Alta Demo Day 2019

Discussion in 'Hardgoods: Skis, Bindings, Poles, and More' started by Ryan Dietrich, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. Ryan Dietrich

    Ryan Dietrich Putting on skis Skier

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    TLDR; I went to Alta Demo day this weekend and DPS Rider weekend and ended up buying 2019/2020 Volkl Mantra M5's / 184cm at Ski&See in Sandy (they had ONE set left). I have now purchased TWO new sets of skis in the last 3 weeks (DPS Lotus Alchemist / Volkl Mantra M5), please send help, I am getting out of control ;-)

    I was finally able to attend a demo day at Alta, it was freaking awesome (well, the conditions kind of sucked, low visibility, and choppy hard-pack). On top of this event, DPS had a special "riders weekend" an invite only event with even more DPS skis available (all loaded up with Phantom!). The event itself was super fun. Everyone was in a great mood, the lift chats were great as people kept remarking that it felt like Christmas getting to do every run with a new ski, which I got a kick out of. There were tons of tents. It was a long list of companies, and every booth was very busy (except one, which I won't mention, but if you know what the predominant rental ski is, that's your clue). After my very successful purchase of the Lotus Alchemist 2019 (191cm, 124mm), I was on the hunt for a replacement for my all mountain skis (Volkl Mantra 2014, 170cm, 98mm), time to find out if DPS had a worthy replacement for my beloved Mantra.

    I was able to try out:

    1. Atomic Vantage 90 / 184 (great camber ski, I felt locked in on the hard-pack, but felt out of control in crud).
    2. Faction Dictator / 185? (I found it hard to initiate a turn, like I had to throw my weight into it, same when I exited the turn)
    3. Volkl Mantra M5 / 184 (omg omg omg omg omg omg omg)
    4. DPS Cassiar Foundation 94 / 184 (Same as the Faction Dictator, none of my turns "flowed", it was a struggle)
    5. DPS Wailer 100 RP (Not my kind of ski, felt like I was slipping and sliding when trying to put them on edge)
    6. DPS Wailer 106 (omg omg omg omg omg omg omg omg)
    7. DPS Wailer 110 C2 VERY nice skis, they reminded me a little bit of my lotus, but my goodness my legs were sapped for energy on every turn, but they felt very very stable, I just wish I was 10x physically stronger).

    My wife tried out:
    1. DPS Yvette 112 (She liked them)
    2. DPS Zelda 106 (She kind of liked them)
    3. DPS Cassiar 84 (She didn't like them at all)
    4. Volkl Secret (She wished it was shorter, but the shorter ski were checked out)

    So, quick mini-review on the 2019/2020 Mantra M5:
    • The 184cm demo-binding skis weigh about as much as my 2014 Mantras/170cm, no joke, the weight changes are substantial.
    • They are just as damp as the 2014 Mantras. The outer-edge frame of titanium takes care of business.
    • I *really* appreciated the longer length. I bought skis that were honestly a little too short for me 5 years ago (170cm, I'm 6'1). but I was new to Utah, and I was scared of really getting hurt buying some crazy super long ski right off the bat. I felt the longer length really stabilized me quite a bit in all my turns.
    • Yeah, about those turns, you could really notice the weight difference, everything felt "easier". Crazy easy to initiate and exit a turn, it was basically cheat-mode skiing.
    • All-in-all these just felt like a massive upgrade over my current skis, I "clicked" with them instantly, and was doing spins and skiing backwards, and whatnot with no issues at all.
    Quick mini-review on the Alchemist Wailer 106 (I tried these the following day in much better conditions):
    • These were BIG skis. 189cm length. Crazily they felt even lighter while on the lift.
    • These skis (obviously, they are 106 underfoot) didn't want to carve as much as they wanted to skid or "shmear", I was able to get them on edge with a little effort, but they turned really well overall,.
    • I kept saying "wow, wow, wow" as I went from loose snow to hard-pack. I felt comfortable instantly.There was surprising very little chatter in crud considering there is no metal in these skis. They just blast right on through. My lotuses are similar to this as well, but they are way bigger (191cm, 124mm) but are harder to turn on firmer snow.
    • If I didn't buy the Lotus-A124, and decided to only buy ONE set of skis that could do powder and all-mountain groomers/crud, the Wailer-A106 would have been the ski I would have bought. They are very good.
    • Not the most important thing, but the color of the skis, this very nice looking blue was very easy on the eyes when you look down at your skis while on the lift.
    I have a bad habit of getting all worked up and not pulling the trigger on these sorts of purchases. If the season ended and I hadn't made a purchase, I'd make an excuse not to buy and then the prices would be sky high at the beginning of next season and I'd regret it (this is what happened with my powder ski decision for 3+ years as documented in the another post I made here). The decision was between a $1300 ski and a $900 ski (both prices are full retail).

