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Mantra vs. AC50

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

This is my first real post so hello and thank you in advance.


I am a male, 50 years old, 6'1", 225 pounds.  Retired Marine.  In good shape.  Started skiing when I was 11.  Worked as an instructor and ski patrol in the 70's and early 80's.  Skied 20+ days a year until moving to Kansas 15 years ago.  I've been twice since then.  No excuses, I know.  I used to be a solid 9+ skier and now still feel I'm an 8/9.  I ski agressively and fast.  But also like to string together tight, ankles together slalom turns


I just got back from my first trip in nine years.  Spent four days at Keystone.  Awsome, awsome, awsome!  Never, ever should have stopped skiing.  I demoed a pair of Vokyl Mantras 184 length.  The boots were Nordica rental boots with only a 50 flex.  The skis were much fatter than I ever skied before but I had no problems with them.  They were very fast on the hard groomers but seemed to skid and chatter on the ice.  I was able to make nice strings of tight, quick turns but it took some effort.  Big fast GS turns were easier but I never could get them to really carve.  They seemed to skid through the turns.  They exhausted me in the bumps.  No powder so I don't know how they would work there.  I'm sure alot of that was due to the really soft boots.


I'm looking to buy my own skis and boots.  Lots of end of season deals.  I have read alot of good things about the Mantras and the AC50s.  The AC50s sound like they may be better for me.  Moguls have less appeal to me now then they did when I was 30.  Steep, fast hardpack is what I loved last week.


How do these two compare and what do you recommend?  Then I've got to find boots...




post #2 of 3

Mark, I'm 50, 5'8" & 170 lbs and own the Volkl Mantra.  Ok so I also own the AC4 (earlher & slightly narrower version of the AC50) and tryed the AC50 recently at Mt. Rose near Tahao.  I guess the answer is what & how do you ski.  I try to be more on the backside of the mountain then the frontside so the Mantra is the perfect ski for me.  But if you're on frontside more than the back side you'll find the AC50 the perfect ski.  The Mantra is as simple as it gets and far lighter than the AC50 but you really have to be honest with yourself when making a decision.  Further, I like the Volkl feel but my close friend who lives in Big Sky (lucky bastard) likes the feel of K2.  If your comment about loving the steep hardpack is true than go with the AC50.  The Mantra or any other ski of that width was never designed for skiing on ice, which is why I still own my AC4 and an older 7-24 that I still bring out east where ice is king. 


As for boots, find a good boot fitter and don't ask anyone for recomendations or listen to recomendations.  How do you tell a good boot fitter.  They will ask questions on how and what you ski, they will measure your foot, than they will bring a selection of boots and take the liner out to be sure it is the right size shell for you.  Now you'll try on a lot of boots to see what fits and feels best.  When your done they will fine tune the boot and PLEASE spring for the custom footbeds, it's the best investment you'll make.  My firm recomendation is that if your shop doesn't do what I described above, find another shop!  Note, this is at least a 3 hour commitment but well worth it!

post #3 of 3


It sounds like you may already realize this, but first and foremost, get yourself a good-fitting pair of boots.  You will never be able to evaluate a ski properly using soft, approximate-fitting rental boots.


Also, keep in mind that ski technology has changed a lot in the last nine years, and your technique will probably require some modification (perhaps a slightly wider stance than "ankles together" and maybe a bit more weight on your uphill ski than before, etc.) to get the most out of modern skis.  This has certainly been the case for me. (I'm in my 50's, 6'5", and 200lbs.)


I've skied a number of days out West in the Mantra and I'm a big fan of that ski.  It is very versatile.  However, while I find it does really well on groomers for a ski of its width, it would not be my first choice if I were planning to spend a lot of my time on the steep hardpack.  The AC50 does a better job there, but I personally prefer a smaller waisted ski for that.  If you want to stay within the Volkl line, give the AC30 a ride as well.  I've had a lot of fun on that ski in lots of conditions, including hardpack, with short, medium, and long turns.


Good luck, and welcome back to the sport. 

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