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Mantra, Bonafide or RTM 84? [Australian going to Europe for a while]

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm 3 season skier, about level 7, happily skiing blacks and double black on the piste in Australia.

I'm shortly about to move to Europe for the winter there and the next couple of years.

 

I'm 5'10" / 178cm and range between 85kg an 90kg depending on how good a boy I've been.

 

I own a pair of 162cm Rossignol Z76s. They are too short and I feel uneasy when I get over 50kph.

 

I primarily ski in resorts on the piste but would like to ski more powder and backcountry - I just need the right location and some friendly guiding. This may not come in the near future and I suspect that I may end up skiing resorts all this European season as well.

 

I'd like to try a bunch of skis on a demo day in Europe this year but I've got a friend coming over from the US in 2 weeks who is happy to bring a pair of skis for me and the discounts are just too temping and I'm considering taking the plunge on something without trying them.

 

I'm considering:

Blizzard Bonafide in 180

Volkl Mantra in either 177 or 184

Volkl RTM 84 in 176 or 181

 

What do we think about lengths?

Am I being silly going for the fatter freeride/expert skis not having ever ventured off the piste? Is the RTM and good choice in this case or is there something else that I've missed?

post #2 of 22
One of those things is not like the others, one of those things just isn't the same... Do you want an 80 something, or a 98/100? They're really two different creatures. Tell us what 'feel' you like a ski to have and what type of turns you enjoy, and how much time you spend on piste vs off. Any objection to other ski brands or ideas? When you say back country, do you mean lift assisted/accessed, or are you skinning for turns?
Edited by markojp - 10/18/15 at 9:07am
post #3 of 22
What markojp said. One of those is not like the others. Also, none of those are particularly great for backcountry or powder. They'll work, but there are better options if that's what youre hoping to get into.
post #4 of 22

Owning one pair of skis necessarily involves a compromise.  If you elect to go with a stiffer carving ski you might compromise in powder and bumps (and vice versa).  You can find quotes to the effect that an all mountain skis is designed to be equally average all over the mountain.  It's a matter of figuring out where you're going to be doing most of your skiing and then comparing that with where you're most happy to compromise in your skiing.  Maybe you'll only ski 20% of your time in soft powder, but are happy to compromise the other 80% of your day to be on a suitable ski for that 20% of your time.  Maybe, in softer pow, you're happy to ski something more suited to harder snow since that tends to be a hoot no matter what you're skiing. It's a subjective thing.

 

You're correct, the Z76s are way too short.  You should be on a mid-170cm ski (and up over 180cm if you're looking at soft, rockered pow skis).

 

You're also correct that demoing skis is the only way to be 100% sure you love what you end up with.

 

For mine a not-too-bad-on-piste, mid-80s ski, up to maybe 90mm, is a good place to start.  Skis in that width tend to have early rise in the tip, which will help in softer snow and bumps.  If you're really intent on getting off piste you could switch that to a softer snow biased ski in the same width, or even drift up into the 98-100mm waist range.

 

The Bonafide in 180 is up in that 98-100 waist range, as is the Mantra (although it's more stiff ... stick with the 177cm there).  The RTM84 is a different thing, as has been mentioned.  It's a more carving-biased all mountain ski.

 

Best of luck.

post #5 of 22

Gearwhores love people like you buying skis unskied which might be totally unsuitable for your level of ability- leads to a nice supply of lightly skied skis on the maket.  It's not entirely clear what 3 season skier means - you've been for a week or so in each of 3 years or you've clocked 100+days over each of 3 seasons?  Big difference and I suspect the former as otherwise can't see why you'd be happy with your short skis.

 

By all means take a punt but without knowing your true skill level no-one is really going to be able to help you.  It's not like you're saying you're an ex GS racer who is looking for a ski that might feel similar but is a bit more all mountain focused in which case the Mantra might be a shout. How much you are going to be skiing is a factor - if you're living in Berlin or Paris or Rome or London and expecting a week or 2 on the slopes each winter it's different to living in Geneva or Zurich and weekend warrioring every weekend.

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Responding to various questions in all of the various helpful replies:
 
@fatbob - 3 seasons @ ~20 days per season. I’m not happy with my short skis!  That’s why I’m replacing them.
 
Sorry, I thought level 7 would give a reasonable indication. Happy on mostly all terrain. For those who know Perisher, happy doing laps on Olympic, Kamikaze etc.
 
