2017-2018 Volkl Confession

Paul Forward reviews the Volkl Confession for Blister Gear Review.

17/18 Volkl Confession

Ski: 2016-2017 & 2017-2018 Volkl Confession, 193 cm

Available Lengths: 179, 186, 193 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 192.5 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski (193 cm): 2370 & 2387 grams

Stated Dimensions: 144-117-133 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 26.5 meters

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 76 mm / 20 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~1 mm

Core: Multi Layer Woodcore, Titanal Band, Carbon Stringer

Base: P-Tex 2100

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.75 cm from center; 85.5 cm from tail

Boots / Bindings: Lange XT 130 LV / Marker Jester

Test Locations: Alyeska Resort & Chugach Mountains, AK

Days Skied: 9

Intro

The Confession was new for 16/17, and it is coming back unchanged for 17/18, except for the graphics.

We first heard about the Confession in September of 2015, when we met a Volkl rep in New Zealand who was raving about a new ski he had just been on while heli skiing. He wouldn’t provide many details, but I came away with the impression that it was going to be a directional pow ski with metal in it. I was pretty excited about the prospect and was stoked to see the reports from the 2016 SIA that, indeed, Volkl was going to offer what I hoped would be a damp, powerful ski in a waist width (117 mm) that is pretty versatile for someone skiing at Alyeska and Chugach Powder Guides where we get up to 1000” of maritime snow every year.

On paper, the Confession seemed to bring features of both the Volkl Katana (the ~2012, metal laminate version) and the Shiro, both of which I quite liked. After being disappointed that a pair of Confessions didn’t make our trip to New Zealand this past fall, I was excited to finally get on a pair this winter in Girdwood.

Paul Forward reviews the Volkl Confession for Blister Gear Review

Paul Forward on the Volkl Confession at Alyeska Resort, Alaska.

Volkl says about the Confession that it is “as sporty and reliable as it gets. The Titanal Band technology absorbs hard shocks reliably, delivers stability and yet saves on unnecessary weight. Carbon stringer, Multilayer Woodcore and robust sidewalls guarantee extra stability during drops, steep lines and hard turns in the backcountry. A true confession to freeriders.”

Flex Pattern

We’d summarize the flex pattern of the Confession like this:

Tips: 8 or 7/8
Underfoot: 9
Behind the Heel piece: 8
Tails: 8 or 8/9

Rocker Profile

As you can see from the rocker pics on page 3, the Confession has a small amount of camber underfoot (~1 mm) with tip rocker and a small amount of tail rocker. When I first saw this, I admit that I was disappointed, since I generally prefer skis of this width that have full rocker, and I have been a big fan of Volkl’s fully-rockered skis like the BMT series, V-werks, 12/13 metal Katana, 100Eight, and the Shiro. That full rocker profile didn’t work as well for me on the Volkl Two for a variety of reasons, but I did enjoy the Volkl Three.

Based on that, I was hoping that the Confession would have a rocker profile somewhere between the Shiro and the Katana. But Volkl opted to go with a rocker-camber-(slight) rocker combination, where the traditional camber underfoot is pretty subtle, and the overall profile reminds me of some of the iterations of the Blizzard Cochise.

Weight

I tend to like heavy skis, especially when I’m skiing Alyeska’s steep, open terrain and maritime snow. So I was not disappointed to see how heavy the Confession turned out to be. That said, I’ve found several of Volkl’s recent skis to have a relatively high swing weight relative to the overall weight of the ski (the Two, for example) and it will be interesting to see if the Confession feels cumbersome when I have occasion to throw them around in tight places.

Potential Competitors / Comparisons

Volkl Shiro, 193 cm

In some ways, the Volkl Shiro is the most obvious comparison to the Confession, since the Confession replaces it, and the Shiro will be the ski that I’ll reference most often in my upcoming review. I have always enjoyed the 193 cm Shiro, especially as an inbounds pow ski. I like the idea of a damper, metal construction, but I’ve worried that I’ll miss the full rocker profile of the Shiro. Stay tuned for a direct comparison.

