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2016-2017 Volkl Mantra

Volkl Mantra

Ski: 2016-2017 Volkl Mantra, 177cm

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 177.8cm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 131-100-119

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2078 grams & 2092 grams

Mount Location: “0” Line

Boots / Bindings: Salomon X Pro 120 / Marker Jester (DIN 11)

Days Skied: 4

 

Ski: 2016-2017 Volkl Mantra, 184cm

Actual Tip to Tail Length (straight tape pull): 182.8cm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 131.5-99.5-117.8

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2145 and 2165 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 25.4 m

Core Construction: Poplar/Ash + Titanal + Fiberglass Laminate

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 59 / 14 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 0 mm

Recommended Line (“0” Line): ~82.3cm from tail; ~9.1cm behind center

Mount Location: not yet settled, leaning toward “0”

Boots / Bindings: Salomon X Pro 120 / Marker Jester (DIN 11)

Days Skied: 12

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley; Summit County, CO

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Mantra, which was not changed for 15/16 or 16/17, except for the graphics.]

 

“Is that the new Mantra? Is it better?”

Over the past four weeks at Taos, this is probably the question I’ve been asked the most—and with good reason. The Mantra is an iconic ski, and Volkl made the decision to do a full switch-up. (You can check out my Preview of the new Mantra for more background.)

And if you’ve read my review of the 13/14 Mantra, you’ll know that piece was also an argument for why I hoped Volkl wouldn’t change the Mantra at all. While the 13/14 Mantra isn’t phenomenal at everything (no ski is), I have found it to be one of the best all-mountain skis I’ve ever ridden for dealing with difficult, firm and variable conditions in steep and tricky terrain.

The new Mantra?

Before our pair of new 184cm Mantras arrived, my friend Pete Rogers who works at Alpine Sports in Santa Fe, NM, asked me to take out a pair of the new 177s to see what I thought. I declined. I ski the 184cm Mantra, and have never felt like I wanted less ski; I’d just wait for the new 184. But Pete insisted, and I finally agreed to take the skis to Taos…

Groomers

My first run on the 177s was down Totemoff’s, and at the bottom of the run, just before hitting the catwalk to get back to chair 7, I admit that I let out a loud, Wooooooooooooo! The new 177 is easier to bend and work across the fall line than the 184cm 13/14 Mantra, felt super smooth and eager to set high-angle carves, and when A/B-ed against the 184cm 13/14 Mantra with traditional camber, provided as good if not better edgehold. The new 177 Mantra reminded me of a more damp, more substantial version of the Rossignol Scimitar.

While I still like the 13/14 Mantra on groomers, and would opt for it the more roughed up those groomers get, the new 177s are more fun all-around, are easy to engage, and come to life at lower speeds than the 13/14 184cm Mantra, but don’t fall apart at high speeds.

Moguls

The 14/15 177s are far easier and less demanding in moguls than the 13/14 184cm Mantra. I happen to like the 13/14 Mantra in bumps, but it is a pretty stiff ski that can kick your ass in big moguls if you aren’t a proficient bump skier. Like most skis built with full rocker and no traditional camber, the new Mantra is easy to pivot around at slower speeds, while the 13/14 Mantra needs to be brought up to speed before becoming compliant, and in my experience, becomes increasingly impressive the harder you push them or the more firm those bumps are.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the 2014-2015 Volkl Mantra, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth, Reforma, Taos Ski Valley.

Still, there are easier bump skis out there, like the 180cm Blizzard Bonafide, and I think the new 177 Mantra closes the gap on the 180 Bonafide.

Pow

In my review of the 13/14 Mantra, I have a section entitled, “This Is Not a Pow Ski.” But the 14/15 Mantra has definitely improved in this area. Given the slight increase in width, the slightly softer shovels and tails, and—most importantly—the absence of traditional camber + the addition of subtle tail rocker, and the new Mantra has been tweaked to work better in deeper snow.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the 2014-2015 Volkl Mantra, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth on the 14/15 Volkl Mantra, Kachina Peak, Taos Ski Valley.

I mean, the Mantra is still only 100mm-underfoot and it is still a pretty stiff ski, so I am willing to wager that you’ll still get better flotation out of the softer-flexing, 98mm-underfoot Volkl Bridge, or pretty much any fatter, tip-and-tail rockered ski on the market.

(By the way, I hate this review so far. It sounds like I’m bashing the 13/14 Mantra, yet the past few weeks have underscored all over again how much I still love that ski. I feel like I’m speaking at the funeral of one of my best friends, and I’m pointing out all of the things he wasn’t great at.)

Variable, Tracked Out Pow

This is where the 13/14 Mantra keeps its advantage: skiing hard and fast in tracked up powder. The new Mantra might be a little more prone to deflection, but frankly, unless you are skiing very fast and making very big turns, the difference is fairly negligible.

The Reforma Test

I wrote something very similar in my review of the Volkl V-Werks Katana, but I was definitely surprised by how hard I was able to push the 177 Mantra down Reforma (big, steep bumps at the top; a fast, more open middle section; then a couple big bumps again to negotiate before straight lining out a more-or-less moguled-up bottom section).

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the 2014-2015 Volkl Mantra, Blister Gear Review

Jonathan Ellsworth on the Volkl Mantra, Reforma, Taos Ski Valley.

Once again, the 177s are more accessible and less demanding than the 13/14 Mantras, yet they can still be pushed hard and fast.

The clearest advantage the 13/14 Mantra has over the new Mantra is when straightlining the bumped-up run out of Reforma. In such instances, the lack of traditional camber makes the ski wash-y if you happen to get bases flat. In this case, I definitely preferred the less tapered tip + slightly stiffer shovel + traditional camber of the 13/14 Mantra. (Have I mentioned that the 13/14 Mantra is optimized to be pushed very hard, and that it is very, very good at this?)

I had to return the 177 Mantra before I had a chance to ski it in really tough conditions down Reforma—Taos was skiing too well—so I can’t speak directly to how the 177s fare in really difficult conditions. But I’ll pick this topic up again in a bit.

129 Comments

  1. Matt March 13, 2014 Reply

    You should try the Kastle fx94. I feel the same way about this ski. I had a knowledgeable guy tell me this ski was no good. Then I found out he was on the 186. I only know a few skiers who could properly drive the 186. And I find the 176 the PERFECT length. I prefer the fx94 to all the other skis in this category.

  2. Majkiman March 13, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    first of all thank you for great reviews on this site. I have Rossignol Squad 7 as my powder ski and I want to buy some ski for tricky, variable conditions. I am considering Line Supernatural 108 and after read this review I am considering new Mantra 177 too, Can you compare the ski performance of these two skis in variable to firm conditions? I am small but heavy guy with strong legs. I absolutely love my Squad 12/14, but from first time I thought it´s too much ski for me. Know I am really satisfied but need some ski to ride between the storm days.

    Thanks for any response.

    Martin

    • Author

      Hey, Martin – it’s a good question. The LINE 108 is a heavier, fatter ski than the 177 Mantra, so if you’re keeping your Squad 7, it would be easy to argue that it would make more sense to pair it up with the 177 Mantra. But I can’t say for sure how much better / different the Mantra and the Line 108 would perform in variable / tricky. For now, you may just have to read the reviews and see what conclusions you can draw. I ought to be getting back on the final production version of the LINE 108 in the next week or two, so will be able to say more then.

  3. Nick March 13, 2014 Reply

    Interesting review as usual. Sounds like for a big guy like me 185cm, 94kg in New Zealand last years 184 would be ideal. I’d love to put a pair of Beast 16s (or 14 if they have the same elasticity gains) on these, it would be a heavy set up, but I think it would tour better than a lighter setup with fame bindings, too bad I’d have to sell a kidney to afford it.

  4. Troy March 14, 2014 Reply

    Nice review. I know the 177 would be the length I would choose hands down but you are my size and always wondering if the 184 cm would be better. You answered that question for sure. I’m hoping to jump on the new 177 at a Demo Sunday. Any quick thoughts on Bone vs new Mantra other than you mogul comments? I’m assuming the Mantra will just be that much stronger on the groomer? Does it have a more balanced weight to it in comparison to Bonafide?

