2020-2021 Volkl V-Werks BMT 109

Breakable Crust

The bane of any avid backcountry skier is breakable crust, but it’s an unfortunate reality if you’re spending a lot of time ski touring. When I first read Shane McConkey’s “Mental Floss” somewhere around 2004 (it was originally written in 2002) I learned that rockered skis make a lot of sense when dealing with some of the most difficult snow imaginable.

My experience on many pairs of rockered skis since then are definitely consistent with McConkey’s ideas. While I didn’t get a ton of time on the V-Werks BMT 109 in these conditions, I did get a few runs and felt them to be quite competent. My previous experience with skis that have a somewhat pintailed shape is that they do not do as well in breakable crust, but again, I did not experience this with the BMT 109 at all. I attribute the performance in these conditions to the long, progressive rocker and the relatively large 26 meter turn radius.

I’ve written in other ski reviews that the most unpredictable types of snow are most easily skied on the most predictable skis. The smooth combination of rocker profile and sidecut on the BMT 109 create a good example of a ski that’s predictable in tough conditions.

Soft Chop

I didn’t spend a lot of time on the BMT 109 in soft chop, but did get several runs in the afternoon at Porters Ski Area that featured sun-softened tracked snow.

[Tangent: One of my pet-peeves for these conditions is skis that are designed with significant early taper in the tips. While many people like how they make a ski feel short and turny on hard snow, and a little driftier in untracked pow, I typically find that heavily tapered tips and tails are a detriment in chop and crud. Highly tapered tips generally feel hooky and grabby in these conditions, and do not inspire confident high speed skiing.

Why? It seems to me that the problem is the repeated and rapid changes in effective edge length when the ski is tipped into a carve. On sections of hard snow, the effective edge extends from the widest point of the ski in the tip to the widest point of the ski in the tail. Then, when the ski encounters a section of softer, deeper snow (think tracked-up maritime pow or sun-softened snow) the remaining tip and tail (beyond the widest part) are able to engage and the whole length of the ski pushes into the soft section of snow.

At high speeds and edge angles this can be quite unnerving as the heavily tapered tips and tails distal to the widest parts of the ski are intermittently grabbing/edging on the soft snow, then rapidly releasing on harder sections. It creates a lot of flap and inconsistency, even in a relatively stiff ski. Okay, end of tangent.]

All of that said, the BMT 109 does have some early tip taper, but it doesn’t really ski like it. By my measure, the widest part of the BMT 109 is about 23cm from the tip, but the taper is very subtle beyond that widest point (see enclosed pics). Just as with the rocker profile, I think this subtlety allows for the BMT 109 to be relatively predictable and smooth in chop, despite the early taper. (To be clear, I’m not saying that the BMT 109 is some crud or chop buster, but that it performs better than expected in these conditions given its weight. (See our upcoming Deep Dive article on the BMT 109 for comparisons on this front.)

Smooth Corn / Groomers

I had a couple of great, smooth corn runs on the 109’s on the backside of Porters Ski Area near Crystal Valley, on a sun-softened slope shortly after skiing fun wind-affected powder on the opposite aspect earlier that day. At that point the skis were still mounted at the +3 position. They were very easy to engage into a turn, and took little effort to drive the tips into the top of the turn.

When trying to scrub speed and skid some of the turns while at +3, the skis did feel a bit more chattery than I was expecting. Fortunately, moving the binding to the recommended mount mostly remedied this, and left me feeling more balanced on the ski with less chatter, more overall stability, and no significant sacrifice in turn initiation.

While carving at high edge angles, the BMT 109 felt smooth and tracked well. While it is damp for it’s weight, it is still a 109mm-underfoot lightweight touring ski and it’s prone to deflection when hitting firm inconsistencies and bumps on groomers.

Paul Forward reviews the Volkl V-Werks BMT 109, 186cm for Blister Gear Review
Paul Forward on the Volkl V-Werks BMT 109.


I rarely ever comment on a product’s cosmetics, but while I like the clean black and green aesthetic of the BMT 109, I do prefer white or light colored skis for touring. The theory is that dark colored or black skis absorb more heat and therefore melt snow that can later refreeze, creating more icing up and thus forcing you to carry a bunch of snow up the hill on top of your previously lightweight touring ski.

I was skeptical of this, but have experienced it first hand on skis like my 14/15 white and black Blizzard Spurs that, under the right conditions, will have ice and snow on the black parts and none on the white parts. It doesn’t happen all the time, but I prefer lighter colored or white touring skis for this reason. (And no, I’m not too worried about losing white skis in the snow.)

