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Volkl Mantra vs Kendo vs Blizzard Bonafide PLEASE HELP - Page 3

post #61 of 82

Hello everyone! I've taken the time to read through all of the posts in this thread and really appreciate the time and thought everyone has put into this discussion! I've found it very helpful and I'm sure many others have as well. What a great community.

 

I'm curious as to how the Mantras are working out for you after a season of skiing them Pcal!? It sounds like I'm in the same situation you were in last year!

 

I myself went through a similar ski-selection-situation over the past couple of weeks and relied HEAVILY on this thread, and others like it here on epicski! After visiting a couple of local ski shops here in Calgary, AB, Canada, I had been recommended a handful of skis - first the Nordica Enforcers, then the Mantras and finally the Bonafides. I was looking for a good deal on skis and therefore was most interested in 2013-2014 or even 2012-2013 skis (still new). I'm 26, 5'11" and 210lbs and was looking for a ski that would allow me to fly down the groomers at top speed and ride up on their side walls, venture into the trees a bit, hit a couple jumps when I see them, and explore as much powder as possible when applicable! ...Too much to ask for? I'm not much of a mogul guy though I do follow my friends down them sometimes.

 

I would classify myself as an advanced intermediate but I'm not sure how the classifications of Intermediate, Advanced Intermediate, Expert and Pro really work... Can you guys help me with this?!

 

At first I was set on the Enforcers as they were the first pair of skis I was exposed to on quest. After visiting a couple more ski shops the sales people advised me that "There's a reason why they don't make the Enforcer anymore". Later on my journey I was shown an older (unused) pair of Mantras... The ones with the awesome dragon graphic... I fell in love immediately and returned home to do some research. I read nothing but good things and saw a TON of comparisons to the Blizzard Bonafides.

About 5 days after I started looking at skis, a ski sale came to Calgary and I found great deals on last seasons Mantras and Bonafides! I was immediately drawn to the Mantra (2013/14, not the dragon year) as I find the Bonafide graphics to be quite ugly and everyone/anyone I talked to about the Mantras said they were amazing one-quiver skis, best sellers for years and years, etc. etc. Even when I picked them up off the rack people would notice what I was holding and say "Good choice man, those skis are epic" and so far... It felt pretty cool, so I bought them (for a great price!). It was a bit of an impulse buy, but it was such a good deal and I had to make up my mind fast or pay the price... I then talked my friend into buying in Bonafide as he didn't care about graphics, though he agreed they were pretty ugly ;) We will definitely switch with each other so we can get a feel and appreciation for one another's skis. I'm excited to see if I'll notice a big difference and have a strong preference for one over the other!

 

I have yet to ski these babies... They're currently the centre piece and major decoration of my apartment! I wanted to bring them into my bed and sleep with them, but the girlfriend wasn't a big fan of that...... Even after my purchase I continue to research and research and Mantras and comparable skis. This is what led me to the Volkl Kendos. I'm wondering if maybe this ski would be better for me? The Mantra will be my first "fat ski" and I CAN NOT WAIT to ski them. But I am a tiny bit nervous. I want to become an even better skier and hopefully soon will be able to put myself into the expert category (whatever that may be...) and am hoping the Mantras will take me there!

 

Sorry for the long, snoozer of a post, but I've put hours and hours into reading threads, consumer reviews, buyers guides and watching videos about Mantra, Kendo, Bonafide, etc.! Can someone please put my mind at ease and reassure me that I bought the best skis out there, and that they're the right skis for me! :)

 

Thank you all for your time and input! I can't wait till I can share my experience with someone in my position... only a couple more weeks!

post #62 of 82

You did. They are. They are your babies now, and that's part of the magic. 

 

Don't overthink this. :rolleyes

post #63 of 82


Thank you sir. Just hoping they aren't "too much ski" for me. I'm banking on my size and ski style being able to control them. Do you have experience with Mantras?

