Voile Ultra Vector Ski - Alpine that Tours - The Backcountry Ski Touring Blog (2022)

by Lou Dawson

written by Lou Dawson

Voile Ultra Vector is what I’d call “an alpine ski that tours.”

Lack of ski weight is important to us. Especially now that the industry has indeed figured out how to make astoundingly light skis that still crank out turns. Nonetheless, exceptions are allowed. To that end, what I’m always looking for are skis marketed as backcountry and performing well in a variety of conditions — all at an excellent price. In other words, your “entry level” plank for ski touring, or perhaps something you’d feel comfortable with as a quiver of one, at the resort or in the backcountry. Being made in the USA is a plus as well.

Thus, we constantly circle back to Voile. Nearly every ski they make is a hit. Take their Vector model for example. It’s been around a few years now. When it went to market in 2010, official word was “A light touring ski capable of carving a beautiful turn.” Our reviews agreed. Along with that, Voile was selling a ski called the SuperCharger. With a ~105 mm waist and some mass, SuperCharger wasn’t our favorite touring ski — but it was an excellent ride.

Thus, enter the Ultra Vector, combining the SuperCharger and Vector. Supple flex, dimensions around 95 at the waist, wonderful pricepoint of $695. Made in USA.

Will be available in 154,164,171,177,184 centimeter lengths that vary a bit in width dimensions, examples:

171 cm length is 127/94/111 radius 18.5
177 cm length 130/96/114 radius 19.5

Tip rise and rocker for our 177 cm pair.

Tail rise and rocker, tail-tip is moderate, we’d prefer it even flatter.

Our pre-retail testers are heavier than what’ll be offered in retail so I won’t publish a scale weight. Voile says they’ll come in at close to 1587 grams per ski in a 177. That’s ok, though we’d contend that a true “touring” ski these days, in this width and length, would be noticeably lighter.

Main thing, I mounted the Ultra Vector with a set of freeride touring bindings and got out for a couple of sessions. They’re indeed a truly all-around ski, with good edgehold on piste, supple and somewhat playful in powder. They felt more aggressive than what I normally ski on, pretty much what I’d call a resort ski that tours. Probably due to the beefy wood core, chatter was not in the Ultra Vector vocabulary. In fact, I easily exceeded the speed limit of my ski touring boots without any complaint from the skis. On the other hand, I wouldn’t call these planks particularly demanding, they’d be fine for a person still working on improving their downhill ski skills.

There you go, just thought I’d get this out there for this coming autumn shopping season.

Lou Dawson

WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain. For more about Lou, please see his personal website at https://www.loudawson.com/ (Blogger stats: 5 foot 10 inches (178 cm) tall, 160 lbs (72574.8 grams).

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lou.dawson.writer

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21 comments

SeanApril 26, 2017 - 9:32 am

I think you need to cut more salt out of your diet.

AllanApril 26, 2017 - 10:04 am

This should be great ski for Voile and a nice upgrade to the 1st Vector (BC ver). I had the first Vector in a 180 and loved that ski. Skied it 3 years and sold it to one of my best friends and he is still enjoying it. I bought the Charger BC in 171 and lreally liked that ski as well, a bit heavier but at 1743g for the 171 it was not that bad for 110 UF ski. I skied them for 3 seasons and sold them to a younger friend and now have the V6 BC in a 173. It’s a better all around dedicated BC ski for me than the Charger was and easier to vary turn radius. It’s a 225g lighter (at 1518g each) than the Charger.

Voile is doing a great job overall.

PhilApril 26, 2017 - 10:42 am

How does it compare to the V6?
Slightly narrower (~4 mm) but looks to be a similar shape/weight.

I like the V6s but when mounted boot centre they seem to have a lot of tail behind the boot. Perhaps that is due to the moderately rockered tail… Is that geometry very similar with these?

AllanApril 26, 2017 - 12:09 pm

My 173 V6 rocker shows 34cm in the tip and 25cm in the tail so a bit more on booth ends than the Vector Ultra in Lou’s pic.

