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volkl kenja skier looking for a more playful/easier short turn ski -4 ft 11 - 110 lbs

SnoGirl

Diva in Training
#1
Love my kenja's at speed and blasting through crud. However, at 56 yo -110 pounds when I'm playing in moguls or working on quick short radius turns - or skiing with a slower group I would like a ski that is less work to turn in those conditions. My Kenja's are the 2010/2011 and the 2014/2015 both 149 cm which is pretty much my height. They are really heavy - but also really stable at speed and in crud.
I am looking for an all mountain ski. I am an advanced skier. I want to ski in a variety of conditions in New York and out west. I have been reading about the blizzard black pearl 88 and the Nordica Santa Ana - the santa ana 88 is not recommended on the realskiers.com site, and I wonder if the 93 will be easy for me to flip from edge to edge with my shorter legs.
Nordica comes in 153 and the Black Pearl comes in 145 and 152.
If you have any thoughts on bindings - please share them. I like a binding I can easily click into on uneven terrain instead of having to stomp into it.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
Love my kenja's at speed and blasting through crud. However, at 56 yo -110 pounds when I'm playing in moguls or working on quick short radius turns - or skiing with a slower group I would like a ski that is less work to turn in those conditions. My Kenja's are the 2010/2011 and the 2014/2015 both 149 cm which is pretty much my height. They are really heavy - but also really stable at speed and in crud.
I am looking for an all mountain ski. I am an advanced skier. I want to ski in a variety of conditions in New York and out west. I have been reading about the blizzard black pearl 88 and the Nordica Santa Ana - the santa ana 88 is not recommended on the realskiers.com site, and I wonder if the 93 will be easy for me to flip from edge to edge with my shorter legs.
Nordica comes in 153 and the Black Pearl comes in 145 and 152.
If you have any thoughts on bindings - please share them. I like a binding I can easily click into on uneven terrain instead of having to stomp into it.
What? I tested 14 pair of skis last season for Pugski.com and those were the skis I ended up buying--love at first turn. The 93 will not be easier to get edge-to-edge, as it's wider and has a slightly different tip construction. The 88s have two sheets of titanal, making them very stable.
That being said, a lot of gals of your size who like Kenjas really love the Yumis as they maintain the Volkl feel but are friendlier for smaller gals.
 

badger

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
I'm a petite skier too. 5'1 95 pounds. Lots of options out there! I recently purchased the Black Crows Captis Birdie for conditions of softer snow /powder where I wanted to ski with something playful and maneuverable underfoot.
The Birdie is 90 wide, and I absolutely love it. It is a joy to use and works quite well on frozen hardpack too! And that was a serendipity not expected at all.
Several years ago I had Kenjas .
 

bsskier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
What? I tested 14 pair of skis last season for Pugski.com and those were the skis I ended up buying--love at first turn. The 93 will not be easier to get edge-to-edge, as it's wider and has a slightly different tip construction. The 88s have two sheets of titanal, making them very stable.
That being said, a lot of gals of your size who like Kenjas really love the Yumis as they maintain the Volkl feel but are friendlier for smaller gals.
Pardon the thread drift but @contesstant you’ve piqued my interest due to your experience. I loved the Kenja when it was 90 width in a 156 in Alta. I love the feeling of stability which is also why I like Kastle. I then got on the 2019 88 Kenja in a 163 during a demo day at Big Sky but only took a long easy run, they felt OK. At 5’4/150 I’m stuck between lengths a lot. If the SA 88 and 93 are available to me next week at Big Sky, what length would you recommend? I’m taking the Women’s Clinic, and all season plan to focus on technique and moguls. I get less than 30 days a season if I’m lucky. Are there any other skis you’d recommend?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#5
Love my kenja's at speed and blasting through crud. However, at 56 yo -110 pounds when I'm playing in moguls or working on quick short radius turns - or skiing with a slower group I would like a ski that is less work to turn in those conditions. My Kenja's are the 2010/2011 and the 2014/2015 both 149 cm which is pretty much my height. They are really heavy - but also really stable at speed and in crud.
I am looking for an all mountain ski. I am an advanced skier. I want to ski in a variety of conditions in New York and out west. I have been reading about the blizzard black pearl 88 and the Nordica Santa Ana - the santa ana 88 is not recommended on the realskiers.com site, and I wonder if the 93 will be easy for me to flip from edge to edge with my shorter legs.
Nordica comes in 153 and the Black Pearl comes in 145 and 152.
If you have any thoughts on bindings - please share them. I like a binding I can easily click into on uneven terrain instead of having to stomp into it.
Welcome! Although I'm pretty much your size, I'm not sure my experience will help you or not. I'm far more interested in powder turns than skiing fast. I don't like Volkl skis, except for the Yumi. As I became a solid advanced skier in the last decade (over 50), I can make Volkl skis turn but it takes concentration and work.