 

Are you able to elaborate on how to categorize skill levels?

 

Thanks for your help!

post #64 of 82

Is the 13/14 Mantra the same design as the 12/13?  It's the latest version where they changed them to a full rocker design, yeah?

 

Anyway, to answer KCKINS question, yeah I think you will dig the Mantras quite a bit (I have the 12/13 version).   Reason being is your age, your height, and weight.  The reason the Mantras have a reputation is that they are not especially kind to lighter skiers.  I have a friend, former junior racer, who weighs about 160 who borrowed mine for a day and reported to me that he liked them but found them exhausting in the same way his GS skis were.  I am 6' and 210 and don't experience that sort of issue at all.  My favorite thing about them is their stability is everything.  High speed plow through weeks old crud no problem at all.  I love that about them. 

 

And also since you are over 200lbs I do think they are a good choice for you even though you're not quite in advanced or expert skill category just yet.  You will find them unforgiving of bad technique but also highly rewarding once you learn their sweet spot.  When you do, it's pure heaven.  I was actually a little sad to hear Volkl changed their design this year.  Gotta make mine last then. 

post #65 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbiebug View Post
 

Is the 13/14 Mantra the same design as the 12/13?  It's the latest version where they changed them to a full rocker design, yeah?

 

Anyway, to answer KCKINS question, yeah I think you will dig the Mantras quite a bit (I have the 12/13 version).   Reason being is your age, your height, and weight.  The reason the Mantras have a reputation is that they are not especially kind to lighter skiers.  I have a friend, former junior racer, who weighs about 160 who borrowed mine for a day and reported to me that he liked them but found them exhausting in the same way his GS skis were.  I am 6' and 210 and don't experience that sort of issue at all.  My favorite thing about them is their stability is everything.  High speed plow through weeks old crud no problem at all.  I love that about them. 

 

And also since you are over 200lbs I do think they are a good choice for you even though you're not quite in advanced or expert skill category just yet.  You will find them unforgiving of bad technique but also highly rewarding once you learn their sweet spot.  When you do, it's pure heaven.  I was actually a little sad to hear Volkl changed their design this year.  Gotta make mine last then. 


Thank you Herbiebug! You are correct, the design didn't change between 12/13 and 13/14, just the graphic... That dragon is sick! I found a pair of the same ones you have at ski shop but they were used once and already had some dings and nicks in them. I want to do that myself!

 

How do you classify the different skill levels and differentiate between intermediate and advanced? I'm wondering if it's worth taking an advanced ski lesson? Not sure what they would teach...??

post #66 of 82

I dunno about advanced lessons, I've never taken one.  Get a good instructor and i'm sure they'll give you tons of useful tips and critiques though.  Maybe show you around some of the lesser advertised nice bits of their particular mountain.  I might like to do that myself some day just to see what it's all about.

 

There is a number system for skill level classification that is a bit more precise than your 'beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc.".  I'll paste in numbers 5-8 here, from Vail's site although i think the wording on these is fairly standard.  Hope this helps:

 

LEVEL 5


Description: You ski or ride comfortably and confidently on all “green circle” and most groomed “blue square” terrain at Vail. You can link turns (mostly parallel for skiers) of varying sizes and you can control your speed in most situations by adjusting your line, with little need for braking.

What to expect—depending on your needs and goals:
- Explore higher speeds and more vigorous movements for shorter, complete turns.
- Develop higher edge angles and discover the control and sensations of carved turns.
- Gain confidence on steeper, more challenging groomed blue terrain.
- Venture into easiest ungroomed terrain.
- Skiers learn to incorporate pole use for better timing and precision.

LEVEL 6

Description: You are comfortable and confident on any groomed “blue square” terrain, and capable of skiing or riding easiest ungroomed and moguled blue terrain. You can link turns of varying size at moderate speed. If you are a skier, you are usually parallel, and you may use a pole swing or plant in most of your turns. Snowboarders are beginning to skid less, with the tail of the board following the tip, for more control of their line.