    Thanks,
    Troy

    • Author

      Hey, Troy – I ended up spending so much time trying to figure out the 184s that I didn’t directly A/B the 177 Mantra and the 180 Bonafide. I definitely prefer the 177 Mantra to the Bonafide on groomers, and the Bonafide may be a touch easier / less demanding overall. But really, I’ll have to jump back on the Bonafide to get more specific.

  5. Dave C March 14, 2014 Reply

    Enjoying your reviews, excellent work! I’d be curious on your comments of when/where you’d use the V-Werks Katana vs the 14-15 Mantra. I just demo’ed some Q90 Salomon 177 last weekend and felt them to be a bit heavy or sluggish but super all around. I’m a 5’10 160 lb advanced intermediate skier. I love to push speed in all chop pow, groomers, ice, etc. but I really also like a quick turning ski that I don’t have to muscle so hard in the bumps. I feel like the V-Werks that you reviewed seemed to be the type of ski I’d like. I am 49, skied for years, but only get to the mountains a couple times a year so I want that all mountain ski I can hang on to for a few years. Thanks for any response in advance.
    Regards,
    Dave

    • Author

      The most important thing to say is that the V-Werks Katana functions well as a full-fledged pow ski- you get an additional centimeter of width in the 184 length for less weight than a 177 Mantra. But while it’s easy to distinguish between the 13/14 Mantra and the V-Werks Katana, the new Mantra and the V-Werks are built on a much more similar rocker profile. If you’re only getting to the mountains a couple times a year, I guess I’d be inclined to go with the Mantra, since I personally wouldn’t want to be using the V-Werks in low snow, super rocky conditions. The construction of the V-Werks makes it more of a precision tool. But if you’re only skiing when conditions are pretty good to really great, sure go V-Werks.

  6. Andrew March 14, 2014 Reply

    So strange that the 184 sucks so bad. Its going to give the Mantra a bad name. I’ve spoken to multiple people who skied them and hated them because they were probably on the 184. Either way, I think they should have kept the old Mantra or a subtle change to it as there is a need for that type of ski on the market and if volkl won’t make it, who will. Nordica has gotten rid of their mantra without metal(the hell and back) Will there be any cambered skis left in a couple of seasons? I hope so, because I have yet to find any full rocker skis I prefer on the firmer days, especially on groomers.

    Sounds like you liked the ski a lot. They should have gotten the 184 right and called the entire thing something new. JMHO

  7. Craig March 15, 2014 Reply

    Yeah….Rocker! I can’t wait till they make rocker tooth brushes! Stupid. I’m glad I stocked up on the old ones. This industry is turning into a lawn chair. Maybe we should just play video games and pretend we are sking.

  8. jaoforce1 March 17, 2014 Reply

    thank you for the review. based off of your analysis I am getting the 177s this week. tracked a pair down here in MA. should be a very fun final month of the season.

  9. richard m March 27, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,
    Love your reviews on the site.
    How would you compare the Nordica Enforcer to the Mantra, old and new, and maybe the Bonafide?
    I love my Enforcers, and am looking for something to replace them with that is about the same ride.
    Thanks for any help. 5foot10 and 170, hard charger both East and West skiing and love the edge hold at speed on the Enforcer.
    thanks,
    Rich

  10. richard m March 27, 2014 Reply

    forgot to add, on a 2010 Enforcer with the mild early rise and stiff tail.
    thanks again,
    Rich

  11. Matt March 28, 2014 Reply

    rich, you owe it to yourself to try the kastle fx 94… like the enforcer , only more powerful, more refined, more polished,

    • richard m March 28, 2014 Reply

      Thanks, Matt,
      Just tried the mantra in 177 (2014 model) and Bonafide 180 on fairly crappy conditions in VT, with overnight frozen drizzle on top of groomed corduroy with heavy fog in a white out on much of the hill…grizzly conditions. The Mantra held on just fine, and was able to arc through the nasties, despite a poor tune with lots of bangs on the edges. I could load it up and not be surprised. Also it was a very fast ski.
      The bonafide was softer, with more unpredictability on the edge hold, despite a better tune with relatively sharp and polished edges. The Mantra skied longer, and the bonafide shorter. On a pure carved turn, the Mantra clung to the turn until pressure was released, the sprang underneath me for the next turn, just as the Enforcer does. The Bonafide did not. I did actually enjoy the Bonafide, feeling it was a fun ski, but not so much a serious ski, like the Enforcer and Mantra. When locked on the edge, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was going to do next, while the other skis gave a sense of confidence despite the lousy conditions.
      Again, thanks for your very helpful reviews.
      Rich

      • Author

        Thanks, Rich. And thanks for your report. With regard to your earlier question, I never skied the Enforcer, though it sounds like I would have been a fan.

        • Blister Member
          Paul March 30, 2014 Reply

          The hell and back is the “Enforcer” but without metal.,

          • Author

            Correct, Paul. But knowing that isn’t enough info to allow me to make accurate inferences about how similar or different the Enforcer actually performs and feels on snow compared to the Hell & Back. For example, at my weight, I did not find the 180cm Blizzard Kabookie (a “Bonafide without metal”) to perform anything like the 180cm Bonafide. Not close.

  12. Ben March 30, 2014 Reply

    I tried the 184 today at the Crystal Mountain demo day in Washington and had a blast. Granted, I’m an intermediate skier but the 184 felt very nimble under foot and was hands-down the most playful ski I’ve ever used.

    Do you think that perhaps the difference in our experiences might be my size? I’m 6’6″ and a little over 200lbs when weighed down with gear.

    • Author

      Could very well be, Ben. Might also have been a difference in the terrain? Skiing steep, moguled-up tree runs at high speeds in firm conditions, the new 184 felt sluggish to me compared to the 13/14 184. Same experience on Taos’s Reforma. Remove the bumps and the trees and the speed from the equation, and the sluggishness is less of an issue. (The 184s felt totally fine on big, fast lines down Kachina.) But again, I don’t know – you may have been skiing some similar terrain. And were you skiing pow? Because as I said, my issues with the 184s were pronounced in firm, fast conditions, not good, soft snow.

      (Also, just out of curiosity: the most playful ski you’ve ever used – what else have you used?)

      • Ben April 1, 2014 Reply

        The terrain is a definite possibility as well. I didn’t go into anything particularly narrow, nothing less than 10′ wide or so. The Mantra performed amazingly on everything I did take it on, from 3-4′ deep untouched powder to icy choppy crap heading down to the base camp. They were light, responsive, smooth, and steady and I always felt like I was in control even when I started going faster than I’ve ever gone before.

        Like I said earlier, I’m an intermediate skier and I went to the demo day looking for a good all-mountain ski that would grow with me as I become more skilled. Alongside the Volkl Mantra 100 (186), I tried the RMU Climax (185), the Nordica NRGy 100 (185), the Nordica Soul Rider 97 (185), the Line Prophet 98 (186), the Line Sick Day 95 (186), and the Line Supernatural 100 (186). I actually went and picked up the Mantra the day before yesterday to take out for some spring skiing before it warms up.

  13. richard m March 30, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan,
    I agree completely about the comparison of metal to no metal. I really did not like the Hell and Back and don’t think it skis at all like the enforcer, which I love, and which skis like this year’s Mantra. Unfortunately, I am now thinking I should get a Helldorado, as opposed (or, in addition :0 ) to the Patron I already have. I just really like the extra stiffness and spring from the metal, and the weight, dampness, etc. that locks in the edge. Gimme my metal!!!
    Rich

  14. Blister Member
    Paul March 30, 2014 Reply

    You’re right, just wanted to point it out. I wish I would have been able to ski the enforcer. I am curious how the though about the NRGY 100.

  15. Blister Member
    Paul March 30, 2014 Reply

    Dis-regard the typo on the last sentence, that’s curious about the NRGY 100.
    Have u had a chance to ski it yet???

    • richard m March 30, 2014 Reply

      Really wanted to like the NRGY 100 as the replacement for the enforcer, but I found it more of a fun ski than a locked on trench digger. Similar to the Bonafide, to me. Easy to turn, softer than the Enforcer and the Mantra.

    • Author

      We haven’t skied it yet, Paul, but I was pretty surprised when flexing it – it hand flexes quite soft, quite a bit softer than the Hell & Back. Given that, Richard’s findings about the NRGy are not at all surprising to me.