I've skied the BP88 @145 at Taos and had a very good time. @santacruz skier enjoyed the 152. That particular day, we were only on groomers because that's all that was open. I switched to the BP98 @152 when there was 6+ inches of fresh powder. I own the old design Black Pearl, 88mm, from 2011. The current design is much better, especially on hard snow.

As for the Santa Ana 88 and 93, I like them both quite a bit. It's fair to say that the reviewers on realskiers probably aren't our size. I demo'd the SA88 at Sunapee last March @158, which was the shortest length available. I had the SA93 @161 at Bridger last season for an advanced semi-private lesson with my favorite L3 instructor there. Hadn't been fresh snow for a few days. They were really good and we were working on bumps.

If I still lived in NYC, given what I've learned in the last five years demo'ing skis and sampling New England skiing (daughter was in school near Boston), I wouldn't buy skis over 90mm as a OSQ (One Ski Quiver). My current all-mountain skis for trips out west are 85 underfoot with Look bindings (bought in 2017 at Taos after 2 days as demo rentals). I usually rent powder skis for 10+ inches of fresh snow but have had good fun skiing them in 15+ inches of fluffy powder. For skiing in the east, I have the Head Absolut Joy @148, 78 underfoot. My Alta instructor doesn't want me to rent over 100mm for a powder lesson. YMMV
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
Pardon the thread drift but @contesstant you’ve piqued my interest due to your experience. I loved the Kenja when it was 90 width in a 156 in Alta. I love the feeling of stability which is also why I like Kastle. I then got on the 2019 88 Kenja in a 163 during a demo day at Big Sky but only took a long easy run, they felt OK. At 5’4/150 I’m stuck between lengths a lot. If the SA 88 and 93 are available to me next week at Big Sky, what length would you recommend? I’m taking the Women’s Clinic, and all season plan to focus on technique and moguls. I get less than 30 days a season if I’m lucky. Are there any other skis you’d recommend?
What are you skiing on right now? Length, etc? Either of these skis will fit the bill for you, but it could come down to which length works better, especially for moguls. And that could be dependent on what you are USED to skiing on. Both skis are smooth and damp thanks to titanal. A 161 SA 93 might be perfect. I'm on the 165 in the SA 88 and it feels about perfect, and I'm an inch taller than you (OK, maybe 3/4 inch since age is shrinking me!)

Some other options that I liked are the Head Kore 93 (which in the shorter lengths comes in at 89 under foot) or the K2 Mindbender 88. I loved the new 2020 Kenja on the groomers, but off-piste in crud, the stiff tails were too much for me. It was like having zee German back there cracking a whip at me, "you VILL turn NOW, and you VILL go faster!" :tongue: The Black Pearls are always a GREAT western snow option, I just personally have found I tend to prefer skis with some titanal in them to smooth the ride a bit.
 

bsskier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
What are you skiing on right now? Length, etc? Either of these skis will fit the bill for you, but it could come down to which length works better, especially for moguls. And that could be dependent on what you are USED to skiing on. Both skis are smooth and damp thanks to titanal. A 161 SA 93 might be perfect. I'm on the 165 in the SA 88 and it feels about perfect, and I'm an inch taller than you (OK, maybe 3/4 inch since age is shrinking me!)

