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05/06 Volkl Mantra (184cm) Review

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I bought this ski for backcountry use and wanted something shorter and lighter than my alpine board with a 94+mm waist. To give you some background on me I am 5’11”, 195ish and for the past 5 seasons my primary skis have been the Fischer WC RC (185cm), Dynastar Intuitive Big and Legend Pro (194cms).

Days Skied: 5 (3 powder, 2 early season hardpack)
Setup:
Binding - Fritschi Freeride
Boot - Garmont Adrenalin

Conditions: 1-2 feet of fresh, open bowls, trees

The ski:
Weight - Light
Flex – Firm, but not stiff
Powder - A
Crud - B
Carve – A
Stability - B

Float in powder was great and the ski handled short and medium radius turns really well. When I attempted longer high speed turns that would be no problem with my LPs, I felt that the ski was getting pushed to its limit and I backed off a notch. Keep in mind that I was skiing on lightweight AT binding and boots. I really don’t think this will be an issue for 95% of skiers. I rarely ski trees on my alpine boards, but on these boards I had a blast seeking out powder stashes and felt comfortable skiing in tighter spaces. We did manage to find some small cliffs to drop and the landings on some 8-10 footers was quite nice. I addition, I was really surprised at how well the ski carved especially considering that I am using it an AT setup.

As an AT ski I think this is a perfect choice as the performance to weight ratio is high.
post #2 of 20
did you mount them back 1 or 1.5cm's or on the factory line?
post #3 of 20
Good review Jay. I have the identical setup, and can't disagree with anything you said here. One of these days you need to put on some stiff alpine boots and try the setup. I find the Adrenalin is pretty good, but can tell the difference using a conventional downhill boot, especially in crud and higher edge angles on hardpack. Colorado powder condiitons are lighter than what we get here. Does the tip still flex up and provide good turn initiation?

Squawman, been on yours yet?
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
As far as mounting goes I didn't request them to be mounted back, so I assume they are right on the mark...I'll check on that.

I had absolutely no problem with turn initiation in CO powder. This weekend I'm heading out on a 3-day backcountry hut trip, so I'll post an update if I notice anything new. Thanks Cirquerider for your solid review...helped me in selecting this ski.
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
Squawman, been on yours yet?

no, not yet, because you Kwood guys got all the goods! I would have been up there (Kwood) this weekend, but too many Christmas parties to go to so had to bow out

oh well, praying for snow so I can really give them a proper break in

(the bindings look good all nice and mounted up, though, and skis are waxed and ready to rip....can't wait)
post #6 of 20
Well get on em.


I love mine. But Ullr has stopped sending snow from the northern pacific. So I am back on my bike until further dumpage. (It was an early season gift to have three knee plus deep powder days all before December 13th.) My 177's absolutely ruled in 3 foot deep 50 degree pitch cold smoke pow.

Oh, and that topsheet, it scratches VERY easily. Don't get attached to that shiny facade.
post #7 of 20
ski nose popsiscle,

I remember you deliberating getting the Explosiv(if indeed, my memory is correct). What was it that made you hold out for the Mantra?

I was curious becasue I am in the same boat of looking for a fat ski for the heavy snow of the sierras. I would love the Mantra's but they are out of my price range so am looking at some older Exploders. However if there are some cautions that have about them I would love to hear it. Thanks.
post #8 of 20
I decided to wait for the mantra because I didn't want a ski with such a huge turning radius. Especially, when in my search for pow, whether in the bc on a high avy day and looking for anchors, or accessing stashes of powder that only I know about hidden within the trees.

I also was wanting a stiff ski, for slicing through Pacific Northwest snow, but not as stiff as the LP or the Explosiv. At first I was looking at the 8800. But after demoing I felt it got deflected a tiny bit too much for my taste in the heavier snow.
post #9 of 20
SNP,

Are we related?? I'm on a K2 Mod -X- Pro and loving it except for some float, like you, and looking for some boards. I have access to a new Explosiv for cheap or I can get a new '04 Dynastar Inspired by Nobis inexpensive ,which is the same thing as the 8800 w/differing graphics. Can you elaborate on the performance in the snow you and I get...heavy and wet. Did you try them in deep slush and set up snow or was it all fresh stuff?

I am struggling as both of these boards get rave reviews however I have some trepidation on each one. Explosiv's not quick enough slinging 'em through the trees but able to punch through all the mank, and the 8800's getting tossed in the heavy Sierra snow but easy turning. Can you elaborate on your experience on the 8800? Were you able to demo anything else that you felt was decent? Any Explosiv time? Thanks again.
post #10 of 20
only one run on the 8800. so I am by far not an authority. The snow was quite heavy chop on the sides of pistes or on piste. On piste in the groomed soft they railed. Quite fun. But for me, ymmv, the 8800 deflected in the very heavy, not slush, think cascade concrete chop. Legend Pro is better for the heavy choppy crud.

I didn't demo the explosiv.
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by team ftb
ski nose popsiscle,

I remember you deliberating getting the Explosiv(if indeed, my memory is correct). What was it that made you hold out for the Mantra?