  16. Kurt April 1, 2014 Reply

    Great reviews. You do an amazing job – thank you! I’m looking to replace my old all-mountain ski and am torn between the new Mantra, E98 and even throwing in Volkl’s RTM 84. I’m 6′-0, 195 and 50 years old. Used to race and still ski pretty aggressively. I prefer steep diamond runs and groomers but also like fresh or chewed up pow – we ski mostly out of Seattle and Whistler. My style ranges from GS to quick turns through bumps and steep. It’s the later element I’m somewhat targeting my question on. One topic I’m reading is the E98’s and the 13/14 Mantra’s are decent at GS but really need to get moving before they come alive. This while the newer Mantra seems be ready to turn earlier. When skiing steep, narrow chutes, I would normally make a series of turns through it rather than straight lining. So knowing this, I’m concerned the E98 and 13/14 mantra wouldn’t bend enough to allow a solid, full turn early enough. Which brings me to the RTM 84. While this is narrower underfoot, I read great things about it. Could you offer me your thoughts on the ski’s I’ve mentioned or perhaps steer me a different direction? Thanks again –

    • Kurt April 1, 2014 Reply

      I little more – I’ve been skiing a 184 Dynastar Contact 4×4 Tip/Waist/Tail-cm: 122/74/106. It was a nice mountain ski about when volkl came out with e AC40’s. I’m pretty good in the powder regardless the narrower shape – old school downweighting/upweighting style which I like enjoy due to the floating sensation. I tried some “powder” boards on a cat ski trip in Co. last year that were slightly narrower than my old slalom water ski and really didn’t like it. Sure I could ski the snow but not the powder if that makes sense. I didn’t get the sensation of falling into the snow so switched back to my contacts and instantly, my grin turned to shouts of yaaa hooo! Call me old school, but fatter comes with a compromise.

      • Author

        Hi, Kurt – we haven’t skied the RTM 84, so I can’t comment there. And honestly, I don’t have much to add for an answer to your questions aside from my reviews of these skis. The E98 & E100, 13/14 Mantra, and 14/15 Mantra aren’t particularly ‘turny’ skis. You want / need to ski them strong. Having said that, if you’re really in tight spaces, you can jump turn them all, you can slide / slarve them if need be (detune the tails of the E98 & E100). In big, firm bumps, the fat tails of the E98 / E100 are the least easy to pivot around. But those tails are also a big reason why it’s the best of these skis on good groomers. And the 14/15 will be the best of the bunch the softer & deeper the conditions get. And finally, it sounds to me like the 185cm Nordica Hell & Back could be a ski you might want to check out – if you can find a pair.

  17. Peter Summers April 9, 2014 Reply

    I have a pair of the 12/13 Mantras, which I believe are the same as the 13/14 ones. I often find myself having a backseat position with these particular skis, feeling the need to push my leg towards the back of the boot. Now, I am a skier that likes going fast with a neutral to forward stance, so I reckon I must have the bindings repositioned. The skis are 177cm, my boot size 297mm and the bindings (Griffons) are mounted on the Völkl reference point. But do I move them towards the front or the back of the ski? Thanks for any help!

    • Author

      Hmmm, if you don’t think it’s a technique issue (where you just need to get and keep your weight on the balls of your feet), then you could try backing up 1 or 2 cms and giving yourself more shovel to work with / more shovel to drive. (Of course, I also don’t know your height / weight, which would factor into this.)

  18. Sparky April 16, 2014 Reply

    I replaced a pair of ’09 Mantra 177’s and scored a new pair of the 14/15 Mantra’s 177cm just prior to a long weekend trip to Utah in March. I skied everything from fast groomers at PCMR, a foot of fresh POW at The Canyons, to the steeps at Snowbird and I absolutely LOVE this ski!!! It was an awesome upgrade as this ski rocked through everything that came its way. The only unknown is if it can compare to the ’09’s (which handle like a GS ski) on the hardback in the Midwest. Already looking forward to next year.

  19. Denny April 16, 2014 Reply

    Excellent review on the 14-15 Mantra Dave, gutsy change on Volkl’s part. I live in Mammoth and ride the 13-14’s (184) as my daily drivers (which are perfect for Mammoth). Will try out the new sticks come next season.
    Thanks again

  20. Shan September 9, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,
    I had some questions/comments regarding this ski on epicski.com, so I’m going to cross-post for similicity…

    I’m an east coast skier (Sugarloafer) and the proud owner of the 12-13 Mantra (bindings at -2cm from volkl center) in 177 and the 12-13 Katana (non V-Werks) in 184.

    I consider my self a very aggressive skier (e.g. steep edge angles, dynamic, etc.). With the 12/13 Mantra, I felt it was soft at turn initiation and then the camber would kick in creating an entirely different (stiffer) feel for the rest of the turn shape. Because of my aggressive style, I felt the mantra “stall out” because of the tip rise and then because of the inconsistent flex, you could get popped over the handle bars pretty easily if you weren’t paying attention. I’ve found I’ve had to change my body position to be more upright/centered and less over the tip of the ski. With these small adjustments, I’ve come to love the 12/13 mantra. But what intrigues me, is the full low profile rocker of the new 2015 Mantra (similar to the 12/13 katana) that will provide a more consistent flex.

    I enjoyed the Katana’s low profile rocker (and predictable flex) so much that for a few months in 2013 this was my daily driver at the Loaf mainly because the power delivery was so smooth and it was a beast on hardpack if i was aggressive enough. Of course, anything less than 100% commitment on hardpack and you lose edge grip. Understandably since its not a cambered GS ski! However, in 2014, I used the mantra as my daily driver because the katana is just not ideal for skiing 80% hardpack/variable but I always told myself that if they only made the 12-13 Katana in a narrower version I would jump all over it.

    tl;dr…Can you confirm/corroborate that the 14-15 Mantra is a narrower version of the 12-13 Katana (non v-werks) and could potentially be my dream ski!!?? or am I just being wishful??

    Thanks!

    • Author

      Hey, Shan – on paper, it seems you’re right – the new Mantra is a narrower Katana. But I find myself a bit reluctant to say so, since I never skied the 184 metal Katana, only the 191 – which is just a big, awesome gun.

      Then again, I did get along really well with the 184 V-Werks Katana. And I did have a GREAT time carving on the 177cm new Mantra, though I was not skiing them on blue ice.

      But given everything you say, I think the 177s would be worth a shot. For bulletproof ice there will be better options than a 100mm-underfoot, fully rockered ski, but you know that, and I’ll wager you’ll like how the 177s carve and feel on less tough conditions.

  21. Charles Flaum September 21, 2014 Reply

    Hey Sparky~
    I have the same issue. I love 09 Katana – I’m an expert skier in northern VT. For me it’s either trees, trees, trees or hardpack firm and ice. The question is will the 2014-15 Katana perform on icy conditions or will it loose its edge. What does it do in a carving situation. It sounds like it would definitely be superior in tight trees. Anyone? Jonathan?
    Charles

  22. Coco October 3, 2014 Reply

    Hey Jonathan,
    I’m searching for a new “freetouring” alpine ski. I would put some Dynafit Radical FT12 bindings on them as I’m thinking to get some pretty heavy skis to prioritize the descent : either the new Mantra in 177, the Bonafide or the Kabookie in 180.

    I’m 5’11 and around 180 lbs. Would those size be what you would advise?
    How would you compare the new Mantra (177) and the Kabookie (180) for someone my weight?
    The Kabookie is really lighter but would I loose a lot of performance?

    Thank you!
    Coco

    • Author

      Hey, Coco – you and I are the same height & weight, and while I was surprised by how much I liked the shorter 177 Mantra and the 180 Bonafide, I personally couldn’t stand the 180 Kabookie – it did not, to me anyway, perform at all like a ‘slightly lighter’ Bonafide. That was just my experience, of course; yours might vary. But I found it to be a major performance drop off from the other two skis.

  23. JohnLee October 8, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for all the food for thought. I am coming off a pair of Pocket Rockets (175) and going to ’15 Mantras. I am aggressive, expert and old. 5’10”, 153 lbs. Used to Ski Patrol at Mammoth; will be skiing steep chutes, some crud, and pow at Silverton this season. Not interested in breaking bones, but not ready to hang it up! Would the 170 Mantra be ‘short?’ I know this is a bit of a subjective question, but IYO. Tnx — JohnLee

    • Author

      Hmmm, tough question. But for an agressive expert, I think I’d be inclined to tell you to go 177 for chutes, crud, and pow. Big bumps at high speeds in difficult snow is where I liked the 184s least. But for Silverton’s open spaces (with the occasional chutes), I’d be inclined to err on the side of going too long rather than too short & twitchy. But honestly, I can’t say that the 177s are clearly the answer for you.

