Two well-established names in Völkl and Nordica are attacking the upper 80-90mm segment in two different ways, but with model names that have been around for a while. The Kendo 88 has an all-new shape, and the Enforcer 88 is steamrolling into a whole new segment for itself.
It is no secret that I have never been in love with the Kendo since it came out over a decade ago. It just never did anything for me. It was like a breakup where I was the one saying, “It’s not you ... it’s me." And really, that's true: the Kendo was a very good ski, and sales showed it. For many skiers, it was a much better Mantra, especially when the Mantra was 98 mm underfoot. But enough of a history lesson, let's talk about the new Kendo. The new Kendo is an “Oh my” ski in that George Takai sort of way. The new elliptical sidecut that is shared with the also-oh-my-worthy Mantra 102 sets the Kendo apart from the rest of the class as well as its previous generations. There is a lightness and playfulness that eluded the previous generations, and I believe this has to do with the new core and sidecut. The new Kendo is the Kendo I always hoped it should be.
Is it me, or does it seem that Nordica is going a bit overboard with the Enforcer name? It all started with the reintroduction of the name a few seasons back (now the the Enforcer 100), then Nordica added the 93, the 110, the 115 Pro, and now an 88 and a 104. What is next, the 78 and 83? At what point is it oversaturation? Honestly, it may not matter, because each ski is very, very good in its own right. But there is too much confusion, and I honestly do not see the 88 increasing sales for Nordica because I think almost every sale will come at the cost of an Enforcer 93 sale. In the long run, I think having both the 88 and 93 creates more questions for consumers than answers. The 88, like the 93, is an all-mountain-shaped ski but with more frontside attributes. This makes it a better ski than the 93 and more off-piste-oriented than the Kendo and gives it more separation from its big brother, the Enforcer 100.
- Why choose the Kendo 88? You want to charge, but you don’t need to. But when you need to, you'll be glad you wanted to.
- Why choose the Enforcer 88? The first thing you do is head into the trees because you just want to play, then you hit some bumps, then look for some cut-up snow. The Enforcer 88 could be one of the most versatile 88s on the market
- Insider tip: The Kendo runs true to size but the Enforcer still runs short; don’t dismiss sizing up.
- Bonus tip: For @Tom K.: Some still have the Brahma as the ski that all others in this segment are compared to, which is still true. The Brahma is indeed the best of both of these skis, by no means a compromise.