As I mentioned, all of my skiing has been on piste, so I don’t really have an idea of exactly what sort of off piste experience I’m likely to take to or find accessible (especially as I’m moving to Europe). 
 
@markojp/SEskier - yes, I fully realise that the RTM is a completely different ski to the 2 freeride ones. It’s exactly the reason I put it in there: to ask if I should just stick with more of a calve ski given where I’m skiing now.
 
I have a requirement to go longer, and whilst doing so I’m tempted to go more versatile. The question I have is in doing do will I compromise my on piste experience to a degree that I will regret. It is it just better to avoid trying to get a do it all ski, and buy for the environment I’m currently skiing? That sounds like that’s what sinbad7 is saying.
 
I’m not wedded to any particular brand. I just heard great things about the Bonafide and the Mantra. In looking at them, I then considered the RTMs. There may be something else in between that is more appropriate though. 
 
I’m pretty keen on rocker though.
post #7 of 22

So are you likely to be flying or driving to the mountains (or living in the mountains) when you are in Europe?  Answer influences whether you are better looking for a One ski quiver or a 2 ski split.  If you are serious and getting in over 20 days a season. 

 

It's still really hard to call because you don't have off piste experience and Euro "off piste" can cover a huge gammut of terrain and snow conditions.  If you were in driving range of where you'll be skiing I'd offer a split - a not too demanding piste focused ski in the mid 80s and a softish rockered utility ski around 105 (like ae Soul 7).  It's harder to call with a single ski - The Cham 2.0 97 is a really nice ski that will suit a lot of Euro skiers but will still necessarily be a compromise.  Plus it is a new model so no old stock or secondhand.  Lots of people I know are really loving the new shape Whitedot Director as a Euro ski when they demo it but it's definitely in the Soul 7/ Cham 107/Cochise size bracket.

 


Don't forget to budget for Avy kit and guiding/training to stay safe when skiing Euro off piste. DO NOT just follow other people - if they know what they are doing they'll be pissed off, if they don't it's the blind leading the blind. No controlled and patrolled zones.

post #8 of 22
Harry, more confusion for you. smile.gif. I'm going to suggest a specific ski for you if the budget allows. I'm thinking Kastle FX 95 HP..

If you were to do and RTM, I'd suggest the new RTM 86 rather than the old 84. I can elaborate when I have more time.
Edited by markojp - 10/19/15 at 6:20am
post #9 of 22

Harry, You may also find that the Nordica NRGY 90 is worth taking a look at.

post #10 of 22

Harry, wait.  You'll probably find lower prices in Europe than in Oz, even at your season-end pricing.  You can check this to make sure.  Keep in mind that the cheapest price is no bargain if the skis (or anything else) isn't just right for you.

 

Demo.  No one can predict which top line ski will put the biggest smile on your face or mine.  I know what I like, but I would never suggest that you spend you money on the same skis.  I'd recommend them for a demo run, but I won't feel bad if you say that they don't supply the magic for you that another brand will.  In Europe find a shop that will apply your rental fee toward the purchase of skis.  Try as many as you can in the various sizes.  The sizing (and related stiffness) depends on the ski's design as well on the energy you put into them.  Try before you buy.

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post

 

Demo.  No one can predict which top line ski will put the biggest smile on your face or mine.  I know what I like, but I would never suggest that you spend you money on the same skis.  I'd recommend them for a demo run, but I won't feel bad if you say that they don't supply the magic for you that another brand will.  In Europe find a shop that will apply your rental fee toward the purchase of skis.  Try as many as you can in the various sizes.  The sizing (and related stiffness) depends on the ski's design as well on the energy you put into them.  Try before you buy.

 

This ^^^ is good advice.

 

In terms of what to demo (and coming off a short carving ski in Perisher) I'd be looking at an all rounder with mid-to-high-80s in the waist and an on-piste-bias.  The best in that bracket (a very subjective statement) for my taste is the Kastle MX88, but they're way up there in terms of price.  All major manufacturers have offerings in that same space, and it will come down to your preference in a number of areas such as: damp v's lively, full camber v's some sort of rocker, twin tips v's flat tail, length preference, budget.  Lots to think about ... hence the recommendation to demo.  I'm a demo nutter and have tried a lot of skis in that category over the years.  All of them are good, for one reason or another, and you'd be reasonably happy on any of them as long as you don't try any other.  But by demoing you'll find one that stands out for you, like the Kastle stands out for me.

 

Best of luck.

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys. 

Demo is what I want to do. The problem is that is US sales that I was tempted by not Australian sales. 

