Völkl’s Mantra V.Werks is the super light version of its popular M5 Mantra, an on-piste, all-mountain weapon. While not a backcountry-specific ski, its wood core is lighter than the M5, optimizing it to play out of the ski area. The V.Werks has a carbon topsheet, while the M5 only has carbon tips. And it comes with a snow-dumping topsheet and a hole in the tip for attaching climbing skins. At press time, Völkl hadn’t yet released its weight (to us it felt noticeably lighter than the M5) and Völkl says it doesn’t lose much in performance. ($1,200; voelkl.com)
VÖLKL MANTRA V.WERKS
$1,200 * BEST FOR: One-ski quiver.
LENGTHS: 170, 178, 186 * RADIUS: 21@178 * SIDECUT: 135/99/117
The Mantra V.Werks had our testers thinking split personality. In fresh snow at Whistler, Ian March found it performed like a powder board: “In softer snow it was highly responsive, with good float for its width and a loose and surfy feel.” We credit generous tip and tail rocker and a light build. But when he brought it back on-piste, it suddenly became a carver. “The ski hooks up and carves well with surprising edge hold and stability,” March continued. “Really fun ski!” George Terwiel summed it up nicely: “Light and responsive, agile and stable, and very fun to carve in any snow conditions.” This may be the perfect ski for the occasional slackcountry tourer.