(On a day spent Yo-Yo-ing backcountry laps in Tarn Basin, Jonathan Ellsworth was on the BMT 109, and was getting quite a bit of snow build up on the shovels of the BMT 109. It seemed like the lighter-colored G3 Synapse 109 and the Salomon MTN Explore 95 were not having this issue to the same degree.)


We’ve encountered a few rocks with the BMT 109 without issue, but one week of skiing is hardly a full durability test. As we said in our review of the V-Werks Katana, we’re not advising anyone to go thrash these skis through rocky terrain.

A Note on Bindings

The BMT has a clear statement written on the topsheet that they should only be mounted with Marker Bindings. This is due to the relatively small and “H” shaped reinforced mounting plate on the V-Werks skis, and concern that screws that might fall outside of it will tear out and ruin the ski / mount.

We used Marker Kingpin 10 demos on our pair. It may be that some other companies’ bindings will work with the mounting plates (like a lighter weight G3 or Dynafit tech binding that would also pair well with this ski), but it may affect the warranty. Make sure you discuss this with your local shop tech before settling on a binding for any V-Werks ski.

Bottom Line

The Volkl BMT 109 is an excellent all-around backcountry ski that will be fun to ski in just about any condition you’ll encounter, inbounds or out. Among the growing group of lightweight touring oriented skis in this width class, the BMT 109 is not the lightest, nor the most powerful / stable, nor the best in crud or powder. But, so far in my experience, it’s the best all-around performer in its class.

And of course, there’s another big question looming here: How does the V-Werks BMT 109 stack up against the V-Werks Katana, which has a very similar shape. Why choose one over the other?

We’ll answer this question and draw comparisons between the BMT 109, the Blizzard Zero G 108, the G3 Synapse, and the Black Diamond Carbon Convert in our upcoming BMT 109 Deep Dive.


48 comments on “2020-2021 Volkl V-Werks BMT 109”

  1. Great review! Was curious what your thoughts were on the bmt 122? For a soft snow touring ski. But more waist but similar shape/profile

  2. Hi Brian, I haven’t even had a pair of BMT 122’s in my hands yet but I had the exact same thought. There are still too few 120+ class skis in the ~8lb range and the BMT 122 looks promising especially based on my experience with the 109. I’m really hoping that a pair makes it to Alaska ASAP for me to review this fall/winter. Thanks for reading and for your question. Best, Paul

  3. Hi!

    Cheers for the review, I’ve been thinking about this exact ski/binding combo for a while now so it’s super helpful. Despite alot of searching, I’ve struggled to find much info as to how the Kingpin holds up inbounds/in resort. I’m 6’2″ but only 150lbs (plus ski gear) so I’m not worried too much about pre release, but I’m coming from skiing Griffons and Guardians so I’m concerned about harshness in resort, and also about being worried that my ski won’t release in a crash. Do you have any comments about how this setup, especially the Kingpins, would suit me?

    I ski mostly French alps, especially the Chamonix area, and would probably use them about 30/70 in/out bounds. I’d rate myself as an advanced skier looking to move away from frame bindings and get into the back country more, but who may stilll have to use this setup in resort from time to time.

    Thanks, Tim.

    • Hi Tim, We’ll do a full review of the Kingpin on the site that will address your questions. For now, I would say that I think you will find the Kingpin 13 to be a great choice for what you’re describing. Let us know how it goes. It’s been a great binding for us thus far.

  4. Excellent review! Can’t wait to read the deep dive on the BMT 109, the Blizzard Zero G 108, the BD Carbon Convert as those three (including a DPS Wailler 112) are on my list for a new dedicated touring ski for this season. I became a member yesterday for this specific one ;) but in reality I have been using your site extensively for many things, including my boots selection (Cochise 120) and Liner (Intution Pro-tour) … so I figured that’s the least I should do, support the people who spent a lot of time putting good, VERY useful reviews!

    Great work as usual !!!


  5. Thanks for the review and for your site! I demoed the BMT 109 176 with Kingpin bindings a couple of days ago in Australian spring snow conditions. I have to say I’m lusting after this set up. They were really fun. A little chatterey at high speeds but nimble and carved pretty well. Just wondering whether you would go for these or the V Werk Katana as a touring/one ski travel quiver for Japan. I’m an advanced intermediate skier but “progressing rapidly” as someone else put it and want a ski I can grow into. I’m 6’0 85 kg and ride 83 cm RTM 84s. These would be my second ski. I’d probably get the 186 BMTs. They didn’t have it available in demo though.