What to expect—depending on your needs and goals:
- Refine your balance, technique, and consistency.
- Explore technical options for more versatility, from pure-carved turns to braking. Skiers learn to use both skis independently, with step turns, stem turns, and one- or two-footed movements. Snowboarders develop rhythm and build your bag of tricks with more varied movement options.
- Explore tactical options for confidence in more challenging blue terrain and conditions, including the steepest blue square runs and easy moguls.

 

LEVEL 7


Description: You are comfortable and confident on all blue square and easier black diamond terrain, including moderate moguls and ungroomed snow. You can modify your technique and tactics from a growing quiver of options, linking dynamic carved turns with consistent rhythm on blue groomed terrain. Skiers usually ski parallel, with effective pole use. Snowboarders can mix carved and skidded turns.

What to expect—depending on your needs and goals:
- Continue to refine balance and develop skills and versatility.
- Learn to manage the changing forces of higher speed, short, medium, and long carved turns, and uneven terrain.
- Explore tactics and technique options for enjoying the whole mountain, including moderate moguls, steeps, powder, racing, carving, crud, ice, or freestyle.

LEVEL 8

Description: You ski or ride with confidence and flair, with offensive tactics and techniques on most terrain. You can carve arc-to-arc turns on easier groomed runs, and you handle moderate mogul runs with consistent speed and rhythm. You are competent, if not always confident, in moderate ungroomed conditions, and you can handle all but the most extreme in-bounds terrain. You may lack the needed confidence or particular technical or tactical options for true virtuosity in all terrain and conditions.

What to expect—depending on your needs and goals:
- Solidify your fundamentals while expanding your limits with versatility and confidence at an ever-growing range of speeds, terrain, and conditions.
- Refine your technique for efficiency and strength at higher speeds and longer runs.
- Identify your strengths and growth areas for continued learning and improvement.

post #67 of 82

The new Mantra is reputedly accessible to a wider skill demographic (read: less demanding) (Philpug posted a great review earlier this year). I demo'd the Mantra about 8 years ago, different era/version, so my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt. I found it stiff and demanding. I skied with Lorenzzo at Park City this past March, who had just bought this year's version as some sort of early Volkl accomodation to the local ski shop. He loved  the ski. It should be said that Lorenzzo is a very good skier, who definitely knows how to milk a ski for all its worth. His comments echo Philpug's in the review. I didn't want to get into the fact that this year's Mantra is different, hence my very brief note above, as I didn't want to fuel any budding buyer's remorse. Me, I have a pair of Bonafides to fill the high 90s slot in the quiver. The next wider slot is occupied by a pair of Gotamas, probably my most favorite ski of all the time I've been at this sport.  

post #68 of 82

One last questions guys… If I'm just almost 5'11" and a little over 200lbs (~205-10), what size Mantra should I be on? I've bought the 177's but am hearing that maybe I should have gone with the 184? A short ski will give me more control and make turning a little easier, correct?

 

Thanks again!

post #69 of 82

Still overthinking...

 

I'm 5'8", 140# and, according to the Vail Ski School designation above, a solid 8.  I think most on this web site think it unseemly to claim a 9 designation. (Well, on the other hand, there is our dearly departed Steaux expert.) I prefer my skis on either side of 170cm, a bit shorter for hard snow skis, a bit longer for soft snow. I have nothing exceeding 175cm. You are about 7.5cm taller than me, though with quite a bit more heft. It seems to me that you could go with either the 177s or the 184s. If you truly are a 7.5 on the Vail scale above, IMO you should be on the 177s. Shorter makes for a more maneuverable, fun ride. Longer, more stability at speed. On the Mantras, "speed" would be stupid fast. I doubt you would find the speed limit on either length. 184 would be more macho, but I think you bought the right length.  I'd rather pass on bragging rights in the lift line in favor of maneuverability. Trees are unforgiving. 


