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Looking for a new everyday ski -- maybe Volkl Mantra?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'm 5'5, 117lbs, level 9 skier with very strong technique (a lot of racing).  I usually ski a race-stock Head GS ski from 2006 but it's time to move on to something with a little more range, as I'm out of the gates now and just freeskiing with my family.

 

I'm looking for something that will be new my new everyday ski, and be the only ski I take on ski trips.  It will be skied 100% on lift-serviced resort terrain.  Home mountain is Bogus Basin, we also go to Sun Valley and Tamarack. Probably ski 10 to 20 days a year on average.  The snow around here is usually pretty good but occasionally we get hardpack. Early season at Sun Valley I've seen real ice (I grew up back east, I know real ice when I see it!)

 

The most important thing for this ski is for it to be able to hold up and be stable at speed so I can rip turns in the GS to SG radius range.  I don't want to miss my racers too much.

 

The second most important thing for this ski is for it to NOT feel like my racers when I'm off the groomers.

 

Since these would be the only skis I take on a trip, it's possible I'll have to ski them in powder and they should be serviceable in that regard, but other than that I don't really care that much about powder. I have an old set of K2 Baker's from 2007 that do nicely when I know it's a powder day.

 

I've been reading a lot about the Volkl Mantras and they seem like they could be a good fit. I'm a little concerned about the 98cm waist being too wide, and I'm also having some trouble figuring out an ideal length.  

 

I'm looking forward to hearing some ideas from you guys. Demoing skis can get expensive so I want to see if I can narrow it down before I start trying stuff out. 

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjtuna View Post
 

I'm 5'5, 117lbs, level 9 skier with very strong technique (a lot of racing).  I usually ski a race-stock Head GS ski from 2006 but it's time to move on to something with a little more range, as I'm out of the gates now and just freeskiing with my family.

 

I'm looking for something that will be new my new everyday ski, and be the only ski I take on ski trips.  It will be skied 100% on lift-serviced resort terrain.  Home mountain is Bogus Basin, we also go to Sun Valley and Tamarack. Probably ski 10 to 20 days a year on average.  The snow around here is usually pretty good but occasionally we get hardpack. Early season at Sun Valley I've seen real ice (I grew up back east, I know real ice when I see it!)

 

(A) The most important thing for this ski is for it to be able to hold up and be stable at speed so I can rip turns in the GS to SG radius range.  I don't want to miss my racers too much.

 

(B) The second most important thing for this ski is for it to NOT feel like my racers when I'm off the groomers.

 

Since these would be the only skis I take on a trip, it's possible I'll have to ski them in powder and they should be serviceable in that regard, but other than that I don't really care that much about powder. I have an old set of K2 Baker's from 2007 that do nicely when I know it's a powder day.

 

I've been reading a lot about the Volkl Mantras and they seem like they could be a good fit. I'm a little concerned about the 98cm waist being too wide, and I'm also having some trouble figuring out an ideal length.  

 

I'm looking forward to hearing some ideas from you guys. Demoing skis can get expensive so I want to see if I can narrow it down before I start trying stuff out. 

 

Thanks!

 

The Mantra will do (A) very well but (B) not so well.

 

A ski you would likely appreciate more is the Rossi Experience 98. It is almost as stiff as the Mantra, grips better and has more shape so it will power the crossunder better than the Mantra. The Ex 98 is quite stiff but the tail will flex at least a little so it is somewhat better in soft snow than the Mantra as well.

 

The Ex 98 is a stiff ski but with a modern shape......go for the 172.

 

SJ

post #3 of 29

Listen to Jim. At 117lbs, even the 172 is going to be a rocket ride for you.

post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjtuna View Post
 

I'm 5'5, 117lbs, level 9 skier with very strong technique (a lot of racing).  I usually ski a race-stock Head GS ski from 2006 but it's time to move on to something with a little more range, as I'm out of the gates now and just freeskiing with my family.

 

I'm looking for something that will be new my new everyday ski, and be the only ski I take on ski trips.  It will be skied 100% on lift-serviced resort terrain.  Home mountain is Bogus Basin, we also go to Sun Valley and Tamarack. Probably ski 10 to 20 days a year on average.  The snow around here is usually pretty good but occasionally we get hardpack. Early season at Sun Valley I've seen real ice (I grew up back east, I know real ice when I see it!)

 

The most important thing for this ski is for it to be able to hold up and be stable at speed so I can rip turns in the GS to SG radius range.  I don't want to miss my racers too much.

