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2016-2017 Volkl V-Werks Katana

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Volkl V-werks Katana for Blister Gear review

2016-2017 Volkl V-Werks Katana

Ski: Dimensions: 2016-2017 Volkl V-Werks Katana, 184 cm

Available Lengths: 177, 184, 191 cm

Blister’s Measured Length (straight tape pull): 182.2 cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 143-112-132

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 142.5-112-132

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1959 & 1975 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 23.5 meters

Core Construction: Poplar + Ash underfoot + carbon fiber laminate

Tip / Tail Splay (decambered): 68 mm / 18 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm

Factory Recommended Line: -13.9 cm from center / 77.2 cm from tail

Mount Location: Recommended Line

Boots / Bindings: Salomon X Pro 120 / Marker Jester (DIN at 11)

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley

Days Skied: 6

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Katana, which was not changed for the 15/16 or 16/17 seasons, except for the graphics.]

Backstory

I spent much of last season actively ignoring the V-Werks Katana. When I first saw it at SIA in January of 2013, I believe it took me about four seconds to dismiss it. (You’ll notice that we didn’t even mention the ski in our SIA coverage that year.)

In fact, Will Brown kept telling me that we needed to review it, and I kept saying No. (Will loves it when I get like this.)

Why was I against it?

1) We love the 191cm ‘standard’ Katana, and it’s still our favorite crud buster / charger. So I wasn’t looking for an update, and I definitely wasn’t longing for a lighter weight, impossibly thin, carbon fiber version of the Katana.

2) While the V-Werks Katana is undeniably gorgeous, it struck me as a gimmick. It seemed like this was Volkl’s equivalent of a concept car that was designed primarily to create buzz. It also seemed like some movie producers told Volkl that there was going to be a skiing sequence in the next Batman movie, so Volkl made a ski that looks like it was designed specifically for the Dark Knight.

3) The ski looks awfully delicate. The standard Katana is one of the all-time greats at destroying everything in its path, so honest question: why make a lighter, thinner, more fragile version of it? The V-Werks Katana seemed like a lot of flash, little substance.

In general, I’m against the trend to remove weight from skis. I think weight is a good thing—especially for resort charger-type skis—and cutting weight creates performance tradeoffs that don’t make the ski better able to charge hard or bust crud. (Cutting weight does, however, make a ski nicer to spin, flip, and walk uphill with it either on your feet or on your shoulder.)

So Why Did We Decide to Review It?

1) This season, Volkl still offered the regular Katana and the V-Werks edition, so we could continue to just choose option A. But Volkl isn’t making the regular Katana next year, just the V-Werks, so it’s probably time to find out what this ski can actually do.

2) Mugzy. Jeff Muggleston is the adult ski school manager at Taos, and he’s been skiing the V-Werks Katana pretty much everyday this season, in all conditions. He’s been raving about them, which moved the needle for me up from “uninterested” to “quite skeptical.”

3) We received this comment on the site from a reader named Rod:

“When are you guys going to review the Volkl V-Werks Katana? There is a paucity of good reviews out there of this ski and unfortunately, given the price, no one is demoing the skis.”

Ok, fine. We’ll review it.

How Volkl Describes the V-Werks Katana

In addition to calling it “The World’s most technically advanced big mountain ski,” Volkl has this to say about the V-Werks Katana:

Völkl extends its V-WERKS technology with the new, super-premium V-WERKS Katana. Lightweight technology reduces weight by 15 percent, while enhancing performance through a unique combination of carbon fiber layers and vertical sidewalls. With an incredibly thin profile and featherlight swing weight, the V-WERKS Katana moves effortlessly through soft snow, while the innovative construction provides stability and edge grip. Also available are custom, pre-cut climbing skins.”

And After Six Days on Snow?

“Shocked” would probably be the right word. I’m shocked by how these feel, how well these ski, and how hard I have been able to push them. In short, the V-Werks Katana might be the most surprising ski that I’ve reviewed for Blister.

Shape + Weight + Flex Pattern

Dialing in the flex pattern is probably the most difficult part of ski construction. And while the V-Werks Katana’s flex pattern is not as stiff as the standard-edition 191cm Katana (and I’ll have to confirm, but I’m not sure that it’s as stiff as the standard 184 Katana, either) Volkl has done something very smart: since they decided to remove weight from a stiff charger ski, they also softened up the flex pattern a touch. The result is that the weight and the flex pattern feel very well matched, and I found it to be much better suited for hard and fast riding in variable resort powder conditions than the DPS Wailer 112RPC Pure3.

On another note, since I talk about this all the time, I’m giving Volkl 100 points once again for the consistency of the Katana’s flex pattern. There are no hinge points in the pattern, and the shovels and tips are only slightly softer than the tail. This generally makes for a larger sweet spot on a ski, and it continues to genuinely confuse me as to why some companies make skis with shovels that are much softer than the tails. I do not believe that doing so makes skiing easier for anyone, either beginners or experts.

The V-Werks Katana actually hand flexes about as stiff as the 13/14 Mantra, and slightly stiffer than the 14/15 Mantra. The ski flexes fairly stout, but on snow, it has not felt to me like an unforgiving ski that wants to kick your ass. I’d say it skis a bit softer than it hand flexes, especially through the shovels.

Groomers

While this might be an odd place to start for a big-mountain pow ski, the V-Werks Katana is a seriously fast, powerful, and smooth carver on groomers. Especially on anything soft, I could lay this ski over as easily as the 98-mm underfoot skis I have recently been riding (Rossignol Experience 98 & 100; 13/14 and 14/15 Mantra; Praxis 9D8), and the V-Werks Katana is easy to bend when brought up to speed.

The caveat to this is that, at speeds of 50-60+ miles per hour, the more I was really wishing for well-manicured groomers. Whereas the 13/14 Volkl Mantra is one of the best skis I’ve ridden on roughed up groomers, the lightweight, thin shovels and tails of the V-Werks Katana don’t steamroll smaller bumps as well.

Compared to another excellent, powerful ~110mm-underfoot carver, the Nordica Helldorado, the V-Werks Katana requires a bit more precision at very high speeds due to its thinned-out tips and tails and lack of traditional camber. When carving, I often like to load up the tails of a ski to launch me into the next turn, but on the V-Werks Katana, loading up the tails (and hence, getting off the shovels a touch) isn’t a great idea if you’re on roughed-up groomers; the uphill ski in particular is in a prime position to wander. So in such situations, I’m now just much more careful to stay on and weight the shovels than I am on skis with heavier shovels and traditional camber underfoot.

(Of course, you could also just slow down a bit, too, but whatever.)

Pow

Taos picked up about 30 inches of snow this past week, so it has been a perfect time to test pow performance. And the V-Werks Katana has been excellent. While its tips and tails are relatively stiff, they are also thin and lightweight, and I never experienced any tip dive in deep snow in the Waterfowl, Thunderbird, and High Somewhere areas of Taos’ West Basin. I haven’t been on the 191 standard Katana in some time, and I’ve never skied the 184 length. But I am confident that the V-Werks Katana floats and planes better in pow than the standard version.

Two days ago, Kachina Peak was blanketed with perfect New Mexico blower on top of a beautiful, cream cheese layer. It was ridiculously good, and there was nothing difficult or challenging about it. Making big, fast turns felt totally natural, and the skis were stable and completely cooperative.

Later, in slightly sun baked, thicker untracked snow down Walkyries and the What Chutes, the V-Werks Katanas were still outstanding.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Volkl V-Werks Katana, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth on the V-Werks Katana, Walkyries, Taos Ski Valley.

It’s shovels weren’t folding up or fighting back against me, and the skis provided a super smooth, stable ride. This wouldn’t be surprising for a fatter, heavier ski like the Moment Bibby Pro, but I was pleased to see how well the V-Werks Katana handled both light pow and heavier, untracked snow.

The V-Werks ride isn’t super surfy and loose; the rocker line & splay combinations are too subtle for that. Rather, these skis plane well, don’t tip dive, and make pow easy to ski while also providing serious all-mountain capability especially in softer conditions.

Soft Chop

An even better surprise is how well the V-Werks has handled soft chop—basically, like it isn’t chop at all. Here, the shape and stiffness of the Katana’s shovels are really beneficial, and work much better in cut up conditions than skis with lightweight, soft-flexing shovels and heavily tapered tips, like the 13-14 / 14-15 Rossignol Squad 7. I was getting no deflection on the Katana at speed in soft bumps (Al’s Run, Castor / Pollux, etc.) in instances where I had to apply a much lighter touch to the Squad 7.

Moguls

The low swingweight of the V-Werks make these a very easy 112mm-underfoot ski in bumps, whether windscoured, firm, and fast, or big, soft, and slow. The skis are quick, super predictable, and easy to pivot on their no-traditional-camber-having bases.

143 Comments

  1. Rod March 7, 2014 Reply

    Thanks

    • Author

      Thanks for the prompt!