Volkl Katana, 191 cm — (older metal-laminate version)

It seems to me that the Confession has a little bit of the original Katana’s DNA, and it will be interesting to see how it compares to my time on the 12/13 Katana.

Blizzard Bodacious

The original Bodacious is one of the best skis in this category that I’ve been on, and I was very disappointed when I skied the latest iteration of the Bodacious with its more tapered tip, lighter construction, and increased rocker. (Good news: this latest version of the Bodacious goes away for 17/18, and the original Bodacious is back.) So far, most of my skiing on the Bodacious has been on the 186 cm (13/14) and 185 cm (15/16), and I’ve only had a few runs on the 196 cm model which is the more fair comparison to the 193 cm Confession. I am thrilled that Blizzard is bringing back the original construction Bodacious for 17/18, and hope that a pair of 196’s find their way north sooner than later. If the Shiro is the obvious comparison to the Confession given that it is replaced by the Confession, the Bodacious is probably the most similar ski in this group to the Confession.

Moment Bibby / Blister Pro, 190 cm

The Bibby / Blister Pro has long been a favorite in this width and, despite a lack of metal in the construction, I suspect that many Bibby / Blister Pro types of skiers will be at least curious about the Confession. But really, the better comparison is to the…

Moment Governor

The Governor has a more similar shape to the Confession than the Bibby does. But the Governor doesn’t have metal, and it does have more camber. So it’s fair to think of the Confession as a heavier, metal-having Governor.

Nordica Enforcer Pro, 191 cm

Reports of this ski from SIA this past week immediately caught my attention, and I think it could be an excellent competitor in this class of skis.

In Short…

The Confession feels and looks like it will be a damp, powerful ski in a width that should do well in soft snow. I’ll be putting in quite a few days at Chugach Powder Guides Heli and Snowcat skiing on the Confession, and lots of laps at Alyeska Resort to see how they do in a wide range of snow conditions. I suspect that the ski will do quite well in chop and crud, and I wonder how it will stack up in powder to other skis of this width.

NEXT: On-Snow Performance

32 Comments

  1. R February 4, 2017 Reply

    Current quiver is

    186 supernatural 108 which I love and
    189 Spurs which I like in pow, but not so much in the afternoon.

    Next year I will probably ditch the Spurs and get something more versitile for resort pow use. Looking for that blend of stability and ease that the supernaturals have but in a 115-120mm package.

    Could the confession be that ski?

    • Author
      Paul Forward February 6, 2017 Reply

      Hi R, Yes, I think the Confession could be a great fit for what you’re looking for. Also consider the other skis I listed in the comparison section I wrote in this review. I’ll try to give direct comparisons in the deep dive. Best, Paul

  2. Blister Member
    Étienne February 4, 2017 Reply

    Hey, in the same category of 112+mm underfoot freeride skis are you guys planning on testing out the rustler 11 from Tecnica in a 192 or 188 ? The new version for 2017-18 seems pretty promissing,but was looking for some hands on feedback on it. Thanks!

    • Author
      Paul Forward February 6, 2017 Reply

      Hi Etienne, I’d love to try to the new Rustler series. I hope a pair makes it’s way to Alaska soon. I will update on Blister when/if they do.

  3. Bob McBob February 6, 2017 Reply

    Paul, you’ve mentioned the Volkl 100eight in a couple of reviews, is there a review of this ski forthcoming?

    • Author
      Paul Forward February 6, 2017 Reply

      Yep. Working on it now.

  4. Blister Member
    Todd February 7, 2017 Reply

    You mentioned some time on the Volkl Three – how different is the Three from this ski? It’s hard to find reviews of the Three on the interwebs.

    • Author
      Paul Forward February 10, 2017 Reply

      The Three is very different from the Confession. The Three is over 130mm underfoot, soft, fully rockered and is a powder specialist. I have really only used them for heli skiing although I could see them being fun in a place like Japan.

  5. roQer February 9, 2017 Reply

    Are you guys sure the Confession remains unchanged for 17/18?
    According to some statements gathered obviously at ISPO the beginning of the rocker line has been moved further back to make the ski feel less “planky”.

