The Deacon range is a serious marketing focus for Volkl this season with its own 'Slopeslayer' theme, inexplicably linked to imagery of 80s soft rock. Not sure what that says about the skis.
But the Deacon 80 Lowride is an absolute charger. It is apparently aimed at good intermediates, so on that basis it probably outperforms expectations in terms of high speed. But it also handles with control and responsiveness at lower speeds which will be essential for some intermediates at the end of a long day!
Volkl's focus across the range is torsional stiffness in the tip and tail (via titanal inserts) with a softer centre, which snowboards have been doing for years. It makes for a forgiving and fun ride - although the tails are still fairly vicious and can whip you out of a turn on occasion.
The 'Lowride' designation is more than a name tag - it is actually very effective: The binding railing is set 1cm lower than on previous skis and being that much closer to the snow is evident in responsiveness and edge hold, plus it helps with the really positive turn initiation.
The Deacon 80 Lowride is on the cusp of being too piste focussed for our all mountain tastes, and the price tag ought to justify a little more versatility. Having said that, with piste performance this good, and the character (if not float) to charge through a bit of off piste crud, we'd class it as all mountain with a preference for hardpack.