Volkl Katana 108 2020 – 2021 | Review

The classic Volkl Katana is back, in its all-metal form

Why we chose the Volkl Katana 108: Metal laminates, great charger, all mountain performer 

Lengths (cm): 170, 177, 184, 191 cm
Sidecut (mm): 146-108-129 mm
Radius: 19m (184 cm)
Rocker Profile: Rocker-Camber-Rocker
Weight (per ski): 2397g
Price: £TBC

Roll back the clock almost 15-years and German-based Volkl skis were creating the now legendary fully metal Katana. We were huge fans of this ski, here at Mpora, due to its ability to handle its own through whatever you threw it up against. Chop, powder, ice – this ski would quite literally cut through anything, the same way a Japanese Samurai might slice up their foes.

Fast forward five years and Volkl sort of began to phase out the Katana. We say ‘sort of’, as they kept the shape and rocker profile of the original Katana but removed it metal spirit and replaced it with a slightly more twitchy carbon build. This ski, the V-Werks Katana became a fantastic touring ski thanks to its combination of a carbon construction and generally weight saving design. As much as we liked it, however, it felt like it didn’t quite deserve the Katana name.

“This ski would quite literally cut through anything, the same way a Japanese Samurai might slice up their foes”

Now, after years of ski nerds reminiscing amongst themselves / begging Volkl to change their ways, we’re chuffed to say the brand are back in everyone’s good books with an all-metal Katana. Say hello to the Volkl Katana 108, a ski that retains the full-metal heart of the OG. Yes, there’s been a few changes to the shaping and rocker profile, positioning this ski towards a slightly wider audience but, all in all, by heck the boy’s back. 


Volkl Katana 108 Build

Right, first up has to be talk of that metal laminate returning to grace the Katana. This laminate is what Volkl are calling their “Titanal Frame”, a combination of two contoured 0.7 mm and 0.3 mm thick metal sheets that run all the way down to the tips and tails.

Volkl has sandwiched this frame together to cover highly stressed areas, just where you’re going to want the power and energy transmission of metal. The sections of the ski not covered by the Titanal Frame which have been removed are replaced with a carbon fibre sheet, resulting in lightweight tips that can still track well through 3D snow.

Aside from the return of the metal laminates, Volkl has made use of a blend of beech and poplar for the core – to help further boost the dampening qualities. And, as if you’d expect anything less from a ski of this calibre, it’s worth mentioning that full sidewalls have been used for the full length of the ski

All of the above results in an (unsurprisingly) stiff ski. In fact, it’s one of the stiffest skis in the Ski 100 for that matter. We’d compare this stiffness to that of the Faction Dictator series, which similarly paired two sheets of titanal to create a thuggish flex pattern.

Volkl Katana 106 Shaping

While the original metal Katana featured a fully rockered profile with no camber underfoot, Volkl have added 2.5 mm of camber underfoot here – with traditional rocker in the tips and tails. This further bolsters the Katanas’ all-mountain credentials, whereas the original metal Katana held a slightly more soft snow bias.

In terms of sidecut, Volkl have brought in their 3 Radius Sidecut, which pairs a tight centre radius underfoot, and an open radius in the tips and tails. This is said to improve turn initiation in lower speeds, while also improving stability at higher speeds (when you’re able to flex the ski, and load up the tips and tails). 

“If you’ve got the Samurai skills to control this Katana… you’re going to be in for one hell of a ride”

Who Is The Volkl Katana 106 For?

All of the above has resulted in a ski that really does do the Katana name justice. The dual sheets of contoured titanal gives the Katana 108 the edge the V-Werks Katana was previously missing. The addition of camber underfoot, and the 3 Radius Sidecut improve the versatility of this ski, making it that bit more of an all mountain thoroughbred (we were extremely impressed with the versatility of the original Katana, mind).

With all this in mind, we could see the Katana 108 cutting its way around the entire mountain, in almost any conditions that are thrown your way (you may want a different tool for hard ice, but that goes without saying for a ski this wide). Combine this with the all new Marker Duke P16, and the Salomon Shift 130 boots, and you’ve got yourself a killer setup that’ll rip the mountain at any speed whether you’re in the resort or out in the backcountry.

Although Volkl have attempted to make this ski a little more appealing to a wider audience, we’d still only recommend this ski to advanced and expert skiers. Those sheets of titanal are still going to be begging for speed in order to load the edges up, and the 2400g weight of the ski means that this Katana still remains a pretty demanding ski – particularly in tighter spaces. If you’ve got the Samurai skills to control this Katana though, you’re going to be in for one hell of a ride.

What Is The Volkl Katana 106 Good At?

Dampening: 9/10
Stability at Speed: 8/10
All Mountain Performance: 8/10

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