Sponsored 2020 Women's 90 mm Ski Comparison

surfsnowgirl

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Great reviews @SkiEssentials . Thank you as always. I have a pair of 2015 Kenjas that I LOVE!!! These ones



While they are still in great shape I know that eventually I'll need to replace them. I didn't like the Kenja as much at 90 underfoot and I'm happy it's back down to 88.

How does the 2020 compare to the 2015. I'm basically looking for a newer version of the same ski.

Thoughts?

Thanks
SSG
 

AmyPJ

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Yes! In fact, pending any issues, it will be live tomorrow afternoon!
Awesome! I found myself nodding in agreement with your ladies' reviews above on all of the skis I also tested for Pugski. I tend to question myself as the "intermediate" tester of the bunch as to whether I'm feeling what I'm feeling or properly conveying what I'm feeling. I'm in the market for a 100mm+- ski so will really pay attention to what your reviewers say for sure. I only skied a couple in that waist width while testing this last winter.
 

laine

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So, any insight on how the new Kenja and the Secret 92 compare to each other?
@Pequenita - You looking for a new Tahoe daily driver too? I'm mostly looking at the ~100-ish range since my Laser AX is so versatile, but am considering (and hope to demo) the Sheeva 9.
 

AmyPJ

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So, any insight on how the new Kenja and the Secret 92 compare to each other?

PS, I picked up a pair of Jr Racetigers from you all this spring. Thanks! :)
I’ll give you my impressions for what they’re worth. Kenja’s are groomer railing machines based on several runs on them during testing. They RIP. Off piste, they were too stiff for MY style, because I tend to smear and skid and put the brakes on in crud. Definitely very stable in crud but I think they’d be a handful in moguls. Secrets I bought last season after two demo days at Targhee in a bunch of powder. They have such a wide tip, they did great in the powder and crud and on the soft groomers. I could smear them more easily, but once I got them home to Snowbasin, with firmer snow, they were stiffer than I care for.

Kenjas get the slight nod for groomers, Secrets for off piste, but as is typical with Volkl, you’d better bring a send it attitude. That being said, both are really REALLY great skis. I think the Kenjas were a tad stiffer but I could be totally wrong there.
 

Ken_R

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You guys are making some great content. (well you have been for a while now!).

There are so many thorough ski reviews on your site it is really a must visit for anyone researching ski gear.
 
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SkiEssentials

SkiEssentials

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You guys are making some great content. (well you have been for a while now!).

There are so many thorough ski reviews on your site it is really a must visit for anyone researching ski gear.
Thanks! That means a lot.
 

Wendy

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I’ll give you my impressions for what they’re worth. Kenja’s are groomer railing machines based on several runs on them during testing. They RIP. Off piste, they were too stiff for MY style, because I tend to smear and skid and put the brakes on in crud. Definitely very stable in crud but I think they’d be a handful in moguls. Secrets I bought last season after two demo days at Targhee in a bunch of powder. They have such a wide tip, they did great in the powder and crud and on the soft groomers. I could smear them more easily, but once I got them home to Snowbasin, with firmer snow, they were stiffer than I care for.

Kenjas get the slight nod for groomers, Secrets for off piste, but as is typical with Volkl, you’d better bring a send it attitude. That being said, both are really REALLY great skis. I think the Kenjas were a tad stiffer but I could be totally wrong there.
Last iteration of Kenjas were stiffer than Auras, and the generation before that, too...so you are probably correct. Given their application, it makes sense.
 

KingGrump

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Last iteration of Kenjas were stiffer than Auras, and the generation before that, too.
I am surprised to hear that you find the Kenja stiffer than the Aura.

I have always found the Mantra to be a lot more ski than the Kendo. Most women skiers I skied with also have similar comments when they switch to the Kenja from the Aura.

Couple of women I skied with on a regular basis love the 2019 Secret. It is very similar to my 2019 M5 Mantra. It is a really nice ski on almost anything other than boiler plate. Good energy and rebound but lose its composure on boiler plate. A very un-Volkl characteristic.

One woman purchased a pair of FIS SL to supplement the 2019 Secret for super firm days. The other went for a pair of 2019 Kenja (old construction) as her DD, just in case.

I have a pair of 2020 Kendo (new construction) all mounted up to go but would see snow until December. So the jury is still out.
 

surfsnowgirl

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I have my 2015 Kenjas that are 87 underfoot that I love. I know I'm eventually going to have to replace them but that day hasn't come yet so hopefully another season out of them. I enjoyed the Secret when I demoed it last season on mixed conditions. It didn't kick out on my when I did hit some firm stuff which impressed me. I'll eventually get a pair I think for mixed condition days. I demoed the Aura a couple years ago at Sunshine Village on a powder day and while it worked I found it planky and heavy so that killed my desire to own that ski. I am curious as to how the 2020 Kenja/Kendo compares to the older 87 underfoot kendo/kenja.
 

Wendy

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I am surprised to hear that you find the Kenja stiffer than the Aura.

I have always found the Mantra to be a lot more ski than the Kendo. Most women skiers I skied with also have similar comments when they switch to the Kenja from the Aura.

Couple of women I skied with on a regular basis love the 2019 Secret. It is very similar to my 2019 M5 Mantra. It is a really nice ski on almost anything other than boiler plate. Good energy and rebound but lose its composure on boiler plate. A very un-Volkl characteristic.

One woman purchased a pair of FIS SL to supplement the 2019 Secret for super firm days. The other went for a pair of 2019 Kenja (old construction) as her DD, just in case.

