I’m new to the forum, but like many others, I’ve been reading it for a while, and spent a lot of time in it recently trying to decide on my next ski’s. After many hours, I realized that most “compare this with that” questions have already been asked/answered so I used all those threads to narrow my choices. Now I’m in the demo stage and thought I’d join and add some thoughts about a few different ski’s.
Me: 5’9”, 145lbs (summer) to 150lbs (winter). 51 yr old, high7 or 8, strong skier that started at the Big Mnt when I was 20 then moved to Flagstaff for a few years of the Snowbowl, then moved to Denver where I get 15++ days of downhill per season. I’m a bike racer in the "other season" and I also ski AT/randonee for hut trips or when I get tired of the I-70 traffic here in Colorado. I’d love to pick my days and only ski powder, but work doesn’t allow – so I take the conditions I get on weekends. My preference is back-side and trees but front side with forays into moguls for the fun of pushing myself is inevitable. I want something that SierraJim would call a tweener, and from all the reviews, I’m favoring the Mantra, the Mythic Rider, the Head IM 88 and Mojo 90 (older version) or 94.
If I have learned one thing from pouring over this forum and all the great product comparisons, it’s that I need to demo, so I am. This is my contribution (so far).
Current/recently owned quiver:
K2 Apache Outlaw 177cm 124-88-111. Real damp, not quick edge-to-edge, most excellent in crud, good in powder. Not torsionally rigid – put on edge and try a somewhat tight turn on groomers and it skips/hops real bad. Heavy. Very stable in crud, big sweet spot. Sold recently to look for something good at what this is good at but better than what it is bad at – a little less damp with a bit more “feedback”, a bit lighter, as good in crud, better in trees and casual bump runs, mostly better on the front side (I hate that chatter/skip when I put it on edge).
Volkl Karma 177cm 119-87-111. Softer and less ski than the Mantra (see below). Fun but a bit squirrely. Not enough ski there for my preference. Chatters on a hard edge. I bought these used/cheap on a whim and will probably keep them and convert them to AT when my Kehua’s need replacing as my randonee ski’s
Salomon XScream 187cm 106-68-96 Great slalom type ski, best for front side, OK in foot high powder. Good at tighter turns. Aggressive feedback, high speed rip stick on the front side of the mountain. Harder work in the trees, smaller sweet spot (no back seat laziness with this ski…). Will keep these for lousy condition or front-side only skiing (the occasional obligatory ski day with newbies that are scared to go off-piste).
Fischer Kehua 177cm 127-92-118 Set up for AT, light, squirrely in chowder or > 4” crud and broken snow. Soft, not a lot of feedback. Great for touring, real easy to maneuver on tight trails and in trees, float well enough in powder.
Demo’ed so far:
Mantra in 177, 07/08 version(white background, red graphics) – Demoed at Loveland on 1/1 – Wind blown hard pack, hard chunky crud, some coralhead surfaces, no recent new snow (not the best day for a demo, but there I was).
Ski did well in trees (softer snow) and OK in moguls with work – surprised me at how easy it was in the trees. They would quickly come around and go where I wanted them to go. On moguls and hard hard-packed steeps (western boilerplate), I needed to give the ski attention to drive quick turns, but once the edge engaged, it swung around nicely. Where I found it, the ski was wonderful on two to four inches of wind blown “powder” over hard-pack.
One negative - Put them up on edge on a hard and tight radius turn (avoiding a sudden obstacle like a 10 yr old that suddenly turns in front of you as my son did) and like the K2 Apache Outlaw, it chattered/skipped on me.
Overall, a bit more lively than the Outlaw, a little less tolerant of lazy skiing than the Outlaw with a smaller sweet spot. Better ski for me than the Outlaw, not as heavy, a bit quicker edge-to-edge, a bit more spunk and return for the effort. No real powder that day but I suspect the two skis will be similar there. The Outlaw is a bit more stable in chunky hard crud, but that isn’t to say the Mantra was bad. The Outlaw is like a big 4X4 truck plowing through (“outta my way, punk!) versus the Mantra was like an Infiniti FX35 (move! Or not and I’ll zip around you!)
[FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']I’m out on the Mythic Rider this Sunday and will add to this thread after that. There are a couple of good deals out there on last year’s Mythic, so if I really like them, I may jump on one of those deals (in 177cm). More later.[/font]