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Demo Day Impressions - Cham, Bonafide, Rocker 2 90, Mantra, Gotama, Shaman

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Had a chance to jump on a few skis last weekend at a Loveland demo and figured I'd pass along my thoughts.  

  • Me - 5'11", 195 lbs
  • Quiver - Dynastar Legend Pros (older race room version) and XXL, Nordica World Cup GSR, Movement Jackal (AT)
  • Conditions - Snowing the first half of the day so a few inches on man made/ice, some very small bumps in sections. 

 

Cham 97 184 - Given I am big fan of the LPs, I was really skeptical about the Chams. The good news is that they feel very similar to the LPs just with a bit of an early rise tip. I assumed they'd wouldn't hold an edge given the early rise tips but they railed like a GS ski and have that typical Dynastar feel when you load them up in a high speed turn they give you nice feedback. Really stable at speed both on edge and with the ski flat and felt glued to the snow. The tip flap that is so common with rockered/early rise skis wasn't an issue granted that may have been due to the fact we had a little bit of fresh snow.

Cham 107 182 - Feels much like the 97 except bigger. The surprise here was that, for its size, the ski is relatively quick edge to edge. If your home mountain has lots of wide open terrain and you like high speeds all the time this is your ski...in other words it feels very similar to my old XXLs.  Both the 97 and 107 seemed heavier than other skis tested...in my view that is a good thing.


Volkl Gotama 186 - Fun on edge, very light and nice rebound but nowhere near as stable as others particularly when the ski was flat. Given the conditions it seemed to get knocked around the most. 


Mantra 184 - The new Mantra is a huge improvement over the 1st gen Mantra I used to own. It seemed much more stable than the older version. Overall it was solid on edge and much more stable than the Gotama though not as stable as the Cham 97. 

Iclantic Shaman 181 - I'd never been on their skis so I had no expectations here. Overall a nice, fairly stable, yet "bouncy" ride given the conditions. I can see how it would be great as a powder specific ski but, as you might expect, it isn't as versatile for an all around ski as it is very slow edge to edge when making high angle GS turns. 

Blizzard Bonafide 187 - Very light ski despite metal in the topsheet. The ski has little, if any camber, with a slight rise tips and tails. Overall it felt boring...when you load up the ski in a turn you get no push back. Although the tune seemed fine, of the skis tested, this was the least stable on edge. Both the Rocker 2 90 and Mantra seem like much better options.

Salomon Rocker 2 90 185 - Really fun ski...think traditional camber with an early rise tip with a similar profile to the Chams. The 90 was a lively, snappy ski that was pretty stable and fun to hit high edge angles on. Liked it a lot more than the Mantra and I'd think it would make a great every day ski that could also handle pow.

 

I was running short on time so I didn't get a chance to jump on any other manufacturers but I'll be up this weekend for another demo day.

post #2 of 16

How do you feel the chams would do as a tree ski? or are they a little on the stiff side? they caught my eye too.  

post #3 of 16

Wait? So the Bonafide doesn't cure cancer?
 

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

In the 184 or 182 length or shorter either the Cham 97 or 107 would work for the trees, but if I were skiing the trees a lot I'd go for the 97.  Underfoot and through the tail they are stiff, however, I think early rise would balance that out.  I ski my old 186 LPs with the 97mm in the trees and despite having a stiffer tip, they do just fine.

 

I was really looking forward to skiing the Bonafide given all the chatter about them and they were the biggest disappointment of the day...the skis just felt lifeless.  The guy that had them out before me was underwhelmed too.

post #5 of 16

Interesting about the 97... anecdotally, I'm wondering if it's not another ski that has a lower end user weight limit which might explain the vastly different reactions to the 97 and 107. Blister did a pretty extensive review of the 107 and complained about it being chattery on hard snow, etc... I thought it was odd. Their description made it sound like the ski was a noodle (maybe a torsional issue? Odd with two layers of metal) even while acknowledging it's stiffness. In your case jp, you're 195. Plenty to bend a stiff ski given a reasonable skill set. Did you feel the 97 had a speed limit?

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

To be clear we had a few inches of snow on a hard base, so I'm thinking that the tip flap you'd somewhat expect with early rise skis may have been masked.  I'm doing another demo this weekend and if I get time I'll take the 97 out for a 2nd assessment.  I didn't feel like there was a speed limit...very stable.    

 

My experience was certainly different than Blister's, that said their test skier is about the same height and I outweigh him by 50lbs!  I used to live in the gym so I think it is safe to say I probably carry a bit more muscle mass their reviewer.  I think a 50 lb difference in reviewer weight would make a difference in any ski reviewed, particularly if you are skiing the same length.

post #7 of 16

Which is why your post is really interesting... I can get a screaming deal on them and was thinking about a pair for a lift served telemark rig, but the reviews have been all over the map. You're the second person, the other being a DCL type friend who weighs about 195 as well, who thought they were pretty nice all in all. So far, thumbs up from larger folks, thumbs down from smaller... so far as my addled brain pan can figure. Thanks!