 

The second most important thing for this ski is for it to NOT feel like my racers when I'm off the groomers.

 

Since these would be the only skis I take on a trip, it's possible I'll have to ski them in powder and they should be serviceable in that regard, but other than that I don't really care that much about powder. I have an old set of K2 Baker's from 2007 that do nicely when I know it's a powder day.

 

I've been reading a lot about the Volkl Mantras and they seem like they could be a good fit. I'm a little concerned about the 98cm waist being too wide, and I'm also having some trouble figuring out an ideal length.  

 

I'm looking forward to hearing some ideas from you guys. Demoing skis can get expensive so I want to see if I can narrow it down before I start trying stuff out. 

 

Thanks!


Hi,

 

I don't thing the Mantra is the right ski for you: really stiff at your weight.  Same goes for some other bigger, beefier sticks. You may have trouble bending them.  I would stick with something a little softer; you can get a ski that still holds up at GS speeds w/o being a 2x4.  At your weight, an 88mm may be a better choice: one of our customers is your size, 125lbs, and his pow ski is a Rossi EXP 88.  It is also his all-mountain ski.  At his weight, he says it is all the float he could ever want.  The 98mm ski at your weight would be like a 135 for a bigger person: you may be able to go narrower and get more performance on firmer days. 

 

the Fischer Motive 86 is a good ski in that category, if you are coming from a race background.  Kastle MX88 is probably the gold standard.  It comes in 168cm. 

post #5 of 29

Well, if you're an accomplished racer, I'd guess you could bend a ski like the Mantra, but why bother? At your size, it'd be work, and want speed. Then I think of the world class bumps; Exhibition is no place for a Mantra. So while I really like it for some tasks - own a pair - don't see them as a do-all for Idaho. I'd go for a slightly softer and narrower ski that you can buy longer, which will give you some nice stability. The MX88, yep, used to own these, amazing ski. You'd love them, I bet, and the 168 is your length. Would also think about the Brahma, which will give up a touch of precision for added versatility and soft snow chops. And as Dawg says, the Fischer Motive 86 seems like a good call too, if you like a livelier feel. None of them are scared of ice, but they will like powder better. 

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'm certainly not trying to talk myself into the Mantra and I appreciate the recommendations (Rossi Experience, Brahma -- I will check them all out). But I'm also hearing a chorus about my weight/size and that I'd have to do work to bend a ski like the Mantra.  Are you guys really saying that even though I bend GS skis no problem, I should expect to have a problem bending an all-mountain ski like the Mantra?  Honestly that doesn't sound right to me. 

post #7 of 29
If you're bending the current FIS gs ski. Trouble is, baddest stiffest doesn't really make a good western all mountain ski for 117 lbs. I know a couple of young women with your background who ski the Bonefide, but I'd say they're around 135 or so. Anyone have a e-98 you can take for a day? For Idaho, I'd look at a Kastle fx 94 or 104 as well. They're a wee softer than the MX 88, but both better off piste.
post #8 of 29

Sure......you can bend the Mantra, but it is the stiffest ski in it's width class by a fair bit and what you said was that you don't want the ski to feel like your race skis when in soft snow. None of us are recommending noodle skis for you, we are all recommending quite aggressive stuff but those skis are just a bit softer than a Mantra.

 

Let me put your race background in some perspective. At our ski shop, we have about 5 folks that have had less than 50 GS points within the last few years.......a couple of them had less than 25 and one made the USST a couple years back. It's a fair bet that all of them ski as well as you do and they all weigh more than you to boot. None of those folks choose a ski as stiff as a Mantra for everyday use.

 

So.........if you want a 98mm ski and you just want a Mantra...........cool......have fun. OTH, if you want a 98mm ski that is still stiff but more  versatile........also cool........buy an Ex 98 or possibly a Stockli SR 95 if you can find one or......something else........whatever. If you decide on an 88mm ski.......also cool again, but I don't think a ski like a Brahma with tail rocker would be exactly your cuppa.

 

SJ

post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
 

Sure......you can bend the Mantra, but it is the stiffest ski in it's width class by a fair bit and what you said was that you don't want the ski to feel like your race skis when in soft snow. None of us are recommending noodle skis for you, we are all recommending quite aggressive stuff but those skis are just a bit softer than a Mantra.

 

Let me put your race background in some perspective. At our ski shop, we have about 5 folks that have had less than 50 GS points within the last few years.......a couple of them had less than 25 and one made the USST a couple years back. It's a fair bet that all of them ski as well as you do and they all weigh more than you to boot. None of those folks choose a ski as stiff as a Mantra for everyday use.