    • Just before we published this review, we asked Volkl USA’s marketing managers to confirm whether or not there were any changes for 17/18. They said no changes. So can’t speak to the comments about “according to some statements gathered at ISPO”.

  6. Kelly March 6, 2017 Reply

    I demoed the Confession this past weekend in Fernie, BC. What I was looking for is a heavier, damp ski for hard charging in pow, crud yet can carve my way between stashes at a ski resort. The Confession delivered on all of the above. There is a lot of tree skiing in Fernie as well as some open bowl/alpine. This means that you need a ski that is stable and easy to maneuver in tighter spaces (trees, chutes). The underfoot camber and rockered tip and tail result in what I find to be a very lively ski. I also could not believe how light and lively these skis are for a fairly burley ski.

    I’m a heavier, fit, older guy (6′, 210 lbs, 50 yrs old) and ran on the 186cm skis. Perfect ski for me. I loved this ski so much that I bought a pair.

    • Marcel March 15, 2017 Reply

      Just picked up a pair of 186’s for Whistler myself (6′ ,175 lbs). Glad to hear the glowing review. I’m coming off the 193 Shiro but figured the Shiro was a bit softer, had way more rocker, and had a biggish twin tip, so the 186 Confession would be a comparable ski. Just curious where you mounted them? I’m thinking of +1 (25.5 boots)….

      • Kelly March 16, 2017 Reply

        I’m on size 29.5 boots. Mounted on Volkyl recommended.

    • littlespaceman February 4, 2018 Reply

      Hi Kelly

      Glad to hear you liked the Confessions, I’m a die hard Volkl fan (fave ski = wood Katana) and like the look of the Cons. Sounds like they worked for you very well, and I know the Fernie terrain so can picture the tight trees etc. How does your experience stack uo agains the review, in which it mentions a couple of times how ‘locked in’ to the turn the skis get, which implies they’re really not at all manouverable, especially in tight spots?

  7. Peter March 15, 2017 Reply

    Have been skiing the Line Mothership since 2011 and would like to know if I would like the Confession just as much? The flex seems about the same.

    • Author
      Paul Forward March 16, 2017 Reply

      Hi Peter, I haven’t been on the mothership in 8 years or so, but I used to ski a lot on the 195 cm Mothership and loved them. Based on my recollection, the Confession will have a similar damp feel but with more float as it’s quite a bit bigger overall and has much more rocker. I doubt the Confession will mow down crud quite as well as the fully cambered Mothership, but it should feel a bit quicker. If you get a pair, let us know what you think. Best, Paul

  8. Peter March 16, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for the reply Paul. I own the 195 Mothership too and would buy another pair if they still made them instead of the Confession. In reviews I have read about the Confession they say they are a burly hard charger which is the same description reviewers gave about the Mothership. I have been offered a good pre season deal so the Confession may be worth a punt. The Motherships look to have a better build quality and heavier weight though. As the saying goes they dont build em like they used to. I had a look at the virtually same dimensioned ski that Volkl make as the Mothership being the Katana V Werks but they were extremely light and did not look quality at all.

  9. swissiphic November 10, 2017 Reply

    Hi Paul (or any other reviewers who have skied the volkl two); I don’t know if you’re still responding to this thread but thought i’d give it a shot…you mention that you’ve skied the Volkl Two and the reverse camber profile didn’t seem to work for you. Just curious if you could give a micro review of what did and didn’t appeal to you with the ski. I just bought a pair intended to be a heavy, damp alpine environment bad snow crusher and good snow floater for heli skiing…hoping it’ll work for my needs. Thanks!

    • Author
      Paul Forward November 10, 2017 Reply

      Hey swissiphic, I have skied the two a fair bit both inbounds in a maritime snowpack and while guiding Heli skiing in Alaska. While I often love reverse camber skis the Two was not one of my favorites. the important caveat to that statement is that I’ve only skied then 196cm version. It’s a heavy ski but it’s also fairly soft in flex. I found it too have pretty significant tip flop especially at speed in variable conditions. it floats reasonably well but our guide staff universally preferred the Volkl Three (now Bash 135 I believe) in all conditions aside from inbounds skiing. I suspect that the 186 is a more playful and versatile ski but nothing about the Two would make me call it a “bad snow crusher”. For that I’d take the Confression in a second. Another option that might bridge the gap between the Two and the confession, if you want to stick with Volkl, is to find some Shiro’s. Both the 193 and 183 are much better in choppy inbounds terrain and at high speeds than the Two but lighter and provide better float (although still not great floatation for a ski that fat) than the Confession.

