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Thinking about buying Mantras and... what?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hey all, before I ask my question, a bit about me:
- 5'10", 180 lbs
- 28 years old, skiing pretty consistently since I was 8
- Live in the Bay Area so I ski Tahoe almost exclusively
- Very aggressive skier
- Right now on ancient Dynastar SkiCross 66 178s

I'm pretty set on buying a pair of Volkl Mantras after skiing a few powder days on the '07s. Even though I could probably get a better pure powder ski I feel like these fit Tahoe conditions well. They were totally usable on groomers but I didn't love them there; everywhere else I had a great time. I tried 177s and they seemed to fit well so I'd probably stick with that length.

I'm looking to round out my collection with an all-mountain ski for days when there's no fresh snow. I like to ski moguls when they're around and I need to get through the Tahoe crud. A ski that can carve as well would be nice but I can sacrifice on that a bit since groomer days bore me anyway (yes, I'm a snob).

I demo'd a pair of Nordica Speedmachine Mach 3 170s this weekend and had a lot of fun on the groomers and did ok in the hard bumps but there was no crud to play in. A co-worker recently tried the Nordica Jet Fuels and loved them so I'll probably give them a shot as well.

Anyone have some other ideas on skis I should be looking at?
Thanks!
post #2 of 26
LOTS of good skis out there.

Definitely take a look at 178 Dynastar Mythic Riders.

I have Mantras, Mythic Riders & Mach 3s and weigh 160.

I prefer the Mythics to the Mantras in most conditions and the Mythics have become my daily ski.

Mach 3 is a superb scare-the-gapers-go-fast carving ski but is fairly useless in powder/crud because it's too stiff.

I've tried the Jet Fuel and like them too, but are a bit too stiff and demanding for my tastes. You may prefer the Nordica Afterburner which is a Jet Fuel without metal and feels similar to the Mythic.
post #3 of 26
Another vote for Nordicas. The Top Fuel or Jet Fuel kick ass and would make a great all mtn ski. I own the Head Monster im78's and love those as well. Very damp, stable ski, and a great crud buster. I think it would be a great 2-ski quiver with the Mantra.
post #4 of 26
Quote:
I'm looking to round out my collection with an all-mountain ski for days when there's no fresh snow.
Are you looking for this ^^^ ski to go with the Mantras or is this what you plan to use the Mantras for?

I guess I'm not sure if you want to buy one ski or two. If it is one, the Mantra is a reasonable choice depending upon your preferences. If you want to buy two, IMO neither one should be a Mantra.

SJ
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
Are you looking for this ^^^ ski to go with the Mantras or is this what you plan to use the Mantras for?

I guess I'm not sure if you want to buy one ski or two. If it is one, the Mantra is a reasonable choice depending upon your preferences. If you want to buy two, IMO neither one should be a Mantra.

SJ
I agree. I thought OP was looking for one ski, but on re-read it's unclear to me as well.

If two skis, he can do a lot better than Mantra for pow
post #6 of 26
I just got my Mantras with marker griffon bindings. Im 5'11" 215 and i love them. you have to push them a little bit but i still like them. great all around ski. hold on Northeast ice and work great for powder and crud. Im also an aggesive skier and and can get the right around and flying. =) they are incredible!
post #7 of 26

ELAN

Don't forget about the Elan 999 and 888.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel View Post
I agree. I thought OP was looking for one ski, but on re-read it's unclear to me as well.

If two skis, he can do a lot better than Mantra for pow
Sorry to be unclear, I am looking for two skis. I was liking the Mantra because it was good in powder and other Tahoe conditions, but it sounds like you're suggesting looking for a better powder ski since I want to get a second all-mountain ski?
post #9 of 26
Yeah, the Mantra is kind of a "jack of all trades" ski and would work well for most conditions. They will be narrow for deep days and heavy snow, and wide for hardpack, but good everywhere else. Assuming your current skis are working for you on days without fresh snow (that they do bumps, chalky snow, corn, and groomers well) then you will want something on the other end of the spectrum to handle deeper snow. Maybe something a little wider, such as a Gotama, Argos, Blower, Huge Trouble? There isn't anything wrong with the Mantra, and in many places it would be the widest ski that one would need, but Tahoe is noted for heavy, wet snow, and alot of it. I would much rather take my Huge Trouble over a Mantra on a deep snow day here in Oregon, and our snow is generally better quality than what you get. My buddy who was on Mantras couldn't keep up with me on my Huge Trouble last year, on a day with 16" plus new.
post #10 of 26
The mantra is more of a fat all mtn ski than a powder ski. It's too stiff to be good in pow or moguls. As SJ says, if you're looking for a 2 quiver ski, you'd probably be better with something else. For a wider powder specific ski, there are many other better choices.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard View Post
The mantra is more of a fat all mtn ski than a powder ski. It's too stiff to be good in pow or moguls. As SJ says, if you're looking for a 2 quiver ski, you'd probably be better with something else. For a wider powder specific ski, there are many other better choices.


too stiff???


that sucker can bend!
post #12 of 26
Revision-- is to stiff for moguls.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the feedback. I'll do some more research!
post #14 of 26
I have been skiing the Mantra for the past 3 seasons. They are a very good ski, but as Dawg said, a jack of all trades. In soft snow, they get hooky and have some tip dive; but, for their size, are great carvers in the hardpack. Due to Jim's review, I just bought the Blizzrard Argos and will test them out next week in Kicking Horse- hope this high pressure system starts to break up!

