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2012 Volkl Mantra or 2012 K2 Hardside.. or?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 


I am new to this forum. I am also new to buying my own skis, as I have rented my entire life. I went on a trip to Whistler in March that pretty much made me want to purchase my own skis so I can get out early and shred the pow before everything is skid out. I ordered some Salomon Access 80 boots that should be here soon, and I've been looking at and reading about skis for a few weeks now. I'm 6'1" about 200lbs and am an advanced-to-expert skier and am definitely looking for a ski that will handle both on and off piste use, and maybe in the future some hiking/backcountry use (MAYBE).


A local shop has a deal on some Volkl Mantra skis in 177cm that I've been looking at. Unfortunately, I can't demo them. Over the weekend I headed up to a relatively local resort and demo'd a pair of K2 Hardsides in 181cm. They felt large at first, but after a run or two I got used to them and really enjoyed the day. On paper the Mantra and Hardside are pretty much identical, and everyone I've talked to said the Hardside was created to compete with the Mantra. I've also heard from multiple people that a lot of guides and staff use Mantras as an all around ski, so that's encouraging.


I can probably get a better deal skis + bindings for the K2 Hardside demo skis, but if the Mantras are going to work better for me, I'm willing to pay a bit more.


I have a few questions questions. How do people who have skid the Mantras like them, compared to the Hardside? Would there be another ski that is superior to both of these for all mountain on/off piste skiing? And what kind of bindings do people like with this type of ski? The Hardside come with Marker Griffon, but I can get a good deal on some Salomon STH 12 Driver bindings.


Thanks for reading!

post #2 of 8

Welcome to Epic.  You say you ordered some boots.  Have you actually had in your feet in those exact boots?  If not, how did you decide on what size to order?  Given that you are 200 pounds and you claim to be an expert, the boots are too soft for you and likely at least one size if not 2-3 sizes too big.  The most important thing you can buy for skiing is your boots and you need to do it right because if you don't it won't matter what skis you buy.  The boots transmit your intention to the skis.  If the boots are too big, the skis will not react when you want them to because your foot has to move inside the boot before the ski will move.  No amount of tightening can overcome that, it will only make the boots painful.  It is a fact that boots that are too big are almost always very uncomfortable at best and seriously painful at worst.  Go to the "Ask the Boot Guys" forum and read the wikis about fitting and terminology.  Then check the "Who's Who" for a boot fitter near you.  If there isn't one close, ask and someone here can recommend a fitter near you.  When students ask me what they need to do to improve their skiing I will tell them to get properly fitted boots because it truly makes a difference and it is often a huge difference.  When I finally understood this point and got boots that fit, 2 sizes smaller and quite a bit narrower than my previous boots, my skiing improved dramatically  in one day.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey there, thanks for the reply. Sorry, I should have mentioned that I did get fitted for the boots at a local ski shop and I ordered based on their advice. They talked me down a size or two from what I was originally looking at. I mentioned the flex rating on the boots, and described my skiing, and they said the access 80s should be sufficient. I also have very wide feet, and the width of the access 80 felt ok, whereas other models (like the quest 8 or 10s) were very uncomfortable. We'll see if the access 80s work out.

I never claimed to be an expert, I said advanced-to-expert. However, now that I think about it, I probably should have stuck to advanced.

I'll check out the boots forum and wiki for sure. Thanks again for the info, I'll be sure to double check my boots once I get them in case they need to go back.
Edited by ocie - 4/2/12 at 10:53pm
post #4 of 8

I bought a pair of Mantras (thanks to advice from this forum I demoed them and loved them) earlier this season.  They are great in crud, hold extremley well on groomed (love big GS turns), solid on ice, they do well in anything up to knee deep (I haven't been deeper, so can't say).  They are pretty stiff, I find them OK in bumps, although I do not ski bumps much, but I believe I've read that they aren't all that great becuse of the stiffness.  I'm 6'2, 200 and got them in 184.  Never been on Hardsides, so can't compare.  I have Griffons on Mantras.

post #5 of 8

It's going to come down to personal preference and skiing style between the Hardside and the Mantras.  The Mantras are quite a bit stiffer.  I prefer a softer ski (but I'm 5'8" 145lbs).

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies. CaliSki - did you happen to try the 177 as well as the 184? I'm pretty torn between the two. I would like a nimble ski, but I don't want them to feel small

post #7 of 8

at 6'0 200lbs you should look at a longer length. Try the 184 mantra or kendo and honestly those boots will be too soft. My GF who is 5'3 and 115lbs skis a 100 flex boot. Admittedly she is a good skier, but she is not the best female skier I know. I am 6'2 and 195 and I ski a 130 flex touring boot and a 140 flex alpine boot. Those are stiff and I know it but you should atleast be looking at a 100-110 flex boot if you want to flex your skis and carve your turn. If you are looking for a true on/off piste ski check out the Kastle FX94, PM Gear Bro, DPS Wailer 95 or 99, or if you are looking for a softer option the Volkl Nanuq. All four of those skis are light and great on or off piste. I've skied every iteration of the wailer 95 and currently ski on the 99 and have loved every ski that has been made by DPS that I've been on. They are pricey and hard to find though. As far as bindings go... if you are really charging a 12 din binder might be a little low for you. You could ski on an 11 or 12 din if you don't want to lose your skis and that would put you at the top of your din range on the griffons or sth12s (its better to be more in the middle of your din range to avoid unwanted releases). Check out the Jester or STH14 or 16 with the driver toe. Rossi FKS binders are also great and Look PX binders can get you buy. If you are seriously thinking about getting into sidecountry or backcountry at some point check out the dukes or the new solly guardian thats coming out next season. You could also check out the Marker F12 tours or Fritschi Freerides (Plus, Eagle or Pro models). If you have any questions feel free to pm me. I've skied all of the skis and binders mentioned above as well as the majority of the skis in the waist range you are looking at. Oh and I owned the mantra for two years and they were fun but I always found myself going to the wailer 95s instead.

post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by ocie View Post

Thanks for the replies. CaliSki - did you happen to try the 177 as well as the 184? I'm pretty torn between the two. I would like a nimble ski, but I don't want them to feel small

I did not try them in 177.  They have a rockered tip, therefore ski a bit shorter.  I was also deciding between 177 and 184, but was advised to go w/ 184.  Haven't regreted it.


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