      • Maarten October 21, 2015 Reply

        Hi Jonathan, great review and very similar to how I feel about this ski. I only use it for touring, but your review totally nails its performance on or off slope. Although I use a Marker Kingpin binding, I have been told, contrary to Marker’s advice, that a good mechanic can mount any tech binding as well. Cheers, Maarten Fernie, BC

  2. Michael Latta March 7, 2014 Reply

    How would you rate this as a one ski quiver for a fast advancing intermediate? 6′ 245lb

  3. Michael Latta March 7, 2014 Reply

    I am a colorado skier.

    • Author

      My answer would depend a lot on what type of terrain you’re primarily hitting and how many days you’re skiing. This ski feels like a precision tool, not a ski that makes a ton of sense to go bash around the mountain when it hasn’t snowed in 3 weeks and things are getting really rocky. And for really bulletproof days, I’m a big fan of having a 88-98mm underfoot ski. I could easily see pairing such a ski with the V-Werks Katana for a 2 ski quiver.

      • JR March 15, 2016 Reply

        I think I’ve just come up with the ultimate 2 ski quiver:

        V-werks Katana mounted with barons (for touring, powder, 80-90% of my skiing)

        Plus

        An old pair of volkl explosivs I found at a garage sale for $100 for those bullet proof days (also makes the ultimate rock ski but also awesome in crud)

        Best part is the total quiver cost cheaper than most conventional 2 ski quivers.

        Anyone else see the irony that the explosiv, which was once thought of as a “powder” ski has become in 2016 the narrow ski in a quiver?

        • Author

          Are we actually going to tour on the Katana, or just talk about touring on it (as many people do)? Because if we’re going to actually go touring, them I’m swapping in a Kingpin for that Baron. But then yeah, I’m pretty much ok with this.

  4. Blister Member
    Michael March 7, 2014 Reply

    What the hell Volkl? Only Marker binders? Are you serious?

    This would make an excellent pow touring setup, but I think most folks who buy this for a touring ski would want to put tech binders on it.

    Any insight as to why this is the case? Is there something about the core structure that is incompatible with other bindings? Air channels in the core that might interfere with other screw patterns?

    Has anyone mounted these tech yet? I don’t really care if Volkl doesn’t officially approve, but I don’t want the ski blowing up on me.

    • mikep March 8, 2014 Reply

      the core is pretty much hollow outside the screw areas for royal bindings.
      there’s aguy on TGR who was mounted a pair for a customer with something other than markers but that’s all i’ve heard.

    • BH October 28, 2014 Reply

      The Völkl V-WERKS KATANA has a binding mounting area that is optimized for Marker Bindings to reduce the weight of the ski and improve the performance. If you choose to use a binding other than Marker, the Mounting Area Template on the reverse side needs to be used to confirm that all binding screws will be located inside the mounting area marked in white.
      Instructions:
      1. Position the template with correct tip and tail direction. Align the boot midsole mark on the template with ski midsole mark. Center template on ski and tape to ski.
      2. Place installation tool on ski and mark the paper template with the binding screw pattern. Remove the installation tool and check that all binding screws are located inside the
      White mounting area.
      3. If the binding screws are not located inside the White mounting area you should not use this binding on the V-WERKS KATANA.
      *Volkl will not warranty any binding retention claims if the binding screws are located outside this binding mounting area.

  5. Michael March 10, 2014 Reply

    Great review thanks… How does it compare to the Cochise? I have a Kendo and am looking for something wider for Whistler (and those days it does snow in NZ). Ta.

    • Author

      Thanks, Michael. I haven’t been on the Cochise in a while, so don’t feel inclined to make too many comparisons till we get on the (slightly tweaked) version this spring or summer. But the biggest thing I’ll say is that this Katana feels like a very good pow ski in a way that I never felt the Cochise was even trying to be. So in thinking of this from a quiver point of view, the V-Werks Katana was a remarkably versatile ski that also worked very well in pow. The Cochise performs really well in firm-to-variable conditions, but it feels less like the right tool as things get deeper.

  6. gmsnow March 11, 2014 Reply

    mounted with dynafit beast bindings. toured 15 days this season in arlberg, austria. epic. no problem.

  7. Blister Member
    Dan Gammon March 13, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Jonathan and Blister, you just broke my wallet. The ski sounds amazing. Any chance we can get a head-to-head comparison of the 110mm waist, subtle reverse camber crud busters you’ve reviewed already?

    I’m thinking like a 185 Cochise vs 184 metal Katana vs 184 VWerks Katana vs 184 4frnt Devastator comparison.

    • Author

      I’m afraid not, Dan. But listen – the best crud busters out there will be heavy. I’m beginning to worry that people (still) think that you can pull all the weight out of the ski and it will magically bust crud as well as heavier skis. It’s simply not true. So as I say in the “Firm Crud” section of this review, this is not the forte of this ski.

      Finally, we’ve never skied the 184 standard Katana or 184 Devastator. But if crud busting is what you want above all, I wouldn’t be looking at this super thin precision tool, but the regular Katana, Cochise, Belafonte, Supernatural 108, etc.

  8. Jeff March 18, 2014 Reply

    Currently skiing Volkl RTM84 (184) and looking to add a powder ski that will be great in eastern bumps and trees. I was leaning towards Soul 7 but at 240 lbs thinking it might not be enough ski. Thoughts?

    • Author

      You’ve got 60 lbs. on me, Jeff, so I’m not really sure why you’ve narrowed your search to two “lightweight” pow skis? I’m not in a position to say how well either ski would work for you, but yeah … these might not be enough. You don’t say what skis have & haven’t worked for you, but I’d be inclined to look at something that weighs ~2300-2400 grams per ski (186cmMoment Governor; 193cm Blizzard GunSmoke, etc.)

      • Jeff March 19, 2014 Reply

        Thanks for the reply,. I suppose the reason for the light weight pow skis was for their quick turning ability in bumps and tighter eastern trees. Not sure I want to go as wide as 114 so would Line SFB or Blizzard Peacemaker be better choices?

  9. Mark April 2, 2014 Reply

    Hi,

    Great review. I am looking at replacing my Line Mothership skis with the Katana. Currently ski the Line in 185 but wondering if I should stick to a 184cm Katana or push the boat out and get a 191cm. I weigh 175 pounds and 173cm tall. Ski to an expert level, like to ski a fast pace, smooth and aggressive.

    Thanks

    Mark

    • Author

      Hi, Mark – I thought the 184 Katana skied quite well, and I didn’t find myself wishing for more ski. Having said that, the 185 Mothership will definitely feel like more ski than the 184 V-Werks Katana, so I suppose you might want to size up, and I would be surprised if the 191 felt like too much ski given your point of reference.

      • Mark September 25, 2014 Reply

        Jonathan,

        Thanks for your reply. Do you think the same can be said about the older style Katana. Can pick up either the 184 or 191 at a good price. Again this is still to replace my Mothership. Will mount them with a guardian binding to primarily ski Chamonix/Alagna. Will the 191 be a bit to 1 dimensional compared to the 184 given my size. Thanks Mark

        • Author

          Hmmmm, 191 Katana vs. 185 Mothership? I haven’t been on a Mothership in forever, but if you’re a strong skier, at your height & weight, you’ll be able to handle the 191 metal Katanas. The question, really, is whether you really *need* that much ski. If you went with the 184s, I’m confident that you’d find them to ski easier than your Motherships, while still offering impressive stability. If you go 191s, I will bet you a beer that you will never, ever feel like you have too little ski.

          And having said all that, if you are going to be touring on these, that would be a point in favor of going with the 184s – won’t have to drag quite as much ski uphill, since this is already quite a heavy setup.

  10. Lee April 6, 2014 Reply

    Did you use the pre-cut skins at all? I’ve heard mixed reviews on them.
    Thanks,
    Lee

  11. Dan April 6, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan,

    I am looking to pickup a new pair of skis for next season. I just skied the new Mantra 184cm in whistler and liked them. But now I am considering the katana as well. I liked the mantra because it went everywhere I pointed them. I assume the katana will be slightly less versatile due to the width. Can you provide any thoughts between the two as one ski to have? I am 5’11” 200lb and have been skiing for 30yrs.
    Thanks
    Dan

    • Author

      Similar shapes, 1cm difference in width underfoot, very different construction.

      Again, I’m just not sure I’d want to use this precision tool as a one ski quiver for early & late season rocky conditions. I’d be more inclined to subject the Mantra to that. Aside from that, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from the two reviews.

  12. Tim April 22, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I got back into skiing and looking to improve from high intermediate to advanced/expert. Looking for skis that can help achieve that goal without outgrowing too quickly. I need skis that can handle east coast hard packed conditions, but ones I can also take to Vail a few times a year. Researched Volkl RTM 81, 84, V Werks RTM84 and V Werks Katama. Ive got Lange RX100 boots, and at 6-0, 185, I’m trying to figure out what length ski would be best for me. Some folks are suggesting 171s for the RTM skis on icy east coast slopes. Concerned I’d outgrow those too quickly and think 176s would be better. But with the Katamas, 184s would be best? I’m impressed with your review that the Katmas are a solid powder ski but can handle crud as well. This is my dilemma.

