Update: 2013-2014 Völkl Katana, 191cm

Ski: 2013-2014 Völkl Katana, 191cm

Dimensions (mm): 143-112-132

Boots / Bindings: Salomon Falcon Pro CS / Marker Jester (DIN at 9)

Mount Location: +2cm from factory recommended line

Test Location: Las Leñas, Taos Ski Valley

Days Skied: 8

(To read Part 1 of Will’s review of the Katana, click here.)

UPDATE

Wind plays a huge role in where the very best snow collects on the mountains of Las Leñas. If you’re familiar enough with the terrain to have an idea of where it blows, a great pow day can turn into an epic one. Lucky for us, Jonathan and I were skiing yesterday with Alex Weston and Pablo Thomas, two experienced backcountry guides from Las Leñas who know these mountains as well as anyone. (We’re also going to be heading out in the next day or two with Claudio Margaride, the director of Las Leñas’ backcountry guide program. And yes, life is really, really good right now.)

Alex, Will, and Pablo, at the top of Penélope, Las Leñas.

Saturday graced us with a blanket of dry, shreddable South American pow under bluebird skies. Fueled by media lunas (sweet Argentinean croissants) and café con leche from the Innsbrook, we headed straight for the Marte chair. Once at the top, we traversed over to Penélope, a moderately steep couloir (around 40̊ ) that’s about 30’ wide at the narrowest point.

Alex dropped in first and I was quick to follow him, eager to smear the Katana through the deep, soft chop below us. I moved the mount point 2cm forward from the day before, and it noticeably improved the skis’ maneuverability at slower speeds. The Katanas made quick work of Penélope. It was really the ideal ski for the terrain and conditions: super stable, yet relatively nimble and precise for their size.

On Penélope, and in similar conditions later that day in light pow on Mercurio Variante and Sombrero, the Katanas demonstrated no hooky tendencies or an urge to tip dive. They behave very predictably through fresh snow. In turns through powder, unlike a ski with a larger shovel and more abrupt tip rocker profile, resistance on the bottom of the ski is distributed evenly along the whole length of the long, gradual early rise. The result? Ripping huge fast turns down lower part of Ulises, skier’s right off of Penélope, was insanely fun. In fresh snow, they were some of the most balanced, predictable boards I’ve ever been on.

Will Brown, Sombrero, Las Leñas.

The Katanas are just as stable in short, bobbing turns through pow as they are making high speed slarvey ones. Give these skis the slightest amount of soft snow to run in, and you can smoothly make any kind of turn you like.

They are not, however, pivoty or surfy by any means; if you’re searching for a ski with those traits, look elsewhere. But if you like the stability and directional “tracking” feel of a flat tailed ski in powder, look no further.

Will Brown, Upper Pala de Vulcano, Las Leñas.

On hardpack, an intermediate skier might find the Katana a bit slow and heavy. If you find yourself on groomers more than in the steeps, there are more energetic, forgiving, and manageable skis out there. For advanced and expert skiers willing to work a little bit harder in tight spots in exchange for more stiffness and stability in chop, and for those looking for a charger that is a blast in the pow, the Völkl Katana ought to receive some serious consideration.

NEXT: NORTHERN HEMISPHERE UPDATE – TAOS SKI VALLEY

 

48 comments on “Update: 2013-2014 Völkl Katana, 191cm”

  1. Will, you have given two very favourable reviews to two stable at speed, flat tailed big mountain skis, but which one would you choose between the Volkl Katana and the Nordica Girish???

    • Hi George,

      Thanks for reading! You’ve posed a difficult question. I could be very happy owning either of these skis, as they are extremely similar and I’ve really enjoyed them both. If forced to nitpick between the two and make a decision, I would choose the Girish, simply because it is slightly better suited for my skiing style in Colorado.

      I currently do most of my skiing in Summit County, where in between storms there isn’t always the option of searching out a certain aspects with softer windblown snow (down here in Las Lenas, you can). We deal with all-around hardpack conditions more often, when cruising groomers might be the best option for the day.

