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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Let 'er buck.
    Posts
    858

    Review: 2012-2013 191 Voile Charger Skis

    I now have enough days on the Chargers to contribute to the rather scant selection of reviews.

    Me:

    6 ft. 170 lbs
    Ski mostly backcountry in Wyoming and Montana. Prefer medium radius turns and copious faceshots.

    Skis: 140-114-128 25.4m radius, under 9 lbs/pair (yes, really). Mount is a Dynafit Radical ST driven by Mastrales.

    Testing terrain: One resort day with 14+powder, groomers, etc. Backcountry powder, dust on crust, carveable crust, and corn.

    First impressions:

    I really like how this ski has a long tip rise. I got these to replace some 182 Voile Drifters (by far the best deep pow ski I have been on), and was worried the Charger would not float as well. Not true, the tip rise on the 191 Charger is longer than on the 182 Drifter, and they feel just as floaty. Flex is medium in the tip, and pretty stiff elsewhere, with a little give in the tail. Cap construction like other Voile skis- I wish it was sidewall, but cap is part of their voodoo lightweight formula. Voile's graphics have traditionally sucked, but they are improving every year. Durability is about average, they have stood up to some decent rock hits, topsheet bashings, etc. Note: Contrary to Voile's advice I bought the 191s, not the 181s. I do feel that the 181 would be a better length for me overall.

    Hard snow:

    These skis actually are pretty confident on hard snow. The stiffness underfoot makes for a stable ride, just so long as you are making longer radius turns. If you start to skid around a lot on hard snow, they feel a bit shaky, but mostly due to the width of the ski, not due to the dampness of the construction. I felt confident in railing soft groomers at high speeds, even on Dynafits. These skis like to lock in and rail- they take some focus to drive into variable turn shapes.

    Soft snow:

    Voile's backcountry focus becomes obvious when you take the Charger into soft snow. Excellent flotation, pretty much impossible to sink your tips even when skiing aggressively. In fact, this ski likes a forward, boot driven turn regardless of snow depth. If you try to get more centered and slash or slarve, they instantly become less responsive. You can skid them around fairly easily, but they really like to be carving, and will reward aggressive skiing. They won't exactly punish cautious skiing, but they will certainly make it less rewarding. Because they like to carve, they do not do as well as a tight tree ski as the 182 Drifter, or most any other rockered ski I have been on for that matter- ON3P Billy Goats, for example destroy this kind of terrain. Again, the Chargers have no troubles in tight spaces, they just don't prefer it. I would expect any skier over 200 lbs would find these skis more responsive than I do, so keep that in mind.

    So, where do the Chargers shine? Ripping long radius turns through deep powder on open faces. Of course, that is what everyone wants to do, and these are versatile enough to handle most backcountry days and deep resort days, so I think they are a very solid pick for any skier that wants to focus on fresh tracks- especially for a skier over 200 lbs. There are very few skis in this weight category at all, with offerings being limited mostly to Dynafit, DPS, and Voile. Given the price point, I would not hesitate to recommend the Charger. If I were to change the Charger, I would make it a little easier to slarve on, less locked into a carve, and I would add a size between 181 and 191. Incidentally, that looks exactly like the 2014 186 Voile V8. Hmmm, interesting.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    central sierra
    Posts
    369
    Thanks, drifter, very helpful review. I ski the Drifters too and like them, but have wanted something a little narrower as a daily bc driver in the winter. Good to hear the Chargers float just fine. I've looked for a good deal on a 182 charger for the last couple of years and was never able to find one. Finally pulled the trigger on a 178 Nanutaq that's waiting for some Switchback X2s. Hoping they ski as well as the chargers and are a little quicker in the trees given their continuous but modest reverse camber. Hard to beat Voile for good value and bc performance.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Juxtaposition
    Posts
    5,815
    Voile really do hit a certain nail squarely on the head and into the wood. Good range of light touring skis with good shapes and good prices.
    Life is not lift served.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    824
    My experience with the Chargers is very similar to the OP, I just love this ski. I'm 5'8 155 and went with the 181 which is a good fit for resort ripping, but if I was going to tour primarily on them I'd have been better off on the 171. Weight does seem to change quite a bit with length.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    47
    thanks for the review!