    My friend remembered seeing a batch of pre-release 2019/2020 skis at Ski&See in Sandy. We drove down. They had the *exact* ski I tested the day before at a great price! It was now or never. *bought* Now I gotta figure out some cool bindings. My DIN is 8.5, and I like Marker, so I'm probably leaning toward another set of Griffins.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
  2. Mike Rogers

    Mike Rogers Getting off the lift Skier

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    I didn't get along with that DPS either. I didn't find turns hard to initiate, I just didn't like the feel. Interested in trying the new Mantra.

    Thanks for the share!
     
    surfsnowgirl likes this.
  3. Pasha

    Pasha Booting up Skier

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    Cool. Wish I was there...
     
  4. Wasatchman

    Wasatchman over the hill Skier

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    Those Volkl Mantra M5s are sure sweet. I demoed last July in firm conditions and loved them. Good thing I didn't have the opportunity to test them in soft snow or I probably would have had to buy them.
     
  5. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    The M5 has been a very polarizing ski, either people love it or couldn't jive with it..not too different in that repect than the Kastle FX95.
     


  6. Thread Starter
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    Ryan Dietrich

    Ryan Dietrich Putting on skis Skier

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    Hmm, I think that is what I love about skiing the most. Where I live people look down on the Soul 7 quite a bit. But you see them ALL over the place on the mountain, even as rentals. But to each their own. I personally love the fact that the numbers can express what you like/dislike, in terms of length, sidecut, weight and widths at various locations. I think the M5 is the best all mountain ski I have ever skied on in my life, but that's because it's just an upgraded version of the ski I already use on most days out, so yay for volkl for figuring out how to improve on something that was already pretty good to start with.
     
  7. ski otter 2

    ski otter 2 Out on the slopes Skier

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    Nice reviews! I'd love to try the DPS 124 A myself. I'll bet it's just the best powder ski around, good at resorts also, as you experienced.

    I too got a pair of M5s this year, finding it a real improvement over older versions of the Mantra, for me. I loved these things. I'm only 5'10"/150 lbs., so got the 178s. In the longer length it would have been a "less deep" powder day ski for me, probably, rather than an all mountain. Both would have been great.
    For the pair I got, the tune was near perfect right out of the wrapper.

    Thanks for your great reviews, and this thread.
     
    Ryan Dietrich likes this.
  8. ScottA

    ScottA At the base lodge Skier

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    Thanks for the review! I was particularly interested to hear how you sized up in length from your old mantra to the new one.

    I'm 6'2 and currently ski salomon qst92 at 185cm but was looking at the M5 and actually thinking of sizing down to the 177cm. I am keen to get in the trees a bit more and thought the shorter length might make it a bit easier to navigate. They sound really stable. Having said that, I love ripping on the groomers at speed so I have had trouble deciding. I had hoped to demo them before the season ended but I couldn't get a pair to take out and my local mountain closed this past weekend (despite tonnes of snow left :huh: ). Anyway, I was just wondering if you have had a chance to take the M5s off piste at all and test them in more challenging conditions? Also did you get a chance to try out the 177cms?
     
  9. Thread Starter
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    Ryan Dietrich

    Ryan Dietrich Putting on skis Skier

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    1. I didn't get to try the 177's, the 184's wow'd me enough to pull the trigger the very next day.
    2. It was a groomer day, but I did take it over some ungroomed snow, and they handled fine, very damp.

