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06/07 Volkl Mantra review from an intermediate

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
About me:

6' 6" 185lbs male upper intermediate skier who averages 15-25 days out west per season.

06/07 Volkl Mantra 184cm with Look PX12Ti bindings mounted on center.


I spent 9-13 Dec skiing Summit County of which I spent 3 1/2 days on my Nordica Top Fuels and 1 1/2 days on the Mantra.

I have zero experience reviewing skis so I hope this helps someone and I didn't add it to the current Mantra thread because I wanted to give an intermediates perspective.

I had the skis tuned at Precision Ski in Frisco prior to taking them out and please note that I let them de-tune the tips on the recommendation of a shop employee who said "they'll be a little hooky otherwise".

First 1/2 day on the Mantra was spent skiing afternoon chopped up powder, a few groomers and a few bumps at Loveland and this was my 1st day on snow of the season.

All I can say is WOW!!! It blasted through everything and was as smooth as silk at least where my technique allowed it to be. It also feels and skis much lighter than the Nordica(178cm) although I'm not really sure what each ski actually weighs. Note that the Nordica blasts through everything and while the Mantra will do that as well, it seemed a little more forgiving in the sense that the tips come up quickly when I get off balance(which intermediates are prone to do) and allowed me to regain that balance much faster.

In the soft bumps it felt not quite as stiff as the Nordica which allowed me to complete my crappy bump turns and ALMOST make me look like I knew what I was doing(which I don't). Note that I ski bumps grudgingly and rather slowly.

On the groomers is the only area I had a complaint with the Mantra which I believe was do to the tune. Get any pressure on the front of the boot and the Nordica tip bites right in and propels you in the direction of the turn with confidence. The Mantra wouldn't bite without much more pressure on the tip/front of boot and lacking that would chatter a little which I didn't like. Please note the mention of a de-tuned tip at the beginning of the review as I'm highly confident if this hadn't been done that this complaint would go away.

I spent a full day on the Mantra at Vail skiing knee deep light powder(remember I'm 6'6") off piste and even the groomers had 3 or 4 inches on top of them. Hands down the best ski I've ever been on in these type of conditions and by far the widest(Nordica previous widest).

It floats very well and given the perceived lightness was quick changing directions. On a few of the runs in deeper snow there were bumps underneath the fresh and frankly I barely noticed them on this ski.

I can easily see this as the "one ski quiver" for a western skier and with a tip to tail sharp tune it will be my ski of choice out west given 3 or more inches of fresh snow.

Bottom line is I loved this ski and I'm sure it will be with me for a long time.

I heartily recommend it to good intermediates and above without reservation based on my experience
post #2 of 11
seriousally a huge improvement can be made in your skiing by not banking. In fact your groomer review of this great hardpack ski might be different if you were more on your outside ski.
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
seriousally a huge improvement can be made in your skiing by not banking. In fact your groomer review of this great hardpack ski might be different if you were more on your outside ski.
Agreed - as has been pointed out by others and noticed by myself on my own mantras, this ski has to be skiied aggressively or it won't perform well. Good review though. I'm jealous of the days you've gotten in so far!
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KyndKyd View Post
Agreed - as has been pointed out by others and noticed by myself on my own mantras, this ski has to be skiied aggressively or it won't perform well. Good review though. I'm jealous of the days you've gotten in so far!
Realize I'm an upper intermediate and while I wouldn't characterize my skiing as overly aggressive, I do tend to ski faster than most people at my level.

As I said in the review, I strongly believe that if I hadn't let the shop de-tune the tips and left them sharp that the groomer performance would have been much better for me or anyone else.

I could certainly be wrong about that, but it seems to make sense to me and thanks for the feedback.
post #5 of 11
tips chattering on the groomers?

you're not alone!

this is the one (and only) complaint i've ever heard about the mantra from SEVERAL folks -- including those who are experienced and expert skiers.

i think it probably has to do with ski construction and design -- this ski is definatly not made to ski groomers all day !!!!!!!!!
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgiddyup View Post
As I said in the review, I strongly believe that if I hadn't let the shop de-tune the tips and left them sharp that the groomer performance would have been much better for me or anyone else.
I demoed these in Stowe last week, and I was actually surprised how well they carved on the groomers. I doubt the tune was the reason.

Nice review BTW. How about a review for your Top Fuels?
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TerpSKI View Post
I demoed these in Stowe last week, and I was actually surprised how well they carved on the groomers. I doubt the tune was the reason.

Nice review BTW. How about a review for your Top Fuels?
I'll have the Mantras back out west at the end of the month and will have a tip to tail sharpening done and see if that makes a difference.

As for the Top Fuels, this is my 3rd season on them and they have tremendous grip, steady as they come and couldn't be happier. A bit stiff in bumps would be my only minor complaint but considering the pilots lack of skills I'm VERY pleased with them.
post #8 of 11
Glad you enjoyed your Mantras-I love mine. I have had tip chatter as well, but only when I am skiing too much across the fall line-point em more down hilll and slice the snow and the chatter goes away..

I think they respond better to proper balance/tipping then extreme forward pressure-they are some what noodly after all..on a hard snow day I will grab my All Stars every time..the Mantra is great off piste/pow/crud-and capable on hard snow-just my 2 cents
post #9 of 11
Giddy, I use my Mantras in the true sense of the "one ski quiver". We have had a great early season so far in Utah and I have skied the Mantras every day. The tip chattering issue does not really register but keeping them pointed down hill is a good suggestion. I find that widening my stance on the groomers makes them carve very smoothly. They hold so tight through the crud and I love how they work in the powder. I must admit that I have only tried a few different skis in this catagory - the Head Monster 88 most notabley and while I liked the ski I still like the Mantra better. Today at Snowbasin the Upper Cirque was thigh deep and felt like the Mantras were made expressly for those conditions. You can't go wrong for western snow with the Mantra.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wanted to update this thread as I was able to ski the Mantra in 4-6 inches of fresh at Snowmass today.

Started the day in the aforementioned fresh and skied mostly packed groomers in the afternoon. Had a fresh and SHARP tip to tail tune on them and the tip chatter on the groomers was gone.

While I only have two pairs of skis and the Nordicas are fantastic, the Mantras are my soft snow ski going forward. They just seem to up the "fun" level a notch in soft snow.

On your typical groomer or other packed snow situation the Nordicas hold an edge better and are more predictable.

Please keep in mind that this is coming from an intermediate.
post #11 of 11
when i first started using the mantras during my month in france the first 3 or 4 days i got really annoyed by the skis flapping on the flat pistes, you know the very long french tracks which take you to other areas. the left ski was the worst and i started to be convinced it was the boot.. however, after 4 days my legs where getting stronger and no more flapping occurred. I ski the 184's and what is a definite is that you need leg strength particularly when you ski consecutively every day off piste for a long period of time, i would magine the 177 would be more forgiving, but i dont like shorter skis.
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