One of Volkl's more diminutive freeride models, we tested the Kendo 88 to see if it can play with the big boys
Volkl's highly rated freeride range starts from a very narrow base; the Kendo 88 is - yep, you guessed it - only 88mm underfoot, but given the pedigree of Volkl's other off piste skis, you can't rule it out based on dimensions.
One interesting element of the freeride segment this year is how different brands have tried to structure the titanal content of their skis to keep it minimal but effective. Volkl have opted for what they call Titanal Frame Technology - basically Ti running right around the outside edge of the ski. It means the same amount of metal can be distributed to give power and pop where needed and to eliminate the dead spots that a full Ti sheet would create.
Volkl seem to have nailed it. Compared to some skis that have a Ti core, the Kendo 88 can really hold an edge! Volkl have also managed that without making the tail too aggressive (which could be very detrimental for a freeride ski in soft snow).
Our first thought was that the Kendo 88 should be an all mountain ski - albeit a superb one - and I questioned whether it's fat enough for freeride. But that's not a fair analysis; 88mm is a good size for many skiers. That first impression may have been influenced by the fact that it skis much narrower than it actually is, and that is partly due to a three-stage sidecut.
Volkl have designed a pattern that gives three different turn radiuses with a difference of 13 metres between them! This is another popular feature among the brands this season, and once again Volkl have delivered more than most.
While this is a very good ski, it still lacks a certain something. It could be a great freeride ski for many, but for others it will be merely a very good all mountain ski.
Overall a solid choice for skiers who want a good all-round ski to keep up with them off-piste.