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Mantra vs. AC4

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hi all,
I want to buy a new pair of skis and i don't know what to choose between Volkl Mantra and AC4.
Background: I'm 26, 20 years of skiing, advanced skier, 190 m, 87 kg. I've been skiing for the last 5 seasons Volkl Vertigo 191 (from 2000, i guess) and Volkl P60 Race Carver 178 (from last season).
The snow in Romania (where i'm from) is not the best snow, we don't have to many days of powder, but i like to ski off-piste as much as i can. After reading your reviews, and beeing a Volkl fan, my choices are Mantra or AC4.
What do you think i should choose, and in what length?

You have the best ski forum i have ever seen. Great job!
post #2 of 28
paging Harkin Banks.....


(probably AC4 given that you don't get much powder...it's more versatile)
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
So for the Mantras you need powder to get the best out of it?
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexosu
So for the Mantras you need powder to get the best out of it?

well, with a 130cm shovel (same size as the Gotama) it does ski best in chopped up snow, crud and powder for sure, but you can still ski it on harder snow, it's just not going to be as fun as the AC4 to rail on harder snow or packed snow conditions

if you live to ski powder days, you could still get the Mantra and be happy (I skied it on hardpack last year to demo it and it was fine, but it wouldn't be my first choice for hard conditions)

the person posting as Harkin Banks here owns both and can really help you decide (hopefully, he'll add some feedback)

I own only the Mantra in a 184cm length but ski it in California where we get lots of powder each season (I'm 6'2, 200 lbs)

you should demo both if possible before buying them just to make sure

hope that helps
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
No demo possibilities in Romania : . At least not on Volkl. I could demo some K2 and some Rossignol, but i'm Volkl-based.
post #6 of 28
The idea of a good review that compares AC4 and Mantra side by side is a worthy topic. HarkinBanks posted good comparisons on the AC4 and Mantra here He also reviewed the AC4 in this thread. His post #21 on that thread was after he had been on both skis. There was a lot of discussion of the Mantra there and also in the Mantra Review in the Consumer Gear Reviews. I have not skied the AC4 and cannot compare to my experience on the Mantra. We have not seen a good side by side comparison or review.

The Mantra is very versatile. The ski is not much fun on very hard conditions (refrozen coral reef, ice), but has become a favorite on just about everything else. I also ski a 6-Star, so when conditions are very firm, or we have not had fresh snow in quite a while, and for morning spring skiing I generally pull those out.

The Mantra allows so much to be done in powder and crud, those capabilities are what we talk most about, but it can lay down tracks on groomed and should not be considered a powder only ski. It is competent and fun in spring conditions, packed, groomed, etc. The strength of this ski is that it does not get buffeted by uneven conditions, crud and ruts. The fact you want to ski off-piste and may not have very well groomed slopes suggests that the Mantra may be a very appropriate ski for you. It skis damp and does not get knocked around by uneven snow, and it plays nicely on bumps. The AC4 may be a better firm condition ski, and either ski should be a very good choice for what you describe. But if you are looking for something to soak up bumpy ungroomed snow and to use in powder when it comes, its my experience that the Mantra will deliver. Keep your P60s for ice and firm carving, and go with the Mantra for all else.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
The thing is that in Romania the slopes are more "natural" than, i guess, in US. We have a lot of bumps and ungroomed snow and we don't have too much artificial snow, which i don't even like that much.

On the other hand we have a lot of ice, from time to time, which i also don't like (obivously). Having that in mind, i was thinking to keep both my Vertigos and my P60s for ice and hard snow, and to buy the Mantras for everything else.

Considering the sidecut of Mantra i was thinkig from the very begining that this would be a more versatile ski than Gotama, for example. And the fun factor would be more present than in my old Vertigos, a very nice ski, but a rather boring one.

I think i'll buy the Mantras and pray for the best fresh snow

Thank you for your advice. If you want to come in Romania for a new ski experience, i wouldn't mind to answer your questions .
post #8 of 28
[quote=Alexosu]Having that in mind, i was thinking to keep both my Vertigos and my P60s for ice and hard snow, and to buy the Mantras for everything else.