    Thanks!

    Tim

    • Author

      Hi, Tim – there’s no way I’d recommend the RTM 84 in a 171 for you. And I guess the RTM 81 would be okay if it was going to be a dedicated carver, but I still think the 176 would make more sense. In short, unless it’s a dedicated slalom ski we’re talking about, I think many people tend to go too short for not very good reasons. As for the Katana, yes, I’d recommend 184cm, but if you tend to ski at slower speeds, I imagine you could get away with the 177, though I haven’t skied it.

      • Tim April 22, 2014 Reply

        Hey Jonathan,

        Thanks for the recommendations. So if it’s down to the Volkl RTM81 in a 176 or V Werks Katana in a 184, you think I’d get more out of the Katana as far as being a more versatile ski that can do well on the front and back side of the mountain?

        Thanks again,

        Tim

  13. mark d April 23, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan,
    Thanks for the great reviews. My head is getting a bit dizzy thinking of all the choices out there. I have the JJ for powder days and the armada AR7 for the park. I just got rid of the Kastle MX98-just too much ski for me (I am 6’1″ and 165 lbs.). Would like to get something in between my two skis for the Tahoe area for the non-powder days, something in 100mm or so under foot. I would like to do some 10 foot drops and have a ski that will be able to be playful. I am not really into the hard charging thing much. Was wanting to try something from Moment as they are local, but I can’t figure out if any of their offerings would fit. There is a great deal locally on some Hell and backs, but without twin tips, I am a little concerned not the best for jumping off features. I have heard good things about Atomic theory so am considering them as well. There are even a few sickles left online that I am considering. Any thoughts?

    • Author

      Hi, Mark – I’m not sure which tricks you’re wanting to throw off which features, but straight airs will be fine off of any flat-tailed ski….

      And since you mention Moment and also the Sickle (which is 110mm underfoot), you should take a look at our reviews of the Moment PB&J and 184cm Moment Deathwish (112mm-underfoot). Either could fit the bill.

  14. James April 25, 2014 Reply

    Hi there, ive got a man maths question for you (im thinking of getting either the V-Werks RTM or Blizzard Brahma but as youve not reviewed either, ill use the Katana and Blizzard Cochise as examples).

    The V-Werks can now be picked up for (sale prices) $1000 (or they can in Europe, where i reside), while the Cochise for $700 (i can get the Brahmas plus decent Alpine bindings for this amount). Both models appear to get excellent reviews etc but do you feel that the V-Werks are worth the $300 more?

    I know that it all depends on where you ski/how you ski etc but could you make the man maths work for you or would you go for the ‘cheaper’ ski?

    Do you think/feel the V-Werks are more ‘future proof’ as other companies embrace carbon tech?

    Thanks

    • Author

      Hi, James – I’ll boil down your question to simply: Are ‘good’ skis all going to go the way of the V-Werks layup? As impressive as the V-Werks Katana is, I’ll say (1) No and (2) I Hope Not. The non-carbon Katana is superior to the V-Werks in certain ways, namely, going very fast in very bad snow. Metal is superior to carbon in certain ways, and carbon is superior to metal in certain different ways. That’s why I wish Volkl would continue to make both. I don’t view carbon layups as simply “better” than other layups. It might work better for some skiers, but not all skiers, and not in all conditions / terrain / applications. It’s why I’m psyched to see DPS now offering (1) carbon layups, (2) carbon/fiberglass-hybrid layups, and now (3) metal layups.

      • james June 9, 2014 Reply

        Thanks Jonathan for the response, unfortunately my budget wont stretch to the DPS’s as ive looked at them as well.

        Shame you’ve not reviewed the Brahma’s yet………

  15. Faripour May 2, 2014 Reply

    Hello Jonathan:
    Thank you for great review! Blister has the most reliable and comprehensive reviews; thanks
    . I am 5’8″ weigh 145lb. Expert , technical skier not über aggressive. Have been on older mantras at 177 length. In tight spots a bit at a work to turn them. Like the Nordica Soulrider at 177 length. But it is too turny and do not like its soft long tail and not too good in spring crud in Snowbird. What length V- Wrek would you recommend, please ? Also, because of my size, I was considering Gatama. How would you compare them, please?

    • Author

      Hi, Faripour – I think the 177cm V-Werks would suit you well. And I don’t have a ton of time on the Gotama, but I greatly prefer the Katana to the Gotama. The Gotama has much more tip and tail rocker than the Katana, and I found it to perform less well in firm or difficult conditions than the Katana, and I don’t really think it would outperform the V-Werks Katana in good, deeper conditions, either.

      • Faripour Forouhar December 17, 2014 Reply

        Hi Jonathan – comparing Nordica Soul Rider with Nordica Patron and in turn with V-Werks. Since, i know Soul Rider very well, it would be an ideal ski for me if it had stiffer shorter tail for everywhere except deepest pow, in your reviews you commented on lack of stability of Patron in variable, hard off piste snow but did not site Soul Rider for that weakness. how do you compare the strength and weakness of these two?
        Furthermore, being 145lb and 5’8″ and 68 years old expert technical skier and not very aggressive, i am a bit hesitant to go for V-Wreck 177 that you recommended for me last year. my hesitation is weather it would be too stiff (i hand flexed it in the shop) for me. would Patron be a better choice???
        Put it another way, if YOU were my size and my age and a bit less aggressive would you go for V-Werks 177 as your wide body ski?? any other ski suggestion?
        Again Thank you for GREATEST reviews, Blister is a real asset to all skiers!

        Faripour

  16. Faripour May 2, 2014 Reply

    Hello folks; haw about a review on new Gatama and comparison with V-Wrek Katana?
    Faripour

  17. phipper June 6, 2014 Reply

    Great review for this ski. Thank you. At 5’10, 210 I went with the traditional Katana at 191 for deep days, sloppy days and choppy days. They are bomber and will handle most anything in their way. I also went with the VWerks RTM 84 at 177cm for a lightweight front side carver or those cowboy powder days with the kids. The combination has made for a great 2 ski quiver. Having said that, it is imperative to keep a decent pair of rock skis in the stable and my Movement Thunder at 177 cm gets more action than the others combined because, let’s face it. . . New England skiing is what it is. I am not surprised that the Vwerks Katana is a solid performer.

  18. Martyn August 12, 2014 Reply

    Great review. I’ve got both the V-werks Katana and the Katana, both in 191. I’m 5’10” and 70kg. I love both skis. I ski mt ruapehu in New Zealand, one of the iceiest mountains there is. Both skis are great and I find it hard to choose between the two. I agree whole heartedly with the reviewer, please bring back the Katana, i think there’s a place for both!!

  19. Doug Westerhoff August 14, 2014 Reply

    Aren’t these 112 under foot? Not a huge difference but I kept reading 110 in the review

  20. jan September 16, 2014 Reply

    184 or 191cm ?
    Hi, i really would love to get on the new katanas. Howver i can get a good deal on 184s.

    i am 6’3″ an about 200lb (193cm/90kg) and more if a finesse skier, but like to go quite fast also.
    Can i get away with the 184??
    normally i would always opt for the longer length (ski 193 cochise and sideseths)

    what if i put dynafits for touring on them (maybe even kingpins) ?

    any insight from katana vwerks owners?? THANKS!

    • Kyle September 21, 2014 Reply

      would love some to hear more on the 184 vs 191 also. I’m closeish in size 5’11 and 225. I still want this ski to be fun in the tress and steeps, without sacrificing to much in either spot.

  21. Andy September 30, 2014 Reply

    If you usually ski on 19Xs, there’s nothing about the Katana should make you deviate from that unless your other 19Xs are 80mm-underfoot carving skis. The Katana’s rocker profile is very modest, meaning that its effective edge isn’t crazy small like more heavily rockered skis, and therefore there’s no reason to size up to accommodate for that.

    There’s also no reason to size down, unless it’s going to be a dedicated touring ski or some other special case. I guess one could make the argument that because this is a pretty stiff ski, you could go a little shorter than usual, but with the low swing weight and full-rocker, these are stupidly easy to ski so I personally would not.

    If anything, you’d want to take advantage of the lightness of the construction in a carbon ski like this to go longer, which will give you back a bit of the stability you lose in going from a fiberglass/metal ski to a carbon ski.

    All that said: To put things in perspective, take out a ruler and see how big 7cm actually is. Do you really think that’s going to make a huge difference in steeps and trees?

  22. Matt September 30, 2014 Reply

    I think you’ve overlooked what I believe is the biggest problem with these skis: They are seriously uncool.

    Pulling up in the lift line with a pair of carbon fibre wrapped bat-blades worth $3 billion dollars? You may as well put a giant DORK sign on your head. These skis are for people who wear skin suits even though they don’t race. People who argue about the best way to teach carving technique. Porsche Cayenne drivers. The Donald Trumps of this world.

