The Völkl Racetiger Speedwall GS UVO is Völkl’s GS civilized model built for the general public. Or is it? Well, that’s what the theory says. The actual practice says something rather different.
When Völkl thought about building this ski, they were definetely not thinking about us. Völkl exclusively thought about the following concept: “Smaller GS ski”. And probably they thought that in German: “Kleinste Riesenslalom Ski”. Exagerating the “k”, followed by a large “l” and making the “r” sound as a thunder. Leaving it all very, very clear.
Thank the Gods they forgot about us. The result is a joy, just a few will be prepared for skiing on this thing. If a diamond has it’s high value fixed in money, this pair of skis have their value fixed in skiing skills. And believe me when I say it’s high value.
This year, the Völkl Racetiger Speedwall GS has been tweaked. The changes aren’t dramatic, just some tuning-up of the sidecut profile. Now it is 1mm wider at the tip, 2mm at the waist and 1mm wider at the tail. These minimal modifications have been made to adjust the ski’s behavior, gaining some stability when flat. Remember, wider skis are easier to control when flat. The overall performance is very similar to what was already achieved. It features the same known Völkl technologies such as the Speed Multilayer Woodcar, Power Construction, the Titanium reinforcement thing and so on. There has been also some cosmetic renewal which will be discussed later.
Then there’s the UVO thing. As others did before, Völkl has found the Holy Grail. That is, yet another anti-everything-bad-for-skiing-gizmo. This time, the toy (sorry, the system) is supposed to reduce undesired vibrations. Good, at least they don’t turn them into electricity. The problem is, trust me, it doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. Look, if any of these systems had worked any time in the past, from the old Rossignol’s VAS to today’s UVO, every single pair of skis in the known universe would have some sort of device like that. They don’t work at all. They can show you slides, figures, tables, graphics, make fancy spots on YouTube or any other fireworks to try to convince you. Just forget it, buy your favourite pair and enjoy skiing! And yes, the Völkl Racetiger Speedwall GS UVO is a great ski.
Once you have them on your hands, you can see they really look and feel different. A thicker waist and a higher flex index than normal drove me to think the test was not going to be business as usual. It was going to demand all my senses put to the max on every single turn. I didn’t know what to expect, either. Just the ‘Giant Slalom’ badge could reveal what kind of turn the ski could perform best in. The rest remained undiscovered.
When short turning on the slopes, the Völkl Racetiger Speedwall GS UVO wants to shout at us. But it can’t. We need to be awake, because if we aren’t it could throw us away like if it was spittting. Since it doesn’t have a mouth, its intention is to leave us on the floor. Even if we insist on the extension-flexion movement, it will offer every possible resistance. So my recommendation is to pivot while we are progressively pressing it, with no compassion and an iron will. When skiing that way, this ski just doesn’t work. It’s not what it is designed for. It’s somewhat skiable. If we know how to.
On the first wide turns I took, it didn’t care and yet transmmitted a heavy feeling, low maneuverability, and it even seemed to engage the edge somehow strangely. It became obvious that even skiing at a rapid pace, it still wasn’t enough. So I moved on and went for a long hardpacked steep run. While I was waiting for the path to be clean of other skiers, I concentrated and rehearsed some long turns in my mind.
Once I started the run, as soon as the speed increased (something easy because of the steepness) the ski started to behave right. If we ski with the volume at 11, this model starts working. If the Völkl Racetiger Speedwall GS UVO is something, is a GS ski. It’s not a recreational ski nor a “go for a walk” one. It requires high level skills, good physical condition and forgetting about anything that is not related to speed and hardpacked groomed trails.
Given enough velocity and using the appropriate technique, one can link wide open and even medium turns easily and with some degree of comfort. The sense of stability gives us a safety plus, but just when the speedometer is in the high end. Getting near or even reaching the maximum allowed speed on public roads is relatively easy with this ski. So those who like to ski fast should choose a long size. They will find more stability, more speed, and at the same time better control. But only if they are high skilled skiers in good shape. This last point is essential, keep it in mind. This is a ski that will leave us tired. So this is not a pair we can use all day long catching the last turn at the chairlift. It’s very sporty and after four hours of skiing, we will be completely defeated but smiling. With a Joker’s smile.
The 2014-2015 Völkl Speedwall Racetiger Speedwall GS UVO looks good in general, but it mostly looks ‘Racing’. The classic red color has been replaced by a more agressive orange and the brand’s name covers the entire front part of the ski, so you’ll know that’s a Völkl from far away.
The mounted bindings are from Marker and they are the specific model for this type of skis. The DIN regulation goes from 6 to 16, leaving clear once more what’s the focus of this model. The bindings are also painted to match the new style for this year, coupling perfectly to the ski’s image.
The Völkl Speedwall Racetiger Speedwall GS UVO is a pure racing ski, for wide turns, physically and mentally demanding. A true jewel for those who are capable to tame it.
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