I think i'll buy the Mantras and pray for the best fresh snow
QUOTE]



that makes sense.... you'll love the Mantra
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Ok, the next question is what bindings should i put on and if there are any extra things that i should know about this?

I was thinking at Marker 14.0 Free, but i'm not so sure. I don't want Diamir or other AT bindings, as i want to ski, not to walk : .

My boots are Nordica Beast 12.
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexosu
Ok, the next question is what bindings should i put on and if there are any extra things that i should know about this?

I was thinking at Marker 14.0 Free, but i'm not so sure. I don't want Diamir or other AT bindings, as i want to ski, not to walk : .

My boots are Nordica Beast 12.
Be careful asking questions like that around here:, Markers stir strong emotions (for good or ill) in many a barking bear (kind of like Volants do). I've read quite a lot on bindings in threads here, and Looks seem to be riding the crest of the wave of opinion. Beyond that, I'll leave to the rest to the experts.
post #11 of 28
Looks like Squawman and CirqueRider got everything covered. I've been in electronic wasteland for the past 2 weeks. So I'm back on line.

Alexosu, you'll be very happy with the Mantras.

HB
post #12 of 28
Hi Alex,
as someone who has skied in Romania, i feel that the Mantras are an overkill. They are wide and stiff and should be best in treeless powder lines. I have skied in Poiana, Predeal (in addition to quite a few other Euro resorts) and everything is below tree line, the snow usually is less than 1 meter in depth, fresh snow is rareky more than 10 cm (maybe Fagaras is different, but you don't want to hike). Keep in mind that in Utah they get A LOT OF SNOW ( 10" i.e 25 cm is just fresh snow and not powder to them lucky d@gs, in Romania you see a 1 foot - 33 cm- of fresh snow every few years). So, i'd go for something around 80 cm (maybe 85 max) for your "fat" skis. As a rule of thumb, on this site look for Eastern skiers opinions, they ski conditions more similar to yours. And if I were you, i'd be looking into a cheap trip to St anton in Austria or Les Arcs in France instead of buying fat skis. :-)
Would anyone here recommend the mantras for someone skiing at Hidden Valley?
post #13 of 28

bindings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexosu
Ok, the next question is what bindings should i put on and if there are any extra things that i should know about this?

I was thinking at Marker 14.0 Free, but i'm not so sure. I don't want Diamir or other AT bindings, as i want to ski, not to walk : .

My boots are Nordica Beast 12.



given your weight, either Rossignol 140's with wide brakes or Look P14's with wide brakes
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Psy, thank you for your suggestion. But...

I usually ski in Sinaia, which is a rahter "raw" ski-slope. True, we don't have powder too often, but Sinaia offers some tracks with a lot of fresh snow - i understand that i should use the term "powder" more carefully.

Generally speaking, Bucegi, the mountain i ski most of the time, is very different from Predeal or Poiana Brasov. I only ski in Predeal when i have nothing to do at home at night or when they have fresh snow. I am planning to go to Fagaras too (Lake Balea) and you don't have to hike there, unless you want to. At Lake Balea you have 2m of snow from Novembre to May, too bad you can't ski there before march (avalanche risks).

The last point is that i'm planning to go to Austria/Frace/Italy with my future brand new fat skis and i'll be searching only for powder.

Anyway, i don't think that buying the Mantras will be a waste of money. I have 2 other pairs that i'll be using on groomed and ice/hard snow. It's like SquawMan said: i'll wait for the powder/fresh snow and be happy with the Mantras.

Squawman, thanks again for the advice.
post #15 of 28
Alex, i wasn't nitpicking at your use of the term "powder" but was rather sugesting that you are about to buy a powder specific ski for a place that has virtually no powder snow (kind of like buying a GS ski for skiing slalom). Hoewer, i realise that buying a ski that is very popular here and makes you look good in the lift line is attractive (and completly changing you decision is also not easy), but beware - even west Europe has precious little powder. The snow arrives in a few big storms and then it doesn't snow for weeks, the powder that can be easily reached gets skied fast, so i wouldn't count on skiing too much powder in Austria or France (Italy is even worse). I suggested a ski trip because the skiing is so much better, that after skiing a place like Tignes, Les Arcs or St anton you'll never want to go back.
Good luck with your choice.
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
Well, i am not willing to buy a ski just because it's trendy. I am still thinking about the type of ski i want to buy and that's why i asked these guys.