  24. JohnLee October 11, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan –
    Thank you for your opinion. I am thinking that in powder conditions I will notice enhanced float and turn initiation with the 14-15 Mantra 177s. For all other conditions, the old Pocket Rocket/Space Frames (Solomon Extra Hots) would do just fine. I think I will err on the side of going a CM or 2 overhead (177). Thanks again!

  25. Mogstar October 17, 2014 Reply

    Great review. I have been demoing the hell out of skis for the past 2 seasons trying to decide what to get and finally decided on the Mantra till i read some reviews saying that they had ruined it. You have put my faith back into Mantras. Cant wait to get out on some.

    My question is about binding mounting. I’ve never mounted bindings on anything but on the line. but i’ve read all kinds of things about people saying that extra performance can be seen if you experiment with the position. Do you think it’s worth putting some Marker Schitzo bindings on mantras to play around with the position or should i just stick to where Volkl recommend mounting the binding?

    FYI i don’t really spend any time in the park but ski everything else.

    • Author

      Really, and obviously, that’s up to you. I skied the 177s on the line, and liked them there. If you were going with the 184s, I guess I might recommend a Schizo, since I can’t say that I’ve settled yet on a mount point. If I were drilling a pair of 184s today for myself, I might go +1 to try to quicken them up a bit – make them feel a touch more like the 13/14 Mantras – that I skied on the line.

      • Mogstar October 20, 2014 Reply

        Thanks. I’ll probably just save the weight and go regular binding then. Whats your preference over there. I’ve been happy with marker, but am tempted to try Look. i’m finding it hard to find binding reviews.

  26. steve October 23, 2014 Reply

    Hello jonathan ,

    sorry for my english (translator), I’m french…

    I have carefully read your reviews of the bonafide 180cm and 177cm 14/15 mantra.

    I now ski on the 2009 mantra 184cm, and I made ​​your template.
    I love this ski especially in track and crud snow , deep well, but I try some thing that works both on track by being less “physical” more “fun”.
    I came really shared the bonafide and the new mantra …
    Track frozen I ‘m afraid the Bonafide does not take, based on the mantra?
    the bonafide how is doing with the speed ?
    how does the mantra off piste with 50cm of fresh compared to bonafide ?

    Thank you for your help!

    Steve

    • Hi, Steve – I’m afraid I don’t have much new to add beyond the Bonafide & Mantra reviews. I think the two skis would perform comparably in 50cms of fresh. As far as edgehold, I would say that the two skis are comparable, but I’d give the edge to the Mantra. As for how well they hold up at speed, I would again give the edge to the 177 Mantra, it’s probably a touch more substantial than the Bonafide. And both skis will definitely be a bit easier to ski than your ’09 Mantras.

  27. Nick@Nite October 25, 2014 Reply

    Avid fan of Volkl skis…..P9, Rentiger, Snowranger, black Mantra (184). Been sking Crystal since 1961-62 season and enjoyed your Mantra reviews. Currently on the 13-14 Mantra in 177 size……if you think the 184 was good, try the 177 in the 2013-14 model year. I think you would be surprised and impressed at the difference……like what you inferred with your 2014-15 Mantra review. Great reviews, keep up the good work!

    • Author

      Interesting, Nick. Of course, my reaction is to object and say that there wasn’t anything about the 13/14 184’s performance that I disliked, but perhaps I just don’t know what I’m missing. Doubtful that I’ll be able to get on some 13/14 177s this season, but we’ll see…

  28. Adam October 26, 2014 Reply

    Looking at the new mantra – struggling with sizing. I’m 6’1″ 220 lbs. Naturally I’d go with 184… I ski deer valley, canyons, solitude, Brighton and some alta… At my weight I like a ski that feels solid and substantial and supportive but doesn’t scare the hell out of me when I get in tight spots. I own the sickle, volkl one, and blizzard peacemaker – all around 186…. All solid skis but easy to pivot in tight spots. And I loved the scimitar except that they didn’t feel substantial enough to blast through crud. The blizzard Brahma/bonafides felt too short at 180 with just ok edge grip but good agility in bumps and the 187 length felt great in wide open groomers but not nimble in tight spots. I was hoping the 184s would be on the middle but now I’m not sure based on your review. I haven’t purchased a sub-180 ski in a loooooong time…. Ugh. What to do? I’d be using it on groomers, light pow, crud/crap snow, easy bumps (I’m nothing close to a good bump skier) but also chasing my 10 year old through tight tree spots. Its that last trait that has me worried. For reference i did NOT like the kastle fx94 – 186 – felt sluggish and just wanted to strait line. Advise?

    • Author

      Hi, Adam – tough call. Given your experience with the 180 & 187 Brahmas & Bonafides, I can’t say with certainty that the 177 Mantra is the right call. Sounds like you’ve done your homework, so might as well find a pair of 177 Mantras to demo, then find out for sure? Sorry I don’t have something more helpful to say.

      • Peter Kovach November 17, 2016 Reply

        Hey Jonathon,

        I realize that most of the comments here are pretty old, so it’s likely you’ll never see mine. That said, I’m in the process of researching/purchasing my first set of real skis (I’ve always rented), and I cannot tell you how helpful this site has been!

        I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing, right up until I stumbled upon this review. I had narrowed my search down to the Kendo, Bonafide (16,17), and the Mantra (15,16). I then decided on the Mantra, and figured that given my height (6’4” and 190 pounds), the best bet would be the 184cm. Now, thanks to you, I’m doing lots of second guessing.

        I live in WA State and do most of my skiing up in Whistler. I would say I’m at least advanced-intermediate. I’ve always used Volkl Kendos which have been incredible on the groomers but, as I got better and explored different terrains, I found will just sink right into anything deeper than 10” or so. I was originally scared to switch to a full rocker ski like the Mantra, however, based on what I’ve read, one doesn’t actually sacrifice that much in groomed skiing situations, but gains a lot in the powder.

        So here I sit, deciding between the 177 and 184. Every google “ski size chart” lists me at well above 177 (even above 184 in fact). My question is: would the 177 be downright silly for someone who is 6’4”? Would I be sacrificing stability at speed? My one guilty is pleasure is that sometimes I’m a speed freak and love to just point my skis straight downhill and hope for the best. I’d love to hear your comments. It sounds crazy, but after reading your review, I will always have a bad taste in my mouth if I buy the 184’s!

        Best,

        – Peter

        – Peter

  29. Matt October 26, 2014 Reply

    Hey Adam , above me, …. I know the kastle lineup very well… I can say 100% you were on the wrong size kastle fx94… I weigh 220 and I own the 176…. it excels at EVERYTHNIG you mentioned, especially bumps and trees…. its soo nimble, agile, powerful, fun, fast, energetic…. I LOVVEEE THIS SKII!!! it is by far my favorite in the category… you owe it to yourself to try more Kastle skis…. just SIZE DOWN!!!!

    • Blister Member
      Paul October 27, 2014 Reply

      Hi Adam,

      Can u compare the fx 94 (176) to the bonafide (180)???

    • Blister Member
      Paul October 29, 2014 Reply

      Hi Matt,

      Can U compare the fx 94 to the Bonafide???

      • matt October 29, 2014 Reply

        I only have a few days on a bonafide… but many days on FX…

        The camber, and construction of the Fx94 ( flat tail) makes it : a better carver ( more rebound energy) . and to me, this makes the ski feel quicker, more poppy, more agile, and more powerful. I think it is a more precise tool. I think the FX rewards good technique , more so than the bonafide.

        ( I skied the 2013 bonafide) … It felt a little more rockered, and less cambered. There fore ,to me , it felt little more surfy/loose/smeary. Less refined, dialed, not as much of an energetic carver compared to fx. ( you can tell I prefer the kastle), that being said.. The bonafide is a wicked awesome ski and I thought about buying it after skiing it. Bonafide may be a little better ( easier is a more appropriate word) , in soft/deep pow.. Some might argue its better ( easier) in moguls. (But the FX flat out slays moguls, chop, crud, pow, slush…. )

        It really comes down to taste and style…

        I just prefer more traditional skis. Flat tail, stiff, good camber, tiny bit of early rise tip. That’s the perfect recipe for me , for my all mountain ripper ski.