  10. swissiphic November 11, 2017 Reply

    Many thanks for your feedback Paul. I live and ski in the maritime climate/snowpack of the northwest coast of B.C. so your observations will be relevant. I already pulled the trigger on the Two’s (for a price too low to even print ;). They are the 186’s and are mounted plus 3cms from the factory recommended line with alpine bindings…i’ll ski em for a bit to test them and maybe move back for the permanent mount for my dynafits if test results dictate and if I keep them. Thanks for the notes on the Shiro’s and the Three’s…perhaps if the Two’s don’t satisfy my desires and work for my needs, I’ll hop onto one of those boards.

    Thus far, I’ve had a few runs on the Two’s in bottomless 50cms of unconsolidated facets to ground and their float was noticeably enhanced compared to my 185 armada jj’s which were bottom feeding (did a few a/b runs to compare). The Two’s were surprisingly responsive to skier input for their weight… just a preliminary feel based on a few runs in less than optimal snow but they give me hope.

    Besides mount point, a factor that may change in the future is if tip float is an issue in any way fashion or form, I’ll bend more rocker into the ski. IMO, A ski with these dimensions has no excuse to dive in any circumstance. I’ve had previous success with the “bending more rocker technique” and other tweaks and am not afraid to be the master of my skis, rather being a slave to their factory design. You would not believe how much float you can get in bottomless snow from 178cm Rossignol B3 Bandits by bending a full reverse camber rocker profile into the ski! Astounding!

  11. swissiphic November 11, 2017 Reply

    oh yeah and for the record, i’m 5’10”, 200+/- pounds with a backcountry pack on and have more of a finesse style. Ski with Dynafit Vulcans with no flex stops and no tongues, Intuition Luxury high volume liners and enjoy the ankle flexion of the boots with no collapse at the end of the forward flex cycle. I find the flex very progressive, smooth and reliable.

  12. Francois December 18, 2017 Reply

    Thanks a lot for this nice review! How would you say the Volkl Confession (193) compares to the old Katana (metal laminate, 191)? You touched on this comparison in the first page, and I also think this would give valuable insights to people interested in the confession, coming from the old katana.

    • Author
      Paul Forward December 19, 2017 Reply

      Hey Francois, It’s been a long time since I had the pleasure of skiing the metal Katana. Based on recollection the katana was easier to ski in most conditions but had a similar top end. The Confession is quite a bit wider but I wouldn’t say that it’s dramatically better in powder. I have some of new Confressions to try in both 186 and 193 and will give them a try. we’re told that they are unchanged this year but it looks to me like they changed the camber/rocker a bit on the yellow and black ones. Will update here if so.

  13. Bob P. January 13, 2018 Reply

    I am really interested in this ski. Been waiting for the deep dive. Will it ever get published? I ski Tahoe (Squaw) and am looking for that ski that will float well, but handle the cut up which is everywhere by 1030am. I ski fast, traditional style driving the ski, and never switch, 6-0 200lbs. Prefer to stay off groomed as much as possible. I have a og Cochise which is awesome days after the storm, but not nearly enough float or quick turning ability in new soft snow. I also have a Pon2oon, but it is way overkill at a resort. I had a Pm gear Lhasa pow, but found the tips a bit too soft compared to a very stiff tail. They floated well, smeared turns well, but I didnt like the balance between tip and tail.