As i understand Mantra is not an exclusive powder ski, and i know that a Gotama or Sanouk would be too much for the snow i have overhere. From what Cirquerider said, Mantra is quite versatile and would be a great ski except for ice and hard snow. For that i have P60 or Vertigo.

Tough choice, still.
post #17 of 28
Great in powder, but not a powder specific ski like Gotama or Sanouk. Stiff enough to handle crud and irregular conditions; soft enough and shaped enough to flex into a carve and short turn. Poor to fair on ice, fair to good on chalk and hardpack, good to excellent as conditions soften to crud, powder, spring etc and is a respectable crust ski. Where did the idea come from that this is a dedicated powder ski?
post #18 of 28
Cirq and psy are both right:

The Mantra is a lot of ski for the conditions described. But it is also generally to considered to be relatively versatile.

Whatever Alexosu's reasons, the Mantra will fit into his quiver as he has described it.

For a one ski quiver we would need to know a lot more about his skiing style....
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
True, but my english is not that good.

I consider myself an advanced-to-expert skier. I don't ski extremly fast (Downhill), i carve with both large and short turns. What else?
post #20 of 28
I don't know why anyone would buy a ski under 90mm waist unless they only ski hardpack/groomers. If you ever ski powder/crud/spring you want 90.
post #21 of 28
I thought I have heard that the mounting point is a bit far forward on the new mantras. It looks to be more forward than the explosive. Should I mount mine back? Have you guys had any info or luck with that?
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by skifordad
I thought I have heard that the mounting point is a bit far forward on the new mantras. It looks to be more forward than the explosive. Should I mount mine back? Have you guys had any info or luck with that?
Mine are 1.5mm back from the 'factory' mark, and I love 'em.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by troutman
Mine are 1.5mm back from the 'factory' mark, and I love 'em.
1.5 mm? Thats nothing. Did you mean cm? Mine are mounted on factory center to boot center with no problem, good floatation and tip control.
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
1.5 mm? Thats nothing. Did you mean cm? Mine are mounted on factory center to boot center with no problem, good floatation and tip control.
Yep, I sure did, 1.5cm. Thanks, Cirque.
post #25 of 28

mounting point

I mounted my 184's 1cm back and I think it helped a lot. I'm 6'2 so I need the extra ski up front to avoid the "squat" in pow, but for shorter people who weight less, the factory center is probably fine. They also tour better mounted a litte back.
post #26 of 28
Cirq, the Mantra is the new explosiv, isn't it? It's stiff and likes to go straight (altho it can turn better than the explosiv). You're right that it is more versatile than a Gotama, but would you buy one for Blue Mountain (with less grooming and more stones )?
post #27 of 28
Psy, I have no experience with Blue Mountain, but I have skied similar sized areas in Western New York, and PA. I wouldn't hesitate to use the Mantra there, but it probably would not be my only choice. Mantra makes the mountain feel smaller. Not what you need when you only have 700 feet of vertical to start. With narrow short runs, very tight tree lines and a tendency for much more ice than soft I would probably also enjoy the AC4, Allstar, or perhaps even be tempted by the Atomic M-B5. I am an advocate of having a choice which is why I have 4 different skis with very different handling and performance characteristics. Mantra replaces Explosiv, but is a very different ski with a lot more sidecut and more evenly distributed flex. It is certainly not a noodle ski, but I don't consider it stiff.

If I get back East this winter, I will have to see what the Mantra feels like at 7-Springs. Should be a hoot.
post #28 of 28
Cirq, the original poster was trying to decode between the AC4 and the Mantra to complement his carvers. I completly agree that it is important to have a the choice of a quiver, but I have skied in his area, and i think that the AC4 would be much much better for that area (about 6-7 feet of total snowfall all season?).
I think that the real question herel is : if you lived near a mountain with 8 feet of total snowfall, a 1500 feet vertical, lots of rocks and you took no trips would you still chose the Mantra over the AC4 to complement your P60's?
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