Ski: 2014-2015 Völkl Bridge, 179cm
Dimensions (mm): 128-95-115
Boots / Bindings: Salomon Falcon Pro CS/ Marker Jester (DIN at 9)
Mount Location: 3 cm forward of factory recommended
Test Location: Las Leñas
Days Skied: 1
(Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 11/12 Bridge, which is unchanged for 13/14, and 14/15, except for the graphics.)
First Impressions: Sunday 8.14.2011
Having spent the better part of the weekend lapping the Marte lift on Völkl’s big mountain board, the Katana (and liking it—read my Katana review here), I was eager to see what Volkl’s all-mountain ski, the Bridge, could do.
With the sun shining and the Vulcano lift spinning, we headed over to Pala Vulcano for our first run. A long, wide open, mellow pitch, you can find soft snow on Pala on most any day. With 2-4” of snowfall two nights prior, we found 2-4” of nice, rippable windblown chalk with just the slightest amount of firmer chop underneath.
Let me pause for a moment and say a thing or two about the camber profile of the Bridge. It’s a fully rockered ski that follows the same versatile design Völkl uses on the Katana (flat underfoot with a very gradual full rocker that runs from tip to tail). The ski we’re testing is a 179. I’m 6’3” and prefer a longer ski, so a 179 is on the short side to start. Plus, given the Bridge’s profile, its effective edge is shorter than the skis overall length.
Nonetheless, the way this ski handled the 3+ inches of soft snow on Pala really took me by surprise. Very nimble and quick to cut and smear across the hill, the Bridge has just enough rocker to be quite capable in soft snow, but doesn’t feel particularly squirrelly. I experienced the same predictable and controlled feeling through each turn on the Bridge that made the Katana so much fun in powder. The Bridge is incredibly easy to ski. I’m not surprised that it is one of the most popular models in Völkl’s lineup.
On multiple runs down Pala, turns were kept moderately tight and deliberate, I wasn’t making huge arching rails or charging through chop. For a light ski with a 95mm waist, the Bridge felt surprisingly unfazed as I hit the occasional hard chunk of wind affected snow. Throughout the day, I didn’t notice that the skis’ tails felt particularly soft or stiff. Seemingly built for predictability and intuitiveness, the ski’s flex profile is very manageable, with a consistent, moderate feel along the entire running length of the ski.
Eager to let things run, we headed for some groomer laps under Vulcano. No real surprises from the Bridge here. The ski is quick edge to edge, engages turns well, and given its very gradual early rise profile, I experienced no unsettling chatter from the tips or tails while on edge. Due to a lack of camber, the Bridge isn’t very snappy coming out of a turn, but it does come across the hill nicely with a smooth, complete arc. A ski with the exact same dimensions and length, but with traditional camber, may feel a little more stable and locked in during an aggressive carve.
To be clear, the Bridge’s edged stability is totally acceptable. I will admit to being very demanding when it comes to a ski’s carving/edge performance (due to a racing background, I suppose). The truth is, making a ski that can both rail with race-like energy and snap and be playful and easy to maneuver in soft snow is nearly impossible. I think Völkl has found the best possible balance between groomed and soft/variable performance with this ski.
As I’ve said, I have not pushed this ski hard through heavy chop or ridden it in fresh snow over 4”, but as far as I can tell, if you’re considering the Bridge as a one-ski-quiver I think it will do as well in soft snow as any 95 underfoot ski out there.
I feel certain that any intermediate to advanced skier who doesn’t always look to nuke though chop will be thrilled with this ski’s performance (both in its carving abilities on groomers and predictability and playfulness in softer conditions). This has been my experience on the 185 Rossignol Scimitar, a practically identical ski. If you think you’re interested in the Bridge, you might want to consider the Scimitar.
I have not ridden the Bridge in the park or in bumps, but based on my experience on the Scimitar, I feel that it should do well in those areas too. For those more relaxed, jibby groomer days with friends, laps in the park, or for riding 1-4” of fresh when all-out raging isn’t the #1 priority, the Bridge or Scimitar are both great choices.
You can now read John Gwynn’s 2nd Look of the Bridge.