        The kastle prefers forward , aggressive, tip driving skier
        The bonafide will reward more centered/ new school stance.

        These are just my opinions , with only a few days on bonafide. That being said, I think anybody would be happy on either ski. You will be stoked either way!

        • Blister Member
          Paul October 29, 2014 Reply

          Matt,
          Thanks a lot for your time and the detailed feedback – awesome***

  30. Joost October 30, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    How does the Mantra stack up to the new Salomon Q98. I’m 185 cm and 98kg and both a technical and powerful skier. I mainly ski in the Alps & Pyrenees and am looking for a one quiver for when there hasn’t been a lot of fresh snow for a while, you have to take groomers and do hikes to get some ankle deep pow. (So no real touring but more ferried touring) My scissile is technical but also with a lot of power and I’m more of a directional skier. What would you recommend? Thanks!!

  31. Leon November 1, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, great review as always.
    I’m looking for a ski to replace my 12/13 177 Mantras which are now battered.
    I’m 5’10 and 168lbs and a fairly strong skier. I live and ski in the French Alps.
    My soft snow / powder ski is a 184 Rocker2 108 which I bought based on the reviews on this site. I love them. Thanks.
    I get away from the groomers as much as possible and need a ski for the firmer, variable days which last season was all but about 8 days. The old Mantra was the perfect ski for all but deep days in the Portes du Soleil.
    Is the new Mantra still the ski or should I look elsewhere?
    I think I’d like the Cochise or is it too similar to the Rocker2?

    Keep up the great work.

    Leon

    • Author

      Thanks, Leon. Your question is a tough one. You’re a bit lighter than me, so the 177 Mantras might work quite well for you. For really nasty, variable off-piste conditions, I’ve been quite a fan of the Salomon X-Drive 8.8 (for skiing hard and fast in these conditions), and the 185cm Cochise is really good at smoothing out such conditions, too, and is a more mellow ski than the 184cm X-Drive 8.8. So you’ve got a 88mm underfoot option and a 108 underfoot option. The less you care about carving, the more I could see you going with a Cochise + Rocker2 108. But the new Mantra could be just fine, especially if you aren’t looking to ski them flat out in firm variable. I think you’re mostly going to have to decide how wide or skinny you care to go.

  32. Mark November 12, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jonathan-
    So nice to find an objective point of view! The trade pubs love EVERYTHING and you guys are providing thoughtful analysis. Honestly, I’d probably pay a fee for your reviews.

    Now to my questions…

    I’m an advanced 47yr-old VT skier who’s 5’10” and 185lbs and skis all types of terrain. I’ve been skiing on the 170cm 11/12 Volkl Mantras as my daily ski and a pair of Rossi S3’s when we get our 10-inch “powder days”. I loved the mantras but they’re delamintaing and need to be retired.

    I’m heading out to Copper next week for 10 days to watch my daughter train with the race academy she attends. I’m in a position to demo a few different skis before I decide and Copper’s early season conditions will probably be somewhat similar to eastern conditions. Here’s my short list of what I’d like to demo:
    14/15 Volkl Mantras at 177
    Kastle FX94’s
    Blizzard Bonafides

    Any thoughts on additional skis I should demo?
    Does anyone have a suggestion as to best shop in Copper and/or Vail to demo skis?

    thanks
    Mark

    • Author

      Thanks, Mark! Much appreciated. I like your short list, and don’t have other obvious recommendations. If you were going to consider anything else, I’d probably be tempted to suggest the Salomon X-Drive 8.8 and the Blizzard Brahma. But you’ve got a good list. If you do get on your top 3, let us know what you find!

    • Blister Member
      Paul November 12, 2014 Reply

      Hi Mark/Jonathan

      If u get a chance to demo the fx 94, can u please post what you thought of these skis.
      Thanks,

      Jonathan,
      If you/Blister crew could do a review of the fx 94, that would be appreciated. You guys have the best/no bs reviews and I would love to see if this ski lives up to the hype.
      I’ve had several people tell me to get rid of the bonafides and go with Kastle. Appearantly they are super precise and handle everything well.
      Thanks,
      Paul

  33. Mathew November 13, 2014 Reply

    In response to Paul: I have skied both. And you echo my sentiments, exactly. I almost bought the bonafide. Great do it all ski. I think it prefers a more centered stance. and it tolerates smearing better than fx94. The Kastle rewards a forward aggressive stance, I think its more precise. It does everything well with amazing energy. The best combination of finesse and power. They are so light on your feet. They just simply rock… having said that, if I already owned some perfectly good bonafides… I don’t think I would take a loss on them to fork over 1200 on the kastle…. its not THAT much better… (or maybe it is I don’t know, I love it! :)

    • Blister Member
      Paul November 16, 2014 Reply

      Matt,
      Thanks for the info. I’ll take your advice and stick with the Bonafide for now as mine are in pretty much brand new condition. However at the end of the season, I may just have to invest in a pair for the 15/16 season.

  34. Eric November 16, 2014 Reply

    Jonathan, gotta agree with Mark above: everything these days seem to get a “4.5 out of 5 stars” with little more insight than marketing bullet-points. So thank you for the outstanding no bs reviews here on blister.

    This season I’m looking for a ski for 95% of my days that is soft-snow biased but has the versatility to rail groomers, jump off-piste, and tackle mixed conditions with confidence.

    Additionally I’d love to use them on deep pow days if possible (usually 24″ dumps max). But most importantly they need to be quick and nimble in the trees. Seems the 2015 Mantra fits my style of skiing to a T.

    My mountain’s biggest strength is its abundant moderately-pitched tree skiing. Conditions usually remain pretty soft here in the northern rockies but it can get quite setup and firm on some days.

    At 6’2″ 180lbs I am however torn on sizing after reading your review. I usually size mid-180’s but I will prioritize weight over height if need be. Calling around there doesn’t seem to be many mantras being drilled for demo (availability seems to be scarce here) and none in the 184.

    Since I answered yes to question #2 and I won’t be skiing anything super steep would you incline me towards the 184’s? My only concern is my lighter weight and giving up that nimbleness especially in the trees.

    • Author

      Thank you, Eric. Given everything you’ve said, I honestly think you could pick either length, then simply adapt to whichever you choose. But since you’re interested in pow performance, I would be inclined (at your height / weight) to go with the 184s. Especially if you find that the trees you ski still allow you to ski with some decent speed. Doesn’t have to be hair-on-fire speeds, but (to state the obvious) more speed will help the skis plane and make them easier to turn.

  35. Andraž Šparovec November 26, 2014 Reply

    I own volkl Twos 176 and really like them on pow days and Steps for park-skiing. I’m thinking on adding Mantra 177 for any other conditions (icy, crud, groom) and some touring. Any suggestions where to mount bindings on new Mantra 177? On Twos I have Jester Schizo and discover that from +5 to +3 work best for me.

  36. Ryan December 1, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jonathan
    Great review but it left me wondering about sizing for the purpose of skiing everything in between pow days. For those deep days I have the vwerks katana 184 which I love and boy can they rail on the groomers end of day. I’m 6′ 195 and my style is more charge than finesse. Conditions and terrain will be everything aside from deeper snow and terrain is the resorts of the Alberta rockies and interior BC. torn between the 177 or 184…leaning towards the lengthier option but based on your review would I be good to take the shorter route as I have the katana for deeper days…I don’t want to lose stability when letting loose on the open firm crust but the appeal of the quickness you describe in 177 is alluring. I have skied the 2013 mantra until a rock took them from me last spring. Thoughts?

    • Ryan December 1, 2014 Reply

      Another ski I was looking at was the bmt 94. Has anyone had experience with these and the mantra?

      • Author

        Hey, Ryan – more than anything, I guess the safest thing I can still say (and as I wrote in the review) is that, for those who will be using this ski as their firm conditions ski, I think you can get away with sizing down (177). For those who will be using this as their soft snow / deep snow ski, then I’d go longer rather than shorter. So if your perfectly happy with your 184 Katanas, then I guess I would wager that you’ll really enjoy the 177s.

