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My three fatties go skating

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
The fatties go skating………………

The last fattie test thread was a rare opportunity for me to test three great fat skis in their best element. This one will be a test of the same three in an element where they are not expected to be very good. This was conducted over a one week stretch during which, conditions changed significantly. Day one was typical springish conditions with firm but not icy snow, and sun cups in the areas where the masses don’t usually go. Day two, (a week later) was immediately following a cold front that blew a little new snow onto the springy conditions. The snow was firm to downright rocklike with some grainy fluff blown in between the coral heads. The main focus of this two day test was some new skis in the mid-high 80’s in width, however, since the opportunity arose and the skis were in the car, this was a great opportunity to expand my understanding of these fatties.

Volkl Mantra 184
In both sessions, I started with several runs on the Mantra to scout snow conditions and also to continue my mission to find the handle on that ski. The Mantra is the only fattie that was skied both weeks as I am still experimenting with it. As a result, it got more mileage than the other two during this period. I was playing with binding position and I am starting to make progress.
Week one; springy conditions: At 1 cm back from the normal mid sole, the Mantra finally started to lose its mindfulness, and at 2 cm. back, it started to feel pretty good. As in the past, the grip was very good for a big ski. Initiation was far less abrupt than in the past and on the steep groomers the ski finished with less of the “hook” that I have objected to. In the firm, sun cuppy spots, the big tip still wanted to grab and deflect, but less so than in my past experiences. On the rough stuff, the Mantra was grippy, but only moderately damp. Out in the deeper slurpee snow, the shape started to dictate its own agenda. This was far less objectionable than in the past and was no longer a major issue. For the first time in my experience with the Mantra, I would have been OK with skiing it all day.
In week two, I had more wintry conditions and much harder snow. On the scraped off groomers, the Mantra gripped very well and the shape was more controllable than in the past regardless of turn shape. Skiing across re-frozen slush ruts was a severe test of dampening and stability. In those conditions, the ski was shaken by the rough refrozen slush ruts and did not inspire confidence. In a narrow shot between the trees with sprouting moguls and patches of soft stuff in the troughs, the Mantra was alternately grippy on the hard snow, and a bit hooky in patches of grainy fluff. The shape pretty much dictated the agenda. This week in these rough wintry conditions, I would not have chosen this ski to be on all day.


Volkl Gotama 183
This week in the rough wintry conditions, the Gotama was comfortable if not inspiring. In two quick runs on the rocklike former groomers, the goat was smooth but somewhat lacking in grip compared to the other two. As I took it into the ungroomed pitches, the Gotama inspired confidence if not excitement. On the hard, rutted traverses and biggish turns over the refrozen slush ruts, the Goat was pliable, comfortable, moderately grippy, but not energetic in turn transitions. When I took it through the short pitch between some trees or on the edge of a mostly unskied pitch, the Gotama was so comfortable that it totally mellowed the transitions from crunchy wintry bumps to the patches of grainy fluff in the troughs. Although the ski was sluggish in the bumpy, fluffy transitions, it was totally predictable and manageable. The thought that immediately crossed my mind when skiing these (admittedly bad for fat ski) conditions, was that skiing the Gotama was like a Sunday afternoon ride on the sofa following a few brews………….. nothing bothered me.

Atomic Sugar Daddy 183
Hmmmm….no dead trees, no titanal, not an overbearingly stiff flex, yet this ski has edge grip that few fat skis can equal. The incredible grip is nice, but it’s the light weight and fairly straight shape that make it my winner for these conditions. The Sugar rails as well as the Mantra, yet it is more damp. It is nearly as smooth and manageable as the Gotama in the rough/fluff transitions, but is more nimble. That nimbleness made the Sugar the equal of the Mantra in short turns on the hard, groomers but the straighter shape made it less headstrong and easier to transition in the rougher off trail stuff. Skiing over the frozen slush rut minefield, the softer forebody of the ski feels a little fluttery but the body of the SD is amazingly solid. A couple of weeks back, the Gotama beat out the Sugar as my powder ski of choice. If today’s conditions were thrown into the mix, this would be a harder decision. I have a lot of miles on the SD, and naturally, that has an effect on my conclusions but if I had to choose a fat ski to be on all day on this day, the Sugar Daddy is the one.