      I would choose the Girish only because I have a slight preference to the way the ski feels on edge thanks to 3mm of traditional camber underfoot and a truly flat tail. I found that the hint of early rise in the Katana’s tail along with a flat profile underfoot, while they help make the ski so versatile and predictable, produce little energy in carving through a turn or boosting off a knoll/rock.

      I’m addicted to airing off any little feature I can find and carving a ski as hard as I can on my way back to the lift, so I prefer having a bit of energy in store when riding a heavier damp ski. I feel the Girish provides that more than the Katana does.

      Hope this helps. Let me know if you still have questions.

      Cheers,
      WB

  2. Thanks a lot Will (just a quick note to say that I did not get an email to tell me that you had responded to my question so you may have a technical glitch!). Have you or anyone you know tried the 193cm Nordica Girish in comparison to the 185cm one? Follow link for footage of Stefan Hausl slaying a mountain on the 193cm Girish:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6znbI7J6HHY

  3. thanks for the article! super interesting!
    just to get this right, you suggest to mount the binding bit further back? can you feel that much of a difference?

    • Hi dom,

      Thanks for reading. To help the Katanas’ maneuverability at slower speeds, I moved the mount point FORWARD 2cm from Volkl’s factory recommended line. With slightly less ski in front of my boot and a more centered position, I can say they seemed to be more responsive in tight spots. Just as importantly, this didn’t seem to sacrifice any of their high-speed/charging capabilities. If I owned the Katana as an everyday ski, I would stick with this mount point.

      • thanks for the quick response. i actually ment FOREWARD, sorry. i will mount them 1 cm ahead as i got the 177 version.
        keep those articles up! enjoy shredding, dom

  4. Thanks for the article Will. I skied the 183 Katana last year on three very different days. I loved them. I am about 6’3″ 195 lbs and prefer to carve a ski more than shmeer my turns. I was not able to ski last years 190 Katana. I ski mostly in resort and have to spend a lot of time in the trees on powder days. I think that is why I liked the shorter length. My only complaint was you have to stay forward or they will run on ya like you said in the article. I think the longer ski would have behaved better for a big guy like myself on the deep days also. That said I really did like the maneuverability of the 183.

    This year I was able to pick up the 191 Katana you tested. I am only concerned that the ski will feel long on the groomers and trees compared to last years 183. I have also herd that Volkl made this years ski about 3cm longer than last years model. I really want to get the mount point right the first time. I was leaning towards the factory center till I read your article. Do you think the 191 2cm forward will feel closer to the 183 ? I want maneuverability at high speed in tight spots without hampering stability. I am generally not one who likes a more centered mount. Thanks again.

  5. Hey Owen,

    Compared to the 183, the 191 will feel longer (both on edge during a carve and in the trees). Moving the mount point forward on any ski will make it feel slightly shorter, especially in low speed turns. I’m 6’2″, some 30lbs lighter than you, and even with the mount location at the factory line I didn’t find the Katana to be unreasonably sluggish in tight spots for the burly ski that it is, though its weight becomes much more noticeable at low speeds.

    I moved the mount point forward out of curiosity, to see if the slow speed maneuverability could be improved without seriously affecting charging performance — it worked out. +2cm forward is where I prefer to ride the 191. They won’t feel as short at your 183, but will be more manageable than when mounted at factory recommended. I wouldn’t be too concerned about an overly centered feel. These skis have a very formidable tail, super mellow rocker, and you’ll still have quite a bit of ski in front of you on the 191s.

    Hope that helps you out.

    WB

    • Thanks Will, I am just going to go for the +2cm mount. I may have you by 30lbs, but I am positive this ski can take the speed and aggression I plan to take out on the hill this winter. I must admit I am partial to medium to long turns any way.

  6. Thanks Will for this article. As a result of it I went ahead and picked up a pair of 2010 that are in beautiful shape and suited my budget. I’m an old telemarker who loves the powder and fortunate to get a fair amount of it in the interior of British Columbia. Your comment about how much you liked these skis in the new snow was the clincher. Never tried a rockered ski, or such a wide ski (i’ve been on some Karhu Jacks for past 6 years or so) so this is an exciting adventure.