Some other options that I liked are the Head Kore 93 (which in the shorter lengths comes in at 89 under foot) or the K2 Mindbender 88. I loved the new 2020 Kenja on the groomers, but off-piste in crud, the stiff tails were too much for me. It was like having zee German back there cracking a whip at me, "you VILL turn NOW, and you VILL go faster!" :tongue: The Black Pearls are always a GREAT western snow option, I just personally have found I tend to prefer skis with some titanal in them to smooth the ride a bit.
Thanks for your information. I appreciate it. I don’t own skis because I haven’t really fallen in love. I do own boots - Lange RX 90 and do the majority of my skiing in Big Sky. I completely agree with you, I like some metal, yet BP 88/161 and Kastle FX95/157 have delivered serious solid fun for me in the past. Funny about the Volkl ski making demands. A friend had me try her NinetyEight’s in 163 last year 2 days after a huge dump in Alta and I thought “these skis could push a car”.

On paper, I should have loved the Secret. Maybe I was tired, but neither the 156 or 163 felt right. I feel I should give them another shot, but what length?

Perhaps I’m just getting hung up on length. I’m not sure about the Kore because they’re so light, but will try them in February. I’ve never been on a K2 so I’ll put that on my list. For now, I’m going to try SA 88 and SA 93 and choose one to take me through the clinic. If it’s dumping I’ll get in the Dynastar.
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
I used to ski the Kenja, but actually prefer the Mantras and the Deacon 84s, though I don't think either one would fit the bill in bumps based on what you are looking for. I actually liked the kenjas in bumps, but found them too soft and not grippy enough for either powder or ice.

My only concern when you mention bumps is the widths you are looking at. Given your size, I would be very reluctant to go even close to 90 underfoot. The wider they are the harder they will be to ski simultaneously in the bumps. I find that shorter, narrower, that are not too stiff ski bumps best. Then again our bumps are big and steep, though not too icy. I am taller and heavier and like a ski in the 76 to 86 range underfoot, and a bit shorter (5 to 10cm) than me. Beyond that, each ski is so different. I hope you find your dream ski!
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Thanks for your information. I appreciate it. I don’t own skis because I haven’t really fallen in love. I do own boots - Lange RX 90 and do the majority of my skiing in Big Sky. I completely agree with you, I like some metal, yet BP 88/161 and Kastle FX95/157 have delivered serious solid fun for me in the past. Funny about the Volkl ski making demands. A friend had me try her NinetyEight’s in 163 last year 2 days after a huge dump in Alta and I thought “these skis could push a car”.

On paper, I should have loved the Secret. Maybe I was tired, but neither the 156 or 163 felt right. I feel I should give them another shot, but what length?

Perhaps I’m just getting hung up on length. I’m not sure about the Kore because they’re so light, but will try them in February. I’ve never been on a K2 so I’ll put that on my list. For now, I’m going to try SA 88 and SA 93 and choose one to take me through the clinic. If it’s dumping I’ll get in the Dynastar.
The Secret would be great for you in a 160 :tongue:
Don't sweat it-if you didn't like them, you didn't like them.
The Kore are much beloved by some serious male skiers-they are light but they are strong, but not too strong. So don't let the weight sway you.
The clinic sounds awesome!
 