    • Hi Paul, Thanks for kind words! For a one ski quiver that will still serve well in Japan I think I’d go for the Katana. It feels quite a bit bigger than just a few mm underfoot and I think it would serve well in the pow while still being fun at home in Australia or New Zealand when it’s not as deep. If I was buying a ski just for Japan I’d go fatter.

  6. Thanks for the review and for your site! I demoed the BMT 109 176 with Kingpin bindings a couple of days ago in Australian spring snow conditions. I have to say I’m lusting after this set up. They were really fun. A little chattery at high speeds but nimble and carved pretty well. Just wondering whether you would go for these or the V Werk Katana as a touring/one ski travel quiver for Japan. I’m an advanced intermediate skier but “progressing rapidly” as someone else put it and want a ski I can grow into. I’m 6’0 85 kg and ride 183 cm RTM 84s. These would be my second ski. I’d probably get the 186 BMTs. They didn’t have it available in demo though.

  7. Thanks for another great review. I’ve been considering the BMT 109 but my curiosity is now piqued by Blizzard’s Zero G.
    I have a line on a pair of BMT’s, but hoping to hold off until the Deep Dive, comparing the two.
    Any idea when that will be out??
    Thanks again!

    • Thanks BK, I don’t know when that particular Deep Dive will hit the site but it’s one that we’re definitely excited about. Both are great skis and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with either. Thanks for writing in and helping motivate us to get the stuff up on the site that you are excited about!

  8. Thanks for review, I have the guardian 16 Salomon binding and I wonder is it a right choice to mount them on BMT 109?

    Thanks Pepe

  9. Curious how similar this will be to the new Volk 100Eight, and if it has similar characteristics, but if the 100Eight is more inbounds focused in some way, although the lengths don’t quite match up.

    • Interesting question. My (rather fast & loose) understanding is that the 100Eight / 90Eight were created as a less expensive alternative to the V-Werks construction. So “price point” seems to be the primary story rather than “performance difference” — though that does not negate your question: assuming the 100Eight is a bit heavier, it may well peform better / be the better choice for someone looking for more of a 50/50 setup. Not sure that we’ll be reviewing the 100Eight / 90Eight soon, but who knows – perhaps I should learn my lesson and not sleep on these skis as I did the V-Werks line for a while.

      • Hi Jonathan, I’d second your comments on reviewing the Volkl 100Eight. I love to see a review of the 181CM.

  10. Man, that BMT 109 is drool-worthy!

    I have been looking into 100-110mm waisted touring skis for the PNW that can handle all of the variable conditions you get when descending 5,000 ft. Your reviews of the BMT 109 and Zero G 108 have been most helpful though I admit I am a cheapskate and didn’t buy in to the Deep Dive comparison. One other ski in this class that caught my interest is the 2015-16 Moment Underworld. Is this ski on your review radar? Not much has been said about it on the interwebs but Moment seems to consistently make quality skis that function very well for their intended purpose (the Underworld’s purpose being “a playful mid-fat touring ski that excels in both epic and laughably miserable conditions”). Looks like it could be a contender.

    Also, do you have a Dynafit Radical 2 or Diamar Vipec Black on the horizon? I’m sure you could fill a couple pages of a Gear 101 explaining the new breeds of tech bindings but on the surface these bindings appear to give the Kingpin some competition in the pin-bindings-that-ski-like-alpine-bindings category!

    • Thanks Dylan, Sorry it took so long to get back to you. somehow this one slipped past me. For sure reconsider checking out the deep dive and upcoming buyers guide for good info on a bunch of the skis you mention. We have not been on Underworld’s yet as far as I know but I bet that will change this season.

      Hopefully you found our reviews of the new black Vipec helpful. Have a great season!


  11. If you had a two ski quiver, how would the BMT 109 work as the soft snow ski for powder touring and resort powder days? I’ve got a Fischer Motive 95ti for firmer conditions or low snowfall but want a new touring setup that I could take as my only travel ski for going to UT, WY, and even Chile. Could the BMT 109 fill that role?