    sounds like most of the few negative/so-so aspects you found could be related to your length choice?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Eburg
    Posts
    12,341
    FWIW, I weigh 70 lbs. more than OP and 181cm Vector BC is my current mid-winter touring ski. I'm an old fuck with a lower speed limit than the young TGR supergnar, but I do tour a bunch and I ski faster than some of my geezer touring buds. The 181 is lots of ski, more than most other light touring skis of similar width and length. It's great for medium radius turns in soft snow, can hook a slow speed turn in the trees surprisingly well for a 23m radius 112mm waist ski and has quite good edge hold on the firm for such a wide ski (although I don't encounter much firm on the tours for which I use this ski). BTW, the fishscales are not noticeable on the downhills in pow -- but that's for another thread.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Motown
    Posts
    522
    I skied both 191 Charger and the 186. V8 extensively last season in many of the same conditions(several bc tours and a few great days inbounds) while the waist width is identical they are two different animals. I agree with the op on the charger liking long radius railed turns but found them nimble enough in tight spaces and was able to slarve with little additional input. The v8 however was far better in all conditions and turn shapes. Totally able to rail on groomers and bust through crud despite its lightweight construction. It didnt deflect at speed and I could easily dump a lot of speed without any hesitation. Floataion was excellent and I found myself driving the cuff of my boots even in 14". The Chargers were mounted with TLT ST and the V8 has Marker F12 both skied on Maestrale RS. Im 6' 165lbs in a 26.5.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Washcycleton
    Posts
    613
    Just got a pair of 2015 voile chargers in 191cm.
    Was quite stoked about them as they seemed to fit what I was
    looking for as far as length, width , flex and weight but damn!!!
    Claimed weight is 8lbs 4 oz. actual weight is 8lbs 15.5 oz! That's a
    huge difference from claimed. They aren't too much lighter than
    the skis I was replacing with these. Disappointed with this.
    Anyone else get such a huge difference?
    I ski the 193cm V8s and they are 10 ounces more
    then claimed. Not to stoked about the discrepancies.
    Stoked about the skis though. Just was hoping for lighter.
    Last edited by twoturn; 11-18-2015 at 10:32 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    SW Montana
    Posts
    191
    I've skied/owned a bunch of Voile's in the last few years. All great skis IMO. But my Chargers were also over spec. Not as much as your 10oz(!) though. Here's some of the weights I've got (all for 14/15 skis) :

    181 Charger 3652g (spec 3540g) Over 112g/4oz
    183 V6 3443g (spec 3350g) Over 93g/3.3oz
    173 V6 3005g (spec 2980g) Over 25g/0.9oz
    180 Vector 3100g (spec 3120g) Under 20g/0.7oz

    I recently read somewhere on WS (IIRC, a thread on LaSportivas LO5) that some companies extrapolate ~10g per cm of running length to get weights from an already weighed, set standard mid-length ski. GIven this approximate math, yours could have been 200g (7oz!) more per pair in the 191 vs my overspec'd 181s. Hence, the 10oz over. While not good based on the factory's numbers, at least the skis still shred. I've not been disappointed in a single pair of Voiles in the last few years. They all seem to be great bc skis to me. But more accurate specs would be nice, esp in some of those longer lengths...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Sandy
    Posts
    4,747
    Yeah , my 181 chargers weight 3800g/pair. They're first gens though I believe (the old red ones with black stripes)
    When life gives you haters, make haterade.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    39
    I've had a pair of the 181 cm Chargers for a few years now. I like them for railing fast big turns. But they can be a little hooky in punchy snow and hard to get around quickly in the trees. I'm wondering if aggressively detuning the tails might loosen them up a bit. Maybe make them a little easier to slarve and pivot. Anyone have experience with that?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    907
    Quote Originally Posted by Nkane View Post
    I've had a pair of the 181 cm Chargers for a few years now. I like them for railing fast big turns. But they can be a little hooky in punchy snow and hard to get around quickly in the trees. I'm wondering if aggressively detuning the tails might loosen them up a bit. Maybe make them a little easier to slarve and pivot. Anyone have experience with that?
    Had a buddy who had some chargers. He experienced similar ski feel and discovered the bases were quite severely edge high (railed). I'd suggest first step check yer bases for flatness and tune/detune accordingly just in case that hasn't been done yet.
    Last edited by swissiphic; 01-14-2018 at 01:34 PM.
    What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    39
    Thanks!

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