2023 Völkl Secret 102 Review
We give you the most versatile and responsive wide all-mountain ride of the year
This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Overall Score: 7.78/10
- Rank: #2
- Versatility: 8.25
- Crud Performance: 7.75
- Flotation: 7.5
- Playfulness: 7.75
- Responsiveness: 8.25
- Quickness: 8
- Hard-Snow Integrity: 8
- Stability at Speed: 7.5
- Forgiveness: 6.75
- Price: $800
- Lengths: 156, 163, 170
- Dimensions: 140-102-123
- Radius: 17 (170cm)
- Weight: 2,063 g (170cm)
- Level: Strong Intermediate to Expert
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Versatility (#1), Responsiveness (#1)
- Cons: Forgiveness (#6), Flotation (#6)
Völkl’s Secret 102 continues to turn heads with its stability and dependability in its fourth season, but this year, testers called out this ski’s ability to do it all, and do it all well. At this year’s gear test in Sun Valley, Idaho, the Secret 102 scored the highest Versatility marks in the women’s All-Mountain Wide category. Testers couldn’t decide if they liked it better on the groomers, moguls, or blasting through the crud, because it tackles everything without batting an eye.
The Secret is known for being a very damp and stiff ski, and with no internal changes to Völkl’s Titanal frame and multilayer wood core construction, this year is no different. It was the heaviest ski we tested in the women’s All-Mountain Wide category, making it challenging to handle if you don’t have the energy to whip it around.
While the Secret 102 impresses every year, it really excelled on the brutally firm snow we tested on in Sun Valley. A metal-reinforced ski with a long effective edge, the Secret 102 loves to carve despite her wider waist, so she was right at home on the firmer conditions during our test.
“The Secret 102 thrives when it’s on edge carving through heavy or soft snow,” said tester Tracy Gibbons, president and head buyer of Sturtevant’s Ski Shop in Bellevue, Wash. “It’s a bit more to handle in the bumps than some of the other skis in this category. An intermediate skier could ski this ski, but the more advanced skier will really feel the energy and performance.” Other testers noted that it’ll keep you honest in the bumps or tight trees, so you need to stay on top of it in tighter terrain. Beginner skiers who don’t have the power or knowhow to bend a stiffer ski may be frustrated with its inflexibility.
But what some may see as inflexibility others see as dependability—the ski’s heavy construction helps make even unfavorable conditions manageable. When testers picked the wrong runs at this year’s test, the conditions were a coral reef nightmare at best. One tester compared the snow to “frozen jello with shards of glass scattered throughout it.” For those of us lucky enough to be on the Völkl Secret, we made it down without a scratch. When the snow is good though, testers said that this ski is equally impressive. “It likes getting up and going, so head to the top of the mountain and choose your favorite route,” added Gibbons.
An intermediate skier wanting to level up should prepare for a fun challenge, while advanced skiers will really enjoy the precision and performance of the Secret 102. Beginners may want to opt for a lighter, more narrow option that doesn’t require as much work. But if you’re up for it, the secret’s out: this ski hammers.
Kelly Klein is an associate gear editor specializing in skis and bikes. She lives in Bozeman, Montana.