    Inclined to position as per your indications, as it translates to tele mounting, ie treating the “three pin” line as downhill skiers treat boot center. Therefore looking to go +2 for the pressure point on a pair of 183. I’m 6 foot tall, 180 ish. At 63 i’m not an aggressive skier by any means, preferring long smooth sensual GS turns in powder… mostly bowls aand open glades if i can get away with it. Not so fast so maneuverability at slower speeds is part of motivation for the forward mount. Any further guidance before i drill would be appreciated?

    cheers,
    achille

    • Hi Achille,

      I’m not a tele skier myself, but your reasoning on the mount point seems sound. If you’re willing to work a little harder in tight spots in order to charge a little harder through crud and chop, then +1 might be the sweet spot. Yet above all I’ve found that +2 seems to be the ideal mount point if you’re looking to maximize low speed maneuverability on the Katana, which seems to be your end goal (I haven’t noticed any high-speed drawbacks with this mount location). Let us know how the 183s do with a free heel!

      Cheers,

      WB

  7. Terrific review! And excellent answers to questions. I have a 2011 pair and a 2009 pair plus a quiver of skis and love the Katanas for everything. Really gives you confidence in steeps. I agree it does not have snap and rebound of more conventional ski but I have no trouble executing fast short swing turns in ANY conditions except maybe breakable crust but they are stabile anywhere anytime. They are VERY strong.

    • Hi Chet,

      You’re absolutely right. I’ve been putting some more time on the Katana at Taos Ski Valley (in terrain complete with trees and moguls – things that Las Lenas isn’t known for). These skis continue to impress me with just how capable they are in tight spots considering how well they handle at 50+ mph. What’s more, I don’t think I’ve been on a ski than annihilates crud and firm snow like the Katana. I’ll be posting a “Northern Hemisphere Update” to this review soon.

      Thanks for reading,

      WB

  8. That northern hemisphere update sure sounds good.
    I just wanted to ask you if by any means there is a comparison between the Katana and the 4frnt Renegade.
    Both skis feature the matching sidecut/rocker thing and I´m interested in both skis.
    I skied the Katana and hand flexed the Rens, but the Rens just kind of intimidated me.
    I´m a pretty light guy and a little concerned about the renegades flex being a little on the stiff side for my weight-class.
    If you could give a short comparison between the two skis that would help me a lot!

    • Hey Alex,

      Just a heads up, the Northern Hemisphere Update on the Katana is posted on pg 2 on this review. I have not had the chance to ski the Renegade, sadly, though that does seem like a worthy comparison. What length did you ski on the Katana and how did you feel about their flex pattern on snow?

  9. Hi Will,
    i am 6’0 and 180lbs. have skiied Katana 183s for 3-4 years now mostly in Squaw and some exciting trips to AK. Had 191 Volkyl G31s for a while before but now love the katanas on everything. BTW, I also enjoyed the mounting position ahead of factory line by 2cm on the 183s. Thinking about new skis now and am headed to PNH at the end of March. That said, i am debating getting the longer 191s this time around. How would you advise me on this difficult choice? Thanks, Steve

    • Hi Steve,

      I have not skied the 183 Katana. As you know that ski well, keep in mind that the 191 version has a stiffer “athlete” flex profile and is a notably longer ski. For a heli trip in AK where you’ll likely be skiing a denser, maritime snowpack in wide-open terrain, the 191 seems like an ideal tool. At home or in resort, you’ll certainly notice the 191’s length in tighter spots. I can’t say I’d want the 191 for an everyday ski in Taos, though you may feel differently about this as you mentioned you ride at Squaw most of the time.

      Those are some things to consider in looking at the 191. Hopefully this helps you out.

      Will B

  10. Just picked up some 191 Katanas and took them out in the slush this weekend at Mammoth. Awesome skis and your reviews are on the money. You guys nailed the flex, beefy tail, turn radius, etc. etc. I was able to demo the 184 earlier in the season and it definately has a softer flex – the 191 is a good step up in stiffness although the 184 still felt really solid (just a more playful and manouverable version vs. the 191). The extra stiffness and length makes the 191 really like to carve big arcs but can still be worked into shorter turns (note: mounted on the line). I can definately see this would be too much ski for an intermediate skier. Can’t wait to get them out next season in some deeper and softer conditions – I need to pick up offseason training to keep up with these skis!