Edited by cosmoliu - 10/30/14 at 12:50am
post #70 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmoliu View Post
 

Still overthinking...

(Well, on the other hand, there is our dearly departed Steaux expert.) 

Not sure why at this date you still feel the need to pick at someone long banned, like an itch you can't get to. But since you need to, I'm familiar with Vail's system, and I've skied with Josh. If you are a true 8 by Vail, then trust me - since he'd say it if he were here :D - he's significantly better. Really. Let it go. We all appreciate you're a good skier, and modest besides. Concentrate on yet another thread with caps pleas...

post #71 of 82

Wow...Sorry if I hit a raw nerve. Really. I was just trying to inject a little levity into my post. No, I've seen the videos Josh posted and there is no doubt that he is a great skier. And no doubt that I will never approach his level. The videos speak for themselves. I don't have a dog in whatever fight got him banned. In fact, a couple of years back I was skiing with one of the moderators who asked what I thought of BWinPA. Apparently ban talk dates back quite far. I responded that I rather enjoyed his posts, but never managed to get into his gun sights, so had not found him particularly offensive. Caps?

post #72 of 82

Not a raw nerve at all. Just bad form IMO to make cracks about people not around to give as good as they get. Caps refers to the thread title. 

post #73 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbiebug View Post
 

Is the 13/14 Mantra the same design as the 12/13?  It's the latest version where they changed them to a full rocker design, yeah?

 

Anyway, to answer KCKINS question, yeah I think you will dig the Mantras quite a bit (I have the 12/13 version).   Reason being is your age, your height, and weight.  The reason the Mantras have a reputation is that they are not especially kind to lighter skiers.  I have a friend, former junior racer, who weighs about 160 who borrowed mine for a day and reported to me that he liked them but found them exhausting in the same way his GS skis were.  I am 6' and 210 and don't experience that sort of issue at all.  My favorite thing about them is their stability is everything.  High speed plow through weeks old crud no problem at all.  I love that about them. 

 

And also since you are over 200lbs I do think they are a good choice for you even though you're not quite in advanced or expert skill category just yet.  You will find them unforgiving of bad technique but also highly rewarding once you learn their sweet spot.  When you do, it's pure heaven.  I was actually a little sad to hear Volkl changed their design this year.  Gotta make mine last then. 

 

Agree 100% with all that was written above.

 

I purchased them 2 years back, and LOVE them. I think I have the 2012 model, and they just rock. Mind you, I am 6' 3'', and weight 245lbs, so I have enough horsepower :-) My friend tried them for half a day last season and he is 5'10'', and weighs 175lbs and said that they took a more aggressive approach to find the sweet spot. For me, I was in love from the first run.

 

My only "gripe" (if any), is that they need a fair amount of space and speed to to truly get the benefits from them. 

post #74 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmoliu View Post
 

Still overthinking...

 

I'm 5'8", 140# and, according to the Vail Ski School designation above, a solid 8.  I think most on this web site think it unseemly to claim a 9 designation. (Well, on the other hand, there is our dearly departed Steaux expert.) I prefer my skis on either side of 170cm, a bit shorter for hard snow skis, a bit longer for soft snow. I have nothing exceeding 175cm. You are about 7.5cm taller than me, though with quite a bit more heft. It seems to me that you could go with either the 177s or the 184s. If you truly are a 7.5 on the Vail scale above, IMO you should be on the 177s. Shorter makes for a more maneuverable, fun ride. Longer, more stability at speed. On the Mantras, "speed" would be stupid fast. I doubt you would find the speed limit on either length. 184 would be more macho, but I think you bought the right length.  I'd rather pass on bragging rights in the lift line in favor of maneuverability. Trees are unforgiving. 