    As a responsible provider of consumer advice I implore Blister to start this review with a serious warning: “Buy these skis at your own peril. They may be fast, but you’ll never pick up on the chair lift again”

    • Other Matt October 1, 2014 Reply

      High five! Seriously uncool unless you are a suit staying in the base fancy hotel who flew in on your per hour rented private jet.

      • Faripour Forouhar December 17, 2014 Reply

        who cares about the looks if it skis like a fighter jet?

        • Dave March 7, 2016 Reply

          Never pick up on the chair lift again? Yeah, because what girl doesn’t like a guy with a little extra cash. Regardless, these skis are expensive, but if you’re the kind of guy or girl that buys skis once every ten years they aren’t a bad investment. In fact, this ski is so good Volkl hasn’t changed it since it’s introduction. Kind of a stupid comment, imho.

    • JR January 27, 2016 Reply

      Yes. . . Buying a ski based on whether it makes you look cool. . . That is seriously uncool if nothing else.

      Are you buying a ski based on how it skis or how you look when you get to the lift line?

      And if the latter, who has more cool issues – the guy with the overpriced carbon ski (that he bought at a season ending clear out) or the guy who bought something that skied poorly because he was worried what others think.

      Lol.

  23. Tim October 1, 2014 Reply

    I have these skis, a Porsche Cayenne and a private jet. I don’t care what poor people who can’t afford these skis think of me. ; p

  24. Faripour October 1, 2014 Reply

    The only real thing that matters is performance. if you don’t like the look, spray them or put stickers on them.

  25. Mats October 2, 2014 Reply

    Since Marker released the kingpin, and the fact that Völkl only allows for use with marker bindings, this combo is finally looking like it will fill the potential for the true one-ski quiver

  26. Rod October 2, 2014 Reply

    you can definitely mount dynafits on the carbon katana

  27. Fraser October 4, 2014 Reply

    Trying to decide between the Line Supernatural 108 or the v-works as my resort ski. Resort skiing for me will usually involve a few groomers, some tight, steep and icy pitches into bump runs followed by a trip into the side country for some pow and chop. Looking to mount skis with either the Beast 14s, Kingpins, or one of the newer iterations of elastic touring bindings. 5’10”, 160 lbs; aggressive but ageing skier. I’ve got a pair of Praxis Protests with Tech bindings for my dedicated touring skis.

    Will the Supernaturals be more fun than the v werks? I don’t consider weight to be a big issue, but it is a bonus on longer days.

    Thanks again for your efforts, buying skis used to be such a stab in the dark. Your site is a much needed resource for those of us who don’t have time to try a ton of skis.

    • Author

      Thanks, Fraser. I’d like to think / hope that the two reviews would leave you with enough info to decide which ski sounds ‘more fun’ for you…. And in the interest of not repeating what I’ve already written in either comment thread, I’ll say that the more crud- & soft chop-bashing ability you demand out of your ski, the more I would lean toward the 108. So I would rather bash around on the 108s, and I would likely opt for the V-Werks in pow. Both are fun on groomers – see the reviews for more on their relative performance there.

      It wouldn’t really occur to me to put an AT binding on the 108s, in the same way that I wouldn’t be tempted to put an AT binding on a Blizzard Cochise. So the more you really expect to skin on these, the more I personally would lean V-Werks.

  28. Andrew October 8, 2014 Reply

    The new katana sounds really awesome, but its gotten me really curious as to how it compares to the 4frnt raven. Both of these skis are new carbon fiber touring type skis and they both seem to be powder charging oriented, and both with a flat/negative camber shape, so that I am really curious are you guys ever going to or have you skied the 4frnt raven?

    Thanks!

  29. Marty October 8, 2014 Reply

    Perfect timing on this review!

    Question: I’m trying to decide between this and the volkl BMT 109…

    …I’ll be skiing in Cham for most of the winter, laced with a few stints in Whistler and Jackson. I love skiing fast, love steep techy terrain and dropping airs here and there. Even though I’m light (150/5’10”), I’m aggressive and ski all day (no lunch!).

    Which would you recommend? Or another ski entirely?

    Love your blog, thanks for any help :-)

    • Author

      Hey, Marty – my only experience with the BMT 109s was at the SIA tradeshow, where I handflexed them. They felt very soft to me, and I immediately lost interest. And that could have just been some pre-production pair, so you shouldn’t really put any stock in what I’ve just said. Having said that, I can vouch for the Katana in a big way. My only thought is that, thinking about (really) steep, techy lines in Cham, I might want some camber and some metal, but that’s just me.

      So to bring this thoroughly unhelpful reply to a conclusion … I personally would take the Katana over the BMT 109.

  30. Marty October 11, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Sort of. lol

    I was questioning the camber thing too.

    Can you rattle off your top 3 skis for Cham?

    Putting together a quiver this season is tough work, so many great skis to choose from.

    Note: I’ll be in Hokkaido for 3 weeks in January, then ill spend most if the remainder in Cham.

    Many thanks,

    Marty

    • Author

      Well, you didn’t mention width, so for me, personally, I would go (1) Salomon X-Drive 8.8 (2) 13/14 Volkl Mantra (3) pick one: metal Katana, Blizzard Bodacious, or Blister Pro.

      • Marty October 28, 2014 Reply

        Nice choices Jonathan!

        I see that Salomon again, like in your 3 quiver pick :-)

        Trying to avoid overlap, but at least I’ve decided on my deep day ski: Opus, although the I can get a really good deal on the new Bent Chetlers. But I want something really fun.

        I really like the idea of last years Mantra. That would be great for the steeper techy stuff in Chamonix.

        I’d like something sort kinda playfyul that would fit in between, a ski that still charges, but that I can use to hit every feature I come across (I love being in the air and dropping cliffs). The writeup on the supernatural 108 was interesting (I’m 150/5’10”).

        Also, could I get away with straight up alpine bindings on the Opus, or should I put touring bindings on them? My main worry is that I don’t want to lose any chance at accessing some BC in Japan but don’t want to kill the lightness/performance of what the Opus is built for.

        Thanks, your advice rocks!

  31. Allen October 12, 2014 Reply

    Hey have any of the blister reviewers been on the Folsom Kingpin or Giver? Similar dimensions and with a long radius

  32. JR October 12, 2014 Reply

    I bought the blizzard peacemaker last year and it’s been an amazing ski – but as you guys pointed out, could be fatter for deep days.

    I have a pair of blizzard the answer for the deep days – great in untracked but I personally don’t like it as much for the groomers that connect the off piste stuff. Would also like something lighter for the occasional sidecountry foray. I ski mostly Fernie – big mountain, lots of snow.

    I managed to demo the carbon katana last year on an icy groomer day and was blown by the performance on the groomers, but also on chunder.

    What are your thoughts on a blizzard peacemaker – v-werks Katana 2 ski quiver? Or would you recommend metal katana – peacemaker for more crud versatility?

  33. Mike T October 15, 2014 Reply

    Great review, but I’m still bummed that Volkl got rid of the old metal Katanas. BUT! Backcountry still has lots of last years skis in stock and on sale, so I stocked up

  34. JR October 18, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I pulled the trigger on the carbon katana – it was fantastic the day I demoed (on Ice!) and really Im looking for a ski for deep days and occasional sidecountry tours.

    So on heavy crud days – I’m better with the carbon katana or the peacemaker?

    On another note – do you think the f12s are enough to pair with this ski or is it worth the weight to look at the baron?

  35. JR October 18, 2014 Reply

    (To give some background info I’m 205 lbs. I ski fast but not in the park, no hucking cliffs. I usually use a din of 8.)

  36. John October 19, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan,
    Katana 184 or 191?
    I weigh 160 and ski the DPS Lotus 120 in a 190cm, for the last 5 years. I tried the 184cm thinking it might handle tighter trees better, but it really lacked performance in deep pow and stomping pillow lines. Since they smear so well there really was no difference turning, but the 190cm handles speed so much better.
    I am looking at the Katana and based on my experience with the DPS 120 in both the 184 and 190, I am thinking 191cm. What do you suggest?
    Thanks,
    John
    My other big mountain skis are the DPS Lotus 189cm PW version and the Kastle BMX 128 188cm.

    • Author

      Hey, John – I think the 191 is a no brainer for you, given your (very helpful to include – thanks) points of reference: the 190 Lotus 120 and the 188 BMX 128. I bet the 191 Katana will feel like less ski / less work than either the L120 or the BMX 128.

      The only reason for you to go 184 is if you were looking for a very quick set of ninja sticks for say, moguls, that would feel even less (than the 191s) like your Lotus and BMX. That’s up to you.

      Again, I love the 191 metal Katana, so I was surprised by how hard I could push the 184 carbons. But I didn’t mean to therefore infer that the 191 carbon Katanas would somehow be a handful.

      BTW, you should come to Taos and let me ski your 191 Katanas and your BMX 128s. (I’d say your L120s, too, but I REALLY want to get on the updated version with the fatter tail….)

