Oct 13 2014

Review: Voile’s V6

The last two seasons have been tough on fat skis. In spite of that, Voile has managed to produce two winners in two years that not only give the sort of delightful response in soft snow you would expect from a company that develops products in Wasatch pow, but in real conditions too. In fact, prior to the V8 and this season’s V6, that might have even been considered a genetic limitation since it is far easier to build planks that deliver miles of smiles in powder than something that works in crud, mush, and on ice.

Voile's V6 - a slightly slimmer V8

Voile’s V6 – a slightly slimmer V8

V8 – Light yet Sharp

The reality is Voile makes stuff for the backcountry; the ability to drive through crud and hold an edge on hardpack are necessary traits for a ski you intend to rely on in a variety of conditions. When I first had a chance to ski the V8 it was on polished powder, the weeks old variety that has been manicured to a slippery, hard-to-hold-an-edge surface. With a waist width of 112mm on the 176cm model I figured I’d be lucky if I could merely hold an edge; though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a veritable racing carve the only ski to outperform the V8 on that day, and I skied several narrower skis, was a ski from a different price league: Volkl’s equally fat (112mm) V-Werks Katana. Equally impressive was the V8′s weight; less than 8 pounds per pair.

V6 -Lighter still

Rocker profile of the V6.

Rocker profile of the V6.

This year Voile takes the winning formula of the V8 and makes a more svelte version that comes in around 100mm at the waist, and for a comparable length, almost a pound lighter per pair. First impressions for the V6 were in a thin coating of fresh Utah pow over aged packed powder. In other words, dust on crust, with just enough fresh snow off piste to remain nervous about what sort of texture was hidden beneath the surface. This is where construction becomes important and Voile’s combination of an Aspen wood core with just enough carbon in the fiberglass layup yields a ski that has a lot more mettle than its weight would imply.

V6′s rockered tip kept it near the surface and any rough patches that threatened to derail my trajectory were easily cast off with the rockered tail. Back in home territory in drought stricken California the V6s were able to show off in the aftermath of last season’s lone two-foot storm and they rocked. Flotation was as expected, with smooth round turns on open slopes and a fast, nimble dance through the trees as needed. This was particularly notable as the sun returned and transformed the fluff to mush.

If there was any limit it was on hardpack with an admittedly underpowered tele rig. With a locked heel the V6, and its bigger brother the V8, handle just about anything with aplomb. Generically speaking I tend to put the limit of what a pair of T2′s can adequately drive at around 100mm and the V6, while delivering admirable performance with Switchback X2 bindings and T2X boots couldn’t hold a tele edge so well, although I’m sure with TX-Pros and an NTN binding that limit could be overcome.

In the backcountry the V6 did just what you would expect it to. Ample rocker in the tip levitates the ski to the surface when you’re breaking trail, as long as you have a free pivot touring binding. There may be lighter skis available, but not for the width. Stuffing your tails on a switchback is not as easy as with a straight tail, nor is it impossible. Few people I know would be willing to sacrifice how easily the slight rocker in the tail makes switching leads in deep snow just to stuff the tails on a switchback.

You can certainly find a ski that handles crud and junk better, but not without adding more than a pound per pair. Likewise for carving snow on hardpack, but again, not for the weight. And you certainly won’t be able to pack all that performance into a single package for the price.

MSRP: $650

Length (cm)
Dimensions (mm)
Radius (m)
Weight (pounds)
6 lbs., 2 oz.
6 lbs., 9 oz.
7 lbs., 6 oz.
7 lbs., 14 oz.
Weight (kg)
2.8 kg
2.98 kg
3.35 kg
3.57 kg

© 2014

  • Justcurious

    Thanks for the great review. Can you compare the V6 to the excellent Voile vector? Seems like the V6 is a little bigger overall and a little heavier. Anything illuminating insights????

  • Dostie

    Have to get back to you on that as I don’t have both in the quiver to compare, nor is there any snow on which to make the comparison. :-( My estimate is the Vector turns a bit faster, the V6 is more stable at speed and (obviously) a bit floatier in soft snow.

  • Moloch

    Haven’t skied the Vector a ton, but overall a much softer flex through-out the boards. Also 96mm underfoot and slightly lighter. The Vectors come in the BC version w/ scales. I think those are brilliant, especially skiing out to the parking lot after a BC run (just pop your heel and go) or on a long (icefield) tour with lots of rolling terrain. I was able to get up most hills, just depends on how you set your track. For running laps up pre-existing skin tracks, you’ll still need the skins.

    I’m hoping to pick up the V6s for this season, looks like an awesome quiver-of-one ski for either side of the fence!! Add some G3 Ions and they’ll be good to go!

  • sunlightskier

    As a 6-1 tall person weighing 190, would the 183 V6 be too small, given the rocker? What does anybody think?

  • Dostie

    At 190 you’re probably right on the edge of preferring a longer ski. The V6 skis short owing to the rocker in the tip and tail. Also depends if you’re skiing locked heel or tele. I’d lean wider for alpine (V8), 180ish for tele (V6).

  • David cobb

    I am heading to Ouray for several days of back country skiing. Staying at a opus huts. I plan to rent Voile V6 – trying to figure the size. I am 62 years. 5′ 6″ 160 lbs. I’m an expert skier and very picky about how equipment feels on the snow. I enjoy a ski with easier initiation but enough strength to hold a turn. Just pick up a pair of Nordica Enforcer 100. Tried the 184 and settled on the 177. 184 were fine, but 177 were more playful. The company I am renting from only have 173 and 183 in stock. I know I can handle 183 but not sure that is best for uphill. Though not sure whether 173 will not be enkugh ski downhill. Any advice?

  • Dostie

    Sounds like a toss up. Due to the rockered tip and tail the V6 skis short. I’d lean toward 183 except in trees. YMMV.