  11. Has anyone tried the 176cm? I patrol in VT – we’re in the woods constantly and my favorite skis are 170cm 2009 Mantra that will take on anything – the trouble is that when we get pow/windblown in the trees (or anywhere) they aren’t wide enough to float. I’m 5’8″ 170lb aggressive skier – I need maneuverability and float – suggestions? 176cm or 183cm – I won’t have time to try a pair out before they are all gone on pro-deal.

    Thx

    • Hey Charles,

      If you like the 170cm length of your Mantras, adding a touch more length with the 176 Katana and gaining some surface area (in width) seems like the thing to do. I’d only suggest going for the 183 if you feel your current 170 Mantras ski very short. Hope this helps!

      Will B

  12. Calling the 191 Katana “forgiving” in moguls at low speeds is an upper-middle-class hipster’s way of saying “I’m a really fucking good skier compared to you reactionary teabaggers who ski in jeans.”

    Seriously.

    The Katana is not forgiving at all in 191. And if you thought you were being tongue-in-cheek “funny” by calling it forgiving at low speeds in steep bump fields, you need work on your literary devices, because irony and satire are lost on you.

    • Hi Dog Rustler,

      I never had any intention of calling the Katana forgiving outright in bumps, and don’t think I have.

      I wanted to communicate that this ski can be moved around surprisingly quickly CONSIDERING its size and burl. Yes, it prefers to rage all-out, but I did find it possible to make slower, shorter turns with relative ease (even in bumps IF they aren’t too closely spaced). This is something I noticed in my time on the Katana that I thought was an interesting, notable aspect of the ski. It’s also is something other readers’ experiences seem consistent with.

      Chet noted above: “I have no trouble executing fast short swing turns in ANY conditions except maybe breakable crust but they are stable anywhere anytime.”

      Kiwi has also said: “You guys nailed the flex, beefy tail, turn radius, etc. etc….The extra stiffness and length makes the 191 really like to carve big arcs but can still be worked into shorter turns.”

      I was also careful that the use of “forgiving” or any language that talks about the skis low speed handling is, again, totally relative & conditional to it’s high-speed stability.

      Take these excerpts from the review:

      “As a big mountain gun, the ski continues to impress with a surprising degree of maneuverability considering its awesome stability at very high speeds.”

      “One afternoon spent lapping Reforma sticks in my mind as particularly illustrative of the ski’s low speed forgiveness relative to its frightening charging ability. As long as I was able to avoid zipper-line routes through bumps with seriously steep and narrow troughs, I could comfortably rage down the fall line.”

      “The Katana can be handled by a confident, technically proficient, and strong skier if given enough room to slarve & pivot across the hill while moving from mogul to mogul. Otherwise, their swing weight, sheer material length, and super stiff, nearly flat tail can become problematic and exhausting in bumps.”

      “On the feet of a strong advanced or expert skier, the Katana is incredibly willing to make quicker moves at lower speeds and can be swung around in relatively tight spots (where the material length of the ski will allow).”

      “But make no mistake, I would not recommend the 191 Katanas to an intermediate; these skis are big, feel big, and like to go very fast.”

      Even if “reactionary teabaggers” considered themselves confident, technically proficient, and strong expert skiers, they still ought to understand that the Katana is liable to be a serious struggle in bumps. In my experience, I found I COULD ski it in bumps but, very crucially, only given some rather particular more spacious conditions. That’s noted very clearly in the review. Would I feel comfortable taking the ski into ANY super troughed out mogul field as if it were some more forgiving bump ski? Absolutely not – I think that’s pretty obvious given the quotes above. You might re-consider what you think those excerpts are communicating.