    • Hi Greg, There are a lot of ways to go for a 2 ski quiver but I think you’re on the right track. I think the BMT would be a fine choice for what you’re looking to do. Remember that Volkl only endorses using Marker bindings on these so you’re limited to the Kingpin for what it sounds like you want to do. That said, the Kingpin is probably my first choice for the kind of duty you describe. I’ve taken plenty of trips to all of the places you mention and I would have been content in all of them with a BMT 109 and Kingpin. Let us know how it goes for you. Best, Paul

      • Thanks Paul! I should have mentioned I live in Montana and ski soft light snow a lot. I definitely would mount them with a kingpin. I’ve got a pair of Liberty Double Helix that I love but I actually prefer fewer skis, not more, and I would replace the DH and current touring setup with the BMT. Can’t wait to try it.

        • Given the type of snow that you ski and that you are wanting a 2 ski quiver, I would look at the BMT 122. Little bit wider but likely better for light powder days. Check out the blurb on it in the Blister Buyer’s Guide. There are some crazy good deals on last year’s BMT 122 right now.

          I have the BMT 109 (176) as my only touring ski and love it for one ski quiver use on heavier pacific coast snow, but its not outstanding on our “powder.” The 186 would likely be a little better.

          • Thanks Michael. I found a screaming deal on a 109 and jumped on it. I was in Mexico for most of the last month so haven’t had a chance to ski them yet, but although I plan to use them as my powder ski inbounds as well, I prefer to not go too wide for my touring ski. I think 122 would be hard to traverse with on steep firm slopes, plus the people I ski with are all on closer to 105 widths and I want to fit into their skin tracks! I’m sure you are right that for skiing light powder I’d prefer the 122. Hopefully the 109 will work pretty well too. I had to prioritize touring over pure powder.

            • Right on Greg. I think you’ll be pleased with the 109. The 122 does fine on firm snow skinning and skiing but the 109 is definitely more versatile. Have a great winter and let us know how it goes.

              • I’ve finally gotten a number of days on my 186 BMT 109’s and I couldn’t be happier! Mounted with Kingpins they are light enough for my touring but still stable and strong enough for inbounds. What I like is how amazingly easy they are to slash and pivot on a dime or to put on edge and carve on groomers, shallow powder or chopped powder. They are way more stable than they should be for their weight. I haven’t skied them on very firm or icy snow yet, but on everything else I love them! We’ve had deep blower pow here the last few days and in technical terrain indeep snow these skis are amazing. Mostly they are just easy to ski yet strong enough to carry speed through deep chop. Plenty of float too.

  12. Great review Paul. I’m wondering if you have had an opportunity to ski the Volkl BMT 94? I absolutely LOVE my BMT 109/Kingpin setup, and now I thinking of getting the BMT 94 with a lighter binding (g3 Ion?) for spring skiing. All of my ski partners are on lighter setups and its very tempting to drop a couple pounds. Wondering if the most characteristics (besides width) of the 109 are retained in the 94?

    • Hi Michael, Thanks for reading! I have not had the chance to ski the 94 yet but I think your idea is a good one. I’ll try to get a pair this year if possible. Best of luck and have a great winter.

  13. Great review. I love these skis. Do you have any suggestions for decreasing snow and ice buildup on the black top sheet?

  14. I have used a silicon spray on the topsheets. Wax, rain-x something like that. I believe it helps in warmer temps or when the sun is out when the snow might melt and refreeze and stick to the topsheets. Snow buildup in colder temps and cloudy days seems to be no worse than my friends skis with lighter topsheets.

  15. Wish they didn’t have the 10cm spacing between ski lengths! I’d jump for a 181-ish without second thoughts… so I’m 5’9″ 165lb, skiing in Vulcans, would probably put G3 Ions on these. I had some 178 Nunataqs that were a perfect length for b/c, but I blew them up if I really pushed them on-piste. I’m assuming the BMT 109s are a bit stouter and losing 2cm wouldn’t be too much of a change for 80/20 backcountry/piste? (piste being Highlands Bowl, Snowmass, Telluride) I’d be good with the 186 BMTs on-piste, but a little concerned about kick-turns and not enough speed to really drive them on most b/c days when higher speeds just aren’t happening. Upper 170’s seems to be my sweet spot for b/c, mid-low 180’s for on-piste. Bottom line is I think I’d be good with the 176 BMT 109s if they managed things at speed at least as well as the 178 Nunataqs. Thoughts?

  16. Christian, I am the same height and weight as you. I’m on the 176 109’s with Scarpa F1 boots and Vipec bindings. While there may be a few times when I wished for the 186’s, I would choose the 176 for 80% backcountry every time. The 176 is a great balance of uphill vs downhill. I’ve never wished that I was on the 186 during a steep climb in the trees :).