I have a pair of 2020 Kendo (new construction) all mounted up to go but would see snow until December. So the jury is still out.
....but the old Mantra was a lot more ski than the old Aura, IMO. I demoed both, back to back, at Snowbird one year. Loved the Aura, could barely turn the Mantra; it felt like a plank. The Kenja is definitely stiffer than the Secret, which would make sense. I dunno...maybe it was just my perception, and not reality? Wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened. :roflmao:
 

KingGrump

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....but the old Mantra was a lot more ski than the old Aura, IMO. I demoed both, back to back, at Snowbird one year. Loved the Aura, could barely turn the Mantra; it felt like a plank. The Kenja is definitely stiffer than the Secret, which would make sense. I dunno...maybe it was just my perception, and not reality? Wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened. :roflmao:
Were the Aura and Mantra you demo the same size? What gen were they?

What year were the Kenja and Secret demo?
The Kenja/Kendo upgrades generally lagged behind the Aura/Mantra by a year.

Here is a screenshot of a quick spread sheet of the underfoot width for the four skis in the discussion.

Screenshot (248).png

The gen 2 & gen 3 of the Aura/Mantra differs by 2 mm. A big difference. I had both the gen 1 & gen 2 Mantra. The gen 2 was a lot more ski than the gen 1. The gen 4 wasn’t really a Mantra. It was a good ski and I liked it a lot but not a Mantra. The M5 is a brand new ski design. Completely different. Doesn’t ski like any Mantra that came before.

Going back to the M5 design. When I say lose of composure in the steep boiler plates, basically that is a vote of no confidence on the skis under those circumstances. When I say steep boiler plate, I don’t mean firm. I meant the slick, smooth, glistening in the sun stuff that is well over 30 degrees. Other than steep boiler plates, the Secret/Mantra are delightful skis. Huge sweet spot under most snow and terrain conditions.

TBH, I think the titanal frame construction on those skis is too light for the width of the skis. Not providing sufficient torsional rigidity and dampness when the conditions get really challenging.

I think the titanal frame construction is more suitable for the narrower Kenja/Kendo. The new 3D side cut seems pretty interesting too.
 

Wendy

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Were the Aura and Mantra you demo the same size? What gen were they?

What year were the Kenja and Secret demo?
The Kenja/Kendo upgrades generally lagged behind the Aura/Mantra by a year.

Here is a screenshot of a quick spread sheet of the underfoot width for the four skis in the discussion.

View attachment 84189

The gen 2 & gen 3 of the Aura/Mantra differs by 2 mm. A big difference. I had both the gen 1 & gen 2 Mantra. The gen 2 was a lot more ski than the gen 1. The gen 4 wasn’t really a Mantra. It was a good ski and I liked it a lot but not a Mantra. The M5 is a brand new ski design. Completely different. Doesn’t ski like any Mantra that came before.

Going back to the M5 design. When I say lose of composure in the steep boiler plates, basically that is a vote of no confidence on the skis under those circumstances. When I say steep boiler plate, I don’t mean firm. I meant the slick, smooth, glistening in the sun stuff that is well over 30 degrees. Other than steep boiler plates, the Secret/Mantra are delightful skis. Huge sweet spot under most snow and terrain conditions.

TBH, I think the titanal frame construction on those skis is too light for the width of the skis. Not providing sufficient torsional rigidity and dampness when the conditions get really challenging.

I think the titanal frame construction is more suitable for the narrower Kenja/Kendo. The new 3D side cut seems pretty interesting too.
I owned Gen 1 and Gen 3 of the Aura (“Kill Bill” and hot pink, respectively). and Gen 3 of the Kenja. Have skied older gen Kenjas. My back to back comparison-between Mantra and Aura was probably 2014, same length. It was the year of the hot pink Aura. The width of the Mantra probably made it harder for me to ski compared to the Aura....it was way too much ski for me and scared the s**t out of me at the time, LOL. Also, the Aura always seemed a bit smoother and more compliant than the Kenja, which I skied a few times in different places. Again, it’s just my perception. Reality may prove different. The Secret/Kenja observations are based on flexing in the shop. We sell both, and more women are gravitating to the Secret, even though we are in PA where the Kenja would be more appropriate. Women I talked to who demoed both and who chose the Secret really couldn’t articulate why they liked it better than the Kenja. We sold out of the Secret last week. Never skied the M5.

“Soft” is a relative term and I wouldn’t say the Secret is a “soft” ski as in meant for soft snow only.

The first gen Aura, IMO was a landmark ski. So probably was the Mantra. My first gen Aura ended up in the hands of an expert male skier, who ended up ripping the bindings out of the ski during an aggressive run. :eek:
 
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KingGrump

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I am not surprised with the preference for the Secret over the Kenja last season. The 2019 Secret has the new titanal frame construction. The 2019 Kenja is still on the older 2 full layer of titanal construction. The secret generally feels much lighter and agile. The 2019 Kenja can be a bear at times.

The new 2020 Kenja will have the new titanal frame construction like the Secret. Should be interesting to see a more extensive on snow comparison between the Secret and the new Kenja.

The gen 1 Mantra was one of my favorite pair of skis. The extra 2 mm of the gen 2 took the playfulness out of the ski. Made it too stiff and planky. Bumps were no longer fun. It became more of a front side oriented wide GS ski. The Atomic Metron M11 and D2 VF82 I had at that time were much better front side skis. The 2011 Kendo was a game changer for me. Did everything the gen 2 Mantra could but it was a lot more fun and agile. Retired my gen 2 Mantra after 12 days.

My new 2020 Kendo makes it the sixth pair of Kendo for me. Had lots of other skis along with the Kendo. Some notables were MX88, FX85 HP, Motive 86. The Kendo just got the call more often. A lot more often.
 

BC.

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I had my 17yo daughter debating between 92 Secret and Sheeva 9 this past week. She’s been on Volkl Yumi’s...but she chose the Sheeva 9....she wanted to try Blizzard. She is into the W2W campaign. Looking forward to mounting them up next week.
 
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