  37. John October 20, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan,
    Thanks for the advise. I also have the updated 2015 Lotus 120 in the PowderWerks edition. 1700 grams.
    All my 120s have FT-12s. Maybe I can stop by!
    Thanks,
    John

  38. John October 25, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan,
    I am mostly a self powered up-hiller.
    After going thru my skis for this season, I ended up with the V-Werks Katana in a 184 and skins. I did not get the 191 as we discussed because it is most similar to my Kastle BMX 118 183cm which I use for tracked up powder days in Colorado, and I can land stuff with wide supportive tail and not kill speed. If I am going to be able to get to untracked and light deep powder I use the DPS 120 190cm. I weighed my new DPS Powder Werks Lotus 120s and they are 1775 grams! This is my 5th pair and they all have FT-12s on them. I use this as my Backcountry powder ski as well for Heli touring or Heli skiing along with the Kastle BMX 128. My confidence in the 120 has grown over 5 years of use. So for big mountain skiing like in BC and AK I am set.

    As far as fast and light ski mountaineering and backcountry, I like my choices as well; Movement Logic-X, Response-X, Shift-X, and the Trab Volare +2cm.
    And for truly steep gnarly couloirs like in Antartica, I still prefer the Kastle FX-94 186cm with FT-12s, where the approachs are flat, then you have to boot up the couloirs. So weight is not an issue carrying them on my back 3-5 mountains a day.

    I am stuck in the mid width category, particularly when it comes to finding a ski that can charge and not fold, up and weighs 1700 grams or less. In SA I have used the Kastle FX-94, 104, TX-97 and 107, and BMX 108, and the Stoke(tipis too soft and unsupportive) on variable snow, where one turn is in powder and the next is a hard slab. The TX series is too soft and has a definite top end limit. The Trab Volare works well but is not the charger I want like the FX series.

    You and your test crew seem sold on the Line Supernatural or the Blizzards for these kind of conditions.

    I have the new DPS 105 Pure, but have not skied it yet, but it is almost 1900 grams. I find back to back long tour days where I am over climbing summits 12,000 feet, an 1800+ gram ski is too heavy for the up on multiple accents.

    Can you recommend a 184+cm mid fat lighter ski that performs at the same level as say the skis in your Triple quiver test?

    • Author

      Sounds like you’re up to some fun stuff, John.

      Unfortunately, I definitely cannot say that I’ve ever skied a ~1700 gram ski that performs in variable conditions “at the same level as” a very good variable conditions, ~2300 gram ski. And I may just be showing my ignorance here, but no part of me believes that such a thing currently exists.

      If anybody knows of such a thing, please let me know ASAP. I would love to stand corrected.

      Having said that, you might take a look at what Down Skis is up to. I was pretty impressed with their Countdown2, and they offer some narrower, shorter options that might be of interest to you.

  39. Jan October 25, 2014 Reply

    John, wow what a quicker.

    Tell me more about the tx107

  40. John October 25, 2014 Reply

    Soo…
    I am swapping the 184 Katana for the 191, and picking up a pair of 186 BMTs. Hoping the mid fat AT gap will be filled with a charger. I used to ski the DPS 105 188cm flex 3 as my daily driver. Tried the G3 Zenoxides for a season… and others…
    Jonathan,
    I am still looking for advise on AT mid-fats.
    Thanks,
    John

  41. John October 25, 2014 Reply

    109 BMTs 186cm

  42. Blister Member
    Paul October 26, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan,
    When testing these, did you find a particular binding position that you liked??? Or did u just have them set up on the line???
    Paul

  43. Blister Member
    Paul October 27, 2014 Reply

    As well, when skiing these, did u ever feel that u needed more of a ski (as in 191)?
    I want to add these to my quiver but I’m torn between sizes (184/191). I’m 42, 6’1, 190lbs high advanced/early expert. Any suggestions?

  44. John October 29, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Jonathan,
    I took a look at Down skis website. Their offerings look interesting. And I read your review of the Countdown 2. I am spoiled by the performance of the Kastle FX and BMX series skis as well as some of the current and past DPS skis. And I still love my Volkl AC-50s for the down, and even have a new pair in reserve. So I am going to try the new DPS 105 with alpine bindings, Griffon Schizos so I can play with +-. This will be my first new alpine mount in 7 years. And then try the Cochise and Line Supernatural 108.
    Honestly, the Trab Volare works well in all conditions, combined with the DPS Lotus 120 Powder Works and 2 different V-Werks, I will have plenty to keep me busy.
    Thanks Again!
    John

  45. Blister Member
    Hasse December 8, 2014 Reply

    Hallo!
    Great review as always.!!
    I just bought a pair of the Katana V Werks in 184 cm with Marker F12 EPF.
    I´m 178cm and 92kg.
    I´m wondering about the mounting position. I tested it this weekend at a skitesting.
    The first run at recommended point and the second 1 cm forward. Both were great
    but think I liked 1 cm forward best. Do you think the flotation will be suffering
    at 1 cm forward? Grateful for any answer…//Hasse

    • Author

      Hi, Hasse – I really liked the 184s on the line, and never felt that I wanted to move them forward or back. But while I can’t say with certainty, I do not imagine that you’ll notice a significant drop in flotation by going to +1.

  46. Rod December 9, 2014 Reply

    Two friends, both excellent skiers, had the katana the whole winter, and they both liked +2, for short turns, where you load the tips.

  47. Blister Member
    Hasse December 9, 2014 Reply

    Thank you both Jonathan and Rod..!
    Could you (Rod) please ask your friends what they thought about the flotation in pow at +2. //Hasse

  48. Rod December 9, 2014 Reply

    They had no problem in powder.

    I will ski mine in powder this weekend and will let you know if there is a problem.

  49. Blister Member
    Hasse December 9, 2014 Reply

    Thanks Rod! Is your´s mounted +2 as your friends? Can´t wait to hear from you again.!! //Hasse

  50. Rod December 13, 2014 Reply

    Got my vwerks katana mounted, 2cn forward.

    Tried them in powder today, felt like 1-1 1/2 ft.

    Excellent, no tip dive, carved well, smeared well, skinned well.

  51. Blister Member
    Hasse December 14, 2014 Reply

    Thank you very..very much Rod. It’s hard to get any input on the Katana V Werks regarding the mounting. I talked to several people who was on the KVW yesterday when I was at a skitestweekend in Trysil, Norway. No one of them had anything to say about it, but thought they had it on the recommended spot. Not even the guys working for Völkl did know anything about it….bad I think.
    I’ll mount my +2. Best regards to you Rod and all you guys at BGR and a Happy Christmas from Sweden.!! // Hasse

    • gary hayes February 15, 2017 Reply

      Hi Hasse

      how did the skis go at +2 the last few winters ?

      would you have changed the mount location at all ?

      thanks Gary

  52. Paul December 16, 2014 Reply

    Hoping you can help out with decision about new skis.
    I’m 6″2, 185. Ski mostly at Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl, and Tahoe backcountry. Typical day is K2/Headwall/Granite until skied out, then “go in search of”. Or to get away from the crowds, backcountry Talac, Jakes, Mt. Rose, Silver Peak, etc…I have been pretty much exclusively tele on 190 Praxis BC/AXL bindings the last few years, which I have generally liked, although they tend to get a little hooky in untracked Sierra Cement. I have demoed prior year alpine Mantra, Line Influence, Coomback…and others. The Mantra stood out for its smooth crud busting ride at Squaw.

    I suppose this post could go in any of 3 places, but am considering:
    1. 191 V Werks Katana…with tech bindings or possibly an ISIS alpine/tech setup, Scarpa Freedom SL
    2. 190 Blister pro with Look P14s and look for reasonable alternate tech setup
    3. 191 2013/14 Katana with Look P14s and look for reasonable alternate tech setup

    Appreciate any collective wisdom/advice. Thanks.

  53. Rod December 16, 2014 Reply

    Paul, you didnt ask me, but:i ski squaw also, same places, and bc.
    I just got the vwerks katana, mounted with dynafits, skied them two days, castle and tamarack. Admittedly in superb conditions, but so far they are incredible.
    I ski the metal katana at squaw, and I think they would be hard to beat, second half of a powder day.

  54. Rod December 16, 2014 Reply

    But in anything else, the carbon would be awesome. Skied a few semi

  55. Rod December 16, 2014 Reply

    Steep shots today, and it felt precise and effortless.

    Hard to go wrong as your resort and bc ski.

    Sorry about the truncated posts, my phone is not cooperating

    • Paul December 17, 2014 Reply

      Thanks Rod…appreciate the G2!

  56. Edmondo December 18, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan, thanks for the good review.
    Do you know how these compare to the DPS Wailer 112 RP2 (hybrid and pure version)?
    Until reading your review, I had come to the conclusion that the best skis for me (178 cm x 74 Kg, advanced/expert, mainly skiing off piste but keen on carving when possible) would be the Wailer 112 RP2 Hybrid. I discarded the Pure version because from what I gathered reading online, it does not seem to absorb the vibrations too well in bumpy conditions and it is much less forgiving and fun than the hybrid.
    Are these Volk more similar to the hybrid or to the pure version of the DPS….or maybe the best of both worlds? How to they compare to the DPS in terms of reactivity in narrow turns and in stability at higher speeds? Thanks!