My everyday ski is the Dynastar 8000. A great ski for those low snow days.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by seattle_sun View Post
Due to Jim's review, I just bought the Blizzrard Argos and will test them out next week in Kicking Horse- hope this high pressure system starts to break up!
You are going to kill me, but this high pressure ridge has been sent from heaven, just for me! I can't ski due to March as a result of recent surgery, but I sure can ride my bike! Hoping to be back doing 2-3 hours road rides by next week. Snow-yuk, at least until March Low 60's today in Bend!
post #16 of 26
Well I'm glad that some of us are enjoying it! I was thinking of skiing this Wed, but I might have to bring out my golf clubs instead!
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tahoeJ View Post
Sorry to be unclear, I am looking for two skis. I was liking the Mantra because it was good in powder and other Tahoe conditions, but it sounds like you're suggesting looking for a better powder ski since I want to get a second all-mountain ski?
Does "other Tahoe conditions" equal corn, mash potatoes, wind buff and creamy wet sierra cement, but not hard snow?

How important is the "other Tahoe Condition" performance versus powder performance for the bigger of the 2 skis?
post #18 of 26
I live in Tahoe, ski an average of 3 days a week, and it ain't snowed in a while and a half. Right now, conditions are firm groomerz (duh!) and widely variable conditions in the off trail. This is not all that unusual for Tahoe. So whatta-yado?

For the last three weeks (figure 7 ski days in that period) I have for the most part been grabbing skis in the 84-94mm range. Depending upon the ski, they have mostly been a good fit for the conditions. These skis all (to varying degrees) gave adequate grip on the hard groomers and the frozen sun cup/cottage cheese in the off piste. They all were predictable and stable. While they varied in personality traits, any of these skis could make a good choice as a daily driver for almost anyone. Depending upon your tastes, the Volkl Mantra might fit this category although, (at least for me) it is among my least favorite skis in this general width category. In any case, I think a Western skier needs something in this category of ski.

To go with this ski, a more soft snow oriented ski makes a great second pair. This could be anything that takes your individual fancy but IMO, in general the Volkl Mantra is not a good fit here as it is just not a great soft snow ski. Some will say that this ski choice needs to be very wide, possibly reverse reverse, or..... (whatever) Others may say that a more conventional ski in a wider width (say 100-110mm) is plenty wide enough.

Whatever..........................

SJ
post #19 of 26
A lot of good advice here, but having skied Mantras a fair amount at Tahoe, will take another stance.

If you can get up there easily, and take advantage of the days after a big dump, or go hiking, and like skiing powder and the backsides, then definitely go with something wide, like a Huge Trouble or P4 or such, and a wide carver in the 72-78 range. All good.

But look at Tahoe right now. Not a lot of pow, huh? So if you can't get there except when work allows, and it might or might not be right after a dump, and you don't just want to carve blue runs, IMO a Mantra will take care of business better than a fatter, softer ski. It slays crud, it's really fun hiking/traversing to trees and tight spaces with uncut snow because of the taper (tail can smear better than most skis, big sidecut makesd them super easy to swing around), and it's quite competent in softer bumps. And from everything I've seen, heard, read, it's better than any fatter ski mentioned on groomed or hardpack. No it's not a carver, and it's not a GS, and it's not happy on ice or in icy bumps. Nor is it my first choice in knee top powder (which I've skied on Mantras). But it's more versatile than any of the other fat skis mentioned. So your original model (Mantra and a 68-72 carver) could hold up well if you have constraints on when and where you ski...Just my .02
post #20 of 26
Jjthere are lots of goodjj skis out there. You should jj look around. Jj. I wouldn't get the Mantras jj. Yawn. Boring. Jj.

Know what I mean? Jj

Jj

I hear the gang jj at Armada has a mildly interesting ski jj. Check it outjj.
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StormDay View Post
Does "other Tahoe conditions" equal corn, mash potatoes, wind buff and creamy wet sierra cement, but not hard snow?

How important is the "other Tahoe Condition" performance versus powder performance for the bigger of the 2 skis?
I guess the best way to say it is that I'm looking for 2 skis to get me through typical Tahoe conditions. I'd like to have a really good powder ski and then the other ski should fill in the gaps as much as possible; I'm willing to sacrifice a groomer oriented ski since they're kind of boring to me.

I have a good sense for which powder skis I want to check out (Gotama & Pro Rider) but I'm pretty overwhelmed by the all-mountain options. So I'm mainly looking for suggestions for a Tahoe ski to use when the powder ski isn't appropriate.

Am I starting to make sense?
thanks everyone!
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tahoeJ View Post
I guess the best way to say it is that I'm looking for 2 skis to get me through typical Tahoe conditions. I'd like to have a really good powder ski and then the other ski should fill in the gaps as much as possible; I'm willing to sacrifice a groomer oriented ski since they're kind of boring to me.

