Pugski Ski Tester
- Nov 1, 2015
- Reno, eNVy
This is the Cage Match that I think will be most requested for this coming season because it involves two skis that have been completely reinvented for 2018-19. The only thing that carries over from their previous incarnations is their names. This is going to be the toughest of the matches for this season for two reasons: first, I didn’t ski the Rossignol, and second, although I did ski the Mantra M5, I never really connected with it. But like a good storyteller, I am not going to let facts get in the way of a good tale.
Let's start with Rossignol's Experience 94 Ti. The outgoing Experience 100 was more of a wide GS ski. Yes, that has been said about many other skis, but the Rossi with its flared shape and snub nose really felt like a wide GS ski. The all-new 94 with its more relaxed tip and more rounded tail is a ton more versatile. How do I know this if I didn’t ski it? Well, our other testers did, and they made comments like, “I’ve been waiting years for Rossi to build a ski like this” (@Drahtguy Kevin). Plus, I did spend a good amount of time on the Experience 88 Ti, which is the same design and construction.
The Mantra M5 gets back to its roots, back to a 96mm waist from the 100 mm it had bloated up to, and most importantly Völkl put camber back into it. Yes, even the most staunch German engineers can realize they went down a rabbit hole and redirect (of course, they will never admit it). Now I tested the Mantra M5 this past year more than any other ski, six times, simply because I couldn’t figure it out. I will humbly say, as it goes in a breakup, “It’s not you, it’s me.” With the M5, I know it was me, I just couldn’t figure the darn ski out. Then I did. It wasn’t me, it wasn't the ski; it was the negative ramp angle of the binding. Then it all made sense.
- Why choose the Experience 94 Ti? Versatility. Even the biggest skis can charge, but this does not require you to. The 94 Ti is a powerful ski for powerful skiers who still want to relax at times.
- Why choose the Mantra M5? The M5 is for people who thought they wanted a Mantra but didn’t have the strength for the most recent ones. This one goes back to when the Mantra was the reference mid-90mm ski.