 

So.........if you want a 98mm ski and you just want a Mantra...........cool......have fun. OTH, if you want a 98mm ski that is still stiff but more  versatile........also cool........buy an Ex 98 or possibly a Stockli SR 95 if you can find one or......something else........whatever. If you decide on an 88mm ski.......also cool again, but I don't think a ski like a Brahma with tail rocker would be exactly your cuppa.

 

SJ

 

Okay, that makes sense, as did your first comment -- thank you for articulating your points well. It sounds like the Experience and MX lines are worth looking into.  

 

Definitely not looking for full rocker -- prefer traditional camber + early rise.

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjtuna View Post
 

I'm certainly not trying to talk myself into the Mantra and I appreciate the recommendations (Rossi Experience, Brahma -- I will check them all out). But I'm also hearing a chorus about my weight/size and that I'd have to do work to bend a ski like the Mantra.  Are you guys really saying that even though I bend GS skis no problem, I should expect to have a problem bending an all-mountain ski like the Mantra?  Honestly that doesn't sound right to me. 

No, you could easily ski them. I am fairly strong technically, but on the lighter side, and I find that they are just plain STIFF: no absorption, kind of unwieldy in chop.  Stable, yes, but not the "working with the terrain" feel I like.   I find that the best off-piste skis, especially those designed by lighter skiers (think the FX94 by Chris Davenport) are anything but overly stiff.  You need it to work with the terrain, not bounce off of it.  

 

I would demo a pair and see for yourself.  

post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

If you're bending the current FIS gs ski. Trouble is, baddest stiffest doesn't really make a good western all mountain ski for 117 lbs. I know a couple of young women with your background who ski the Bonefide, but I'd say they're around 135 or so. Anyone have a e-98 you can take for a day? For Idaho, I'd look at a Kastle fx 94 or 104 as well. They're a wee softer than the MX 88, but both better off piste.

Didn't mention the FX, it isn't as race-derived as the MX88, but just as solid, slightly different though.  The MX88 seems like the best blend of all-mountain performance coming from a race bred ski that I have ever tried.  

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
 

Didn't mention the FX, it isn't as race-derived as the MX88, but just as solid, slightly different though.  The MX88 seems like the best blend of all-mountain performance coming from a race bred ski that I have ever tried.  

 

 

But you did. :)   " I find that the best off-piste skis, especially those designed by lighter skiers (think the FX94 by Chris Davenport) are anything but overly stiff. "....

 

That was you, wasn't it?  ;)

 

 

(Agreed about the MX88... I like it a lot,  but if I had to ski one off piste, it'd be the FX 94 or 104 for the reasons you mention above in a couple of posts.)

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post
 

 

 

But you did. :)   " I find that the best off-piste skis, especially those designed by lighter skiers (think the FX94 by Chris Davenport) are anything but overly stiff. "....

 

That was you, wasn't it?  ;)

 

 

(Agreed about the MX88... I like it a lot,  but if I had to ski one off piste, it'd be the FX 94 or 104 for the reasons you mention above in a couple of posts.)


Yeah, good point, I had forgotten! 

 

The Stormrider 95 would be a sweet choice as well.  Again, a race-bred all-mountain ski that really rips, but isn't planky like many.  I think you will appreciate a ski that has those characteristics.  Some lesser skiers love skis that have lots of rocker and are pretty stiff: they can just push them around, slide around on them, and stand up on them. I see tons of old guys skiing stuff like that.   More skilled skiers aren't always looking for a ski like that, hence the popularity of some less than burly  models. 

post #14 of 29
I have to ask, at 5'5" and 117lbs are you female ?
post #15 of 29

STP has the MX88's in a 168 right now. Use a coupon and get a great deal.

post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

Thanks so much for keeping this thread going and for making all these good suggestions and for helping to educate me.  I hardly ever buy skis, and compared to many people of my skill level I really don't ski that much, between work and family, over time you just keep skiing the same old gear. Like, I know I'll have fun on my old race gear if I stick to the groomers, make my turns for a few runs, and then head back home.  I've never skied anything wider than 88mm (those are the K2 Bakers I hardly ever ski) and I've never skied anything with any sort of rocker or early rise.

 

@Max Capacity - No, I am not female.  I'm a dude. I'm just short and have never been able to keep the pounds on. 

 

So far I'm hearing:

Rossi Experience 88

Kastle MX88

Stockli Stormrider 95 

Kastle FX94

post #17 of 29
"I'm out of the gates now and just freeskiing with my family."

