Wow!!!Okay, I've finally got to ski em.
I am so happy with the Mantra!
39 yrs old
5' 4" 175 lbs
Level 9 skier
Volkl Mantra (177)
Fritschi Freeride (Shorts)
Garmont Adrenaline (25.5)
20" of Cascadian Pow.
Mount Hood Meadows and Heather Canyon Backcountry
I swallowed my pride and went skiing at Meadows. (Couldn't find any backcountry partners online.) I have an aversion to meadows because its the most overcrowded ski area on hood. Landed first chair. Between 9 and 11, I had fresh untracked every run. Light density compared to normal cascade fresh. But the colorado lifty was complaining that it was too heavy. Whatever buddy.
Later it was the snow was cut up pow. In the afternoon, I met up with a couple guys skinning up a well anchored slope in heather canyon. I don't remember their names, but they had shovel, transceiver, probes, knowledge, and a damn fine already cut skin track traversing up Heather's steep face. (Having watched the avy forecasts very closely, I knew that the new layer had bonded well with the old strong layer beneath.) So, I ahem, ducked the rope and joined these fine adventurers for a little backcountry powder turning.
Now for the ski.
This is the best ski I have ever skied on! If this is hard to ski then I wonder how amazingly fun the gotama is. Granted I have little experience with fat skis. My previous ski is the K2 Axis x pro.
They performed admirably and easily in both pow and crud. The steeper it got the better they skied. (Of course with high water density powder you need that steepness.) The float and turn initiation was almost effortless in the deep stuff. And the crud did not exist. This ski just skied through crud effortlessly, as if it didn't even exist and the snow was still one smooth and beautiful blank slate.
I was able to ski trees with ease and make big gs style powder turns when the slopes opened up. I could even give it quite alot of speed. Contrary to what magazine reviewers have stated. In fact, in crud, speed did not affect its handling and stability.
Now as far as Jim S. is concerned. Yes, the 184 prolly skis the straightline more stably. but the 177 is a do all soft snow ski. I could initiate and turn without being locked in to the turn radius by the ski. It would release my turns so I could control the turn radii. Not the other way around. That's definitely not squirrelly in my book. (Yes, I know you are 8 inches taller than me.) But I like to turn.
Look out, there's a tree. I like to ski around them. Not into them.
As far as the boots and bindings are concerned. They performed admirably and I didn't notice any slop. Whatsoever. My 110 skins did great. I was able to get up the track, and blaze my own skin track without a problem.
Last thing. I like the clinky sound they make when they bounce together. but ymmv.
So there you have it. The heir apparent, in my book, has ascended to the throne.