    A couple of important pieces of data to consider. The turning radius of these skis are shorter, which may be why I like them so much:

    * 2014 Volkl Mantra 170cm : 22m
    * 2020 Volkl Mantra 177cm : 19.8m
    * 2020 Volkl Mantra 184cm : 21.2m
     
  10. AngryAnalyst

    AngryAnalyst Putting on skis Skier

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    You are making me extraordinarily curious about those 124 Lotus skis. Blister's resident AK heliguide loves them too...maybe I'll bite the bullet and buy one some time. I have no interest at all in the narrower models but it does seem like the 124 is pretty special.

    I haven't spent much time on the Mantra M5, but if you are serious about wanting to ski trees I would tend to think you want a different ski more than a shorter Mantra. Best in trees is probably something more like a 4FRNT Devastator (see https://www.pugski.com/threads/4frnt-devastator-what-took-me-so-long.14692/ for a review). Camber and turning radius are not necessarily your friends in trees in my experience.

    It is true that once you get the right shape shorter is helpful, but as a guy around your size (slightly shorter, 30 lbs heavier) I have trouble seeing myself skiing something shorter than the 184.
     
  11. Thread Starter
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    Ryan Dietrich

    Ryan Dietrich Putting on skis Skier

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    I'm certainly not a ski "expert", I just am very, very passionate, and I read as much as I can. I will just say this about the Lotus. Before I got those skis, I was nervous on powder days and I felt like I sucked, and that I wasn't enjoying powder as much as everyone else. Now I look forward to powder, and can't wait to drag out the Lotus's. It is a ski that let me have more fun, where I wasn't before. I'll even admit that it may all be overkill or a placebo. Either way I don't care, because the end state is I am having more fun.
     
  12. AngryAnalyst

    AngryAnalyst Putting on skis Skier

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    I already love powder and quite like my current skis for it but there is always a chance there is something better. Sometimes I think it would be financially rational for me to buy every ski I'm curious about and then simply burn the ones I don't like given how much time I spend thinking about them...
     
    Ryan Dietrich likes this.
  13. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    Give us a list of the ones you're no longer interested in and when the time comes we can do the burning in controlled conditions :roflmao:
     
    James and Ryan Dietrich like this.
  14. AngryAnalyst

    AngryAnalyst Putting on skis Skier

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    If you also somehow made sure I was never on pugski or blister or whatever that might be a good deal.
     
  15. Thread Starter
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    Ryan Dietrich

    Ryan Dietrich Putting on skis Skier

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    What powder skis do you have? The thing about the Lotus is, they are *very* light for 191cm 124mm skis. "2110g per ski average weight @ 191cm" .. My new 184 Mantra's are 2129 grams!
     
  16. AngryAnalyst

    AngryAnalyst Putting on skis Skier

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    ON3P Billygoats which are the opposite end of the mass spectrum at 2450.

    If I bought all the powder skis I'm curious about right now:

    ON3P Cease and Desist
    ON3P Supergoat
    Moment Wildcat
    DPS Lotus 124
    Praxis Protest
    Atomic Bentchetler 120

    I would get to use about 1 pair/year at the moment. Maybe when I inevitably win the lottery and retire to a ski town my buy skis and burn em plan can go into practice.
     
  17. ScottA

    ScottA At the base lodge Skier

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    Thanks Ryan, the change in turning radius is pretty impressive from the 2014 to 2020.

    They sound like fun skis AA. Now I need to add them to my list of skis to research and obsess about until it starts snowing again :)
     
  18. Andy Mink

    Andy Mink I am a half fast skier. Moderator Pugski Ski Tester

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    I kinda liked the DPS Cassiar Foundation 94s at first. They didn't do it all for me. I pushed them harder and still, not a lot of love. Then I started to NOT try and drive them as hard as some other skis. BOOM! One of my favorite skis in that segment. I mentioned my revelation to @Philpug and he said that Stephen at DPS prefers skiing more neutral. It's built into the ski.
     
    Mike Rogers likes this.
  19. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Well if your obsessing about skis like the 4frnt Devastator, another one would be the Black Crows Daemon. That comes from @Josh Matta who loved the Devaststor, but I can't remember exactly what he said about it. I'm pretty sure it was based on being much lighter than the Devastator. I don't think he's actually skied it.
    Seems to be nearly 500 gms lighter. That's a pound.

    https://blisterreview.com/gear-reviews/2017-2018-black-crows-daemon

    https://blisterreview.com/gear-reviews/2017-2018-4frnt-devastator
     
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