One thing to consider is that you may be spending significant amounts of time going slowly on easier terrain than you used to, if you are spending quality time with young kids on the hill. This may inform your ski choice somewhat.
post #18 of 29

I'm guessing you find most skis slow to turn. At your size I guess your on 163's or about for high end skis. I'm just trying to get my mind around how your light weight must make if hard to get a good feel out of these skis.

 

I'm thinking may be a rockered tip ski might be nice for you. Some of the newer ones have a narrow tip so they don't engage the tip when you lay them over on groomers.

 

I'm still on a full camber ski (Volkl Kendos) I bought in Feb 2011. When I demo rockered skis and lay them over and drop my hip I feel the tip engage the snow and want to redirect the ski. My full camber skis go where I tell them too. Those new narrow tip skis might be something to look at.

 

I also don't like it when the rocker tips chatter on hard snow. Full camber skis stay locked to the snow.

post #19 of 29
If you
Or anyone else interested... I am selling a pair of Kastle 168
MX88s with bindings.... Literally used only 5 days on the mountain. I have too many skis and overlap in my bag. They look almost brand new. Best offer plus shipping. PM me. Thx
post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

"I'm out of the gates now and just freeskiing with my family."

One thing to consider is that you may be spending significant amounts of time going slowly on easier terrain than you used to, if you are spending quality time with young kids on the hill. This may inform your ski choice somewhat.

 

It does for sure. For the moment my kid is still a few years away from skiing and my wife can hold her own, so I'm not as worried about it right now as I will be when we get my little one started. If he was already old enough to start, honestly I'd probably not be shopping for skis at all.  I've got an old set of Head Monster i75s from 2001 that would do the job.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post
 

I'm guessing you find most skis slow to turn. At your size I guess your on 163's or about for high end skis. I'm just trying to get my mind around how your light weight must make if hard to get a good feel out of these skis.

 

I'm thinking may be a rockered tip ski might be nice for you. Some of the newer ones have a narrow tip so they don't engage the tip when you lay them over on groomers.

 

I'm still on a full camber ski (Volkl Kendos) I bought in Feb 2011. When I demo rockered skis and lay them over and drop my hip I feel the tip engage the snow and want to redirect the ski. My full camber skis go where I tell them too. Those new narrow tip skis might be something to look at.

 

I also don't like it when the rocker tips chatter on hard snow. Full camber skis stay locked to the snow.

 

I do not find most skis slow to turn. My race-stock GS skis are 170s.  I'm not saying weight isn't a factor in skiing, it most certainly plays a big role. (I may be out of the loop but I do understand how a ski works.)  But, let's not get crazy here. If I'm working too hard on my skis (and perhaps I am), I've been doing it blissfully unawares for about 20 years. I'm carving with the whole ski, good weight distribution, I'm not in the back seat, and I'm having a blast.  

 

I'm trying to visualize what you're saying about what happens to you on fatter-tipped rockered skis when you lay it over -- are you saying that the quick engagement at the tip is making the ski start to come around before you're ready?  If so, that is very interesting.  I am so curious to feel how these things ski, especially after reading stuff like that.  So cool.

post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoWestSkier View Post

If you
Or anyone else interested... I am selling a pair of Kastle 168
MX88s with bindings.... Literally used only 5 days on the mountain. I have too many skis and overlap in my bag. They look almost brand new. Best offer plus shipping. PM me. Thx

Ahem...^^^^^

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjtuna View Post

 

I'm trying to visualize what you're saying about what happens to you on fatter-tipped rockered skis when you lay it over -- are you saying that the quick engagement at the tip is making the ski start to come around before you're ready?  If so, that is very interesting.  I am so curious to feel how these things ski, especially after reading stuff like that.  So cool.

On the contrary, a rockered tip will feel slower and vaguer at initiation because it's further away from the snow. But after a fraction of a second - think of the rocker as pre-bent - It'll hook up and send you around with less effort. Will also have a shorter running length. So it'll feel easier, quicker, once you get used to that initial instant of hesitation. Some like the sensation, some not. Personally, I enjoy a bit of rocker in soft snow, not so much on hard snow. But I haven't tried the new rockered racing skis yet, so I may be behind the, ah, curve. As in the rest of life...:D 

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjtuna View Post
 
I do not find most skis slow to turn. My race-stock GS skis are 170s.  I'm not saying weight isn't a factor in skiing, it most certainly plays a big role. (I may be out of the loop but I do understand how a ski works.)  But, let's not get crazy here. If I'm working too hard on my skis (and perhaps I am), I've been doing it blissfully unawares for about 20 years. I'm carving with the whole ski, good weight distribution, I'm not in the back seat, and I'm having a blast.  