      Will

  13. Hey Will,
    Thanks for the great review. I’m about your size/weight/ability. I skied the 191 katanas last year mounted boot center and found they skied similar to your first review. I want to remount them +2 but the holes are in the way and my options are +1 or +3. Any advice?
    Thanks,
    -Rich

    • Hey Rich,

      I think I’d go with +1. It’s still going to make the ski a touch more maneuverable, but shouldn’t compromise the high-speed performance in any real way. +3 is pretty far forward for this ski given it’s full, though subtle, reverse camber profile. I can’t be sure, but I’d be a little worried that while it would certainly make low speed maneuvers much easier, a +3 mount could cause the ski to feel a little too “swimmy” at times when running bases flat and thus compromise some stability at speed if you’re not on a hard edge. That’s only a guess, but still I think if I were you I would go with +1. After all, the real fun with the Katana is being able to rage mach loony – wouldn’t want to risk limiting that capability. Hope this helps!

      Will

  14. I’m down to two skis, the 191 katana (tried it today at sqauw mounted at 0 and loved it) or the rossignol sickle 186. Anyone skied both and care to elaborate? I’m 6′ 195~ lbs and ski squaw.

    thanks

    mark

    • Hi Mark,

      I haven’t skied the Sickle, but I touched base with Jason Hutchins (who has a ton of good things to say about it in his review) about how the two might compare. If you really like the Katana, given your size and where you ride, we would expect that the Sickle wouldn’t seem like quite enough ski. Now, if you felt the Katana wasn’t nearly forgiving or quick enough, I might think differently. Was there anything you wanted out of the Katana that it didn’t provide? Anything you didn’t like about it? The more I know about what you’re looking for/what you liked, the better I’ll be able to say if the Sickle (or some other ski) seems like a reasonable alternative.

      Cheers,

      Will

  15. Just bought a pair of 191’s. Coming from 194 legend pro’s. I’m 6′–, 210lbs. Never had a problem with the legends running away on me or anything, just had to be the boss. They love going FAST.
    Will I be looking at a similar experience with the katanas?
    Wondering about moving the mount forward? You seemed pretty sure that +2 was ideal?

    Thanks

    • Hey Graeme,

      If you’re comfortable with your 194 legend pros, yes, the 191 Katana should be similarly manageable – and yes, you’ll love them for top-end speed in chop. You’re a bit heavier than I am, and you’re clearly used to a bigger, stiff ski, so +1cm might be all you’d really need to get a touch more low speed maneuverability out of the Katana. (At 160/165 lbs, I don’t think the +2 mount compromises the ski’s stability at speed at all, but I’m not 100% sure if you would have the same experience.) +1 would be my comfortable recommendation, in your case.

      Best,

      Will B

  16. Will,
    Stellar review and comments! I can’t help but feel we have a very similar style of skiing as well as conditions we ski in (myself skiing SW CO) and what we dig in a ski? I personally got a bit stoked about what you had to say about the Katana being a daily driver and how you would most likely hurt yourself (sounds a lot like me!). Although I must say I am absolutely an American indie fan, my new favorite being Praxis heads and tails!!!! But there is seriously something awesome about a stiff tail, huge edge contact and some serious beef that makes me want a ski like the katana (I prefer to speed over and through the nastiness in a way that typically hurts people). In short, all that being said I am legitimately considering the Praxis Concept for my new daily driver. I love steeps, big terrain, tight spaces, jumpin off everything and going fast and tuff (and LOVE LOVE my ortho!!!!). So really curious as to your thoughts on the ski I would ski the most. Have plenty of fatty’s (my favorite ever being my Protests, but 190 Alotta Rockers once things harden up a bit and some old hard snow go to’s, but if you have any thoughts or time on the Concepts I would love and appreciate your opinion. And yes the previous reviews on the concept and concept v death wish were phenomenal but I just couldn’t help reading this and really wanting your opinion.
    Thanks!!!!

    • Hey Loren,

      No doubt, if you like to ski hard and fast, you’d definitely enjoy the Katana. If you wanted a similar type of ski that’s a little narrower, which would be slightly better suited for firmer conditions, I’d suggest taking a look at both the Blizzard Cochise (which has virtually the same rocker profile) or the Moment Belafonte (one of our favorite all-mountain chargers). Either of those will let you rage in any conditions, but will definitely be a little more willing to ski bumps or trees than the Katana. Unfortunately I haven’t put time on the Concept, so can’t weigh in there.

      Best,

      Will

  17. Great review! This, and the parallel thread on the TGR forum convinced me to buy a pair of 184’s that were on sale in Chamonix last week (clearing out the ’13 models, got them at 40% disc).