Bluestsky

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
Back to the OP. Welcome to the forum @SnoGirl! I'm 5.1/113. Used to have Kenja, but sold them for the same reasons you've mentioned. Skiing now on Volkl Yumi in 153, the pre-metal 2016/17 model. I like them in soft snow and bumps not so much on hardpack or crud. Demo them when you have the chance. @badger piqued my interest in the Black Crows Captis Birdie :-)
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#13
I am looking for an all mountain ski. I am an advanced skier. I want to ski in a variety of conditions in New York and out west. I have been reading about the blizzard black pearl 88 and the Nordica Santa Ana - the santa ana 88 is not recommended on the realskiers.com site, and I wonder if the 93 will be easy for me to flip from edge to edge with my shorter legs.
Nordica comes in 153 and the Black Pearl comes in 145 and 152.
If you have any thoughts on bindings - please share them. I like a binding I can easily click into on uneven terrain instead of having to stomp into it.
I'm 5'1", 112 lbs and ski the Santa Ana 93's in a 161. They have a lot of rocker, so they ski short. A 153 would ski really short, and that was the next size down. Anyway, I have yet to find a condition in which they don't excel, and they're great in all sorts of terrain. I'm an advanced eastern skier, and I ski these all the time in Vermont. Highly recommend.
 
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#15
I used to ski the Kenja, but actually prefer the Mantras and the Deacon 84s, though I don't think either one would fit the bill in bumps based on what you are looking for. I actually liked the kenjas in bumps, but found them too soft and not grippy enough for either powder or ice.

My only concern when you mention bumps is the widths you are looking at. Given your size, I would be very reluctant to go even close to 90 underfoot. The wider they are the harder they will be to ski simultaneously in the bumps. I find that shorter, narrower, that are not too stiff ski bumps best. Then again our bumps are big and steep, though not too icy. I am taller and heavier and like a ski in the 76 to 86 range underfoot, and a bit shorter (5 to 10cm) than me. Beyond that, each ski is so different. I hope you find your dream ski!
What do you like for bumps? Going to Taos in a few weeks and will demo some skis as well as bring my own....
 
#17
Mine are last year’s, and as far as I know, the only difference is the width.
Actually, I don’t think that’s the case. At least that’s what a rep told me at a demo day earlier this season. I don’t know what the exact differences are though. It came up because I noticed the 88 now had a 165 length and asked if the Santa Ana 100 did as well because the usual lengths of low 160s and high 160s make it hard for me to know which to ski in Nordicas. He said it was only the 88 that had changed, and that despite the Santa Ana name the 88 is not actually a little sister of the 93, 100 etc. :noidea:
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#18
They have different construction in the tips and tails. The 2021 SA 93 and 98 are going to have the same construction AND lengths as the 2020 88. I, for one, am REALLY excited to get out on both the 93 and 98 since I love the 88 so much. Apparently, they've changed quite a bit about them. I don't know exactly what other similarities or differences they will have with the 88. It sounds like they'll be more similar than different, but I'm not sure.
 
#19
Now I'm confused. So the new 2021 Santa Ana 93 and 98 (is that new) will have the same construction as the SA 88 (which is different construction than the current SA 93).... will be demoing some skis in a few weeks and curious....
What didn't you like about the current SA 93's? Think I saw you didn't like those or the Volkl Secrets...... I may need to create a spreadsheet for myself....
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#20
Now I'm confused. So the new 2021 Santa Ana 93 and 98 (is that new) will have the same construction as the SA 88 (which is different construction than the current SA 93).... will be demoing some skis in a few weeks and curious....
What didn't you like about the current SA 93's? Think I saw you didn't like those or the Volkl Secrets...... I may need to create a spreadsheet for myself....
Sorry, I blame Saturday cocktails! That WAS confusing! The 93 and 98 are going to have the same tip and tail construction as the 88, but I'm not sure of the other changes, other than sidecut will be different, etc. I'm looking at getting a 98ish ski for powder and am excited to get on these. Word is, The Black Pearl line is also being redesigned, with a BP 97.

The 93s were just not the right size for me--161 too short, 169 a bit long. I'm excited about the 165, as that is right in my wheelhouse. I LOVED the Secrets in Targhee snow, but Targhee snow, I have discovered, is not the same as Snowbasin snow. I have slowly discovered I don't care for a noodly ski, even in powder. I like the push back of a stiffer ski in powder. It gives a really smooth, stable platform. I think that's one thing I like about the 88s in powder. We have FEET of fresh here with feet on the way, and I'll be on my 88s. I actually like being down in the snow vs. planing on top of it.
 

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