  37. Benja December 1, 2014 Reply

    Just found this review, great stuff and helpful. I’ve been skiing an older pair of Volkl AC40 and I use them for everything. I’m 158lbs and 5’8″, aggressive skiier & boarder and have been skiing & racing for many years…. But I’m new to wider/rockered skis. Not sure if I should go “long” with the 177s or shorter with the 170s, which is what I’m skiing in the AC40. So funny as I used to ski 195-205 boards!

    • Author

      Hey, Benja – see my comments above to Ryan.

      If you’re keeping your AC40s for firm conditions, then I’d be inclined to have you go with the 177s. If you’re ditching your AC40s, then it’s a tougher call. I doubt you’d dislike the 170s, but I can’t say how much ‘less’ ski they are than the 177s. But it sounds like you’re a strong skier, so I’m confident you’d make the 177s work just fine for you.

  38. Christian December 2, 2014 Reply

    Hey Jonathan,

    I’m a Mantra aficionado and have been following your reviews with great interest. My 2010 Mantras (191cm) are battered and need to be replaced. I skied them everywhere from the Rockies to the East Coast to the Alps and the Pyrenees. I loved their grooming performance and stiffness/edgehold, their snappiness in short turns, and they are great fun in the bumps. They performed incredible well everywhere except for being a little lost in deep powder … an acceptable trade-off. So the obvious choice would be the new model in 184 or 191 2014/2015 Mantras.

    Now your negative review of the 184 seeded some doubt. I admit that I have a hard time imagining that there can be such a big difference between 2 lengths. It remains essentially the same ski, same shape and flex, with some adjustments for length. The only explanation I have is the skier’s weight and size, which might make the 184 less fun to ski for a lighter/shorter skier, but still great fun for a taller/heavier skier. Or am I wrong???

    So I’m looking for your advice on which ski to buy. I travel a lot and hence can only afford a 1 ski quiver. Main skiing spots will be the Rockies, the Pyrenees and the Alps. I’m 186 cm tall and weigh 180 pounds, I’m an expert and very aggressive, technically versed skier. Again, I felt the 191 were not too long, but I never tried the shorter version. Other skis I have considered are the Bonafide and the Line Supernaturals, but I’m open to any suggestion!

    Looking forward to your recommendation!
    Thanks,

    Christian

    • Author

      Hi, Christian – it’s a big can of worms: can a ski in one length / size be ‘better than’ that same ski in a different length / size. I’ve actually been thinking more and more about this question / problem.

      In short, I’m inclined to say, Yes, definitely. Change the length and you potentially change a number of variables: weight, effective edge, rocker lines, stiffness, etc. So it is no stretch to assume that a certain combination of all of these variables will work in concert better than some other combination of those variables — that different combinations all work equally well and consistently / constantly well, so that the only factor is the size of the skier on the ski.

      But I’ll leave that aside for now.

      All I know for certain is that the 13/14 184cm Mantra (that I love) felt closer in terms of quickness to the new 177cm Mantra. And I noted that the new 177 Mantra is closer in weight to the 13/14 184 Mantra than the new 184 is.

      So the more you’re willing to draw conclusions from that, you might assume that the new 184 feels closer to your 191s. I can’t say that with certainty. But given that you and I weigh about the same, if you decided to go with the new 184s, I doubt you will feel like they are clearly too little ski for you. You might really like the new 191s (I’m no longer that interested in them). But again, I highly doubt you’ll feel like the 184s are too little ski. Wish I could say something more definitive and helpful. Hopefully you can demo some 184s?

      • Christian December 13, 2014 Reply

        Hey Jonathan,

        thanks for your response, looks like there is no easy answer other than demoing them, which I will probably not be able to do. Just FYI, all European ski magazines tested the Mantra in 184 and it came out in the top 3 consistently, so I wonder if this is a Rockies vs Alps thing, the conditions and types of runs are different after all. and they describe the Bonafide as a rocket that’s harder to turn short and less versatile than the Mantra. I’ll probably buy it in 184 or 191 and give you some feedback!

        Cheers, Christian

        • Author

          One thing, Christian: getting back to your first comment, I don’t think it’s accurate to describe my take on the new 184 as “negative”. It is not the old Mantra; it is better in pow than the old Mantra, etc. And see my update.

          I have no idea where these Euro ski mags were testing (primarily on-piste? Then I’m not surprised), or if there is much reason to put stock into their findings. (That’s not a shot, I just don’t know. While I do know that I have never seen any reason to place any stock in US mag tests.)

          Finally: Bonafide vs. Mantra. I’ve only skied the 180 Bonafide, so perhaps “they” (whoever “they” is) were A/B-ing the 187 Bonafide against the 184 Mantra. But if they were talking about the 180 Bonafide vs. the 184 Mantra (either the 13/14 or 14/15 Mantra), then they are simply wrong.

  39. David December 10, 2014 Reply

    hi
    Great stuff on the mantra which is making me think . I am a 54yearold advanced European skier 5′ 8 170 lbs currently skiing dps wailer 99 176cm as my ‘daily driver all rounder , all mountain ski’ which is great but does get a bit twitchy at speed on groomers if you get out of position . It’s Nice and easy and light which I like especially when steeper and tight .

    Was wondering your thoughts and comparisons between the 99 and new mantra ( big differences ?) some reviews say new mantra is not easy and needs to skied agressively which I do sometimes but certainly not all the time .

    Thanks for any advice and thoughts you might have

    • Author

      Hi, Dave – yes, I’d say big difference.

      if we’re comparing a wailer 99 HYBRID to a Mantra of similar length, the Mantra is the more substantial, damp, and heavier ski. And if you’re talking wailer 99 PURE, then the Mantra is a lot more ski.

      If you want a great ski that does not require much input / energy, I’d recommend the 99 Hybrid. If you know you prefer a more substantial / less inherently quick ski, then the Mantra will make more sense. You don’t have to ski the Mantra agressively all the time, but if you enjoy an easier-going ski, then I don’t think the Mantra makes a whole lot of sense.

  40. Matthew January 7, 2015 Reply

    Jonathan – wow, thanks for your review. I want to go w/ 2015 Mantra as a ski for when I go out West or soft/deep snow in East. I’m 6’0″ 200 lbs, and 43. I’d love to get the 177s (instead of 184s) as I think they’d help an old guy like me with maneuverability in the steeps/moguls since I have one knee that’s less than great anymore, but afraid I might overpower them as I do ski relatively aggressively out of the moguls and steeps. Thoughts? Thanks in advance, Matt.

    • Author

      Hi, Matthew – apologies for the late reply — did you already pull the trigger?

      While I can’t say with 100% certainty, I think if you’re on the fence re: length, you will be fine with the 177s – unless you really are only going to be breaking these out in great conditions / deep pow. Then I’d see no reason not to go with the greater surface area afforded by the 184s.

      • Matthew January 23, 2015 Reply

        Thanks Jonathan – Just want a ski for going to say Jackson from East Coast and only have one ski to bring with need to cover whatever conditions I get when I get there. I think I’m just going to demo some different skis in this width and next width up when I’m there in Feb to make up my mind – Really appreciate the feedback and great site.

  41. James January 10, 2015 Reply

    I got a chance to ski the 184’s today on groomers, I absolutely loved them and felt very, very good on them. They felt like they could slay the whole mountain at warp speed. I’m 6’3″ and 195 and the 184 felt perfect for me. My daily driver is a line influence 105, which has a bit more snap from turn to turn but doesn’t edge quite as well at really high speeds as the mantra. If i was buying skis tomorrow i would buy the mantra’s.

  42. Robert January 16, 2015 Reply

    Hi I’m interm. skier. 6’10” 189 lb I was starting skiing on Rossi 9 SL (165) some times ag, and like big speeds an stable on it. Now after 2 years pause i looking for ski 50 on / 50 off piste (little trees),in short: speed on + fun in off-piste. I’m thinking about Mantras but stuck at size. What size you think i need to go 177 or 184? Thanks for answer !

  43. Ben January 19, 2015 Reply

    I ski in Vermont and am 5’10” 175lbs and a very aggressive skier. I am trying to decide between the 177 mantras and the 180 blizzard bonafides? Any advice?

