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Mantra love

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Disclosures: I'm a Volkl fanboi. Ever since I tried the G4 years ago I've been a convert. Despite skiing many offerings from many other brands, I consistently come back to Volkl's as having the perfect feel of a ski for my style. I’m also 6’1”, 240lbs, strong but a bit out of shape, and grew up racing in high school with pretty good technique.

So, I've been on G4’s, 724 Pros, 6stars, Superspeeds and, now, AC4's for the last 2 years and I was curious what all the ballyhoo was about the Mantras. I've wanted to try them for a few years, but always worried that the width underfoot would get in the way of hammering through everything but deep fresh, day old fluff and chowder.
I love the AC4's for the SUV race ski that they are (no, I'm not saying they're a race ski. I was on race skis for years prior to the G4’s. But, they have the stability, edge hold, and kick of a GS ski with that extra an SUV). But, I digress...

On Saturday at Vail I wanted a fatter ski for the foot+ of fresh snow that fell. I took out a pair of Nordica Enforcer Superchargers in a 177 (Mantras were checked out of every store in town) Nice float, fairly substantial ski that handles speed well, can carve if you really lay it on edge and angulate like hell in a long GS turn. Enough flex that they're forgving in crud and bumps if you need to ski them. I liked 'em...didn't love 'em. Would have preferred my AC4's if not for the extra float the fatter-waisted Nordica provided on this particularly deep day. The Enforcer also has an odd habit of being hooky in weird points of a turn. They were also difficult to rail GS turns on and had a weird feeling that the tail would release too early to feel like I was on a stable rail at high speeds. A lot of slippage…and I don’t usually scrub any speed washing out my tails on GS length turns.

Enter: the Mantra. (177cm)
The conditions: Day old cut-up fluff, some heavier fresh lines, and minimal chowder from the previous day’s snowfall.
Oh my god do these things rip. After my experirene on the Enforcer the day before, I wanted to take a cruiser on these to make sure I had a good idea where the edges were and how to get them to rail. While I struggled to find my happy place on the Enforcer for the entire day before (not that I wasn’t giddy about the conditions and day in general), it took me all of 10 seconds to start arcing big, g-force pumping GS turns on the Mantra. The ski required a slightly wider race stance and a bit more angulation and hip motion to get the edges to bite…but, oh mama did they ever bite. What was supposed to be a warm-up or two on cruisers turned into a blazing 20 seconds of super-G turns heading down to mid-Vail from chair 2. They hold speed impressively well, report just enough terrain to keep me informed but not overly concerned, and provide that lovable Volkl snap out of each turn that I find so addictive. I skipped the warm-up. There was no need. I was immediately comfortable on these puppies. Off to the bowls.
In the bowls, the Mantras ate-up soft-pillows of fluff, manky early-morning freeze-over and hidden bumps like nothing I have ever skied. The ski is stiff enough that I can count on them to hold their line and power though whatever situation I throw them in, but soft enough in the tip that transitioning snow conditions and bumps are fun…and only fun. I can virtually turn my brain off and ski with abandon. I skied GS turns through powder bumps, the Mantras were perfectly damp, stable and responsive. I skied untracked day old lines in Mongolia, the float was perfect. I hammered down bump lines on Ricky’s Ridge…faster, more confident and more stable than I have ever skied bumps…ever. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been on the stiff and somewhat unforgiving AC4 (wary of getting kicked back in bumps), but I have never felt so smooth and comfortable barreling down a bump field like I did on Sunday. I hate bumps. HATE them. I loved them on Sunday. I found myself gravitating toward bump lines just to mow through another tasty line like butter. And, this wasn’t just on the soft stuff in the back. On my way back to Lionshead at the end of the day I found myself skiing the relatively icy bump patches like “Preserve” that I usually think are miserable. This ski does everything. On a day with majority harder snow and groomers, I’d probably still take my AC4s for the race-tanks that they are. But, on any other day, from day old fluff, to crud, to corn, the Mantra is King.
As for the length debate, the 177 is long enough and enough ski that I never felt unstable. I liked the length for maneuverability in trees and on bumps. However, because the ski wants to be driven straighter with high edge angles, I could see where the 184 would be an asset for taking a more direct, longer (long GS) arc. There would be added stability at speed. There would also be slightly more float. I’m a big dude and the 177 provided adequate float. However, I did get a little too far on top of them at one point in the deeper snow and the tip did dive. As expected, it’s a personal choice, but for an all-around ski, the 177 is more versatile to me.

Ps. I’ve read that the Enforcer has more sidecut than the Mantra. Logically, the Enforcer should be easier to get on edge rail on packed snow. In my experience these two days, it just wasn’t true. The Mantra out performed the Enforcer in every possible way. Maybe it’s just how Volkl’s match up with my technique, but that’s my experience and I’m sticking with it.
post #2 of 15
The Mantra is a great ride-glad you enjoyed em-I pretty much reach for mine everytime, except for early season hardpack.

