Gear Review: A Season on Volkl T50 5 Stars
5 posts
4 users
12k+ views
tromano
February 22, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
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.
Comments:

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.
SkiBumMSP
February 23, 2005
Member since 12/8/2004 🔗
224 posts
Interesting read here, as I am skiing on a pair of the current model Volkl Supersport 5-Stars (the "red ski"). Now that I got several days of solid skiing in many differenct conditions (including a 9-inch pow day at Vail), I can certainly relate to what you have said here.

To compare the "older" T50 Supersport 5* and the current "red ski" Supersport 5*:

Quote:

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.
Comments:




Ski Model Supersport 5 Star
Binding: Marker AT Motion with Piston Control Oil Suspension (PCOS)
Year Made: 2004-2005
Ski Length 182
Snow conditions Used in: Same as above
Number of Days Used: 20+
Your Ability Level 9, proficient in nearly all conditions except some deep/cruddy stuff. Can ski the bumps pretty well, but not as gracefully as I'd like
How Many Years Have You Been Skiing: going on to 24 years
Avg Days per Year Skiing: 30
Your Height/Weight: 6'00" / 220 lbs

I went for the longer ski mainly because I need all the edge I can get when it comes to taking loaded tobaggans down steep/icy conditions (although "steep" is a relative term at Massanutten, but some of those more difficult slopes can be tricky in icy conditions).

Quote:

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.




I've had absolutly no problems getting my newer versions of 5*s to carve on the steeps, incuding such runs as Shock, Pika, and Middle Snowbird at Breckenridge. But yes, I do agree it can be necessary to "skarve" on some particulary nasty thing in order to "wipe off excess gravity" (as one of my friends so nicely puts it). Still, I was very impressed with how well I was able to make turns and maintain control on some pretty steep terrain.

Quote:

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.




I can certainly agree here. I had a devil of a time skiing down into that bowl at Keystone with these things (take the $5 Cat rides from the Outback peak). The snow had tiny bit of wind-crust on it and I just could not turn these damn things to save my life. I pretty much worked my way down until where it was more packed out due to skier-traffic where I can finally get an edge down and make some turns. Now, granted, part of the problem may be due to the longer length that I was on (182 cm), as well as my lack of real experience in such conditions. After all, we just simply don't have terrain like that at Massanutten (or most anywhere in the mid-atlantic, for that matter).

Quote:

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.




Icy, tight bumps are just a pain in the @$$ regardless of what equipment one may have, at least it is to me. Still, I do agree with all of the above as that was my general finding with my current version of the 5*'s. However, I had no problem getting through the bumps on Dixie Dare at Massanutten, especially when they are nice and soft like they were on Monday (and actually manage to carve my way through them as best I can, given the hap-hazard nature of those particular moguls), although finding a decent, skiable, line through those is a bit of a puzzle. I'll get the oppurtunity to try them again this weekend, so, we'll see.

I did not ski too many bumps out west due to my knee giving me problems. However, I did ski down the Pellavicni wall at A-basin, which was steep and full of these huge bumps. I'll admit there was a bit of an apprehension in me dropping into that, but I was doing great 2/3 of the way down, until I dropped into a trough wrong and re-tweaked my knee (ouch - but did not fall). The rest of the way down a very difficult and long slope was just shear horror . However, I was very impressed with how well these longish 5*'s did going through there (although I did my fair share of skidding through some). Still, what you said above still seems to be the case here. Unfortunatly, I am not that great of a bump skier as I am wondering if what I experience in the bumps with these is more a matter of technique versus my choice in equipment.

Quote:

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.




These things stuck to ice like Velcro (although in glare-ice conditions, I've still had that nasty experience of the tails washing out when attempting make a turn, in one instance, nearly causing me to wipe out). But yes, what you said above still applies to the current model.

Quote:

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.




Now, this is something that completely blew me away with regard to these skis. This past weekend at Massanutten has seen plenty of cruddy conditions, especially on Monday. These skis just cut right through that crap with such ease, with the turns coming so effortlessly, that I was having a friggan blast skiing that. I usually don't like skiing crud conditions, since the "snow snakes" seems to like to get my skis on more than too many occasions. However, I still could not believe just how awesome these 5*'s performed in that, as if these skis were made for these conditions. Totaly "WOW" here!

