Yep, this ski is probably one of the most talked about on Epic. Yep, there is a ton of reviews on it already. Yep i'm bored so gonna write one anyway.
Ski: 177 Volkl Mantra w/ Marker Jester
Mountain: Treble Cone, New Zealand
Conditions: Everything from bulletproof off piste to powder and summits.
Other skis I have/recently owned: 191 ON3P Wrenegade, 170 Fischer Progressor 8, 177 Volkl Wall, 176 Salomon Dumonts, 189 Hellbents.
I bought these for the days where the snow conditions are pretty crappy. My 191 Wrens can be a lot of work in crappy conditions, so I bought these for something a little more relaxed and nimble. Something for for cruising. This is why I opted for the 177 length, regularly I would ski something in the 184-190 range.
I love the feel of this ski. Nice solid flex, burly construction, two metal layers, awesome on snow feel, definitely far from "planky"
Groomers/Ice: These things seriously rock on groomed runs. Rock, rock, rock. I have never been on a 96mm ski that can hold an edge so well. They are decently stiff so this probably contributes to it. Much better on this type of terrain than Salomon Shoguns or Line Prophets. I could rail some nice high speed GS turns no problem. I know people who hated volkl for killing the explosive, but I can see why they did it. It is just a ski that suits a wider range of people.
Crud: These can't even touch the Wrenegades in crud, but thats like comparing a Line Mothership to a Line prophet. However, for their length crud performance was great.Better than every other similar ski I tried. I could ski pretty fast through chop ect without it giving way or anything. Again, the stiffer flex does its job and makes the ski nice a stable. It does have a speed limit, but its high enough. It is really a ski that will reward aggressive skiing (Duh, its a Volkl). I see a TON of people at my resort who really shouldn't be on this ski. They are generally people like my Dad who are bit older, and buy them as they are marketed as a high performance top of the line freeride ski (scene skiers)- but they don't ski nearly powerfully enough to get the real performance out of the ski.
Bumps: I have always heard these are tough in the bumps. I had no problems at all. Very good for a 96mm ski IMO.
Powder: They work. We get heavier snow over here. Similar to the PNW and tahoe i guess. I did feel a bit of tip dive at times. For how versatile they are pow performance is definitely decent. Again, if I was on the longer ski it probably would have been better. I had a day on these where I really should have had my Wrens.
I did a few summit hikes, and was pretty happy to have these as with the jesters they are super light. I could see using them on some short tours if I had dukes on them.
Durability: Mine have taken a beating and still look pretty nice. The metal topsheet is hard to damage. The bases are pretty thin. Only complaint in this category.
Overall: This was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted something for the variable days that we can frequently get over here. You can ski bulletproof off piste conditions, to pow, to groomers, to slush all in a day. It fits in perfectly with my Wrenegades.