    • Author

      Hey, Ben – I’m not sure that I have much to add beyond my reviews of the two skis. The 177 Mantra is probably a bit more substantial than the 180 Bonafide, and I’d rather ski groomers on the 177 Mantra. For me, the 180 Bonafide really shined as a smooth, all-mountain ski. It never really felt out of place. But I think I personally preferred carving the Mantras, and I prefer the increased bump in stability and top end over the relative ease of the Bonafide. So kind of depends on what you’re really looking for.

  44. Rich M January 20, 2015 Reply

    I demoed both in VT at Okemo in typical east ice and crud and windblown (sounds so inviting) and can definitely say I much preferred the 2014 Mantra to both the new rockered Mantra (2015) and the 2015 Bonafide. The bonafide was fun, easy to initiate, and slap around, but did not have the edge hold for true confidence to lay it over on eastern hardback and have it dig in and hold. The 2015 Mantra also did not have the edge hold of the 2014 Mantra. I am the same height and weight as you, and was looking for a ski to replace my Nordica Enforcer, a wonderful fast ski with superb edge hold that also worked well in reasonable powder (up to 10-12 inches) out west. If you are truly aggressive, I don’t know that you will like the Bonafide. It skied soft to me.
    Good luck.
    RIch
    BTW, just tried my new Stockli AR lasers on Eastern windblown hardpack and they really carved in. Great start on a very quick edge to edge narrow ski.

  45. Faripour January 28, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan;

    Thank you for excellent review, as usual. A few questions:
    I had to conclude that for me (5’8″ – 145 lb, moderately aggressive experienced expert technical skier) I need to try a shorter Mantra 14/15, do you agree? Incidentally, I tried 177 14/15 Mantra on Killington hard cut up icy snow and noted that they were more “swimmy” than my old traditional Mantra also, the little hard bumps felt more jolting. In these conditions, I liked them less. Also, edge hold on hard groomer was not as good as the old ones, as the result I ended up feeling less confident on them.

    Second question: Would you please expand on your comparison of 14/15 Mantra 177 with V-Wek 177, would appreciate. And, if you were my size, would you use V- Wek 177 or would look for something softer and more responsive to a light fellow like me.

    Thirdly; Several times,you have commented on boot characteristics and ski characteristics should match i. A short article on this subject would be greatly appreciated as not much is known about it!

    • Author

      Hi, Faripour…

      I haven’t skied the 177 V-Werks Katana, so can’t comment on those lengths directly. But was your question whether you ought to check out the shorter Mantra (~170cm)? Honestly, I’m not sure that it would ‘fix’ the issues you had with the 177 Mantra. Seems to me that you’d be a really good candidate for the Nordica Hell & Back, if you can find a pair…

      • Faripour February 6, 2015 Reply

        Thanks for your response. On Hell and Back, I have the Enforcer at 169, which fits my size very well and I love the ski. I like to buy something similar that would be rockered for better Pow and easier tree and bumps. From all your comments, I am coming on the side of Bonefide at 173cm. as opposed to Mantra 170 or 177. Again I am 5:8 145 lb expert. would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks you!!!

        • Blister Member
          Paul February 7, 2015 Reply

          The Enforcer returns for the 2016 with tip and tail rock. It just maybe what u a looking for.

          • Faripour February 10, 2015 Reply

            HI Paul;
            Wow, indeed that could be a great ski. My 2012 Enforcer was felt very much like my 2008 Mantra but”better” in the sense that for a light weigh skier like myself it was lighter, more maneuverable in tight spots and the softer tip made it better in bumps and pow, less feeling of going over the handle bar. It would be interesting to compare 2015-16 rocker with midsection camber Enforcer with fully rockered Mantra. My guess, it would preserve its advantages without losing stability in crud and high speed that Mantra is known for – corrected for right lenghth of ski for right weight and higth and ability skier.

  46. giorgos February 2, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for your review. I enjoyed it.
    I would like to ask you I am 175 and aroud 70 kgs.
    I am advance intermidiate level and I skiing in groomed and actually not frequent at pow and stiff pow.
    Which of shreditor 102 and mantra will you recomend to me.

    Thanks in advance for your response.
    Best Regards,
    Giorgos

    • Author

      Hi Giorgos –

      The Shreditor 102 and Mantra are basically opposite skis. The Shreditor is super soft, playful, and designed for tricking. The Mantra is stiff, directional, stable, relatively heavy, and designed to go fast.

      The Shreditor is the easier, more forgiving ski. The Mantra is more demanding, but will hold up much better at high speeds. If easy and forgiving is what you’re after, then the Shreditor. If more damp and stable at higher speeds is what you’re after, then Mantra.

  47. Bruce February 5, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I am having a hard time zeroing in on the best one-ski quiver for me. Your website helped me to determine options and this review helped to focus me somewhat, but I need even more expert help!

    I ski 75% in the East and 25% in the West and I’m 6′ 4″ 200 lbs. I’ve skied exclusively on the 2011-12 Mantra 184 for four seasons and I have loved them. Even in the East, I ski off piste, trees, and bumps to the fullest extent possible and my Mantras seem to love any kind of junk, crud, or ice I can find. Unfortunately I have beaten the crap out of them and they’re ready for retirement.

    I’m thinking now that the new 184 Mantra may not be the right ski partly because of your review and partly because I think it probably makes sense to have a little camber under foot skiing in the East. So, I’m considering the following skis and I’m wondering how you’d rank them given the above background: Line Supernatural 100 (186), Moment PB&J (182), Blizzard Bonafide (180), DPS Wailer 99 Hybrid (184).

    Thanks,
    Bruce

    • Author

      Hi, Bruce – given this list, and if the goal is to come closest to your 11/12 Mantras, then the Bonafide is the answer, and none of the other skis are really much like the Mantra at all.

      And as I’ve written, I actually think the 184cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8 is the closest thing to the cambered Mantra that I have skied – check out that review.

      The other skis on your list are good skis and fun, but if you are looking for a Mantra feel, they will not provide it. At all. I’d read those reviews again, but it seems to me that you may need to get a bit clearer about what you’re really looking for, what you wish your 11/12 Mantras did better, and what you’re willing to give up. (Hope that helps a little, at least?)

      • Bruce February 10, 2015 Reply

        Hi Jonathan,

        Thanks for your response. Sorry I should have been more explicit, but it’s tough because my requirements are fairly flexible. That is, I love my current Mantras, but I don’t necessarily need a ski that matches them exactly. In fact, I would welcome something a little different just to have a slightly different experience. Here’s what I would need: the ability to ski both soft and icy bumps, trees, crud, and pow both deep and not so deep. I like carving long arcs on groomers with the Mantras, but really I only ski on groomers to get to the lift or the locker room, so carving is not as important. Sounds like the Salomon X-Drive 8.8 could still be an answer, but I figured I’d clarify just in case.

        Thanks,
        Bruce

        • Author

          Hi, Bruce – while the 8.8 may still be the ski for you (I’ve been hearing from a number of readers who are really liking the 172 and 179cm 8.8.s), I think the less important real carving is to you, the more in-play both the PB&J and Bonafide would be. The PB&J is the most tip and tail rockered, and will work best in pow. And I’ll let you check out again my review of the Bonafide. Either of those skis will be easier in bumps than the 184 8.8 – I just can’t compare them to a shorter 8.8.

  48. Dave Farrell February 22, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I’m an Eldora skier who mostly sees hardpack and chopped pow. I like to blast through the crud, not dance, and I like a ski that turns quick when needed in narrow terrain. Again, at Eldora, it’s either bullet proof or crud. Based on the above review, an others I’ve read here (Soul Rider, Peacemaker, etc.) it sounds like the 2015 Mantra is what I’m looking for. Would you have any other suggestions? Thanks for all the reviews. You guys do a great job, and are my go to site for gear.

    • Author

      Thanks, Dave – the more serious you are about ‘bulletproof’, the more I think you should read my review of the Salomon X-Drive 8.8.

      Otherwise, I’ll still readily endorse the 177 Mantra, and all of my caveats about the 184 Mantra in the review still apply – in both the original review and the update.

  49. Gordon February 24, 2015 Reply

    Well Jonathan, it appears that people noticed your exuberance on these skis, the 177 Mantras seem to be getting hard to find. I bought these today (a demo set from local ski hill) and they are really great. Excellent in hard conditions which is all I’ve had them in so far. I also bought the Moment Bibby Pros a few years ago when you guys were saying they were great (and they are). I’d better watch out, this could become a habit.