    • Author
      Paul Forward January 15, 2018 Reply

      Hi Bob, Part of the reason that we haven’t put up the deep dive is that we have not yet received back an answer from Volkl about whether or not the Confession changed from the red/black version that I skied last season, and the yellow/black version that is currently available (there have been some conflicting reports about this). So far I’ve only skied a few runs on the newer ones and only in the 186cm version. They appear to have a touch more tail rocker in the new version but that may just be ski to ski manufacturing variation. We’re still waiting to hear from Volkl for a final answer on this, but we will post a Deep Dive this Thursday on the ski, comparing it to the Nordica Enforcer Pro (191 cm), Blizzard Bodacious (196 cm); Moment Blister Pro (190 cm), HEAD Kore 117 (189 cm), and ON3P Billy Goat (189 cm).

      For what you’re describing the Confession might be an okay choice, but I think there are better options out there, so stay tuned for our Deep Dive later this week.

  14. swissiphic January 13, 2018 Reply

    Hi Paul, in case you had any interest, I thought I’d update my thoughts/impressions of the 185cms Volkl 2. I skied about another dozen days on ’em since the last report.

    I mounted them at plus 1 and bent more rocker into the tip/shovel. I have adjustable mount point bindings and after lots of fore and afting, plus 1 gave the best balance of performance characteristics in all snow conditions skied to date…after the custom tip rocker bending mod.

    In factory form, skis felt planky and threw me in backseat with all mount points from minus 1 to plus 3 (adjustable mount point bindings) The subtle tip to tail reverse camber with flat section underfoot just didn’t have enough tip splay and the rocker contact point was too far forward for a tip to tail balanced feel in true deep pow conditions, imo…and tip float was okay but not super poppy.

    Eyeballed then shaped in a rocker line about 12-14 inches back from the tip (haven’t measured). Over the years of experimentation with modding other skis bending various rocker shapes into other skis, I’ve noticed that pulling back the rocker splay line in the shovels often alleviates a ‘throws me into the back seat’ feel of skis…even ones with existing tip rocker…that’s for me anyways, YRMV.

    With the custom tip rocker mod, skis now feel very balanced tip to tail and float like dream boats. Super loose/slarvy and fun in all soft snow pow i’ve skied. Had a few days on true bulletproof refrozen train tracks and truck ruts doing workout laps on a logging road. They were okay but a bit chattery on steeps. Did some aggressive detuning of full length of edges and cured that ailment. Skied some deep coastal wet crap chop and groomers and these puppies slayed it all with lots of stability and damping. Absolutely no tip flop and they lived up to the hope of being awesome “bad snow crushers”…which I found interesting considering your experience on them up in Aleyeska and a.k. backcountry. We had rain on snow at shames after a dump of 45cms over 24 hours and I couldn’t imagine better conditions for testing high speed deep wet chop turns. I just put em on edge and ridge em…solid as a rock, damp as a rubber audio engineer’s sound room.

    Stoked on the 2. They’re heavy on paper but ski surprisingly lighter than their 2600gram per ski wegiht would suggest. I’m doing full day tours on em and really don’t notice their mass while striding along..thought the toll is noticeable incrementally as long days wear on. The long sidecut radius and flat section underfoot make em track really well for uphilling in variable snow and steep sidehilling. With the extra tip rocker, great float for breaking trail.

  15. swissiphic January 13, 2018 Reply

    whoops, edit: should read ” I just put em on edge and ride em…solid as a rock, damp as a rubber audio engineer’s sound room.”

  16. Mike T February 20, 2018 Reply

    Great review. Wanted to weigh in with some comments on my 193 Confessions compared to my old (and still favorite of all time) 191 metal Katanas. The Katanas are the ones from the last year they were made, so maybe 2013s?

    The Confessions measure about 3cm longer than the Katanas, despite 193 vs 191 stated measurements. When I match up the factory center lines, all of that difference is behind the factory line. And I can tell–the Confessions mounted at 0 felt like there was a LOT more tail.

    I don’t like that, and moved my mount point to -1. The skis feel better there (to me). I felt that at 0 I was too far over the front and -1 helped with that.

    The stated measurements on the Confession are 144-117-133. Stated for Katana are 143-112-132. When I put the skis together, it appears that the Confessions are more than 1mm wider at the widest point.