Atomic edge grip……..how dey do dat?????????

SJ
post #2 of 13
In regards to this bit about the Mantra:

"Skiing across re-frozen slush ruts was a severe test of dampening and stability. In those conditions, the ski was shaken by the rough refrozen slush ruts and did not inspire confidence. In a narrow shot between the trees with sprouting moguls and patches of soft stuff in the troughs, the Mantra was alternately grippy on the hard snow, and a bit hooky in patches of grainy fluff. The shape pretty much dictated the agenda. This week in these rough wintry conditions, I would not have chosen this ski to be on all day."

Precisely my opinion! And the main reason mine are going up on the block.

I just bought a pair of the AK King Salmons and they seem to alleviate this "flaw" in the Mantra.

I was at Kirkwood on Saturday and when a narrow traverse began to get clusterf@#ked with people, I ducked off into the re-frozen slush ruts and whipped through 'em like it was no thang. I would never have even considered it on the Mantras. That's the main thing I'm really digging about the King Salmon, is that it instills/inspires confidence in me on terrain that the Mantra made me hesitant. Cirquerider and X-Eastcoaster seem to agree that it's the more even flex throughout of the ski. I don't know what it is, just that I feel more confident ripping on "difficult" terrain like you mentioned as opposed to when I was riding my Mantras.

Thanks for the reviews, Jim!
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Dook:

I'm not sure if it's the flex, maybe the straighter shape, or better dampening that you are feeling. Could just be all three. I have a pr of Hellcats for a couple of weeks and will giving them a wring out starting tomorrow. They have buckets of shape on a wide body but they are also very damp. It'll be interesting to see how they (I) do.

Unfortunately........there may not be as much rough stuff available to test 'em on......DRAT!!............

SJ
post #4 of 13
I own Mantras and Sugar Daddys, and have skied your 08 Gotamas. I think your experience moving the mounting position back on the Mantras is pretty well accepted as the way to quiet and stabilize this ski, but its still tough to overcome the effect of all that sidecut. The SDs have become my daily ski since mid January, and there are not very many conditions I don't find them comfortable, although, I enjoyed the rounder turn and forgiveness of the Gotama in anything but rock hard conditions. With a little luck, we will never have a hard icy day and I could use the SDs or Gotamas and never consider a carver.

Very interesting series of reviews and analysis of why these skis shape and construction contribute to the way they handle.
post #5 of 13
Agree sidecut of the Mantra affects the handling, but recall that the Goats have the same turning radii at each length, and the same basic layout philosophy (wrapped sensorwood core, metal).

To me, it's all about that metallic ping Mantras make when you hit them edge to edge - they're thin, stiff, not very damp - and that makes them harsh on hardpack or in stiff chop, compared to the other skis.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
The fatties go skating………………

but if I had to choose a fat ski to be on all day on this day, the Sugar Daddy is the one.

Atomic edge grip……..how dey do dat?????????

SJ
Thanks for the great review!

If you had to be on one ski, all day, of any form that day, what would it have been?
post #7 of 13
^^Ping?

I always thought of it more along the lines of a clank or the sound that two slabs of either slate or granite make when slapped together.

As for the difference between the Mantras (and I'm riding what I believe are the 1st gen gray ones) and the King Salmons, it may very well be the dampness. They don't list the turning radius on the AK website, but list the contruction and dimensions (sandwich construction, vertical laminate wood core, Dual sheets of Hyper-Carbon, phenol sidewalls, PTex 6000 bases and dimensions of 125-94-115). They're lacking any of the metal of the Mantra, that's for sure.

Both Cirque and X-EC seemed to think (and this was just based on them looking that the ski when we rode together last weekend) had less sidecut than the Mantra. I think you might be onto something with the dampness, though. They also seem to have a little more spring/pop than the Mantra (my buddy's hedge is that's due to Aldo's race background). Whatever the case may be, they have what I found missing in the Mantra.

