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2023 Volkl Mantra 102

Stev

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Well, while still waiting to find a deal on the 2023 Volkl Mantra 102 in a 184cm length, I got the Salomon Stance 102 in a 183cm length mounted with Salomon Shifts that I took off of a pair of Dynastar Cham 2.0 107 in a 183cm length. So far I have skied two days on these. Here is my own mini-cagematch review of the two skis:
- The Salomon Stance 102 is a playful ski that can also charge when needed. It turns easily with very little effort. Just roll them on edge and they go. The early rise makes the skis feel shorter.
- The Volkl Mantra 102 is a charger ski that can also be playful when needed. It turns easily with a bit of tip pressure. They carve and arc a turn with more authority than the Stance 102.
Both skis are versatile, go anywhere and will do anything as needed. I hope to own both skis in the future. Yes, I still want the Volkl Mantra 102. However, I'll still have fun on the Stance 102 while I'm waiting and the Stance 102 will also be a good replacement for the Dynastar Chams.
(I'll try to post this mini-review in the Salomon Stance 102 thread.)
 
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deadheadskier

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I just picked up a set of M102 and I'm curious what folks think about mounting point?

A bit about me. I'll be 48 y/o start of next season. I'm 5'8" and 185-90 currently, but looking to get down to 175-180 for the season. I was 205 at the start of last. I ski exclusively in New England and these will be my fat skis mainly to be used in the tight, bumped up trees of places like Cannon and Wildcat. I went with the 177cm due to the weight loss and getting a bit older. I'm cutting down my quiver size and the M102 are replacing both Nordica Steadfast and Vagabond. I wanted something with a strong carving bias and to split the difference of the two Nordicas.

I have a strong, carving, more directional style of skiing vs loose and slarvy.

Mounting Look Pivots 14 on these. I'm just curious if folks think I should go with the factory recommended mounting point or +1 or 2cm to perhaps reduce the swing weight a bit making the ski easier to pivot in bumps and tight trees. I typically just go with factory recommended, but some comments on a Blister review has me thinking maybe a slightly forward mount makes sense.

Thoughts?
 

TahoeJoe

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I have the 2023 M102 in 184. I only got to ski it 3 days At the end of the season as i bought it as an end of season deal. But I loved it! Never skied the previous version. But it’s chargy, enough for me. I’m 6’0” 222# expert skier. There was absolutely nothing, I didn’t like about it. However at 55 years old maybe I’m less of a chargy, skier than I once was!
 

deadheadskier

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Got out on the M102 for my first day of the season at Loon on Friday. These were bought primarily as an EC soft snow / pow ski, but what attracted me to this particular model were the reviews on hard pack or "ugly" snow. We obviously have a lot of that here on the EC and often have to ski such conditions on our way to the trees and softer snow. So, I thought what better way to test out the latter attributes than on a classic EC WROD day!

Loon was a combination of very good packed powder on a recent snowmaking trail, hard pack on others and they had just opened North Peak, which was chock full of death cookies; like skiing a gravel pit.

In the gravel pit, these skis have a ton of muscle and just sliced and bullied their way right through it. Very strong in the tips with minimal deflection. Much better performance than the Steadfast and Vagabonds they replaced in these conditions.

On the hard pack these skis bit right in allowing precision carving with confidence. They obviously aren't on the same level as my iRally or Doberman GSM, but they blow away the Steadfast and Vagabonds. With those models, even with a fresh tune and good technique, I still found myself having to allow them to skid on the really hard stuff until I hit something a bit softer to bite into and carve. The M102 I could carve with great confidence on the hard.

On the packed powder, I was really able to get a feel for the versatility of the 3D radius. Weight forward and low and they were great with GS to SuperG turns. Skied taller with weight more centered and you can easily manage SL or more pivot type turns needed in bumps and trees. While I wouldn't call them "snappy" and they'll take some muscle to whip around in tight situations, they were more maneuverable than I was expecting. They should handle tight NE trees just fine for me.