 

Thank you Cosmoliu, this is a great post and is very reassuring. Basically what I'm hearing here is I need to lose 15lbs hahaha

 

I really think I'll like the maneuverability and control of the shorter ski, and will have to sacrifice a bit of float in the powder.  I usually sit at 195lbs or so if I do get back down to that it should be perfect... Wish me luck ;) I'm not talking myself up at all by saying I'm an Advanced Intermediate skier (between 7 and 8) skill wise either, based on the Vail description above. It would be detrimental to lie to myself!

 

The skis are not yet mounted with bindings so I may be able to trade them in for a pair of 184's if needed. The issue is that I bought them at a ski sale and not from a shop so I'd have to hope the shop owner would trade me... I know they have a pair of 184 where I usually shop. I'm going to head there today to pick his brain about lengths, as he was the one who originally suggested the 177 Nordica Enforcers for me. - Maybe because this is a different ski he thought 177 was good? The first time I was shown the Mantra (2012/13 version) at a different shop they also tried to sell me 177's... maybe because it was their only pair left in that year...?!

 

Thank you guys for your help and for easing my mind. It sounds like I could realistically ski either size, and that I'm not completely F@#$%&*!*'d by having the 177.

 

Again, thank you all!!

post #75 of 82

I think you'll be just fine on the 177.  See my previous post on my thoughts about length if you haven't already:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/118415/volkl-mantra-vs-kendo-vs-blizzard-bonafide-please-help#post_1559424

 

Ideally you'd demo both sizes and know for sure, but if you can't... when in doubt go shorter with the Mantra (and Kendo).   Too long and it's miserable.  Too short is still going to rip groomers, will be better in bumps, but just won't have as much float in deep powder.  Both the Mantra and Kendo are substantial enough skis you can ski them short and still have confidence at high speeds.

 

Just pick up (or demo) a wider ski if you get a really deep day.  The stiff flex of the Mantra makes it less than ideal for powder anyway.

post #76 of 82
KCKINS, you'll be fine with the 177's for most day's. For deeped snow, go longer next time. If you can, demo the Volkl Shiro, I enjoy mine, I have only skied them in the spring time curd. Looking forward to somw deep snow this coming winter.

I have been on my Kendo's for 3 season's now, 195lbs 5'11", 177cm.
post #77 of 82

KcKINS, I'm just slightly larger than you (6'2", 210 lbs). I think you are spot on that you are a tweener. It would be 184 all the way for me. The big question is what will be under your skis more often?

post #78 of 82

Great thread... I'm foaming at the mouth reading about the differences between these great planks and how much fun everyone is having on them.  Recently, I have been toying with the idea of swapping out my Kendos for a set of Bones, but based on what I have just read here I will probably resist the impulse.  I am curious, though.  How would a set of Kastle MX88 fit into this discussion? For a couple of years now they have been on my radar although on no occasion have I ever been on them or personally been close to anyone who has.  They just seem to read well wherever I've looked.  I love how my Kendos grip but I seem to have issues in anything moderately deep.  I don't stray much so I probably won't go wider.  I have the newer 89's with the slight rockers if that matters.  Thanks for everyones contributions... it really makes my day knowing winter is coming.

post #79 of 82
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rootkiller View Post
 

 How would a set of Kastle MX88 fit into this discussion? 

They would be the most 'traditional' feeling, great as an all-condition frontside ski , but the least fun (for most skiers) off the groomed or in soft snow.

post #80 of 82

Thanks for the quick rejoinder...  I will just stick the plastic back into my wallet where it belongs and humbly go back to my snow supplications.  Somehow, my gut is saying bad things about this coming winter.  Hope it is terribly terribly terribly wrong like it was about last week's Broncos game.  Probably should not have asked for the extra butter on last night's movie popcorn.

post #81 of 82

My situation is similar to yours but I purchased the Dynastar Cham 97's based on reviews. Have any of you skied them?

post #82 of 82


Stockli Stormrider 95

 

Once you go Stockli...

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