SCOTTApril 26, 2017 - 12:45 pm

Thanks for the review. I’m a convert of pattern based back country skis (e.g. Fischer S-bound series). It doesn’t seem like I lose much in turning and it sure is convenient to not use skins for a flat approach. Do you think we’ll see more backcountry skis with a pattern? I know Voile has some but most do not have a pattern.

MikeApril 26, 2017 - 1:09 pm

Scott, if you want the fish, G3 started selling one a couple of years ago and I just noticed they expanded to a second model. I guess there are other fish lovers out there. https://ca-store.genuineguidegear.com/collections/skis

AllanApril 26, 2017 - 2:03 pm

I used to work for Karhu, 90’s and early 2000’s and we were kind of credited with moving the whole XCD thing forward, going back to the Allan Bard Tom Carter and Chris Cox days. Karhus and Trak had a number of XCD no wax skis, namely the Trak Bushwacker and then the Karhu Catamount which was also made in a waxable flat base.The last Karhu no wax kick patterned XCD skis were the 10th Mtn Guide and Tour. When they sold to K2 these skis were positioned in the Madshus line as the Annum and Epoch respectively. Fisher was doing and still makes the no wax BC skis in the S Bound series and Rossi with the BC 125 and 95. Voile really took off with the concept when the produced the Vector in the BC edition with modern profiled rockered tips and tails, then they made the Charger BC the largest no wax BC ski made. The Charger is gone replaced more or less by the V6 BC which is my eastern (tree) BC ski with DIY TTS tele bindings. I ski them with 2011 Scarpa F1’s and use skins when the track kicks up and gets steeper. It’s really the best of both worlds in soft snow and terrain that is rolling or with some long approaches and contouring. Skiing them tele seems most efficient to me especially with the TTS type binding but AT also works well in the same terrain.

G3 also make a series of no wax BC skis called the FINDr XCD in a couple models. I’m certain that Voile will make these new Ultra Vectors in the BC guise as they will most likely be their best selling of their BC skis as were the Vectors.

DougApril 27, 2017 - 7:48 pm

I wonder how the dimensions will compare to the vectors? It’s hard to tell just by a picture but the shown model looks to have more sidecut.

SeeApril 27, 2017 - 9:36 pm

I’m partial to alpine skis that tour, but 1587g for a 95 x 177 with “supple flex?”

AllanApril 27, 2017 - 9:55 pm

I’d bet the dimensions will be like the V8 and V6 with more side cut and a shorter turn radius. Probably not as short as the V6/ V8 but closer to the Supercharger. Both the Vector and Charger, like the Buster and Drifter have longer turn radii, GS type shape in a backcountry ski.

Addressing See’s comment, they’ve been mostly dedicated backcountry skis for me, (I really like my 173 V6 BC’s) but I area ski the 176 Buster on good days and its a hoot in the trees. How you likin those ZG 108’s?

SeeApril 27, 2017 - 10:39 pm

I’m liking the 108’s a lot. I haven’t been touring on them, but they weigh the same as my old fat touring skis.

AllanApril 27, 2017 - 10:51 pm

What size 108’s do you have? I just bought the Superguide 105’s. ? They should be fun.

SeeApril 27, 2017 - 11:11 pm

185. Old skis are carbon Justice. Also really nice.

Nate PorterApril 28, 2017 - 7:55 am

And the whole line goes back to black bases next season. Yeah!

Lou Dawson 2April 28, 2017 - 8:02 am

Apologies for not including more about the Ultra Vector dimensions. I added that into the blog post.

SeeApril 28, 2017 - 8:15 am

Come to think of it, the Ultra Vectors are about the same weight as my old Mustagh Ata’s, which were great skis and only 88 under foot. Chugach, Hokkaido, MTN Lab, Ranger ti… I guess the design pendulum has swung away from light and fragile back to solid. That’s fine with me.