  17. My Volkl BMT 109’s are mounted with Fritschi Diamir Vipec bindings. The topsheet says “marker only” but I have not had a problem with the Vipec’s. I used epoxy on the binding screws. All screws went in solid and have held tightly.

  18. How does the ski compare to Navis Freebird when it comes to stiffness? Can you push the skis in short turns on hard groomers without sideways skipping?

  19. As a reply to myself, I wrote an email to Volkl and they told me there was no changes made on 2018-2019 against 2017-2018. So if Blisters is right, this ski didn’t change since 2015!!!! Wow…

    Do you think there’ll be a ski this season (2018-2019) which will be better than this one?

    It’s hard to believe that a ski from 2015 can still compete with brand-new ski from 2017 or 2018.

    • I am wondering whether I should buy the 2017/18 or an older (cheaper) 2015/16 model from this ski. It seems not have change-except for the cover design. Does anybody know wheter the 15/16 version also had the “Ice-Off” Topsheet? As there seems to be some issues with sticky snow at the topsheet of this ski.

  20. Hi Paul!

    Do you have a length recommendation? I could buy a non-used 186cm for less than 500$…

    I’m 178cm tall and my choice on this ski would have been the 176cm, not the 186cm which is bigger than me.

    • I am 176 cm and weigh 75kg. The 176 BMT gives me plenty of float. I would not want the added length and weight of the186 BMT for backcountry skiing.

  21. I’m 5’9” and 155lbs …. i ski The BMT109 in 176 with G3 Ion … even with a loaded avy pack , I never felt the need for a longer length in backcountry conditions ….and kick turning a 186cm for me would add unnecessary difficulties on steep turns … never wish a longer length for extra float or stability in Backcountry conditions … and I skied it a few times on Rogers pass on deep days … but that’s just me …. ohhh and I absolutely LOVE this ski … it handles everything I skied so far …. it’s a fun ski and easy ski as well…. I find it very well balance for my style ….

  22. I bought a pair of these last summer when I saw them offered at 50% off at my local ski emporium… the idea was to put them in the cellar until my current back country / touring set (K2 Coomback/Kingpin) were worn out.. I had them fitted with a set of Tecton12 bindings. Took them out for a couple of days just to see what they were like..fell in love.. skied pretty much the whole of the season on them. These are awesome skis, light, really easy to pivot but still able to hold an edge. I ski mostly in the 4 valleys area so get a real mix of conditions. I ski the 186, weigh 190lbs, 6’1″, Scarpa Maestrale RS. So….

    does anyone want to buy some Coombacks fitted with Kingpins….


    I liked them so much I bought the 122 as well….

  23. Do you have any experience with skiing BMT 109s back from boot center?
    I had mine mounted on the line (vulcans and tectons), & absolutely loved them.
    Bought a new boot with a 13mm jump in BSL, and they are now 7mm back from boot centre. They seem harder to initiate a turn on steep terrain , & feel like they run away a little. Im considering remounting the toe forward 10mm (so they will be 3mm forward of center)
    Its been firm conditions since the boot change, so not sure if im just imagining the difference in feel. Is 7mm actually likely to make a real difference, or am I just crazy?

  24. In general, Volkl Skis hate being mounted back of centre, for all the reasons you describe – I had a similar thing happen with a set of Katanas, ended up 10mm too far back, had to get them re-drilled. Forward of centre will just make them a bit more playful.

  25. What about the forward lean angle on the new boot? I would think a little more forward lean would compensate for 7mm. Also, maybe the new boots aren’t as stiff? My BMT 109’s are mounted about that much behind the line and I think there is a slight loss of turn initiation. Could be my imagination, but its nothing that driving the boot a little more won’t overcome.

  26. Hi!

    Was wondering if the bmt 109 would be to soft for a 6’1 250lbs guy who likes to go fast ? Was thinking of using the ski only for touring and maybe on a few occasional ski trips.


  27. Hi, I’ve been looking for comparisons around the site and don’t see anything specific.

    I was wondering how would you compare and contrast the BMT, the 100Eight and the Katana? All 3 seem very versatile. With the 100Eight being slightly heavier does it have the best suspension of the 3? Is it more “dead” feeling? Also, are the BMT and the Katana exactly the same construction?

    Thank you for your help!

  28. Hy Want to ask You If can be paired marker alpinist 12 with volkl bmt 109. I was also thinking about tecnica zero g tour pro .wish You well

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