My friend is coming over from the US and is offering to bring skis!

http://www.backcountry.com/rc/skis-on-sale?sort=-reviewaverage
With prices at ~40% off already cheaper US prices, it's going to be painful to come to Europe, demo and then find what I want at £500($780) instead of $450.

 

That said, I think demo is the only way to not end up annoyed at myself. 

 

My demo list is now looking like the Mantra and Bonafide plus:

RTM 86

Nordica NRGY 90

Nordica NRGY 100

Blizzard Brahma

Kastle FX 95 HP

 

in 177 - ~180ish

 

Now, how to find a decent demo day / location... 

 

To answer the location question, I'm moving to Jersey. I haven't decided on how much I will fly vs drive. 

Anything will be better than the 13 hours of driving roundtrip that I did each weekend to get to Perisher though. 

post #13 of 22

Fischer's Motive series is very good.  Head's (new for 2016) Monster series impressed me after a couple of runs on the Monster 98 - unfortunately I didn't get to try the 88.  Rossignol has been offering the Experience series for a few years and that's a good ski.  Kastle's MX88 is wonderful, as mentioned previously, and Kastle has just come out with the FX85HP and FX95HP to fill out their lineup with a more 'modern', versatile, rockered shape (still expensive though).  Volkl has added some camber beneath the foot on their new RTM series, which will change the feel a little (better in transition) from the last time I demoed the RTMs.  Dynastar has the Powertrack series - I prefer the PT89 mounted at least 25mm behind the suggested line, so be careful with the mount point.  Elan is doing well with its Amphibio series (I like the 88Xti over the 84Xti as it's more compliant in choppy snow).  I would recommend demoing Blizzard's flipcore skis before making a purchase; lots of people adore them (like my GF) but there are others (like me) who don't love the feel.

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryM View Post
 

That said, I think demo is the only way to not end up annoyed at myself. 

 

Disagree. First, there's some illogic here: How will you be annoyed if you don't demo, but are happy with what you purchased? Will you just walk around assuming there are better skis out there? Welcome to Our Lady of Perpetual Dissatisfaction, Epic Cathedral. Or what if you demo and discover that among good skis, each has its own quirks, but many are not noticeably "better" than their peers? Just different. So don't get sucked into the American fetishism with ranking everything and awarding stars, feeling inferior if you can't get the highest ranked (fill in the blank). 

 

Second, following this, these are all nice skis, not a loser in the bunch. Again, you could pick blind and not be annoyed. Unless you want to be annoyed. 

 

I think the real issue is how much you're likely to really go off-piste. We all talk like that, but IME it's harder to actually pull it off. Weather doesn't cooperate, friends don't want to, and so on. Also, Yrp's like narrower skis than we in the U.S. do. And last, Yrp's climate is weird; think east coast U.S. with more snow. So moderately dense fresh snow, thaws and rain, ice, but more cover, more real dumps, more groomed blues above treeline. 

 

All of which means to me that while the current FX95HP is the safest do-all bet if you really do end up off-piste a decent amount, it's very $$ for someone worried about a deal. If you can swing it, sure. Contact Dawgcatching. Or of you can't, but are close, the FX94 from last season would be a nice score. Close enough to the current FX95HP, touch more inclined to piste and carving, but nothing dramatic. Otherwise, I'd recommend a Fischer Motive 86Ti from last season. Very nice, underrated ski, underrated brand. Lively, great for someone your level. Or the Brahma, but it'll seldom be on sale and might feel like a bit much. The Mantra, current incarnation, seems reasonable, a bit much for piste, but doable. The Bonafides will be a handful for someone your size and level. If you go for them, don't go too long and take some more lessons pronto. Cannot speak to the RTM 86; I hope/assume it's the current model with camber. The NRGY's were controversial last season at least, folks either loved em' or hated 'em, so perhaps they would shout for a demo. Which means IMO, lose them, too many other safer, more efficient choices...

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
... Otherwise, I'd recommend a Fischer Motive 86Ti from last season. Very nice, underrated ski, underrated brand. Lively, great for someone your level.

 

Yep.  Great ski for your list, and a good chance to find a deal.

post #16 of 22
+1 what beyond said. If you haven't been off piste don't buy for off piste. If you like speed, off piste is not your cup of tea at least until you get really really good at it. Lots of good recommendations in this thread I won't need to add my opinion. Just get something in the mid 80s, not much rocker, take lessons, and if you are lucky to get a powder day rent powder skis. Good luck. One word of caution on NRG- at least in my experience it does reward solid forward pressure, so if your stance is not dialed you won't like it.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryM View Post
 
Responding to various questions in all of the various helpful replies:
 
@fatbob - 3 seasons @ ~20 days per season. I’m not happy with my short skis!  That’s why I’m replacing them.
 