AllanApril 28, 2017 - 8:36 am

Lou, Thanks for adding the dimensions. They are the same profile as the Supercharger except 10mm narrower and a shorter overall turn radius like the Supercharger is to the Charger.

My 173 V6 are just a touch heavier 1518g than my 169 Dynafit FR10 at 1450g which is the same profile as the Mustagh Ata except with a carbon monocoque exo-frame and foam core vs the paulownia core of the MA.

They are different skis for sure though, the FR10 has amazing grip on hard snow and most of the Voile are really best used as soft snow tools.

DougMay 1, 2017 - 2:39 pm

Meh we’ll see… I don’t really think there was any thing wrong with the Vectors. They worked great for me as a ski mountaineering tool. For a lighter ski I appreciated the longer radius making faster skiing in variable conditions reasonable. I also never found the 180’s to be much work to whip around in tighter situations.

As far as a steeps ski or touring ski I don’t think this will be much of an improvement. I hope they keep the Vector in the line up because I’ll be back to the drawing board next season.

sullyDecember 18, 2017 - 5:49 pm

i’ve been having a hard time deciding between these and the cassiar 95 tour1’s. (i have access to a screaming deal on the dps that makes the price difference negligible.)

the cassiars are lighter, and the ultravectors are shorter (168 vs 164), i’m a 5’6″, light female, intermediate backcountry skier. 80/20 backcountry/inbounds.

i got to demo the cassiars the weekend and enjoyed them. being more cambered, and narrower underfoot, i think the ultravector would inspire a little more confidence on the steep windboard i sometimes encounter on ski mountaineering expeditions, but since you say they are slightly aggressive, i wonder which ski will ski easier/inspire more confidence.

i know comparisons such as this isn’t really wildsnow’s thing, but since i can’t demo an ultravector, and you’ve possibly skied both, i’d love any input.

AllanDecember 18, 2017 - 8:30 pm

The main difference in weight between the two skis is in the wood cores. The DPS Tour 1 uses a balsa core vs the aspen core of the Voile. DPS uses pre-preg Carbon laminates so that saves weight vs a wet adhesive layup of the Voile. Both good skis and really negligible difference in width and side cut. I like the way the Voiles ski I’ve had 180, 170 Vectors, 176 Busters, 171 Chargers, 173 V6 and 177 Ultra Vectors. I like the DPS skis and their forgiving nature. My bet is the Voiles will hold up better long term than the Tour 1 DPS skis but if you like the way DPS skis and their slightly lighter weight, then you might want to buy them if you have a good deal. Neither of these skis are very demanding to ski and both inspire confidence in most soft snow conditions.

Michael YoungFebruary 11, 2019 - 6:25 pm

Lou, Curious how the Superchargers skied – you referenced ‘a good ride.’ I ski 183 V6 and love it for trees and touring on east coast. Lookin for a bigger western ski for pow & corn & mank for annual pilgrimage that is usually 50/50 tour/lifts even. Deciding between V8 & SC.

Comments are closed.

FAQs

Are Voile skis good? ›

It is the best true powder touring ski we have used. Bigger, as it turns out, is better. You'll suffer if you try and press this into duty in anything but deep, soft snow. A little bit of tougher stuff is accommodated, but super firm snow is terrifying.

What is the difference between touring and backcountry skiing? ›

Ski touring is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas. Touring is typically done off-piste and outside of ski resorts, and may extend over a period of more than one day. It is similar to backcountry skiing but excludes the use of a ski lift or transport.

How do you pronounce voile ski? ›

There are many misconceptions regarding voile, from pronunciation to how to style it! The name 'voile' originates from the french and literally means 'veil'. Here at Net Curtains Direct we pronounce voile as “voy-ul”. Voiles can also be referred to as 'sheers' or 'drapes'.

Can you use alpine skis for backcountry? ›

Technically, you can use most any ski for backcountry touring as long as you have boots and bindings that allow you to lift your heels to walk (“skin”) uphill (with the help of climbing skins) and then to lock them back into the bindings for the descent.

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