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Interesting about the 97... anecdotally, I'm wondering if it's not another ski that has a lower end user weight limit which might explain the vastly different reactions to the 97 and 107. Blister did a pretty extensive review of the 107 and complained about it being chattery on hard snow, etc... I thought it was odd. Their description made it sound like the ski was a noodle (maybe a torsional issue? Odd with two layers of metal) even while acknowledging it's stiffness. In your case jp, you're 195. Plenty to bend a stiff ski given a reasonable skill set. Did you feel the 97 had a speed limit?


I usually think Blister reviews suck raw eggs; most all reviews from sites or magazines actually suck, IMO. Dawg has a handle on stuff though.  Wouldn't be surprised if anyone found contradictions in Blister. Mostly they applaud a long, straight, stiff ski. anything else will be criticized for being a short, moderate TR, soft ski, by definition. Yes, they suck, don't give them hits.

post #9 of 16

Seven skis in one day?  I don't see how you can do justice to any of them.  It takes me 2-3 runs just to figure a ski and a couple more runs beyond that to really try it out.

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

Well that’s partially why I titled the thread demo day “impressions”.  That said, you can certainly get a good feel for a ski after a couple of runs and I'm guessing many others here may feel the same.  Comparing skis one after the other is the best way to highlight the differences between brands/models and figure out what works best for you.  I've never made a ski buying mistake when I've based my decision upon 2-3 runs of gs turns down my home mountain.  Personally, I'll jump on a ski and my 1st four or so turns will be conservative medium speed gs turns to see how the ski feels on edge and get a feel for stability...if it feels good I turn up the speed and really push it to find out its limits. 

post #11 of 16

I am giving some thought about going this weekend...how crowded was it last weekend?

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

Well, I've been skiing early season at Loveland since I moved here in '97 and it was very crowded by early season standards, particularly around 10am...maybe the busiest I've ever seen it this time of year.  The other problem is since there's been very little natural snow, they only had 1 lift and 2 runs open.  That said if you are looking for skis for this or next season, it is worth it.  Good news is that WP is now open and at LL one short run off of 6 is now open...hopefully that thins the crowds.  I definitely get the feel there's a lot of pent up ski demand from last year's crappy season.

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post

Wait? So the Bonafide doesn't cure cancer?
 

 

Perhaps not, but someone told me it is an alternative to Viagra.  Just sayin'. 

post #14 of 16
Jay,

Any more thoughts on the Salomon 90's? I'm considering a pair of those or some Nordica Steadfast.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

Other than what I posted above not much to add.  That said I skied another demo day just before Thanksgiving and focused on skis that I had not already tested.  Overall I was really underwhelmed.  The only thing I liked was the Nordica Helldorado which was incredible...fat, super stable and railed on hardpack for a fat ski.  Would love to be on a pair of those on deep day.  Unfortunately, the Nordica rep didn't bring as many skis as the other manufacturers and I wasn't able to get on any of their 90ish waisted skis.  My buddy (145 lbs, expert skier) got on what I believe was the Steadfast (90 underfoot?) and he really liked them, which is saying a lot because there were only three skis we raved about the whole day...Cham series, Heldorado and what I think was the Steadfast.  

post #16 of 16

Quote:

Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Interesting about the 97... anecdotally, I'm wondering if it's not another ski that has a lower end user weight limit which might explain the vastly different reactions to the 97 and 107. Blister did a pretty extensive review of the 107 and complained about it being chattery on hard snow, etc... I thought it was odd. Their description made it sound like the ski was a noodle (maybe a torsional issue? Odd with two layers of metal) even while acknowledging it's stiffness. In your case jp, you're 195. Plenty to bend a stiff ski given a reasonable skill set. Did you feel the 97 had a speed limit?

 

I also skied the LL demo day and got on the 97. I agree with Blister's review. The main part of the ski is fine, but I found the tip very chattery - it's kind of soft. It had somewhat of a nervous feeling up front when in a carve (maybe the chattering caused the tip to engage awkwardly? not really sure). Aside from the tip issue, it was a great ski at speed, but because of the tip, I felt the 97 definitely had a speed limit. However, that speed limit is at VERY high speeds. I didn't see another single person skiing faster than I was on that Sunday - not even close. This was likely due to early season conditions and crowds. I was definitely in the 40-50mph range and throwing the ski around very aggressively in powerful carves. At times, launching off a bump or two at the top and landing right into a hard carve. For an average 'expert' skier, I doubt they'd find the speed limit, or at least experience the same amount of nervousness that I experienced. However, if you're usually one of the fastest, most aggressive skiers on the mountain on any given day, then you'd probably appreciate a stiffer tip.

 

Like Blister's review, the ski did seem to hold find at higher speeds - but the feel of the ski was not confidence inspiring (as mentioned, the tip felt nervous when engaging). At really high speeds, what a ski feels like is sometimes just as important as what a ski actually does. The tip nervousness, whether or not it was actually doing anything wrong, definitely made you more cautious at really high speeds.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › Demo Day Impressions - Cham, Bonafide, Rocker 2 90, Mantra, Gotama, Shaman