I'm looking forward to testing these after a dump to see how they perform when I desire some float. They don't have much rocker and with being a bit narrower and much stiffer than my old Vagabonds, they may not perform quite as well in 10" or more. However, I'm also down 25# since last season. So, perhaps because I'm asking them to support less weight, that will even out the performance in the deep stuff. At 5'8" and now 180#, I feel I made the right choice going with the 177 cm vs 184. Especially if I limit the holiday treats and drop down to the 170-175# Id like to get to. If I were a western based skier, I probably would have gone with the 184. But here in the land of tight trees, I feel it was the right call to give up a bit of float in favor of maneuverability.

Once I get a chance to ride these in deep snow, I'll update my review.
 

salvatore

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Nice write up, @deadheadskier!

I too have found them to be an incredible versatile ski. They rail GS turns, I can work them in the bumps, and they just destroy crud and refrozen crap. I'm a bit smaller than you (5'6", 158) so for me the 177 cm does great in anything up to around 8". I'll be curious to hear how you like them in some deeper snow.
 

deadheadskier

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Nice write up, @deadheadskier!

I too have found them to be an incredible versatile ski. They rail GS turns, I can work them in the bumps, and they just destroy crud and refrozen crap. I'm a bit smaller than you (5'6", 158) so for me the 177 cm does great in anything up to around 8". I'll be curious to hear how you like them in some deeper snow.

It's pretty rare that I get into much more than 8" being an EC skier. I live in NH and a typical season lately is about 35 days in NH, 5 in VT, 5 in ME. Wildcat is the only mountain in NH that averages 200" and that's pretty debatable.

So because of that reality, I leaned towards optimizing Piste and chopped Pow performance, which is where these skis apparently excel. Plenty of days on my Vagabonds, I would switch to the Steadfasts after lunch once most of the goods got tracked out. I feel with these Mantras I'm really getting the performance of the prior two skis wrapped into one. Well even better Piste performance than the Steadfast.

I'm sure I'll be fine with them in a foot or so. If I'm lucky enough to be free when a monster storm comes through, I can always rent something fatter.
 

TahoeJoe

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It's pretty rare that I get into much more than 8" being an EC skier. I live in NH and a typical season lately is about 35 days in NH, 5 in VT, 5 in ME. Wildcat is the only mountain in NH that averages 200" and that's pretty debatable.

So because of that reality, I leaned towards optimizing Piste and chopped Pow performance, which is where these skis apparently excel. Plenty of days on my Vagabonds, I would switch to the Steadfasts after lunch once most of the goods got tracked out. I feel with these Mantras I'm really getting the performance of the prior two skis wrapped into one. Well even better Piste performance than the Steadfast.

I'm sure I'll be fine with them in a foot or so. If I'm lucky enough to be free when a monster storm comes through, I can always rent something fatter.
Imthink the mantr 102 is even more versatile than the m6. It’s absolutely my favorite ski in my front side quiver. I just got the kendo and ski’d it Sunday at Loon. I’m gonna give it some more time but it was a bit hooky. I de-tuned the tips and tails mid day and it was better. They really bite hard though. So may keep it for bullet proof boiler plate days, that I hope we don’t get.

But I concur with your assessment of the M102. Though I’m not sure I share your sentiment on it’s possible performance in the glades or moguls, time will tell
 
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TahoeJoe

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‘Obtainable’ not sure if thats a lamer than ‘accessible’ but sounds pretty lame.

Yuck and yuck!!

Looks like I'll be stockpiling those closeout models to keep me flush for a few years.




Why change? Make it more appealing to the 15 day a year crowd?? Theres enough skis for 'those people'.
Imwouldnt call this ski Tame at all. Just a bit for forgiving. Let’s us old guys ski it so we can keep up with the youngens.
 

salvatore

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Imthink the mantr 102 is even more versatile than the m6. It’s absolutely my favorite ski in my front side quiver. I just got the kendo and ski’d it Sunday at Loon. I’m gonna give it some more time but it was a bit hooky. I de-tuned the tips and tails mid day and it was better. They really bite hard though. So may keep it for bullet proof boiler plate days, that I hope we don’t get.