I would love the Mantra's but they are out of my price range so am looking at some older Exploders.
BINGO!

I haven't been on Mantra's yet, but have been an advocate of the Exploders for a while and spent many a day on mine in the Sierras. The catch with the Explosiv's is that they demand attention, whereas I get the impression that the wider tip and deeper sidecut of the Mantra, coupled with a slightly softer flex, make them more of a crowd pleaser. If you like to drive a ski and ride crud and windblown at places like Mammy, save the dough and grab a set of Explosiv's. They are bomber and know no speed limit. You will not be disappointed and will have more money left over for list tickets.
post #12 of 20
Gents,

Thanks for the replies. Yes I love the crud at Mammoth, nothin better than banging down the 'noids then GSing the crud to the bottom at mach stupid. I know the Explosiv's excell in that stuff. Where I have a concern is that I'm only 135 pounds with skinny chicken legs and trying to bang out short, tight turns, on the Explosiv's through the tight trees under chair 22, getting them turned before I hit the rock walls of Phillipes, etc.

Bandit. I can do the fast wide GS turns through mank thing. Where I lack is leg strength to manhandle unwieldy tools in the tight stuff. Do I "sack up" as the kids say and deal with it or look elsewhere?

SNP, thanks for the input on the 8800. I love the ease of turning but feared it lacked the shoulders to plow through the wet, set up stuff we get here. Your experience, though limited, my reveal a chink in its armor for us heavy snow people. Cheers.

This board is awesome.
post #13 of 20
Jay_p, good review. I skied my mantras last week. I should have pulled them out a week earlier. Anyway, the one thing you didn't cover is how they performed in the bumps. Mine performed exceptional in the bumps(even the firm ones). I usually ski my 5*s in the bumps but I might not do that anymore(except in the hard icy ones).

Cirq, I saw on another thread your discussion with a buddy that had some Karma's. I ski a lot of bumps. Is it worth grabbing a pair for bumps as an all around, or, should I stick with my current quiver. Although, my first impression of the Mantra is that it fits the all around bill.
Volkl 5*
Volkl Mantra
Pocket Rockets
B2s - I don't use these much anymore
You seem to be quite knowledgeable. Maybe I'll see you around since we wander in the same territory.
post #14 of 20
Gee hedgehog, you must live all of 5 miles from me. We ought to ski sometime. You have a good selection of skis, no real reason to run out for Karmas. I won't. Michael was really pleased at how versatile those skis were, and mainly, I don't think he expected that from a wide "park" ski. He was definitely outrunning me until I put some shorter 6 stars on. But understand, I was on 184 Mantras with freeride AT bindings and Garmont Adrenalin boots. It does give up some quickness on 2-week old snow and big bumps.
post #15 of 20
Cirq, the surprising thing about the Mantras was the quickness even though I mounted them a little back (1CM) for the back country. The reason I only went 1CM back was I still wanted to ski it in soft bumps. I chose the 177 and it was plenty quick and agile. The other surprising thing is that it handled everything rather well. I could see my 5* time getting limited to the real icy days.

HH
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
hedgehog - I agree with you on the bump performance. I was pleasantly suprised by the Mantra's bump performance. I'm not much of a bump skier, however, I actually had some fun runs on the Mantra, likely due to their light weight, length (much shorter than my 194s) and snap.
post #17 of 20
Jay_p: I also have the LP 194 (97mm) and Mantra 184. I do find myself wanting to charge a little harder w/ the LPs. But that may a 194 vs 184 issue. I also found the LP to have better edge hold. (I’m a former New Englander and good edge hold is something I wish more big skis had.)

I had the Mantra out in some sierra cement today. They handled the heavy snow very well. The big shovel and round flex really made for smooth turns.

I got the Mantra for my everyday ski and for finding hidden stashes in the trees 1 to 2 day after storms. I’m on the heavy side at 220lbs and for me the 184 is very good at short turns in tight spaces. (I was using the tree for visibility today.) It definitely meets my needs for a tree ski. The Mantra could also handle long radius turns very well on the sierra cement. They felt very stable. The tails offer enough support that I could bring the tip out of the snow and still control the turn w/ the mid section & tail of the ski. On the groomers and firm snow, the Mantra does fine (better than my Sanouks, but no where near the 6 stars).

I’m very happy w/ the Mantra (like everyone else). They are a great replacement to my 185 XXX.

I think Mantra lives up to hype around it.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
I agree with your LP vs Mantra edgehold comment. Also, I just got back from a hut trip/avy course and the Mantras performed great. Before buying I thought about mounting up a pair of 186 LPs with my Fritschis, however, now I am glad I didn't since the LPs are so heavy in comparison. Although we were on some mellow slopes, when I got out of the ski track the Mantras floated really well especially when you consider that I had a 30+ or so pound pack. I'm really happy with this as an AT ski.
post #19 of 20
StormDay, where did you mount the 184's....on the line or back a cm or two?
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SquawMan
StormDay, where did you mount the 184's....on the line or back a cm or two?
On the Line.
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