  57. Edmondo December 18, 2014 Reply

    Which size of V Werk Katana would you recommend for me? I was considering getting the 184, but also the 177 sounds interesting. I need something much more agile between the trees compared to my heavy and long Rossignol S7 (188 cm) but yet I want them to be still stable as the S7 at high speeds. Cheers!

  58. buzz December 23, 2014 Reply

    Having demoed many of the skis in your reviews I felt inspired to chime in. Being a BC/resort skier both the carbon and metal versions of the Katana have their place, with a little overlap. And oddly enough, I prefer the metal version for touring. Basically, because I don’t have the luxury of swapping out skis as conditions change and I’d rather not be bummed I brought the wrong tool for the job. The metal version has never let me down. The carbon ones have. I believe ski manutafactures are maxed out. My ski of choice back in the day was a beefed up Igneaous FFF. I’ve had more memorable days on the FFFs than any other ski I’ve owned. With some difference in sidecut and camber the Katanas have been a slight, but noticable improvement. Removing this ski from the lineup was a huge mistake that I’m hoping is realized. One thing that’s certain is that the weights of the boots/skis must match up. This is why resort ski boots all remain the same weight. You simply can’t drive the metal Katana with Carbon cuffed, 4 lb TLT5. You can certainly get away with it, but it ain’t the same. Advancements in materials will certainly tweak things slightly, but, my opinion is that manufactures are pretty much maxed out. Going to carbon fiber ONLY with the Katana was a step backwards. And at that price, mst ski’s with a 115mm waist do a pretty good job in hero pow. It’s when condition change mid-afternoon that you’ll be wishing you had the metal version. And not once while skiing the metal version did I think to myself, “man, I wish I had the carbon version.” Just my 2 cents.

  59. John January 1, 2015 Reply

    I have been skiing the VWK in both the 184 and 191 mounted with Kingpins on centerline.
    The 184 is a playful ski that will also carve aggressively.
    The 191 wants to go fast! Easy to ski ski pow and crud. The tip is very powerful and will help initiate a very powerful carve at high speed. Surprisingly aggressive!
    Both are easy to ski in powder, crud, hard pack, crust. Have not skied them in breakable yet.
    184 skis bumps well.
    Kingpins have the strongest boo/ski interface of any binding I have skied!

    • Olly January 10, 2015 Reply

      Jonathan, thanks for another excellent review – quick question for you;

      I currently ski the 12/13 wood Kats in a 184 (I’m 5’6″ 140lbs, mount point +2cm) and they’re perfect this way, not nearly as demanding as the 184 might be for someone of my size/weight (I started with a pair of 177’s and switched up) Recently I’ve been thinking about the V Werks Kat, and have also been thinking about going shorter in general, which may be counter intuitive as going lighter means you can go longer – seems from the posts here that most folk riding the 184’s tend to be up to 8″ taller and up to 30kgs/60lbs heavier, so maybe the 177’s would work ok. I’d hate to find myself with too little ski again though, especially on a ski this price, so wonder what your thoughts may be on this eternal issue?? Thanks in advance…

      • Author

        Hey, Olly – sorry for the late reply, I missed your comment.

        Did you pull the trigger?

        The safe bet: go 184. You already know you like the 184 metal Katanas.

        Riskier, but probably fine: 177s. Unless you’re hellbent on saving weight, I’m not sure why you’d go shorter. But if I had to guess, I don’t think that going shorter will severely compromise the qualities of the 184.

        Let us know what you did and how it worked out…

  60. Ian January 27, 2015 Reply

    Great review. I’ve had the 184 V-Werks Katanas since the middle of last season. I love them. I also bought a pair of 2015 Sick Day 95’s around the same time. I have Binding Freedom inserts on both and swap Rottefella NTN Freerides and Freedoms between them.

    Thing is, I never ski the Sick Day. It is a super-fun ski, but I have found the carbon Katanas to be so incredibly versatile that I never want to take them off!

    I was a little worried about the warning to only install Marker bindings, but I went for it anyway, and after putting these through resort days on the east coast, a powder day at Beaver Creek, mixed crap in the Rockies, spring and early season resort skiing in Utah and backcountry in the Eastern Sierra in May (oh and a day at Mammoth that was frozen solid) – I am confident about the binding setup and stoked on the boards.

    It is a surprisingly versatile and fun ski.

  61. Some boot guy February 12, 2015 Reply

    Word is that there’s a durability/delamination issue with the V-Werks Katana, mostly under foot where the sidewall meets the edge. Volkl is apparently quick with warranty replacements but I’ve personally seen more than 5 pairs with the same damage and issues which given the amounts sold is a bit disconcerting. It’s a great ski but it does have its issues. Haven’t heard the same about the BMT line-up nor the RTM V-Werks, though it wouldn’t surprise me if the BMTs were having the same issues given the very similar construction methods.

  62. Blister Member
    Rob Sloan February 20, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan!

    Again, thank you for running the best review site on the planet!

    A buddy of mine is pushing me hard to get into back country skiing (not like I need too much pushing) – mostly around Tahoe, but a trip to Japan is definitely possible. Realistically, I’m looking for a ski that will be used 50% on pow days at Squaw and 50% in Tahoe’s backcountry (which can be a bit wet). I’m 5’8″ and weigh 175 lbs. My resort ski is the 185 cm 2013/14 Blizzard Cochise. The Volkl V-Werks Katana looks like pretty much like the ideal ski for a “Pow/Backcountry” set up. A couple questions for you:

    1. Which length? You reviewed the 184 (and you reviewed the 185 Cochise) so it seems like that’s a likely choice. But for a dedicated Pow/touring ski for a guy weighing 175 lbs, is there any reason to look at the 191?

    2. What’s your next best alternative? I’m thinking Black Diamond Megawatt… but while it’s lighter, I think I’d like the Katana a lot more given how much I love the Cochise.

    Thanks again,

    Rob

    • Author

      Thanks, Rob. To answer your questions:

      1) Short answer, No. I haven’t skied the 191 – and I do love the 191 metal Katana – but the biggest thing for me is that, as I say, I didn’t find the 184 to struggle in deep snow. So while I’m curious about the 191, and while yes, more surface area should equal more float, I’d be pretty happy dragging the 184s uphill.

      2) Jumping to the 120+mm Megawatt (Carbon Megawatt, I presume) doesn’t seem like fair comparison. We haven’t skied the carbon Megawatt yet, but I can say that the 184 V-Werks is a bit more like a Cochise than the regular Megawatt in terms of on-snow feel / performance.

      Basically, I’d be shocked if you don’t really like the 184 V-Werks.

      • Blister Member
        Rob Sloan February 20, 2015 Reply

        Awesome – thanks!

  63. Olly February 21, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, my time to apologise for the late reply!
    In the end I demoed the 177 and 184 in Verbier, Switzerland, and I was surprised I didn’t love the ski as much as I thought I would, but I’m sure more time on it would help. The main thing I felt was that it got pushed around a lot in chop, which is what you’d said in your review, which of course isn’t an issue with the Mighty Metal Katana!

    Regarding length though if I was to pull the trigger I would definitely go with the 184 and mount +2cm; basically it’s exactly as I found with the metal Kats, the 177 somehow just feels to have too little tail when mounted factory line, and is too short to mount forward really, whereas the 184 @ +2 for me at least seems to be bang on the sweet spot.

  64. John February 26, 2015 Reply

    Changed the mount point on my 184s to +1.5. A little quicker in the tight stuff. Left my 191s on center mark for wide open deep days.

  65. Mark April 6, 2015 Reply

    Good Day Powder Hounds,

    First off, thanks Jonathan for the great review, appreciate your detailed analysis and feedback.

    I am looking to get a pair of Volkl V-Werks Katana in a 184.

    Just curious to get feedback from yourself and others who have mounted Dynafit bindings to their setup.

    Specifically, I am looking at mounting either a pair of TLT Speed Superlite or TLT Speed Radical bindings, just curious what other people’s experience has been with this. Based on research that I have done online, apparently Volkl supports the use of non-Marker bindings provided they fit the H pattern mounting area, then you do not void the warranty.

    Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read the post and look forward to your feedback.

    Happy trails and stay safe in the mountains,

    powderskier9

  66. Jay May 30, 2015 Reply

    Hey Jonathan,
    Thanks so much for the reviews on this site, I feel more confident after reading this than after all the other available reviews combined. Living remotely I am *mail order guy*, and this info is very helpful. After reading “90 seconds” I thought, maybe I could get away with the 184…

    Question is, were you on the 184?? : ) Blister verified weight of 1960+1975 (3935grams) = 191cm, not 184cm! The 184 should weigh 3680 grams, big difference! This would definitely explain why the 184 was so stable (just kidding, I think!) You guys are so on it at Blister I am actually wondering if it’s Volkl that got the weight wrong. Also pictured is the 191, but I’m guessing thats just the stock photo.

