FIXING WHAT AIN’T BROKEN
When it came to refurbishing the super-popular Mantra, Völkl went for friendlier. To that end the fifth generation, the Mantra M5, is narrower and turnier. Waist width fell from 100mm to 96, and turn radius from 23m to 19. But the biggest change is the rocker profile. Völkl returned to a full-cambered ski with early rise in the tip and tail. Designers kept a similar core construction, but instead of full sheets of Titanal in the sandwich, they only laid it in where its dampening attributes have the most impact: around the tip and tail. This season’s new Mantra M5 represents a shifting trend toward thinner and lighter all-mountain skis. Twelve years after it debuted, the Mantra (or the fifth version of it anyway) remains as relevant as ever. ($850; volkl.com)
VÖLKL MANTRA M5
$850 * BEST FOR: Rippers looking for a ski that can keep up.
LENGTHS: 170, 177, 184, 191 * RADIUS: 19.8@177 * SIDECUT: 134/96/117
The fifth generation of one of Volkl’s most popular skis had most testers writing love songs. “Ski absolutely railed through any conditions,” sang Brent Malysh. George Terwiel yodelled back: “Wow! This is an amazing ski! Easy to operate. A large sweet spot allows the operator to access the performance of the ski as well as to recover.” And not to be outdone, Ian March followed up with “Lots of energy, responsiveness, and has a very intuitive feel. Ripper of a ski.” Völkl designed the ski to be easier than previous generations, but some said it felt sluggish and hard to work at slower speeds and shorter turn shapes. Everyone agreed it could be used as a bulldozer. “The most fun is to be had in full-bore attack mode, ripping and crushing everything beneath you,” said March. “The Mantra rips the piste at speed with such power, edge hold and dampness that you will find yourself skiing very fast indeed.” All testers agreed the M5 will perform best under the guidance of an advanced to expert skier and to size the ski carefully, because the ski feel changes dramatically between lengths.