 

 

No doubt! @beyond would say - quite surprised he didn't, actually - what you already clearly know, which is that with some speed you have a lot of energy at your disposal to bend - and thus turn - those skis, even though you're light. (Fellow lightweight here.) If you're a racer, of course you know how to use the ski. My comment about skiing with little kids was just pointing out that in that circumstance you would not have that speed (and therefore that energy) at your disposal. But apparently you're not quite there yet, and have a strategy in mind anyway.

post #23 of 29
Here's more info I have learned over the years.

I'm 5' 11" 195lbs, level 9+ skier, I find that when a demo a highend Rossi ski, I have to drop down a size, say 170 to 163cm or the ski seems slow to engage.

3 years ago when I bought my Kendo's I went back up to 177cm after being on 170cm skis most of the 2000's.

When speaking with the shop owner at Aspen East ski shop at Killington and telling him what I felt when I layed a rockered ski up on edge, he said, oh, so you do know how to ski, he commented that he felt the same thing.

The other weekend at Okemo when a single got on the lift with us, I noticed his narrow tipped rockered ski. When I asked him about them, he said, he found they didn't engage the small piles of snow when skiing on the groomers.

He was a little older then me, I'm 59y/o.
post #24 of 29

honestly the mantra is not your ski IMO.

 

I would look squarely at the 173cm Blizzard Kabookie if that is to soft then go to the bonafide. By comparision the mantra is very stiff unforgiving ski for most light weights off trail . both are great at what you want to do with bonafide having slight edge at higher speeds, cruddy snow and harder pack, while the kabookie will be more playful and easier at slower speed, and off piste situations. The kabookie in 180 at my size(5'11 175) never felt unstable on smooth groomers at speed but the Bonafide seemed to have an extra gear in cut up.

 

both at 98 mm are surprizing good with sharp edges on scraped hard pack and ice, but require a commitment to high edge angles and speed to make true edge locked turns.

post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 

It's sounding like I should be looking at narrow-tipped, early-rise + camber, in the 88mm range. 

 

Bonafide would be too wide at the waist at 98mm.

Rossi EX88 tip would be too wide, at 135mm.

Kastle MX88 tip looks good at 128mm

Fischer Motive 86 tip looks good at 128mm

 

Volkl Kendo also has a narrower geometry at 126mm - 89mm.  

post #26 of 29

As a western skier I don't see why you would find a 98mm ski too wide. Particularly for a ski you would take on trips. A ski in that range that isn't too soft, has some early rise and traditional camber will handle hard pack just fine and powder much better than an 88. Not as quick in the bumps of course but better than a race stock ski. 

post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

As a western skier I don't see why you would find a 98mm ski too wide. Particularly for a ski you would take on trips. A ski in that range that isn't too soft, has some early rise and traditional camber will handle hard pack just fine and powder much better than an 88. Not as quick in the bumps of course but better than a race stock ski. 

 

It sounds like some of these other guys disagree with you.

post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjtuna View Post
 

 

It sounds like some of these other guys disagree with you.

Of course. I've used Mantras (the older ones which were softer and narrower) and Sidestashes at 108 as everyday skis in Tahoe and as my traveling skis. I am heavier than you are--175 at the moment, but I'm not very fast so I suspect I don't bend a ski any more than you do,. My son, who is an expert but who weighs about the same uses Mantras--the wider, stiffer, pre tip rise ones, as his everyday/traveling ski (but he's getting a pair of Cochises for Xmas). So my advice is based on my experience. A wider ski handles hard pack a lot better than a narrow ski handles powder (actually anything handles real powder, it's the cement and the crud where the extra width really matters.)

If a narrower tip is important to you you could consider a ski with a 5 point sidecut, where the widest parts of the tip and the tail are well away from the tip and tail of the ski--the Dynastar Cham 97 is a ski like that. I haven't skied it or any others in the category. 

Given your expert ability and your lack of familiarity with off piste skis you really should try to demo and decide for yourself.

post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey guys -- thanks again for all your help. I ended up finding a great deal on a gently used pair of 2 year old Kastle MX88's mounted with Marker Griffin bindings, size 168, and I'm super pleased with them!  

 

Next step is going to be boots. Need to replace the old Atomic plug boots with something a bit more forgiving and comfortable but that won't feel like tennis shoes :)

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