Interested in the Hellcat review, so keep 'em coming!
post #8 of 13
I agree about the lack of dampness on hard and irregular snow conditions with the mantra. The metallic clank and shrieking that goes on when skiing on hard ruts or coral reef is very unnerving and gives the sensation that the ski isn't holding a line very well. However, once you start to ignore the skis howling protestations, all the grip and stability you need is actually there. And actually they were much more confident feeling on hardpack at speed. For me, getting used to these took a little bit, as it was hard to really let the ski run when I was unsure how stable it would be. But after I just let them go, I love this ski in almost all conditions so far (haven't had them in real deep pow or true eastern ice yet)

BTW i am 6'1, 200 lbs on a 184 red 06/07mounted at the line (wanted to use these east and west, so this seemed to be the best mount for that.) I kind of wish I went with a railflex so I could mess around with the mounting position, but I'll have to stick with the tried and true look/rossi binder for now.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
Agree sidecut of the Mantra affects the handling, but recall that the Goats have the same turning radii at each length, and the same basic layout philosophy (wrapped sensorwood core, metal).

To me, it's all about that metallic ping Mantras make when you hit them edge to edge - they're thin, stiff, not very damp - and that makes them harsh on hardpack or in stiff chop, compared to the other skis.
The TR is similar but there is no metal in the Goat. The Mantra surely turns like it has a very tight sidecut and this possibly contributes to the hookish feeling. It is also perhaps too stiff (especially torsionally) and the dampening seems.........well......."thin, stiff, harsh, not so damp" says it very well.

The Goat is simply smoother, far more damp, and much less demanding.....OH!! and no clanking......

SJ
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
Thanks for the great review!

If you had to be on one ski, all day, of any form that day, what would it have been?
One ski??................................:

Welllllll.........OK.......As of now 3-28-07....8:30 PM PST and subject to change at any second......: .....The Mythic is the ski. This is reinforced after today's bashing around in the windpack, coral heads, and drifts at Sugar Bowl.

But you probably meant among the fatties. Among the fatties, the race narrows back up somewhat because the Sugar beats out the Goat on the rough stuff and the bumps. If it ABSOLUTELY HAD TO BE one of the fatties, I think it'd be the Gotama because it does what I need a fat ski to do more easily and I could live with the rest.

SJ
post #11 of 13

Confused about Goat's innards

SierraJim, I'm seriously confused. : Here is the text of an exchange between me and Volkl in early 04:

(me) > I own last year's Gotama, curious about the construction of the Karma. I assume a torsion box three way wrap, but unclear from your description what role the Titanal plays. Just runs along the edges? Entire length? Does it significantly stiffen flex, as in other skis? Last year\'s Gotama is a great ski, but quite soft.

(Volkl) >The construction of the Karma is basically the same as the Gotama. The titanal is only used for the top edges - no the entire top sheet. The Gotama was stiffened for this year by adding additional fiberglass and the titanal top edges.
--
(Volkl) >Thank you for your interest in Volkl.

I've also heard from authoritative sources that the Goat's metal is "spring steel." Can someone here clear this up? Is this about additional changes since 05?
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
B:

What I can tell you for sure is this, the called out drill size is 3.6mm. I have drilled a couple of pairs myself this year and several of last years...... no metal anywhere in the drill contact areas. There is also no metal visible on the top edges.

So...

Titanal top edges?.....maybe, but they would have to be recessed inboard from the fiberglass that is visible at the juncture of the topsheet and sidewall. This would be a bit of a production boondoggle and counterproductive to any realistic goal for a metal top edge that I can think of.

Spring steel?....again maybe but certainly nothing in the top 10mm of ski that I can see. Of course, it is certainly possible to put a layer of metal on the bottom only of a ski but that is not often done as it creates unequal shearing within a torsion box.

So...... metal or not? Maybe, maybe not, but heck who cares? For what I want at least, this ski is best in class for me.

SJ
post #13 of 13
Calling Squaretail.....(does he post here?)

The second year Goats, 04-05, had metal top edges put in. I believe this was to combat the blown out sidewalls. I've got a pair of the 04-05s, which have the wood sidewalls, and you can see the metal.

Starting in 05-06, I think the wood sidewall was discontinued and a little more sidecut was introuduced.

BTW...I like my Goats. This last weekend I was on my 190 Explosivs and at first was wishing I had the Goats, until I re-discovered the sweet spot on the Explosivs. Both are excellent in the corn/crud.
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