2nd Look: 2014-2015 Volkl Bridge, 179cm

With powder issues put to rest, the inquiry shifted to how the Bridge would fare as the day transitioned from untracked powder to chop. Not bad, I’d say; in fact, the Bridge was almost relaxing to ski on moderately inclined, open pitches like Al’s Run.

On the challenging, tree-laden stair-master of Upper Pollux, I felt that the Bridge was disinclined to improvisation; when I saw the line fully and charged it with conviction, things went well, but when surprises (rock or root) popped up, I felt the ski reluctant to either set an emergency carve or spin on it’s rocker through heavier piles of powder.

I will say that although the Bridge will never ski edge to edge like a short-radius K2 Charger in the bumps, on the plus side, the no drama side-cut relieved me of any worries about “hookiness,” or its partner, “tip wander,” especially in powder or crud.

In short, the Bridge in bumps is a workable compromise that suggests certain stylistic choices. It lends itself to graceful, unhurried, powerful and well-finished turns (what old guys like to call “mature” style.), but I didn’t feel that they let me be quite as quick as I still believe I can be. The absence of camber undoubtedly means less rebound in the upswing (but the counter argument is that camber is gone the moment you step onto a ski anyway, so why not just start with the edge engaged to begin with?) The low rockered tail of the Bridge allows a quick exit from each turn, and you can still find support back there when you need to lever forward. When you do fall behind, the ski balks and may punish you with an aborted turn, but it allows you to recover, and the sweet spot, once found, is so nice that you wonder what seduced you into the backseat to begin with.

Our previous reviewer, the race-bred Will Brown, questioned the soft and playful Bridge’s competency at high speed (see Will’s Bridge review). To see for myself, I arranged to ski with long time Taos hell-burner and former ski instructor Eric LaMalle (<ORIGIN> Old French: “Eric the Bad”).

First, we climbed Highline Ridge and enjoyed the last powder remnants over at Treskow. Then, Eric and I  fired up the jets on Upper Totemoff. This is precisely the sort of mixed media—untracked powder, then groomer—that the Bridge was designed to handle.

And yes, in the ensuing screamer of Upper Totemoff, I found Will Brown’s speed limit for the Bridge—that point at which it begins to squirrel and chatter—but since that was at about 50 mph, the Bridge’s limit is well beyond my own. But on the way to scaring myself (I once blew an ACL going fast), I sensed nirvana. I can excitedly report that the Bridge rails a mid-speed turn like no ski I’ve been on. I played with weight transfers and angulations and discovered new (or long-lost) sensations. When I can no longer hit bump lines all day, I now can foresee a future for myself on groomers.

So why call this ski the Bridge? According to Volkl, by virtue of its twin tips, the ski serves as a bridging liaison between the park & pipe world and the rest of the resort (even the backside). Judging from the quiet graphics alone, I tend to doubt that this ski is seeing a ton of action in the parks. But it made me think of a different kind of bridge, a bridge for a certain generation that will never venture into the pipe or park (clearly, that’d be a bridge too far), but in the past may have exhibited some resistance to the trend towards fatter skis for anything but powder. (Interestingly, Volkl toned down last year’s graphics, perhaps so as not to scare away the older set.)

For those of us who have grown accustomed to using 75-85mm skis as our daily drivers, the Bridge represents a modest waist-thickening (okay, to match our own) that won’t shock our sensibilities. Last year, I would have thought 95mm was too fat to be agile; next year, I may happily be in moguls on 105s. We all evolve.

5 comments on “2nd Look: 2014-2015 Volkl Bridge, 179cm”

  1. Hi John, thanks for a great review. I am thinking of picking up a pair of 179 Bridges and it would be great to get your thoughts on mounting position, I see you say at factory recommended for your test while Will had his mounted at +3. I assume for your test it was set at the freeride setting rather than the freestyle setting? I am 5’10”, 165lbs and don’t plan to do much in the park. I need to deal with some hard bumps and tight trees as well as more open faces and although I will do a bit of switch and jibbing around, that is not really my thing. What do you reckon?



  2. I demoed four pair of skis at Mt. Hood Meadows in Oregon last Friday, including the Bridges. I loved them so much I’m buying the last pair they have, which are the demos. They just ski everything effortlessly. One thing I noticed is that the previous week when I skied, I left at 2:00 PM because the snow had gotten so wet and heavy. WIth the Bridges, I skied until closing (at 4:00 PM), and loved every minute of it.

    I’m 5’11’, 165 lbs., and am getting the 187 cm length Bridge. I had absolutely no trouble turning or maneuvering, and loved the stability at the faster speeds. The pair of Rossignols I’ve been skiing on until now are about 165 cm, and I don’t notice any difference in maneuverability. I would strongly recommend this length for anyone 5″9″ or taller. Of course the best thing you can do is demo them first. Different strokes for different folks, but for me the 187 length was golden. I have NEVER had so much fun on a pair of skis. So much control on every type of snow. Smooth and almost effortless to ski on. They felt like magic! Don’t be scared of going with a longer length unless, perhaps, you’re a big mogul skier. The Vlokl Mantras get a good review, too, so that’s another option. But for me, I’ve found my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

  3. Looking for recommendations on length. I am 6′ tall, 210-220 depending on how many margaritas I’ve been drinking. I live on a small mountain in Northern Idaho far far from any demo skis. Have a set of Volkl 170cm AC-3 Unlimiteds as my primaries. These are really stiff titanium layered skis and I love the ability to grab an edge and hold it on ice, hard pack, fresh groomed or whatever. I love to switch, and play in the half pipe. I absolutely hate powder on these – feels like a couple of knife edges under me and submarine are us is the motto.

    The Bridge seems like the perfect ski for me to go play in the fresh powder, crud and park. I’m an old guy at 57 going on 14, well, at least have old knees, but ski lots as a ski patroller and need something else for soft days. If I want to go fast I’ll do it on the AC-3s. I want to go less fast and play in the soft stuff. Lots of switching, lots of trees, lots of powder. Question is, 179s or 187s? 179s are not actually longer than my current skis, what with the twins. 187 seems LONG though.


  4. Hey dudes! I’m interested in buying Volkl Bride, but I have a big question in my mind… I want an allmountain skis, freeriding, powder but I also want a ski for freestyling, low weight, ripping at the park, some rails and throw tricks in natural jumps (360, 540, shifty, back front….)
    Would you recommend this skis to me?

    • I ended up getting Armada JJs after driving around in a set of Bridges. The Bridge is fine, but a heavy ski. The JJs are a lot lighter, more playful and LOTS easier to horse around on. I couldn’t be happier. The Bridge feeling was very solid at higher speeds, but heavier and not nearly as playful.

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