stuff.
Powder performance: I finally have gotten to ski powder. 18" up in NY on my 5*s
. The ski is stiff and I am big so they sink pretty well. At a decent speed the tips rode up to the surface. I had to be careful to stay very neutral or I would dive the tips. Overall once I got to speed (~10 mph) patience turns (slow speeds w/ a baby amount of edge) as well as retraction turns (pulling legs up to free skis from heavier snow) both worked well. I was impressed at my lines under the lift. I am hardly the authority on powder skiing in fact I am probably the least informed person here and I ski the east almost exclusively. However if I can ski powder in these as a pure powder virgin then I don't see why anyone else would have a problem. Just don't expect speed in the pow pow with these babies.
Pros: A great ski for anything that would will find within 150 miles of here. For the East coast $300 for a 1 ski quiver can't be beat! Fun fast and powerful! Has great ice hold, good at a variety of speeds and turn shape, competent on all on piste conditions and is a joy to ski.
Cons: A little stiff for bumps, Is perhaps too much ski to for most weekend warriors. They will expose any flaws in technique. Not much else really.
Over all I am amazed at the versatility of these skis. I went in thinking they would be suitable for 90% on piste 10% off piste. Now I am thinking maybe 65-35. It's a pretty versatile ski. The big problem with these skis is that on very challenging terrain anything less than excellent technique in get you smacked down.