A full rocker ski with the backbone to charge.
When last year's version of the Mantra emerged from Volkl's top-secret ski lab with a powder-friendly full rocker profile and the same hard-charging titanium backbone as its predecessors, penny-scraping ski bums everywhere swooned, supplies dried up, and everyone cried for more. Well, Volkl heard your cries and brought them back for another winter of pow-slashing, crud-busting, groomer-bashing fun.
If you're into powder (is that even a question?) two words should stand out from the first paragraph: Full. Rocker. While the Mantra of yore could be overly aggressive in soft snow and tight trees, the full rocker profile combines with a tapered shape to ease things up, making it easier to throw your skis sideways, scrub speed, and have more fun when things get soft and you need to be light on your feet, but you'll be able to vary your turn shapes and open things up when you feel the need for speed and quickly shut them down when things get techy.
With all this talk of powder performance, don't start to feel like you're sacrificing hardpack performance. Even though its waist is two millimeters wider than previous iterations, the Mantra uses Volkl's burly, aggressive Power Construction, with a torsion box for stiffness, vertical sidewalls for durability, and a titanium laminate to keep you charging hard, because, after all, it's still a Mantra. There's ash underfoot for power and top-shelf binding retention, with poplar in the tip and tail for a more lively, playful feel. If you find something it can't handle, you're probably trying to use it as a boat, or a machete, or a pair of pants; keep it pointing downhill on the snow, and you'll see why it's such a legend.
- All-mountain ski plays particularly well in powder
- 100mm waist width balances between soft snow and hardpack
- Full Rocker with tapered shape has fun when things get soft
- Multi-layer wood core combines durable ash with poppy poplar
- Power Construction with titanium laminate for charging hard
- Item #VKL004V
- Q & A
Volkl Mantra Initial Impressions
- Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I've used the Mantra on one very warm and slushy spring day at Le Massif de Charlevoix.
First off, unless you plan on going VERY fast and are a bulky and aggressive skier, I'd recommend not sizing up. My old skis were 185cm, and never once skiing on the 177cm Mantras did I feel like I wanted a longer ski. Other reviews seem to agree that the 184cm length skis a bit sluggishly and is tough to manage.
Carving on groomers: It's a little strange carving on a full-rockered ski, but it was a blast. I don't think this ski is the best at high speed super G turns (although any faults were most likely my own), but it was amazing fun doing hard, tight turns. The grip was great, and I was surprised at how alive the ski felt, especially with the rocker profile and metal layers in the ski. The skis only showed weakness when I went very fast in a straight line. The lack of camber does make it feel a little washy, and there is just the slightest sense that something could go catastrophically wrong very quickly. Again, it very well could have been all in my head. Here would be one instance where a longer ski might help, but I think it's more a characteristic of the full rocker. Any time I was on the edges the skis rode stable and predictable.
Moguls: For this ski, the steeper the better. They didn't feel too special in the flatter bumps, but as soon as it got steep I loved the power and grip of the skis. They do, however, like to be driven pretty hard, and tended to run away from me if I slipped into the back seat. The mantra is a heavy ski, and I have very heavy bindings on them, but I was surprised at how light they felt on my feet.
Soft and deep and sticky snow: There was a lot of this around when I was first on the Mantras, and it was a blast. With enough speed, the skis floated right over the heavy snow, and turned easily and surely. My family that day was on some skinnier cambered skis and they hated the soft sticky stuff, but on the Mantra it was a blast.
Trees: Another area where this ski really excelled. Even at pretty slow speeds, the skis turned accurately and happily. I get the faint sense that they may not be the best ski to snake through a powder-filled glade with, but for tight, technical glades it was dependable and fun.
Ice: I ski in the East, so there's always ice around to find. I think hard snow and ice will be one area where this ski will really shine. It feels stable and powerful; it grips like hell to anything, and is heavy and stiff enough to bust through crud and bad snow.
For anyone that wants a dependable ski, especially for skiing in not very nice conditions, I would recommend the Mantra off of my initial impressions. Hopefully I'll get a lot of use out of them in the 2018 season, and can report back with some more feedback!
I'm 6', 150 lbs, decent skier. I have Look PX15 bindings mounted on the Mantras at the recommended line.