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Watea 94 vs Mantra

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
6'6"/185

I want to provide the disclaimer that I'm an upper intermediate skier who gets down a lot of advanced/expert terrain and this is my opinion only. This review is not likely to apply to people who ski well all the time.

I jumped on a pair of Nordica Top Fuels(78 waist) the year they came out and love them. Still use them very often to this day.

Last season I wanted to try something wider and bought a pair of Volkl Mantras in a 184. I was lucky enough to experience 16 true powder days last season and due to believing snow reports, I only had the Mantras on 10 of them.

In powder/chowder the extra width of the Mantras was great and made skiing those conditions much less work and more fun. Once things turned to crud or less(read groomers), I missed the Nordica's. For me the Mantras tips flapped all over the place in these conditions and I could never feel comfortable on them even when standing on the front of my boots(tune not the issue). I sold the Mantra in the fall.

Enter the Watea94(almost exact same dimensions as the Mantra). I skied the Watea in powder/chowder/crud/groomers today and while I felt it the equal of the Mantra in powder/chowder, it was far superior(for me) in crud and on the groomers. It was stable and went where I pointed it and it never felt skittish or like it was riding me.

I've spent the last three seasons trying to eliminate equipment as a variable in why I suck and after getting my boots dialed in I'm almost certain I've found a wider ski(not wide) that lets me suck on my own without helping.

Keep in mind the Mantra and Watea are being compared in virtually the same conditions which amounts to excellent rocky mountain snow.

So it looks like I'll be on the Watea in 6" or more and the Nordica for everything else. YMMV
post #2 of 14
Hey Giddyup, thanks for the comparison.

I've demoed the Mantra and a few others, but still have the Watea's and Prophet on my "to demo" list, so it was good to hear your thoughts. I'll bake them in when I finally pull the trigger.
post #3 of 14
Good to hear your experiences Jim. I still think my 94s are the best crud skis I have owned, and they rip the whole mountain pretty well.
post #4 of 14
Not sure I share your opinion on the Watea 94 being a good crud ski...or maybe we have different definitions of crud. I'm your weight but ski the 178's, so perhaps I'd feel differently with respect to crud performance on the 186's. It's just not beefy enough for me to power through junk nor is it damp enough.

Despite that it's still the most enjoyable ski in my quiver.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnus_CA View Post
Not sure I share your opinion on the Watea 94 being a good crud ski...or maybe we have different definitions of crud. I'm your weight but ski the 178's, so perhaps I'd feel differently with respect to crud performance on the 186's. It's just not beefy enough for me to power through junk nor is it damp enough.

Despite that it's still the most enjoyable ski in my quiver.
Crud to me is heavily cut up powder or when the snow is lying around in skier pushed up piles, but isn't yet turning into a mogul field. None of that is accounting for texture though.

The Watea certainly tends to ride up and over the piles unless the snow is very light, but for me it never got deflected or flapped around and stayed on course which I liked.

The Nordica's on the other hand plow right through everything regardless of texture which I also like because the skis behavior is always predictable.
post #6 of 14
Seems like a reasonable finding if you ski at moderate speeds. Haven't skied the 94, have tried/owned several Fischers, owned coupla Mantras. The Fischers are easier to initiate and less work to manage at a normal pace than most other brands in the same width, so suspect same holds here. The AMC's and narrower are ice skates, wasn't that impressed with the hard snow handling of the 84 I tried a while ago. Surprised you find the 94's better on hardpack, most report the opposite. OTOH, at higher speeds in crud or stiff chop bet you'd find the Mantras hold a line better, absorb more of the shock even if the tip vibrates a bit (so do Stockli tips for the record).
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
OTOH, at higher speeds in crud or stiff chop bet you'd find the Mantras hold a line better, absorb more of the shock even if the tip vibrates a bit (so do Stockli tips for the record).
^This jives more with my feelings but kudos to the OP if he thinks the opposite.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by beyond
OTOH, at higher speeds in crud or stiff chop bet you'd find the Mantras hold a line better, absorb more of the shock even if the tip vibrates a bit (so do Stockli tips for the record).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnus_CA View Post
^This jives more with my feelings but kudos to the OP if he thinks the opposite.
You're correct that I ski at moderate and lower speeds off the groomers, but on the groomers I ski pretty fast if it's not crowded and for me the Wateas are much more stable.