I have a good sense for which powder skis I want to check out (Gotama & Pro Rider) but I'm pretty overwhelmed by the all-mountain options. So I'm mainly looking for suggestions for a Tahoe ski to use when the powder ski isn't appropriate.

Am I starting to make sense?
thanks everyone!
Yes, you are making sense. The Gotama will be pretty good ski when the snow is soft.

For a mix of hard snow, crud and corn day, I think something with good edge hold and that is good in crud would be an excellent choice.

178 Stockli SS Pro 89mm waist version 08 or earlier. It was also called XXXL last year. There are couple on ebay right now.

I'm skiing a 188cm Stockli SS Pro as my hard snow ski this year. It was pretty ideal for the conditions last weekend. Firm groomers in the morning, corn midday and some moguls to get in and out of things. The tips are a little softer than underfoot part of the ski. So mogul are not a problem.


I think the Stockli SS Pro would give you enough condition range, that you could even look at a more powder specific ski for the other ski. Something 110+mm under foot.
post #23 of 26
I'd add the Blizzard Titan Argos to your list of mid-fats. I was split between that and the 07/08 LP's. I ended up going with the LP's just because I found a great deal on a pair. And for what it's worth, this years LP's, from what I've read, are quite a bit softer than previous years. So you may want to take that into consideration when you demo them.

As for all-mountain options, I still stand by the Head im78's though I know I haven't demo'd as many as Jim or Scott. I know I love mine and they make a great 2-ski quiver with the 186 LP.
post #24 of 26
Tahoej:

1. spend some time reading the ski mags' Gear issues (Powder, Freeskier, Skiing, Ski) and get an idea of a few planks you might be interested in based on reviews and stats.

2. demo. Granted nobody is going to demo you a fat twin at this juncture in Tahoe (i went to demo some Moment Ruby's at Sports Exchange in Truckee and they said they weren't letting them out until there was more coverage). But you can at least demo some 80-90ish planks during this time and test 'em out on cali ice and groomer conditions.

3. As a Tahoe skier predominantly (with long excursions of a week or more at a stretch to Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming), I have 2 skis in my regular rotation quiver:

Lib-Tech NAS, 188cm, 93/99mm waist. This is my "everyday" ski at the moment. It seems to handle the icy conditions we've been having about as well as any of my previous "everyday" skis (Blizzard Titan 9, Volkl Mantra, Volkl Karma, AK King Salmon).

Volant Spatula, 185cm, 125mm waist. This is my powder ski.


I would say if you are looking for a 2-ski quiver for Tahoe then look at something in the 80-99mm waist for the everyday ski and then something 115 - 140mm waist for the powder.

A lot of my friends who ride Cali, Colo, and Utah rock the 179 or 188 PM Gear Bro (99mm waist) and then a fat, rockered/reverse camber ski like the Praxis for powder.


PS to Beyond:

As somebody who has owned Mantras and loved 'em (still ruing that i sold them and that i never tried the 184), i have to say that my Lib Techs totally out-perform the Mantras on the groomers and the ice by lightyears. The Mantras were definitely solid all-around, specifically in crud, that's for sure, but a bit skittish on the hard pack for my taste.
post #25 of 26
Listen to SierraJim and then try out the skis that interest you. I was between the LP's and Gotama's las season, bought the LP's in 186 and love them. I tried the 184's this year and they were also great, a little wider, a little softer so easier to turn if you're in trees and better in powder but still a solid ski.

I also have the Mythic Riders in 184. I think this is similar to the Mantra. To be honest I only ski these now if I am touring (they have touring bindings on). If I'm off piste (most of the time) I want the LP's which are better in everything except moguls and tight trees, If the snow's really crap or I'm skiing with family/friends who want to stay on the piste I want piste oriented and less demanding. The Mythic Riders aren't, I also tried the Volkl AC50's and these aren't either - I think these are both 1 quiver skis if you can only have 1 ski and want something that will get by anywhere. The best "go everywhere" piste ski I tried was the Stockli Rotor (76cm waist) last year. I also tried the Dynastar contact groove (great short and medium turn piste ski - based on a slalom ski) and Dyna 4*4 (carves medium radius turns but too stiff and therefore too 1 track pony for me - based on GS ski).

Good luck!
post #26 of 26
my two-ski quiver for Tahoe as per your request of not focusing on groomer performance would be along the lines of

New snow days = Hybrid = Praxis Protest, Rossi S7, ARG, Next year's Maven (this year's Maven is too soft for sierra snow, imo. Next year's will likely be stiffer.) Anyway, something hybrid. Pretty hard to go wrong with any of them on new snow days. The gotama is too small, imo. It is more of an all mountain ski these days. I have it and rarely ski it anymore.

For everything else, I'd get a 90ish wood-core ski with a tr of around 25.

Line is trying a new "skate deck" construction for next year... sounds really interesting for soft snow skis, imo. I would especially be interested in seeing that construction with a Maven/S7/ARGish shape.

My 3 ski quiver = Jet Fuel, Gotama, Maven. (the Gotamas are collecting dust.)
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