    Thanks again for the awesome review!
    Jay

    • Author

      Thank you, Jay. And I definitely reviewed the 184cm V-Werks Katana — you can see the exact pair I tested on page 3, the rocker profile pics. (You’re right, we just ran the only-available-at-the-time stock photo, which was of the 191. (FWIW, I’ve still only skied the metal Katana in a 191.)

      And while I haven’t seen Volkl’s stated weights (I stopped believing “stated” weights a long time ago), I stand by our measured weights.

      I also believe with all my heart that if the 184s only weighed 3680, they would not ski nearly as well as our pair. You can’t remove that kind of weight – not yet, not with the currently available materials – without a performance penalty.

  67. Jeff September 16, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for the super detailed review. Looking into a new pair of backcountry skis to replace my Volkl Nunataqs, which I’ve had for 4 years now and are pretty beat up. Did you ever ski those? If you did, any comparisons you care to make between the V-Werks Katanas and the Nunataqs?

    Thanks.

    Jeff

    • Blister Member
      Rick September 17, 2015 Reply

      I’d be interested in that comparison myself … ;)

  68. Blister Member
    Rick October 1, 2015 Reply

    Jonathan,

    setup AT, Katana V-Werks, DPS Pure 3 Wailer 112, or 112 Tour , strictly backcountry AK powder – which one would you pick ?

    Thanks, Rick

    • Author

      Sorry I missed this question, Rick. What did you end up going with?

      • Blister Member
        Rick February 8, 2017 Reply

        No problem Jonathan ;)
        Last March here in South Central AK I was probably starting to become distracted by my mountain bikes and dirt bikes because of our almost non existent winter.
        This winter’s been a bit more normal and I did windup going with the 184 Katana with G3 Ion LT12 mounted +1.
        Very athletic ski !

  69. Rich November 20, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I appreciate your reviews and your answers to the commenters. I think I have narrowed down my search for skis but wanted to ask your opinion before my purchase. I am 5′ 8″ 165 lbs advanced skier from the north east. I like to ski aggressively in all conditions. Groomers, trees, bumps and pow are all fun for me. I am having trouble determining the size of ski and in turn the year of ski for the V Werks Katanas. Because the Katanas haven’t changed in the last year I was going to buy the previous years model but they only sell those in 184 cm. This year offers the 177 cm which I think would be better fit for me. There is a difference of $300 in price between the two/ What I would like to know is if there is much of a difference in the lengths. Should I spend the extra money for a 177? Does it make a great deal of difference for a skier of my size/skill?

    Much appreciated.

    -Rich

  70. Jay November 29, 2015 Reply

    Okay if you made it this far down the comments here is an honest new review. I bought these based on Jonathan’s review. For real. Mounted them with Kingpin 13’s and Vulcans. They are now for sale. They are fast and stable. Sort of. But you are standing on the tail, like in the olden days. And locked in carves, like in the olden days. Smearing sucks. Tail taps are weird and jarring. You have to always go forward because there is no tail at all. You can’t pump them through whoops, because the tail thinks you want to carve. Why is there so much ski out front? Oh yah, it’s the olden days. Why do I have to carve every turn? oh yah, because bla bla bla etc…

    Stay forward stay forward stay forward. There is almost no tail. Tail does not respond laterally because it’s built to carve. Tail-this tail-that.. where is the tail? Try to wheelie these and you will look like an awkward racer, not like you are ready to throw them sideways or switch up. You can make 1000 turns in low angle pow because you are so far back but that is as far as “playful” goes with these. In variable this tail just won’t release. Period. Even in pow it’s weird. Arms-up-quick-pivot-slash to drop 20 mph? Forget it. They will head wherever pointed. Just be sure you want this.

    So you may (rightfully) be thinking, no $h1t Hellbent-Dude what were you thinking when you bought these bat-blades? Honestly I just thought it would be okay for a stable light touring ski, but still slashy. No switch big deal, I can stay forwards for awhile. But it’s not just switch, it’s another planet of skiing, a planet I don’t want to return to. A planet where your ski goes where it’s pointed. Make sure you are happy on that planet before you buy this ski.

    • Author

      “So you may (rightfully) be thinking, no $h1t Hellbent-Dude what were you thinking when you bought these bat-blades?” Yep, this is exactly my thought. The next time you are looking for a jib-friendly ski, and at the top of the review the recommended mount position says “-13.9 cm” you can either immediately stop reading (which I think is your smartest move) or else mount the ski at least 8 cm in front of recommended, which still only gets you to -6 cm. But I don’t recommend that. Even good tools “suck” when used for jobs they weren’t remotely designed for.

  71. BC Hunter December 7, 2015 Reply

    I actually picked up a pair of these after the end of the 2013/2014 season and got a smoking deal….which was all the sweeter when they wound up being unchanged for the 2014/2015 season. Having said that, we were so low snow last year, that I never wanted to take a chance with them, other than one run on a groomer. (BC Kootenays)

    So, they will be out this winter…soon I hope. I’ll see if others’ experiences match with my own.

    The reason I’m writing in is to pass on a piece of advice from the shop that sold them to me….they’ve sold quite a few Volkls for touring (I’ve got a set of Marker Dukes on them, so anticipating some climbing, but not long hours of uphilling) and they advised against using the Volkl skins. Apparently the vacuum attachment is so rigid and the skins so strong that when you flex the skis with the skins on, the attachment at the tip tends to break/tear from the tension. These guys are pretty straight shooters, and they would have made more $$ selling me the Volkl skins, so I’m inclined to trust them (that and they had a few broken-off Volkl skin tips lying around). I have a set of G3 Alpinist skins (traditional glue and not so stiff) that I’ll report on once the snow is covering all the rocks and stumps.

  72. Jfkayne January 24, 2016 Reply

    So I just demoed the v-werks in UT. Conditions were 5in of pow on top of 3 day old snow. 2ft in places with heavy winds creating substantial drifts. I was hesitant to take these out as they looked like a gimmick but I left my pow skis at home.

    I have to agree with everything in this review. I was really surprised by these skis over a variety of terrain. Overall I loved them. Incredibly light for pow skis but none of the normal issues with light skis.

    ONE MAJOR PROBLEM… as the review alluded to the light weight also causes durability issues. Within 5hrs the demo ski I just took out was completely destroyed. I felt rediculously bad about it, knowing how expensive these are. I wish I could post the picture here but I have never seen damage like this. I took one good fall down shoot 4, tumbled a couple of times and one ski edge must have hit the other. Result one ski managed to go straight through the edge, deep into the carbon fiber and base.

    Needless to say it turned into a $1,200 shotski for the shop. They said because the ski is all carbon there is no way to repair it. Please be aware if you like to go fast, jump of things and explore areas most don’t you have to be extremely careful with this ski. Not sure what base material they use but it was definitely not the thickest. For touring they seem like a great choice but for resort ripping you may want to consider something more durable (with the added weight)

    • PaulM February 17, 2016 Reply

      Thanks @Jfkayne. I had been considering the V werks Katana – I ski the Metal Katana in 191 as my main ski, and also have the Gotama with Tour F12 for touring and harder snow. I have seen two issues with the BMT109 and also the V Werks Katana delaminating so I was already going off the idea.

      More worrying, I think the new Tough Box shape on Volkl’s wood skis has a weakness in general. My mate bought the 100Eight – great skis and they have done two alpine trips already this season. He caught a rock at low speed on a traverse, and the edge just in front of the binding where it thins out, completely collapsed and the ski and edge bent upwards. I have never seen a ski do this, yes edges come out but the ski shape is actually bent up in two places and is beyond repair. So I think it’s more to do with the ski edge profile and the thinness of the ski at the edges which is at issue. If you ski off piste a lot, you hit rocks and skis must be tough enough to take it.

      I won’t be buying any of the new shaped Volkls (Carbon or wood) even though I am big fan of the Katana and Gotama. I hit a lot of rocks hard and fast on my Metal Katanas last week and all they needed was a bit of P Tex and grind to sort them out.