Quote:

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.




Like you, I don't have any real experience with some true powder conditions, but I managed to catch a nice 9-inch powder day at Vail, dropping into the Sunshine bowl. Took a few turns to get "used" to it, but after that, it was a quite an enjoyable experience. Still, what you said above pretty much applies to what I found with my current version of the 5*s. However, was it also the 5*'s that "PowerderPig" skied on after that huge dumping in/around Lake Tahoe ealier this season?

Quote:

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.




I pretty much agree with your general assessment and seems to pretty much apply to the current version of the 5*'s. It seems, based on your assessment, the current version is probably more improved on steeps as well as trees/bumps.

That very ski you have was exactly the ski I was looking to get to replace my Carver Motions, which I pretty much beat to hell (the ski, which was fun and very forgiving, turned out to be too soft for me - I literally destroyed a pair taking them through a few too many bump runs last spring in Vermont. I cracked the ski right behind the binding, due to all the flexing through the bumps). As a result, I wanted something stiffer, since it was obvious that I was "overpowering" my old skis.

However, after seeing the new version that Volkl put out this year and all the rave reviews they were getting (and the very nice discounts on pro-form), I had to get a brand-spanking-shiny-new pair. And I have absolutly no regrets. In fact, I've had several people asking me what I thought about these.

And to put things in perspective, I was skiing on a longer ski and I did have the piston control. Both of these made for an extremely stable ski for me. Maybe not as easy to turn as something shorter and without the piston control wold be, but I am a fairly big person with a good, strong, lower body. After destroying one pair of skis simply from skiing them hard, I needed something that can stand up to my use and abuse, and these 5*'s seem to fit the ticket.

Excellent write-up on an excellent ski.
tromano
February 23, 2005
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
Steven,

Thanks for the feedback. I had been told that the new 5* is basicly jsut an incremental improvment from the old version. It sounds likt that is the case from your description. you must be very atheltic if you ski the bumps in a 182. T50 5* in a 182 would be a ton of ski.

With regard to the steeps I found that I have to get forward to get the tips to hook up at the start of the short turns and then get centered to keep the tails from washing out on steep, icy terrain. It's not hard but it does take some finesse.
Crush
February 23, 2005
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,026 posts
I have been on the 6 stars for some time now and love them. As said, they have the edge grip of race-stock skis so I can load them up with an incredible amount of pressure and get laid out to the point of getting boot-out. Wow! But they are not that good in ungroomed stuff where you have to skid a lot they just want to carve all the time I have to ski with a very flat ski .

But they are amazing and whenever I am running groomers I use them and have a blast!
VolklYokel
February 23, 2005
Member since 02/20/2005 🔗
14 posts
Just wanted to add my "ditto" on all of the above. I kept nodding as I read both reviews. My rather short legacy on Volkl's started with a set of 2001-02 Vertigo G2's. After two seasons, I was outskiing the G2's and moved up to a set of brand-new shop left-overs (clearance), 2001-02 P50 F1's (a GS ski). Now here was a ski I could take command of. I rode those for a season at Roundtop & Blue Knob, last year, then left them in Utah last March ('04).

Returning from Utah, I opted to pick-up a set of the end-of-the-year 2003-04, 6*'s. I've been on those for about 15 outings this season (Roundtop, Whitetail, Blue Mtn, Camelback, Elk etc.). What I love best about them is the edge grip (as good as the P50's) and their more advanced carve-ability. On moderate groomed steeps (hard blue runs to blacks), its just a blast to lay these over and let the edges do all the work. The Razor's Edge at Blue Mtn was perfect for these skis. I used to see photos of people leaned way over with their inside-ski knee in their chest and I used to wonder how did they ever get in that position? When you run these a tad on the forward side and twist the shovels into a hard turn, the edges will engage and you better be ready to bend those knees. Fun stuff.

I didn't think the GS P50's could be beat, but these 6*'s are right on the money and considerably more versatile than the P50's. And it sounds like their little brother, the 5*, is right behind them.

These skis do what you tell them to do, but they'll throw you if you don't know what you're doing. You can't let the mountain master you on these skis; you have to master the mountain, and these skis certainly help me to do that.
DCSki Sponsor: DCSki

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

Join the conversation by logging in.

Don't have an account? Create one here.

0.14 seconds