    I like the Confessions, but I still LOVE the old Katanas. I was hoping the Confessions would be a nearly exact replacement, but not quite. Personally, I think the tip is a little too wide relative to the tail, and again, the factory 0 line is too far forward.

    Hope that helps anyone who is in the same boat.

    About me: 6’2, 180lbs. Ex racer. I never ski switch. I like directional chargers.

  17. Oliver Chan February 20, 2018 Reply

    Thanks Mike – what about manoeuvrability vs the reports of the Confession getting ‘locked in’ to turns? Like you my favourite ski of all time is the metal Katana (I’m never selling those and never leave them lying around outside on the rare days I stop somewhere for lunch!) I ski the 184 Kat (I’m 5’6″ / 140lbs) but have gone for the 179 Confession, as I knew the 186’s were definitely longer than the 184 Kats and there are times I think having less ski might be nice (tight spots/trees etc) and I figure that for my weight and height I’ll still have plenty of float.
    I like the overall look and shape of the Confessions, especially the fact it’s not a massive rocker and the camber is fairly subtle, but I am slightly concerned about the ‘locked in’ sensation I’ve read about. I’ve mounted the Confessions +1.5, just eyeballing them against the Kats and my 2012 Mantras, and that looks like it will give me plenty in front and a slightly more balanced stance (which I like; I ski the Kats at +2 and find them really manoeuvrable, especially for their length and weight with that mount)…

  18. littlespaceman February 20, 2018 Reply

    Hmm, just tried to reply to your post Mike and it’s not showing up?

    Like you my favourite skis of all time are the metal Katanas – I went long on those and got the 184’s (I’m 5’6″ / 140lbs) and mounted at +2 they are perfect and surprisingly manouverable for their size and weight.

    I’ve bought a pair of Confessions in the 179 length, as there are times I’ve thought slightly less ski would be nice, and have mounted them at + 1.5, based on eyeballing them against my Kats and 2012 Mantras. Haven’t had a chance to try them yet but the mount looks like it will be nice and still give me plenty of ski in front while giving me a slightly more centred stance.

    Do you have any comment on the reports of the feeling of Confession to be ‘locked in’ to turns? I’m not expecting it to be a slarvy ski, but I’ve never had a problem getting the Katana’s to skid when I want them to, so are the Confessions actually quite manoeuvrable as some reviews say, or are they harder work to throw around if you need to? Thanks

  19. Mike T February 20, 2018 Reply

    RE:
    Author: Oliver Chan
    Comment:
    Thanks Mike – what about manoeuvrability vs the reports of the Confession getting ‘locked in’ to turns? Like you my favourite ski of all time is the metal Katana (I’m never selling those and never leave them lying around outside on the rare days I stop somewhere for lunch!) I ski the 184 Kat (I’m 5’6″ / 140lbs) but have gone for the 179 Confession, as I knew the 186’s were definitely longer than the 184 Kats and there are times I think having less ski might be nice (tight spots/trees etc) and I figure that for my weight and height I’ll still have plenty of float.
    I like the overall look and shape of the Confessions, especially the fact it’s not a massive rocker and the camber is fairly subtle, but I am slightly concerned about the ‘locked in’ sensation I’ve read about. I’ve mounted the Confessions +1.5, just eyeballing them against the Kats and my 2012 Mantras, and that looks like it will give me plenty in front and a slightly more balanced stance (which I like; I ski the Kats at +2 and find them really manoeuvrable, especially for their length and weight with that mount)…

    My response:
    I’d say the Confessions definitely have a preferred turn radius, which is a big ole super G turn. They are super stable doing that turn, but harder to slarve (skid carve) than the old Katanas. I attribute that to the wider shovel vs tail ratio, and also to the fact that the skis are longer in the tail (vs the metal Katanas).
    De-tuning the tips definitely helps, but the Confessions prefer wide open space to run.
    Hope that helps!
    Mike

  20. littlespaceman February 21, 2018 Reply

    Thanks Mike – any thoughts on float vs the Katanas? I’ve certainly have had fun riding the Katanas in fairly deep and light stuff (in Japan for example) but they wouldn’t be my first choice and I’ve never thought of the Katanas as a powder ski as such…

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