    I just have a question on the mounting position. I ski freeride in the alps from France to Austria. Big open faces, couloirs (the steeper the better) and a good deal of forest. Although my favorite thing is to charge down the mountain at mach 3, I do need the maneuverability, especially in the woods.

    I am 5’11”, 145 lbs, and am hesitating between +1 and +2 mounting position (hesitating between more charging vs more maneuverability…). Given the more flexy nature of the 184’s, what would you recommend is comparable to the +2 position on the 191’s?

    Many thanks!

    • Hey MDA,

      I haven’t skied the 184, but I would still go with +1 rather than +2 if you’re going to mount forward. The 184 is a shorter length and I do worry +2 would be overkill. I can’t say for sure though.

      WB

      • Hi Will,

        Thanks for the advice. I have my katana’s now mounted on the +1 position, and although I have not had the chance to try them on 0 or +2, I am extremely content with how they behave. 1) these skis are monsters. You can push them to ridiculous speeds and the don’t flinch. Stable as anything I ever had under my feet. 2) The flex is super nicely predictable. You can get away with a leaning way back on turn exit, and the ski still behaves super well. 3) landing drops and small kickers are a breeze. I skied it 5 days now in various conditions, virtually always off-piste, and no serious moguls. But couloirs, trees and bushes, 16 inches of fresh power or windblown faces, this ski will eat up any terrain. It’s a lot of ski, it’s medium heavy, and if you can handle that, it’s perfect.

  18. Hi guys great reveiws I was wondering about nordica girish vs the katana im a big guy and a strong skier at 6’5″ and 250lbs i ski PNW (Cascades) and the snow there is very wet and heavy (coastle type snow )and turns into chunky crap real quick so i liked these skis crud busting abilities. i have an old pair of atomic TM EX’s to ski icy days and was looking for a ski that would perform well on softer days and that occasional big storm. The main question is will the katanas wider dimensions provide that much more float on deeper days or will the diffrence between them and the Girish be nominal (in terms of float). And for someone of MY size who likes to charge is it worth the trade offs for the katanas extreme stability at speed. Online reveiws are helpful and all but i weigh almost 100 pounds more then alot of the guys revewing these skis any opinion would be greatly appreciated im just in high school and just starting to learn the ins and outs of all these technicalities. (I actually found a pair of girish online,193. looking at the 191 katanas, both the 2012 model) Thanks

    • Hey Stone,

      I’ve skied the Katana in more powder than the Girish, but I would imagine they will both provide about the same amount of float. And you can get a good amount of float out of each, at least I can at my weight, and will have a lot of stability in crud. I don’t know of a ski more stable than the Katana. In terms of other heavier, substantial pow skis, another option might be the 191 ON3P Billy Goat (though we haven’t had the chance to ski it in the last few seasons), though again I think the Katana would be preferable in the set-up mank you’re talking about.

      WB

  19. I have been skiing on 2012/13 Squads and do most of my skiing in Engelberg Switzerland which has big vertical – most off piste routes are around 1000m+ vert and can vary from deep pow to hacked up mank in one run and are very open, steep, glaciated with virtually no trees. The squads are great in fresh but do get deflected in chop so I am looking for a more powerful ski such as the Katana to mange the variable snow conditions we get here.

    Realistically, unless I am getting skins on, you only get a half day of blower powder then you are left with days worth of skied out pow until the next dump. I skied on a set of Moment Governors in 196 and liked them, but getting a pair of these in Euroland is difficult (and expensive) so looking for alternatives such as the Katana. I can get a great deal on last season 191 Katanas so seriously tempted.

    I do like the squads, the way you can slide the tails round into a slarve is nice and I would still like to do this on the my next skis, so will the Katana allow this. The tips on the squads are easily deflected which seems to be a trait of all skis with that tip shape – will the Katanas be much more stable than the Squads.

    I am 6’2″ and just around 185lbs with my gear on, is the 191 Katana the ski for me?