The Nordicas I ski regularly are a pretty stiff metal layup, so I doubt that's an issue.

I Mantras I had were new, but I did notice they had very little camber. Not having another pair to compare them to, I assume that its normal for that ski. The Wateas I picked up this year have significantly more camber than the Mantras I had.
post #9 of 14
I think length is more important than the particular ski model in crud. It's almost like comparing widths in powder. So I have no doubt that a 178 Watea is not as good in crud as the 186. I have skied various lengths of other model skis (mostly Dynastars) and notice that the longer lengths are significantly better in crud, like night and day. This is especially true for softer skis.

At 6'1" 195lb, the 186cm Wateas are perfect for me -- I couldn't imagine going shorter on them. I love the extra stability 186cm brings -- the skis will bomb right over stuff that would upset my shorter skis.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to finish my input on this by saying that I skied the Watea at Snowbasin on 29 Jan.  The conditions were fresh to nearly fresh powder all day with fast groomers getting back to the lifts.

 

The Watea again proved to be the equal of the Mantra in powder and FAR superior on the groomers FOR ME and it's a keeper.

 

Glad I found my second pair of skis to compliment the Nordica.  And it just proves that while reviews from professionels and seasoned skiers can point you in the right direction, ultimately it's going to be YOUR style and taste that determine what you will like.


Edited by jgiddyup - Sun, 01 Feb 09 01:03:00 GMT
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgiddyup View Post

 

 

The Watea again proved to be the equal of the Mantra in powder and FAR superior on the groomers FOR ME and it's a keeper.

 


 

In general I agree that the 94 is a far more versatile ski. The Watea is better on groomers for my tastes as well. While the Mantra grips better on really hard snow, that (IMO) is only part of the picture in groomer performance. I think the Mantra is not nearly as good in deeper snow as the Watea.

 

SJ

post #12 of 14

Great findings, thanks for sharing! I like both the Mantra and Watea, although they feel completely different.  I had trouble with the Mantra on hard snow (it seemed to chatter when trying to tighten an arc) but the Watea is a bit softer and bend-able into nearly any size shape for me.  It was a little livelier as well, and just a good all-around ski. I would prefer something a little more stable in the crud, and could find the speed limit on the Watea 94 a bit easier than others, which was really the only downside of that ski, for me at least.  As it turns out, groomer performance on a mid-fat wasn't one of my primary concerns, so I sold the 94's and got a bit "more" ski for crud performance.  

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

As it turns out, groomer performance on a mid-fat wasn't one of my primary concerns, so I sold the 94's and got a bit "more" ski for crud performance.  


 

Dawg,

 

Was it the 888?


Edited by Magnus_CA - Sun, 01 Feb 09 07:31:10 GMT
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

Great findings, thanks for sharing! I like both the Mantra and Watea, although they feel completely different.  I had trouble with the Mantra on hard snow (it seemed to chatter when trying to tighten an arc) but the Watea is a bit softer and bend-able into nearly any size shape for me.  It was a little livelier as well, and just a good all-around ski. I would prefer something a little more stable in the crud, and could find the speed limit on the Watea 94 a bit easier than others, which was really the only downside of that ski, for me at least.  As it turns out, groomer performance on a mid-fat wasn't one of my primary concerns, so I sold the 94's and got a bit "more" ski for crud performance.  

IMO the Watea tracks very well and stable through crud.  It just seems to have a different (if not weird) feel to it - light but never floppy.  I've never found a speed limit - in fact the faster it goes the better it performs for me.  I'm amazed how versatile this ski is.  The only conditions it's not great in for me is very hard pack (or ice) and I'd rather spend the day doing something else for that.  Just my 2 cents.

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