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Thread Starter 
I had an opportunity to demo two new skis at Beaver Creek over the last 5 days.

Location: Beaver Creek, CO

Conditions: Arrived at the tail end of a 30" + storm, one day of sunshine, then 12-15 more inches over the next three days. Constant snow. Terrain included shin to waist fresh powder, tons of crud, groomers, and some soft bumps. For those of you farmiliar with the mountain, test was conducted mostly on grouse mountain and upper and lower rosebowl. On and off piste.

Skier profile: 30-40 day a year resort expert skiier, some minimal hiking at resorts. 6'1 / 219 lbs. Heavy agressive skiier.

The Products: 2008 Salomon Sandstorm (180cm) & 2008 Mantra (177). Only options were short for me, I was seeking the 187 Sandstorm and the 184cm Mantra.

Review: Both were excellent resort powder skis. I tested the Sandstorm first. First impression was the ski's weight. For a bigger ski, this thing is light. It would be ideal for those who do a good deal of hiking. On the slopes the Sandstorm is a battleship. It floats effortlessly and absolutely destroys crud. The short length I was on make decent turns of all sizes, really short turns are a good bit of work, that would not be the sandstorms strong point. but the fun began with longer archs. It is extremely stable, especially at higher speeds. Great on groomers too, especially for a such a big ski, great edgehold on ice and firm snow. Great ski for strong agreesive resort powderseekers and anyone looking for a light backcountry ski.

The Volkl Matra (177 cm) Way to short for me in this length, but lots of fun nonetheless. Much better on grooms and hardpack than the Sandstorm, the mantra is a rocket. It felt heavier than the sandstorm, but the stiff flex and wood core made it much more precise feeling. The takeaway from the Mantra was it was amazing manuverable. I could slink it through trees and bumps, it blasted through crud, especially at higher speeds. The 96mm waist was enought to make it a decent powder board as well. No tip dive in waist deep snow at medium to high speeds.

Overall impression was in agreement with much of the Mantra press, this ski is a really versatile offering and is a perfect ski for resort skiiers seeking out the goods. It will take you anywhere at any resort on the planet.

For backcountry folks, I would highly recommend the Sandstorm due to its amazing power to weight ratio.