In addition to the Shiro, I also tested the Volkl 2012 Gotama and Katana skis at the Powder Magazine 2012 ski test. At first glance both these skis looked the same as last year's models, but I soon found out looks can be deceiving. Volkl fans will be pleased to know that both the Gotama and Katana are being built from new molds at the Volkl headquarters factory in Germany, resulting in a completely new ski.
The new Katana is just slightly wider in overall shape, 143-112-132, and maintains the moderate rockered tip and tail profile, and flat mid-body. Available in 177, 184, 191, and 198cm lengths, I tested the 184cm (take note, the new Katanas run about 3cm longer than the older model). The 2012 Katana's race ski flex and feel carved amazingly well on groomers and hardpack, even better than the older model, and sliced through powder like a hot knife through butter. Definitely a great all around ski, and awesome powder ski, the Katana will continue to be my go- to board most powder days in Jackson Hole.
The new Gotama has a much stiffer tail and more consistent flex, giving it a whole new feel. A bit wider than last year's model, 139-107-123, with rockered tip and tail the Gotama floated well in powder and plowed through variable snow without any problems. They reminded me a lot of the original Gotama, very maneuverable and quick edge to edge, perfect for laps through Expert Chutes and Toilet Bowl. Available in 170, 178, 186 and 194cm lengths, I found the 186 perfect for chopped up in-bounds skiing, but still wide enough for untracked powder in the backcountry. The new Gotama is a great everyday ski for Jackson Hole that can do it all.
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