Note: the 2021-2022 Volkl Mantra features new art, but it is the same ski structurally as the previous two versions (2019-2020, 2020-2021). This review was originally published in April 2019.
Volkl’s redesigned Mantra for 2018-2019, the M5, quickly became one of the best all-mountain skis of the year. For 2020, they expanded the line further, introducing a wider option built to match the narrower (and also redesigned) Kendo: the Volkl Mantra 102.
(Editor’s note: for 2022, the M5 is replaced by the M6. Because those two skis are very similar, our comparisons to the Mantra 102 still apply.)
In fact, while the new Mantra shares a moniker with the M5, it’s actually closer in construction to that Kendo. All three skis bring Titanal Frame technology, which strategically wraps metal around the tips and tails. But the Kendo and Mantra 102 add a 3D sidecut that allows for quick maneuverability underfoot and more stability in the tips and tails for long-radius turns.
(Editor’s note: the M6 Mantra also includes 3D Radius Sidecut).
So—how do they perform on snow?
Staffers Brian, Matty, and Zack spun turns on the new Volkl Mantra 102 at Copper Mountain and Loveland Ski Area during the latter portion of the 2018-19 ski season.
They saw bluebird groomers laps and soft bumps at Copper and some mixed snow, corn, and spring crust at Loveland.
From Matty: “The Mantra M5, introduced last year, absolutely killed it. So this 102 version should be a fun charger.”
From Brian: “Unsurprisingly this thing absolutely rips on groomers. It’s easy to get on edge even at its 102 width, and the metal in the titanal frame gives it some bomber power. Speed limit? What speed limit?
From Zack: “Yeah. It’s fast.”
Bumps and Trees
From Brian: “I wouldn’t describe this as a forgiving ski. In bumps and tight places, it wants to be driven. However, it feels more manageable than some similar skis in this category, like the Blizzard Bonafide and Nordica Enforcer. If you like a stiffer ski that will still pop you from bump to bump, this will do you well!”
None of our testers got to really put the Mantra 102 through the motions in powder. In our experience, the M5 is a good ski in some soft snow, though it’s not the surfiest mid-90s ski we’ve seen. Considering the 102’s extra width, it’s built a bit more for powder of all types. However, given its build, it won’t be as playful or floaty as a comparable ski like the Blizzard Rustler 10.
From Matty: “I took the Mantra 102 through some cut-up soft snow and crud off the ridge at Loveland. It’s powerful and a strong crud-buster.”
With lightweight freeride skis on the rise across the industry, the Volkl Mantra 102 is not one of them. For the weight, you do get stability and power. But after a day of bump-crushing at Mary Jane, you’ll be feeling it.
From Zack: “The skis feel kind of clunky. They definitely need to be skied hard.”
Introduced a year after the M5 stormed onto the scene, the Volkl Mantra 102 adds a wider option to the line. Long-time Mantra fans will be psyched—this ski could remind them of earlier versions but with a more refined build.
From Brian: “Rad Dads who ski out West will find an awesome one ski quiver that walks the line between being aggressive but not overly demanding.”