 

How keen are you one two pairs of skis?  

If you like ripping goomers, a frontside carver or cheater GS ski in a 68 to 76mm waist in 175 to 182 is about right for a guy your skill level and size.

 

Off piste or a mix of terrain is typically 98mm+ with or without metal depending if you want it for a little frontside or not.

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryM View Post
 

 

Now, how to find a decent demo day / location... 

 

To answer the location question, I'm moving to Jersey. I haven't decided on how much I will fly vs drive. 

Anything will be better than the 13 hours of driving roundtrip that I did each weekend to get to Perisher though. 

 

 

Wouldn't bet on the ease.  From what I understand lots of flights to UK, very few to Europe.  I'd say 6.5 hours one way to a ski resort would be a fairly healthy ambition.

 

 Lots of the Fridges in UK have stores with reasonable demo fleets - Hemel & Milton Keynes aren't too far from Luton if you can fly there.  

 

I think your basic decision then comes down to whether you are going to have a car, spring for the expensive ferry costs and drive out to the Alps regularly or fly (probably via UK) If flying then you are limited on airlines that won't charge you for a ski bag and you almost certainly don't want to carry 2 pairs. In all honesty given you're in Jersey I suspect you'll be skiing less than you imagine so rentals for the first winter might well suit.  Failing that I'd shoot for an all-rounder around 90mm.

post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
 

The main driver for a do it all ski is the more stuff I have, the grumpier my wife gets. 

I’ve got climbing gear, diving gear, horse gear, ski gear… 
At least the ski gear and horse gear is “ours" but I will still face tough questions with two sets of skis!
She can have my Rossignols so that’s not a problem. They will be perfect for her size.
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

Wouldn't bet on the ease.  From what I understand lots of flights to UK, very few to Europe.  I'd say 6.5 hours one way to a ski resort would be a fairly healthy ambition.

 

Lots of the Fridges in UK have stores with reasonable demo fleets - Hemel & Milton Keynes aren't too far from Luton if you can fly there.  

 

I know The Snow Centre well. I’m from St Albans originally and we go back there regularly. 
The Brahma is actually a pretty good price at Hemel at £435, once you swap out the 20% VAT for 5% Jersey GST.
Interesting idea, although I wouldn’t have thought the 5 turns you can get in on that indoor slope is much of a test, no matter how many times you lap it. Better than nothing I guess.
 
Regards travel from Jersey, I’m in London all the time, so direct flights aren’t an issue.  After driving 6.5 hours to Australia’s sorry excuse for snow 7 times this season, and then 6.5 hours back (and doing all the driving myself) sitting on a plane for a couple of hours from London whilst working or watching a movie is luxury. I have friends in Austria and Italy with on-resort accomodation, so I can’t imagine skiing less than here.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryM View Post
 
Interesting idea, although I wouldn’t have thought the 5 turns you can get in on that indoor slope is much of a test, no matter how many times you lap it. Better than nothing I guess.
 

A lot of people seem to think that but it is a controlled environment which can simulate all sorts of snow conditions bar fresh powder.  After its been skied for a day conditions are very variable and you can test for scraped ice down the middle, sugary bumps down the side etc.  You certainly learn which skis are versatile and manageable and which feel like they need more space. 

post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

A lot of people seem to think that but it is a controlled environment which can simulate all sorts of snow conditions bar fresh powder.  After its been skied for a day conditions are very variable and you can test for scraped ice down the middle, sugary bumps down the side etc.  You certainly learn which skis are versatile and manageable and which feel like they need more space. 


Very good point. 

I'm sold on the idea now and will wait until I'm in Hertfordshire before purchasing. 

I'm really keen to try the Brahma the more I read but The Snow Centre have lots of choice and pretty reasonable prices so demoing everything here seems like the way to go.

post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 

If anyone is interested, I ended up with Volkl Kendos in 177 with Marker Griffons and I absolutely love them.

The Brahmas were sooo close and were slightly more playful with ever so slightly better turn initiation but when the speed got up the Volkls were slightly stronger.

It could have gone either way and I would have been happy but the final decider was probably the better 177 sizing in the Volkls for my 178 height and 82kg weight.

Happy Christmas.

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