  73. Bruno Z February 15, 2016 Reply

    Back from 9 days in Japan, on a brand new pair of 184 V-Werks Katanas with Kingpin 13, Mtn Lab boots. I’m 1m81 tall, 84kg.
    We had anything ranging from wind-blown hard pack at the top to super deep Japanese powder (deep enough that I couldn’t breathe at times), transformed stuff, bit of resort etc.
    Overall super sweet touring setup that cleaved through anything. Lightweight chargers, feeling much better in very deep powder that I would have expected given the stiffness, easy turns. Even resort skiiing was fun, although you won’t carve short radius turns. Great grip, no chatter, even on icy 50° parts. Chopped snow is smoothed out. Very precise setup. The only snow that gave me some troubles was fresh powder transformed into glue (temp went up 10° in a few hours), turning in that was a bit of a fight. Size-wise, the 184 felt like a lot of ski, I even think that the 177 could do the job.
    Durability is a concern, the top chips easily.
    The matching skins are a bit of a hit and miss, decent grip and slides well, the glueless thing is nice (you can store the skin glued to itself, easy to revive by just cleaning them) until you try to skin while it is snowing thick and windy in warmish conditions. They do not like water at all. The tail metal clip is rubbish, need to change it, it delaminates the top of the ski in no time and often pops open.
    So to me, pretty much a full range ski, super pleased. I just hope that I won’t destroy them too quickly…

  74. Graham March 15, 2016 Reply

    Debating the 109 BMT or the Katana with Kingpins. Another question is what length to get if I went with the Katanas? The skis would mostly be for slack country, and day trips.

    6’3″, 200lbs. Currently I have Volk Two’s and Gotama’s; both 186cm, both with guardians. I am worried that the 184 Katana will feel short, also given that they measure 182. I remember a set of Mantra’s that I had that was 183 or 184 and always felt short.

    So the question would be BMT 109 or Katana? And if Katana 184 or 191?

  75. Mark March 16, 2016 Reply

    I’ve worked the vwerks katanas hard and have found them very durable. They do appear flimsy but have proven themselves worthy of some mandatory rock stomps and big hits

  76. gregg March 19, 2016 Reply

    what width brakes are you running with these? marker offers 110 then 136?
    factory mount experience?

  77. Jerry May 6, 2016 Reply

    Buyer beware! This ski is fragile and will not hold up. It does rip, but it is very fragile. After 17 days, the inside edge of the ski pulled away from the sidewall about 18 inches leaving the ski useless. Volkl advised that will do anything about it.

    Very disappointing!!

  78. gary hayes June 10, 2016 Reply

    Hello

    great review on the skis and wish i had sent this email before purchasing my set of 184cm v werks.

    i just purchased a set of v werks size 184cm and went with the standard mount location advised my the ski shop.

    the 1st thing i noticed when i got them today was how much ski there is up front compared to my soul 7 standard mount location.

    Just looking to see if you were purchasing the ski new where would you be mounting the binding ?

    i plan to see how they go on the standard location – at least i can always move them but hoping i dont have to do that.

    your feedback would be much appreciated.

    thanks Gary

  79. Karl September 23, 2016 Reply

    Hi Jonathan (or anyone else who can assist)

    I am dealing with the same question as Graham (Mar 2016 post). I am trying to choose between BMT 109 and VW Katana for touring. I am an expert alpine skier, 5’10”, 180 lbs. I just began touring last winter, but I also did a lot of telemark and x-country between 15-20 years ago. In the next two years, I expect most of my touring to be in Nagano Prefecture and some in the Eastern USA, maybe 80/20. So, in Japan, ascents, then descents, through expansive alpine, then nicely spaced trees, then sometimes through resorts. Of course, some days will just be resort skiing, but in great conditions. In the East (Adirondaks or Vermont), wetter and heavier snow, hardpack, ice, tighter trees, and icy and bumpy resorts.

    From what I’ve read, I lean to the VW Katana 184. But, I don’t understand how impactful the weight difference is for the uphill climbs. And, maybe the BMT 109 would be better for the Eastern skiing? And, I’m not sure what is meant, in reviews, that either ski are nimble and capable of quick turns. 25-26 radius sounds high to me, but then the design of the ski might compensate.

    As a reference, my current all-around ski is a Blizzard Magnum 8.5 Ti 174 (19.5 radius). I’ve been in up to 10-inch snow and very happy. I find them very quick and short turns in trees and moguls, by either carving or smearing. And, very stable at speed with great edge hold on ice. Back in the day (’05?), I’d ski Volkl Superspeed 174 or 189, depending on how fast and what turns I wanted; and Volkl Mantra 184 for powder (those aforesaid 10-inches). I’ve had no problems with Sick Day 95 (186) and Coomback 114 (177) in Japan, even laying them on edge for fast, full chested carves.

    My AT boots are Salomon MTN Lab and I intend to get Kingpin 13 bindings.

    Thanks, Karl

  80. Mike December 5, 2016 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    Wow! Your review methodically and precisely covers all the bases…
    That said, I believe you’ve actually convinced me to keep looking.

    I’m getting nervous.
    I own the older (2011-12? – I’m bad with time) simi-split tail Katanas and love them – (ESPECIALLY that they are unflappable, hard charging, edge holding, crud-busting superheros!) But, they are getting well-loved/ dog-eared. Maybe this the last season. Now what?

    I primarily ski Mammoth where conditions are generally heavy and hopefully deep. (“Sierra cement”)
    Favorite terrain is trees, or any mogul pitch with 2 feet of pow :) , but almost always trees. I’m a reasonably fit 60, 5’10, 180.

    I’m looking for a 2-ski quiver.
    For narrower, I owned/sold the Mantras (maybe 2011?) and didn’t care for them – a bit too damp, but mainly too soft. Now own the AC50’s 177 mm – too 2×6 plank-like for a wider ski. I gave up.
    For pow’s, I own the aforementioned Katana’s in 191mm. About 2 years back, bought a pair of Kastle BMX 108’s in 188 mm – thinking they’d replace the Katana’s. Trouble is – the Katana’s are superior to the Kastle’s in nearly every way.

    Now what? I know that’s asking a lot… Any ideas welcomed.

    Thanks, Mike

  81. Rudolph January 3, 2017 Reply

    This is my third season on the v-werks katana (184) and I also have a pair of 13/14 Mantras (177) and a pair of Atomic FIS GS skis (195). I sold my tiring AC-50s (163) this season. I am 5’10 and 180lbs.

    I ski on average 50 plus days per year (mostly on the east coast but I frequently ski out west and in europe). This is my 50th season skiing. Skiing is what I love to do.

    Over the past 3 years, more days than not the V-Werks Katanas have been the ski I ride. It is my favorite ski so far. It does most everything wonderfully well. Powerful and fast on groomers (read: gs ski that skis fast). Powerful in the east coast crud, carves ice without chatter and floats powder like a champ. Not my choice in tight moguls but still doable. After 100 days on these they are holding up very well. Some chew on shovels but nothing I’m worried about.

    Don’t get me wrong, this was a lot of money for me to pay for a ski, but it is worth the price. Take a deep breath and buy them, you won’t regret it. I don’t write reviews on many skis, this one is remarkable.

    • mike green February 9, 2017 Reply

      Hi Rudolph, I am thinking about buying a pair of these V-Werks Katanas. I was planning to buy the 184, but now I am considering the 177. I am 5’8″ tall x 165 pounds. I’m 65 years old, but ski quite a lot. Do you think I would be happy on the 184’s? I plan to use these for powder days in the side country, and for touring.
      Also, has the factory mount position been good or would you recommend going forward a couple of centimeter?
      Thanks, Mike

    • gary hayes February 16, 2017 Reply

      Hi

      where did you mount your bindings ?

      did you factory line of forward

      thanks Gary

      • mike green February 16, 2017 Reply

        Hi Gary,
        I never bought this ski (Katana VW). I instead ordered a pair of 100Eight in a 181. I think (hope) I will like these better than the KVW for my style of skiing. I plan to mount some Marker Kingpins and use them for BC and side country.
        I will write a review after skiing some.
        Mike

        • Gary February 17, 2017 Reply

          Hi Mike

          What do you think you would have done ?

          And are you going to put the 108 on at recommended line

          Thanks Gary

          • mike green February 17, 2017 Reply

            Hi Gary,
            I plan to mount the 100eight on factory recommended line to use as my deep snow touring ski. Depends on how far back the line is, but it seems like many newer skis are mounted pretty far forward, and they do not seem to work well in very deep snow. (bottomless)
            Total speculation, but I would probably mount the Katana VW a little forward based on reading that it is a pretty demanding ski, pretty directional, and might be a handful in tight trees, etc.. That is the main reason I decided on the 100Eight instead. A little heavier and not as wide, but maybe a more playful ski in a wider variety of conditions?
            Mike

  82. Esteban January 12, 2017 Reply

    I am looking at either the Vwerks Katana 191 or Blizzard Spur 189 for a upcoming snowcat ski trip at Grand Targhee then to use for the powder days which we don’t get too many of in tahoe lately. I know its a bit of apples to oranges but this great review is making me wonder if I won’t be happier on the Katanas as a more capable all mountain ski while still performing well in pow. Thoughts anyone?

  83. Esteban January 12, 2017 Reply

    also, looks like the ski reviewed was a 2016, the ones I am looking at are 2017 and white instead of black, any changes on the new ski?

  84. mike green February 9, 2017 Reply

    Hi, I am thinking about the V-works Katana 184 for a side country and touring ski with some model of Tech pin bindings.
    My 2 questions are about the newer models durability, and about the mounting point. Did I read correctly that the factory recommended mount point is 12 cm back of true center? That seems like a lot. Did I miss something here?
    Thanks

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