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Ready to venture off piste-PR's? Mantras?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
36 year old, athletic kinda guy, like speed
been skiing 5 years at +/-20 days a season
5'-11", 190 pounds
Skis owned- Volkl P30 RC, Salomon Crossmax 10, Volkl P60GC

My girlfriend (ex racer and ski instructor) got me into skiing 5 years ago. Under her tutelage, and after some time on the slopes, I'm really starting to enjoy it. I think I have this carve thing down, and can now go to new resorts and try any groomer without my knees knocking. This year I want to start going off piste, and am looking for the right skis. I found the '04 Pocket Rocket's for $499 and bought them on impulse. But now I'm hearing that the PR's might be too soft for my weight & style. I hear great things about the Mantras- two shops I visited in Tahoe had them in stock, but not available for demo. I do most of my skiing on the north shore, but we also make a week long ski trip to Utah or Colorado each year. These would be the pair to reach for on powder days, or when we feel like escaping to the lumpy crud in the trees. Should I keep shopping around, or just mount up the PR's and get on with it? Thanks for any advice.
post #2 of 14
You have quite a quiver of carvers and it seems that you are not afraid to invest in equipment so I'd advise the following.

Keep the PR's. They are a great off trail ski for a less agressive skier and for you will be a super learning tool. Later on, when you get more agressive and when (and if) you feel that are overpowering the PR's, then you can get something else.

The PR has been the best seller for years for a very good reason, and you may never need more ski than that.

post #3 of 14
If you have not tried these type skis, you really ought to wait and get some demo time.

I've been skiing just over 30 years; for more than the last half of that period, my skiing has typically been concentrated off-piste (bowls, etc.). Except for the first 2 years, I've always owned my own equipment with the last skis purchased including 191 Atomic 10.EX and 175 Volkl 6-stars. However, over the last 2 years, I've been a little reluctant to buy another pair of skis (boots are another matter) for reasons listed below:

1. The skis are changing rather dramatically every few years. The above 10.EX were "the" off-piste ski from 2000 - 2002. It's quite long in the tooth now (literally and figuratively). Skis like the Mantra somewhat bridge the gap between the EX (which was labeled a powerful, crud busting ski that did well on hardpack too) and the PR (always known as a playful, fun ski in soft that sucked on harder / groomed snow).

2. We have an enormous range of skis available that perform very well off-piste. From traditional-shaped wider skis such as the Legends to the backcountry twin tips, we can easily find several skis that can serve as your only western ski.

For last 2 seasons, I've demo'd the Legend 8000, Apache Recon, PR, Mantra, 05/06 B3 and Mojo 90 and I'm still puzzled as to my final choice or if I even want to buy another pair right now. I'm still cautious about flying west w/o skis and relying on demo pot luck - but I've had good experience for the last 2 years.

It does take a little work to find the latest skis (ex. Mantra) in the demo fleet of the resort shops but you can find them. And if you can't, I think you'd still be surprised how well a pair of "skinny" Legend 8000's will do on a 16" powder day in the bowls. I know I was last year on the day following the Super Bowl.

Given the dramatic changes, the wide variety of options available, and your lack of experience / reference point for off-piste, I recommend that you have fun and abuse someone else's skis for a couple of seasons.

Don't marry your first &*^$ and don't buy your first car taken for a test drive. If all of our sins could be rented for $30-40 / day!
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice...

Both sage posts. Since I already bought the Pocket Rockets, I think I will just mount them up and go for it. It is true that skis are changing so fast these days its hard to keep up. I'm a sucker for new toys, but at least with Ebay and such, its easier recoup some of one's losses with each generation of toys.
post #5 of 14
sorry, didn't notice you had already bought.

Have fun with them. I wasn't happy with groomed ability but they are a blast in their prime element and should inspire confidence / aggressiveness.
post #6 of 14
If you mostly ski the North Shore then check out the demo shop at Squaw (up at the Gold Coast area). That is a class operation all the way and you can demo Mantras, Gotamas, Chiefs, and some other fat boards.
post #7 of 14
Hey! Don't be mentioning Mantra's and Pocket Rockets in the same sentence...... That ain't cool.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 


I'm lookin' for opinions here - spill yer guts!
post #9 of 14
Ah... It was just a joke. I'm a huge Volkl fan, and *not* a Salomon fan. The Mantra and PR are really at opposite ends of the spectrum. You can't compare them.
post #10 of 14
It's hard not to like the PR's if you keep them where they are intended. Great, forgiving ski that is awesome in soft snow conditions. IMO, the Mantra's give you an additional dimension of hardpack performance w/ stability @ higher (much) speed.

But they are not quite as user friendly as a PR.

post #11 of 14
Sounds like you want to improve and get into more big mountain stuff - my advice is to get something that'll kick your arse for a bit in the beginning but will take you up a notch in deep snow, crud, steeps, etc.

The 184 Mantra would be perfect - even a used 180 Explosiv would work. K2 Seth Viscious are quite soft and easy but don't fold in crud or at speed like the Pocket Noodles...
post #12 of 14
I'm bigger than you, I've been skiing for 42 years. I ski fast and agressively. I ski mostly off piste. I have a pair of PRs and I like them. For loose snow they're great. They wiggle a bit at speed but can be brought to heel with careful control. They don't have problems staying on track in crud for me, but my weight (220 lbs.) might have something to do with that. They're not good for everything, but you should get to know yours before making any more decisions.

Do not ski on them in hard conditions. You will not be happy.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

OK, I've made my mind up, but this is all good 4-1-1

I'm a Volkl fan too- my P30 RC's are hand me downs from my girlfriend and were my first skis. I tried to like the 5 & 6*'s, but just couldn't get them to work for me (I was in love with the graphics and maybe I can't carve as well as I thought). But one ride on the P60's and I was in love. High speed limit, edge like Ginsu's, still fun & forgiving. That being said, I like the light/big sweet spot Salomon feel as well. I demo'd & liked the Xtra Hots on a powder day at the Canyons, and I think my Crossmax 10's are like a turbocharged Miata- quick, fun, spritely. They've been my "powder skis" for the last 3 years. I'm going to ski the Pocket Rockets on soft days only, and I think for that purpose they'll work. Just wish there was snow in the forecast for this weekend...
post #14 of 14
Originally Posted by Sablotny
Both sage posts. Since I already bought the Pocket Rockets, I think I will just mount them up and go for it. It is true that skis are changing so fast these days its hard to keep up.
be careful to distinguish topskin graphic changes from substantive changes.
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