    • Hey Paul,

      Will the Katana be more stable than the Squad 7s? Yes, definitely. Will you be able to make the same slarve turns? Yes, though it’s going to take a little more encouragement, just because the Katana’s longer turn radius and heavier construction. That being said, the Katana should allow you to make those kind of turns in a more stable manner in general, especially at high speeds. Sounds like you’d like the 191s a whole lot.

      WB

  20. I’m not sure, this might be a dumb question, but do you think mounting Look P18’s on my 177 Katanas would make them frustratingly heavy at lower speeds, in trees and such? They really are some heavy chucks of metal . . .

    I’m 5’8″, 160, mid-strength legs. Love going fast through crud but also spend time in the trees. Probably something I need to figure out for myself but you guys are good at giving advice. I dunno. What are some good lightweight alpine bindings?

    • Hey Adam,

      Very, very sorry to not have gotten back to you, I missed your comment earlier this spring. I don’t think mounting a pair of P18s, while that is a heavier high-DIN binding, is going to make a huge difference in the skis swing-weight. However, the Katana is a fairly heavy ski to begin with. If you’re in the market for directional, all-mountain chargers that still offer some maneuverability (something a bit more versatile than the Katana, which really excels in open terrain – I wouldn’t take in trees or bumps too often), I would check out our reviews of the Line Supernatural 108 and Moment Belafonte.

      Cheers,

      WB

      • Hey Will,

        Thanks for the thoughtful reply. It’s really impressive how you guys make such a concerted effort to answer everyone’s questions. No apology needed!

        I wound up getting the Katana in 177 and mounting Pivot 120’s (+1) to save a little weight. I really don’t need the high DIN of the 180’s as I’m at a 9 right now.

        I’m in Park City for December and we haven’t had any snow so I’ve been ripping groomers with them. Amazing! What you said about killing yourself trying to find a top end is spot on. At 50mph they just seem bored. But I’m not! I do notice a lack of energy popping from turn to turn as compared with say the older model Mantra, but this doesn’t bother me (I’m surprised they decided to go with full rocker this year on the Mantra, it was dialed in my opinion. Personally I think they should have just added another full-rockered ski to the line, something between the Mantra and the Katana – the Tantra?).

        So the Katana shines at highway speeds but – and you really nailed this in your review – that shininess really serves to highlight how well the ski does everything else! To be able to turn a ski like this sideways in an instant at top speed, with an absolute minimal amount of effort, and come to a complete stop like dropping a plow instills such confidence. And in what soft stuff I’ve been able to find I get a sense of the aptness of the name, Katana. It floats, but it slices. It floats on its own terms.

        Honestly, my one regret is not going for the 184. The 177 will be nice in the trees but I can imagine most of the best parts of the Katana are really magnified with length . . .

        Anyway, thanks again for the reply Will!

        Adam

  21. Jonathan –

    I’m looking for a replacement for my Line Influence 105. Mainly ski front range CO (Pali at A Basin, Chair 1 at Loveland…Lake Chutes at Breck). So…there is a fair bit of time spent in bumped up snow. I love the line…would the katana be a good replacement? Does it have a lot of grip on firm snow?

      • Hey Don,

        The Katana could work, but it’s probably going to take more work to muscle around when you’re in tight spots, for what it’s worth. For skis with a similar personality to the 105s, in a similar waist width (besides the 108s), have you considered the Blizzard Cochise and the Moment Belafonte?

        Will B

  22. Thanks Will! I ended up going with the Supernatural 108. A bit different than the Influence 105, but I really enjoyed my first two days on it. Very lively ski. At first, I didn’t like it as much as the Influence…but I think that’s because the week before, I had been skiing the Influence in that insane storm at Taos (I’m sure you were there). Saturday was the deepest day ever. Tough to come back to icy bumps at A Basin after that!

  23. Hey, i got a pair of 191s for very cheap through work and was looking for a new comp type ski. factory mount seems very rear mounted, and was looking to get a little more forward to make it a more even swing weight for variable terrain, tight spots and maybe some 3s off natural features. was thinking +3 just looking at them, but your review has me thinking +2 as well. what’s your thoughts on this with possibly a little freestyle being added into the equation (or maybe a twin tipped option with the beefy tails like the katanas, was not impressed with the helldorados, felt like a patron with little added but weight).

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