But I concur with your assessment of the M102. Though I’m not sure I share your sentiment on it’s possible performance in the glades or moguls, time will tell
Agreed. I had the M6 and after one day on the M102... I sold the M6.
 

deadheadskier

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Agreed. I had the M6 and after one day on the M102... I sold the M6.

Out of curiosity, what do you like about the M102 that much more that you decided to sell the M6? The M6 also gets rave reviews, perhaps even more so than the M102.

I almost did go with the M6, but felt I would want something just a bit wider than 96 as this is going to be the widest ski in my quiver. As mentioned prior, these skis replaced a Steadfast at 90 and a Vagabond at 107. I could have maybe gone with the M6 and a Katana and kept a similar quiver format. However, when I looked at my Vagabond usage of only 4-5 days a season with often a mid day switch to the Steadfast, I didn't feel I was getting enough utilization out of a 107 width ski to warrant the expense of buying and maintaining the extra pair. So, this purchase has been really about splitting the difference.

My last season ski usage was something like:

Head iRally: 20 days
Rossi Hero Master GS: 10 days
Steadfast: 10 days
Vagabond: 5 days

This year I expect something like:

Head iRally: 20 days
Volkls M102: 15 days
Nordica Doberman GSM: 10 days
 

salvatore

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Out of curiosity, what do you like about the M102 that much more that you decided to sell the M6? The M6 also gets rave reviews, perhaps even more so than the M102.
I felt that the M102 did everything the M6 did, but was in fact even better in the bumps and the trees. For me, it felt easier to release and actually quite nimble, as long as you are the one driving the ski and not the other way around!

And, of course, I felt that it is more versatile than the M6 because it is better in deeper snow. The M102 is not the ski I'm taking out on a powder day -- I have a bunch of wider skis suited to that type of condition -- but I have had it out a few times where the reports were wrong or perhaps the snow accumulation was more rapid than anticipated. In those conditions, the M102 was a blast and more than held it's own in up to 8" of fresh snow.
 

KingGrump

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And, of course, I felt that it is more versatile than the M6 because it is better in deeper snow. The M102 is not the ski I'm taking out on a powder day -- I have a bunch of wider skis suited to that type of condition -- but I have had it out a few times where the reports were wrong or perhaps the snow accumulation was more rapid than anticipated. In those conditions, the M102 was a blast and more than held it's own in up to 8" of fresh snow.

Endless powder days in the NE. Who would have thunk?

Perhaps I should stay put this winter rather than road trip out west. :huh:
 

salvatore

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Endless powder days in the NE. Who would have thunk?

Perhaps I should stay put this winter rather than road trip out west. :huh:
Heck no. Sadly, I didn't have a single day in the NE last season... all my days were out West. The year before was probably 30/70 East/West. I've earned my status on United!

Same this season. I have quite a few trips on the books. I am fortunate enough with my work schedule that I can skip town midweek, I live close to a major airport, and flights are cheap if you book in advance.

I do hope to get some days closer to home this year, though. I'll start by driving up to VT next week. Meanwhile, my wife is mocking me from Alta yesterday and DV today.
 

TahoeJoe

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Heck no. Sadly, I didn't have a single day in the NE last season... all my days were out West. The year before was probably 30/70 East/West. I've earned my status on United!

Same this season. I have quite a few trips on the books. I am fortunate enough with my work schedule that I can skip town midweek, I live close to a major airport, and flights are cheap if you book in advance.

I do hope to get some days closer to home this year, though. I'll start by driving up to VT next week. Meanwhile, my wife is mocking me from Alta yesterday and DV today.
Where are you located
 

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