One of my fav things about them is how they give great stabilty while being so light

I would love to try the Gots as well-not that my Mantras were unable to rip in thigh deep pow last week.
post #3 of 15
Having already posted in another Mantra thread, I gotta say this: How can a heavy skier like that length of Mantra? I used a demo today in 170 cm length, and at 5'8" and 165 pounds after breakfast - and being a skier of modest strength and ability - The 170 cm length worked very well (this was NOT a real off piste test - I used them primarily on hardpack). So, how can someone who is 75 pounds heavier than I find happiness in the 177 cm length? But such a skier DOES find such happiness! That convinces me that the 170 cm length is a great place to start, and if they are fun off piste (tomorrow at Mad River Glen) I guess that's as long as I should go.
post #4 of 15
oboe: 170 is very very short for a freeride ski if you're a guy.. I'm lighter than you and I would definitely not go shorter than 177.. Mnemosyne's lobotomy's weight must be damaged or he is not capable of knowing a good powder ski
post #5 of 15
I'm 5'10" and weigh about 175. The 184 Mantras work great in all the ways Mnemosyne described. Friends who had 177s are now on 184s. Today, I had them in fairly tight trees with variable 5" to 20" powder, billows of drifts, and some crud - big smile all day. My 2 cents.
post #6 of 15
I'm 5'9", 175lb and prefer the 177s. In my opinion, they're more versatile at that length... slightly quicker edge to edge, definitely more user friendly in the bumps, slightly shorter turn radius, quicker to turn in tight spaces and in the deep stuff there is no difference. Just my 2 cents.
post #7 of 15

Mantra's. What length? What binding lift?

I'm 5'11" 165Lb very aggressive skier who likes to rip through the chop. Been skiing most all my 37 years of life. Is it unrealistic to even question the 184cm over the 177cm? I used to prefer a 210cm GS board. I would appreciate any well versed "expert" feedback. thanks.
post #8 of 15

mantra binding risers.

Any opinion on using my existing markers with 30mm rise as opposed to buying the lower rise of the "Marker Airpad". Does anyone happen to know what the lift is on the Marker Airpad bindings?
post #9 of 15
thanks. When its good it's usually windy and snowing hard so wide open high speed bowls are out of the question and depth of field the trees are a must. I just like to fly but I guess realisticly I'm not going to be able to do that a better percentage of the time.
post #10 of 15

Mantra 177

I have a pair of 177 brand new mantra that I would like to either trade for the 184's or sell. $540.00 and you pay shipping. PM me with any questions. Thanks
post #11 of 15

184 vs 177 Mantra's

I'm 6', 220lbs and skied the 184's for a week at Whistler/Blackcomb in mid-January in all the conditions described. For me, all the accolades described for the 177's I found true for the 184's. I had no problem negotiating trees, bumps, chutes and bowls. Definately a great ski and I would not want to go shorter. I hope to demo a pair of Goats to compare.

Falcon_O aka Charlie
post #12 of 15
I just picked up a new pair of 07/08 Mantras - 184 and had an opportunity to break them in at Beaver Creek with about 9-14" of freshies. For those of you familiar with the Beav testing was done on Strawberry Park, Larkspur, Grouse Mountain, Birds of Prey, Lower Rose Bowl and the Stone Creek Shutes. I am 6'1 215lbs and mounted them with Salomon STH16s 1.5cm back to give them an edge in softer snow.

These things absolutely dominated. All of the previous postitive comments are right on. They are very mangeable in bumbs and make great GS turns on groomers. Fast = stable on the Mantra. They truly shine in soft snow and especially crud and broken soft snow. I had first tracks on 9" and at speed I experienced zero tip dive. I do think going 1.5cm back on the mounting point helped a bit here. Absolutely amazing.

I am a resort skiier who will do a very rare sidecountry or backcountry trip and these babies abolutely rule. I thought of going to the 191 but I think that will reduce the versatility of the Mantra as a resort ski, especially in bumps.

Sick ski, highly recommended.
post #13 of 15
FWIW, I'm 5'10" 165 lbs and have been skiing the 184 Mantra for 3 seasons

I think Mantra is an easy ski to ski "long"
post #14 of 15

Think I'll follow Sqeaky's lead...

Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel View Post
FWIW, I'm 5'10" 165 lbs and have been skiing the 184 Mantra for 3 seasons

I think Mantra is an easy ski to ski "long"
Good to hear. I'm about to make the jump to Mantras. I'm 5'8", 160lbs, used to race as a kid, skied 203 P9's (still have an unmounted set if anyone wants!)
and I've been on the fence over the 184 or 177 length.

I think I'm gonna go 184.
post #15 of 15
I tried the 191 and in the tigter spaces and bumps I found it to be a lot of ski. I might also take my fat ass to the gym and reverse engineer myself into my shorter ski.
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