I would have published this yesterday, but I was too darn tired to finish it and all that jazz.
So, yesterday I made my way up to Deer Valley to ski with my uncle. When I got up to park city I had driven into possibly the biggest snow storm we have had this season. Couple that with the fact that the Sundance Film Festival is in town and you get tons of traffic and amazingly lousy drivers. The mine road up to Sliver Lake Village was closed and driving up Royal Street was a little treacherous. I made it up fine, but there were plenty of people having issues. Hey, this is Utah, we get lots of snow, people should know how to drive in it, but that is neither here nor there.
My uncle had set up a ski demo for the day for me so I picked up my boots and caught a shuttle over to the ski shop to pick up a pair of Volkl Mantras. We had been in the shop the day before getting bindings for Natalie’s new skis, and we got to talking about skis with one of the guys from the shop and we figured that it would be worth trying them out.
The Mantra is one of Volkl’s freeride skis and it is a pretty wide beast compared to my Salomon X-Wing Tornados. With a 133-96-116 profile, these are probably the widest skis I have ever skied save for the Evolution Powder Boards that my uncle has. My ’07 Tornados are a 124-75-107. So it took a little getting used to, but after a couple runs I started to figure them out and I was having a great time.
All the reviews that I had read about the Mantra say that it is a great all mountain ski and that going from groomers to crud to off-piste is a breeze. So I figured that I would check that out on my first run of the day. I was on the lift by 9:30 so I headed over to Rainbow Trees where I was happy to find that I was probably one of the first people through that morning. I floated right along through the fresh powder in the glade. After that I headed over to Crown Point and up to Big Stick. I liked how the skis handled on the groomers though it took a little bit of changing my stance to make sure that I didn’t lock my tips of tails together and to release the edges.
I picked up Jenny Bernstein and skied another cruiser before hitting White Owl and Lucky Bill where there was still some nice deep snow. At this point I was pretty excited about the skis and we just started seeking out some fun spots to catch the nice snow. We hit Ontario Bowl followed by Square Deal. By the time we were skiing Square Deal it had already been cut up, but the Mantras made short work of going in and out of deep and crud on the same trail.
Later in the day we hit some really nice deep untracked snow in Lady Morgan Bowl. I think we got lucky because the Empire lift had been on wind hold all morning. The feeling of floating through the snow and requiring so little effort to make nice pretty turns was incredible. If it makes any sense, I felt like this ski made skiing the various varying conditions around the mountain a breeze, though I also felt like I was working a little harder.
Many of the reviews that I have read speak of the Mantra being a great ski for someone who wants one pair of skis. I am not sure how I feel about that, I would have to ski on it more. On the other hand, many reviews from ’07 for the Tornado say the same thing, and I feel the same way about it. Now, if your kit had both skis, you might be set for anything that the mountains can through at you (unless you are a backcountry or AT skier).
Well, my super excitement about the Mantra lead my uncle to set me up with a pair as an early birthday gift. I certainly can’t thank him and my aunt enough for that, I am sure that I will enjoy skiing on them for years. I hope that we get some snow to make it worth it!