  50. Christian March 4, 2015 Reply

    Hi guys,

    I skied the 184 Mantra now for 14 days from Europe to East Coast and I’m absolutely happy with it. I skied the 191 2010 Mantra before, and I find the new one every bit as fun as the old one, with a remarkable improvement in powder. It is unbeatable on groomers, fun in moguls, quick to turn if skied precisely with good technique, the perfect “one-ski-quiver” ski for a guy like me who needs to take a plane to get anywhere else but East-Coast skiing.
    Having said all that I admit I did not get a chance to test any of the other skis, but what can I say, I don’t feel the need to as the Mantra does it all for me!
    Thanks to you guys for all your test and constructive comments,
    Christian

    • Thanks for the feedback, Christian. And interesting to see that you happily dropped down from the old 191 to the new 184…

      • Christian March 7, 2015 Reply

        Jonathan, the one thing I did notice dropping down to the 184s is that I need to do more balancing of my weight back and forth, you can’t beat physics, a longer ski is always gonna be more stable. But the rocker and the extra width do a good job to compensate for that, and make the ski feel a little more accessible.
        Can’t wait to ski them out west!
        Christian

  51. Dom March 10, 2015 Reply

    I skied on the white doctors at Steamboat last week and enjoyed them so I was wondering how this ski compares to the white doctor ft10. I ski at Colorado resorts and sometimes in the East.

  52. Matt April 13, 2015 Reply

    Hi,
    Thank you for the nice review. I’m just thinking new Mantra for my next Tele setup. I’m 5″5 with 170lbs, like to ski aggressive with speed. What do you think about sizing, should I go with 170 or 177? Thanks you for your input.

  53. Juan Manuel May 13, 2015 Reply

    Hi!

    That was a great review I´m 5´8 with 177lbs. I have a racing background, and I started Telemark 4 years ago (I already have my PSIA Level 2 on them). I wanted to ask your opinion on this skies for telemark……I haven´t seen many telemarkers on them in the US or here in south america (I live in chile).

    Thanks for your input!

  54. Arthur June 4, 2015 Reply

    Hi there, I’m a 5’11 55 intermediate-advanced skier who spends 80% off piste 20% and am looking for a ski which can handle variable/icy conditions I often ski in. I’m thinking of picking up a pair of 177 mantras but am worried that they’ll be too stiff for my lower weight, am tossing up between the mantras and the blizzard bonifide 180. What skis would you recommend for me?

    • Author

      Hi, Arthur – looks like there was a typo: you’re 5’11”, 155 lbs.?

      If so, and if you’re an intermediate-advanced skier, I think the stand out difference to me is that the Mantra has stiffer shovels than the Bonafide. It’s been a while since I skied the 177 Mantra, but on snow, there are a lot of performance similarities between the two skis, so my primary point is: from what you’ve told me, I don’t have much reason to steer you toward / away from one of these skis over the other. But the more worried you are about stiffness, well, the Bonafide’s shovels are softer – though again, I can’t say that I felt this made for a big difference on-snow.

  55. Matthias July 8, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I’m having a hard time to decide, which lenght I should get on the mantra 15/16. I’m 6’03 feet and 185 lbs.
    I wopuld like to ski everything with this ski from steep groomers to deep powder.
    In the shops every salesperson recommended me the 184, because of my height and the better straight line control with the 184.

    Waht would you recommend me? What’s the detail behind the link between body height and length of skis?

    Thank you for your answer,
    Matthias

  56. Gary September 10, 2015 Reply

    I am 5’11 & 215lbs. I ski super aggressive on just about everything and have solid technique. Given the rocker type and my weights/skill set, would I be best in a 184cm or 191cm???

    My current skis are 188 Kastle 187cm Bonafide.

    I can get a great deal on 184cm to use as another fun toy on the mountain but I am concerned it won’t keep up with the me at my speed and in with stability . What do you think? Thanks

  57. Brett November 15, 2015 Reply

    Hi Jonathan – I am wondering you thoughts on size. I am 5’10 150lbs 23 years old and probably will not get much heavier. I know you haven’t skied the 170s, but do you think they would be enough ski? Are the 177s very manageable? (I know you were pleasantly surprised to size down).

    I am very good skier (although do not have the strongest legs); I like to open up large turns and bases flat going fast — but more often am skiing technical lines, moguls, and small airs in rock faces. I have a pair of 179 atomic automatics for the deep days (which work well but I admit feel like slightly too much ski for me- (more the width than length)).

    I ski Squaw Valley mostly, and sometimes make it to Jackson. Do you have any other top pick ski’s in this class? Perhaps more playful? Don’t want to give up much stability, though.

  58. Luke November 28, 2015 Reply

    The 184 mantra is a titanium rockered 2×4 that isn’t better than the E100 at anything. It skis like shit in every condition, doesn’t have the smeary feel of a rockered ski, the energy of a full camber ski, or the edge hold of my old Rossi s3s. Surprised by the good review. Noone skis these.

  59. kent January 18, 2016 Reply

    I am struggling with what to ski on..I play at Jay and the surrounding area. I am a technical skier. .aggressive forward driving skier that has taken to the tight trees and the variable conditions of the backcountry. I hike with the Cham 97 but don’t love them and also ski on the 2015 rmt84 that I bought in a to short a length (172 or 4) not happy. So I’m torn….177 mantra or 180 blizard I’m 5ft9 170 ..I’m afraid of the full rocker I don’t want to feel like I’m smearing my turns or riding my tails if I go mantra. ….I have friends on the rosi s3 and those big dumb yellow bananas and I find their skiing has become dumb downed since switching to those skiis. Will the mantra feel like that or ski more traditional or should I think about the bonifide instead……please help

  60. Blister Member
    Todd Manley February 3, 2016 Reply

    I finally had the chance to try out the 191cm Mantra’s and found them to be a great ski. What might be a comparable ski from other manufacturers that would be Mantra-like?

  61. jamesdavis February 15, 2016 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, Super review!! I am 6’1 172 lbs, based on my weight & your review I am more inclined to go for the 177. I am skiing at a decent level & want a good all round ski: that floats in the powder but still allows quick turns & is nimble on the piste.
    Although the 184 corresponds better with my height. What do you think??

  62. T April 7, 2016 Reply

    I am 6 2 and 225 pounds and typically ski cambered skis with a lot of forward pressure. I mostly ski utah. When I first got the mantra 184s I liked them in powder but hard a hard time connecting with them anywhere else. Turn imitation and balance seemed off and I was getting ready to sell them However after about the sixth day I figured them out and now really like them on groomers, crud etc as well. Now they really do seem like a great all mountain skis that does powder and crud well and is fun on groomers.

  63. Motta Jean November 2, 2016 Reply

    Thanks Jonathan for your review, i have skied the new 177 Mantra for all last season, and i can say that i fully agree with your comments it’s a fantastic ski very nimble predictible and versatile, for me the one ski quiver to have, this year have been tested in european review in 184 and comments are not so enthusiastic compare to the 177, you were right man!! but still a very good ski for advanced and expert skier

    Best regards

    John

  64. Nathan January 4, 2017 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    Looking for advice on a Chamonix ski. My first criterion is edge grip for some of those steep couloirs that can be deadly if they get icy. I’ve been advised to go for a long turn radius to improve edge contact underfoot when standing on some dicey ice, stiff tail to recover on, and around 100mm underfoot. On paper, the 191 Mantra looks nice, as does the 185cm Blizzard Cochise. But it has to be something that doesn’t feel like “too much ski” in every other respect, and your comments about the 184cm Mantra have me a bit worried.

    189cm tall, ~183 lbs, advanced to expert skier with acceptable (but not great) steep terrain skills. I took a pair of 180 Bonafide’s to Cham last year and regretted it. Not enough ski, not enough surface area for off-piste, couldn’t start off with a stable platform, so much so that I wanted to chuck those skis in the garbage. The Blizzard Spur worked great for me, but I’m looking for something else to fill in the gap. On paper it seems like the 177 and 184 Mantra would have all the same drawbacks as the 180 Bonafide, so I guess it comes down to the 191 Mantra (nobody has that for demo here on the East Coast) or the 185 Cochise…

  65. ed March 21, 2017 Reply

    I’m 5’10 and 220lbs. Ski aggressively. Which length should I go for?

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