Völkl Aura (2013/2014) ReviewMarch 19, 2014
- Gets on edge with ease, easy to initiate turns
- No flap or chatter in wide tip with rocker
- Bombs through crud and stays stable
- Poppy and lively feeling
- Game-on construction for aggressive female skiers
- Smooth and clean transitions from bumps to carving
- Too stiff to be playful
- Short turns feel sluggish
- Heavy and damp feeling in deep powder
- Have to muscle the ski in chunky, cut-up snow
If the Aura wore clothes, it would don a power suit and heels. It’s the antithesis of a hipster ski, i.e. one that can smear, slarve and surf but lacks edge grip. The Aura has what Völkl calls a “power construction,” designed for grip and stability, which is what you get. It is stiff, holds an edge on hardpack and blasts through crud. It’s not a first choice for deep powder days but the wide, rockered tip can handle soft or cut-up snow. The Aura suits strong, aggressive skiers or confident intermediates.
The Völkl Aura is a serious all-mountain ski with a race-like construction, a 96mm waist and a strong personality that suits confident skiers in variable conditions.
Similar to the Mantra, the Aura has a stiff race ski construction including two sheets of titanium, vertical sidewalls and a light wood core. A 96mm waist adds versatility, but the construction trades playfulness and nimbleness for stability and edge grip. All in all, the ski favors aggressive skiers who value quick turn initiation, stability at speed and tank-like performance through cut-up snow.
As I skied the Aura on fast hardpack, I categorized it as a fat GS ski. It’s fast rolling from edge to edge and it hooks up quickly. It holds an edge almost to a fault, but I like how it feels as if it has more power the faster you go. GS race skis have that feeling too—they can feel like a train that takes momentum to get going but once at speed, the accuracy and edge grip increase. Short turns take a lot of work, as you’d expect from a ski with a waist just shy of 100mm. I was constantly reminded that there are two sheets of metal in the ski and it feels particularly damp while making short turns. Unlike some heavy-duty GS skis, however, the Aura transitions well between different snow variations and terrain changes, thanks to a light Sensorwood core. The wide, rockered tip is unflappable and stable.
I took the Aura into some cut-up powder two days after a storm. It felt heavy in the light fluff on the sides of the run and I think it would feel too heavy for really deep days. I appreciated how it plowed through the variable snow with a strong and stable tip. It rewards aggressive skiing and quick edge release. Its forte is disturbed snow or hardpack, not blower pow.
The Aura is an all-mountain ski for those who require edge grip and stability. Though it has an ample 96mm waist, it’s not a powder ski for those who like a light, surfy feel in the fluff because it feels stiff and heavy. The Aura can carve and transition into tight trees thanks to reliable edge grip, as well as blast through crud with its solid, rockered tip. It’s stiff and not playful or overly nimble. All in all, it is not my first choice for deep days. But for a former racer who likes accuracy around trees and obstacles, it nails it.
Stability is the Aura’s strong suit. It’s strong and stable at speed. The big, rockered tip blasts through crud and I didn’t feel any tip chatter as I stepped on the gas.
The Aura is not for the faint hearted. It is stiff, thanks to two sheets of titanium, and can feel damp and planky, particularly in short radius turns. But it feels solid underfoot. The Aura is forgiving in regards of turn initiation. It’s maneuverable and easy to get up on edge with a little pressure, as an intermediate might apply. Simultaneous leg tipping results in bomber edge grip.
The suggested retail price (remember most shops charge less than MSRP) is $825. The Aura is durable and at 96mm underfoot, could serve as an every-day ski (particularly if you have a fatter powder ski that’s more forgiving). Völkl has been making skis for 90 years in Germany and in my opinion the Aura (as well as other Völkl skis) has a rich, handcrafted feel.