Volkl Puts the Mantra Back in the Mantra
As ski companies work to stay on top with innovative new ski construction design there are winners and losers. Volkl stole the stage when the Mantra was introduced ten years ago. It was the ski that ski shops could not keep on the ski wall. The ski flew out the door.
The early Mantra started out with a 96mm waist, believe it or not, that was a fat ski. While race skis were built with 2 layers of metal all-mountain skis were not. The 2 layer metal with a wood core set the ski world on fire. Now you had an all-mountain ski that held well on ice and had the pop of a race ski. The 96mm waist gave the Mantra the ability to power through crud and float on powder. It was a new way to think about ski performance.
The 2-year design cycle produced the same Mantra with a 98mm waist. Bigger platform more float. Still one of if not the most sought after ski in the industry. Things for this iconic ski started to go south when Volkl pushed ski design outside conventional thinking. They took the ski to a 100mm waist, with two full layers of metal sandwiching a wood core and gave up on the idea of camber.
The thinking was, a flat ski (no camber) would put the ski in reverse camber quicker, less distance to travel from flat to reverse camber. Makes sense right? Well kind of, but what was sacrificed was the accelerating power when a ski is released from reverse camber back to camber. The ski lost its pop. The problem was compounded when they took the waist to a whopping 100mms. The added width and the two layers of metal made the Mantra sluggish. A sluggish ski with less pop, the Mantra was in trouble.
One thing for sure is when a ski manufacturer like Volkl is as forward-thinking as they are there are going to be a lot of big winners and every now and then a dud. But here's the good news, Volkl Mantra is on a roll, a really good roll.
Last year the Mantra M5 put new life in its reputation. Camber was back, and the designers kept the full layer of metal on the bottom and only put metal on the top on the outer edges of the ski. Less metal on the top of the wood core made the ski lighter and more responsive. The M5 was a great high-speed groomer ski. A ski that appealed to a big skier audience.
What about the off-piste skiers? As the snow gods know all too well there are a lot of off-pisters in the west. This year Volkl has taken the M5 design and given it a 102mm waist. The Mantra 102 (catchy name, don't you think) has put the mantra back in the Mantra. Fatter, lighter and camber with POP!
When the snow flys and the ski areas open, drop by the shop and grab a Manta M5 for those early season runs and a pair of Mantra 102s when there's snow enough to ski the entire mountain.
Own a pair:
Manta M5 $699
Mantra 102 $749
Full day Demo $49
*Take up to two days demo fee off the price of new skis purchase after demoing.
Compound discounts do not apply.