2006/2007 Volkl Katana – 188cm

I’ve been a huge Volkl fan for decades. Back in the early 90’s I worked in ski retail and the shops I worked at never carried the line. Not because they didn’t want to, but because a small shop across town was given the exclusive to the line. I distinctly remember in the workshop, when all the guys would stop to drool whenever a pair of P9’s or P10’s came in for servicing.

Fast forward a decade or so and I was out of the ski industry and now a regular consumer paying retail for my skis. First was a pair of G30’s, my first shape ski… Absolutely loved them, as well as the Vertigo Motions and 724 Pro’s I purchased in subsequent years.

In fact, for a short while I actually made the decision to keep my ski buying decision easy, and simply buy the Volkl model that most closely fit my style of skiing.

Fast forward to the 2008/09 ski season, and I was in the market for a new set of powder boards… Enter the 2007/08 190 Katana which I managed to pick up on sale at a local ski shop.

After getting them mounted and prepped, I savored their newness, tempted to bring them out early season just to see how they skied, but I resisted until that perfect Cypress Mountain powder day, well into January.

First day was incredible, the Katana’s width, flat profile, flex pattern and sidecut makes for an unreal combination of float, responsiveness and carveability, even on packed snow conditions. The ski’s not all that much fun on the hardpack, but considering its width that’s to be expected. Plus, on a mountain like Cypress you typically get consistent conditions throughout the mountain on a given day so it’s not too often you encounter powder alongside hardpack.

All in all, it was by far the best ski I’ve ever had in the powder, until day 2.

On that second day I was cruising in 15-20cm of fresh off of Raven Ridge on Cypress. 1/4 the way down I felt a slight tug on the right ski… It was nothing major, kind of felt like I hit a stump or something. But then, I stopped to check out the damage and was amazed to see a massive coreshot and a completely shattered sidewall.

Now I’m not one to cry foul and blame the manufacturer when problems occur due to blatant abuse or misuse of a product, I’m usually fully willing to accept blame where it’s due, but this was completely unexpected and unreasonable. I’ve also researched the problem online, and it seems apparent that this is a well known issue with the Katana, and in fact, as far as I can tell most of the time the skis have been replaced sight unseen. Not sure what was going on at Volkl Canada that day, but I haven’t taken that weak decision lightly.

Thanks for all the help Volkl Canada, you’ve lost a longtime and very vocal fan of your products.