2013 Volkl Mantra Review – A Tahoe Favorite

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We talk a lot about 98 mm underfoot all mountain skis, because out west, they make a great quiver-of-one ski – something you can count on in almost any conditions from ripping around on groomers to getting faceshots in powder.

Possibly the most popular ski in this category here in the Lake Tahoe area is the Volkl Mantra, a long-time classic that has been refined over the years for incredible versatility.


Using a wood core and titanium laminate, it’s powerful and damp for hard snow and crud, while the 98 mm waist and rockered tip help out in the soft snow.

Here’s Sierra Jim’s Volkl Mantra Review:
“I got my first runs on the new Volkl Mantra at Winter Park on firm snow. The new longer radius sidecut made me think the ski would loose maneuverability, but that wasn’t the case. It had excellent grip and good dampening for a ski in this width class. The tip rocker can disengage the tip a bit at low edge angles, but I didn’t find it to be a problem, even at high speeds.
Later, at Alpine Meadows and at Mammoth mountain with more snow piled up, I got to put the Volkl Mantra into mixed snow, varied conditions and even some powder. On one run in mammoth a steep sidehill that had refrozen crud covered by a few inches of fresh, windblown snow, the Mantra’s new tip really shinned, not getting pulled around unpredictably like other skis in these conditions. This ski always needed some speed or power to bend the tail to finish the turn. It blasted through crud, but took a little work in deep powder with the stiffer tail.”

Our own Philpug had this to say over on Epicski.com:
“Volkl has refreshed the Mantra with some rocker and a slightly softer tail. In many cases, when a ski brand does that it can alienate the faithful fans, but Volkl did not do this. The newest Mantra may very well be the best yet – it does what you would expect with a broader range. For the skier that laps KT-22 from first chair to last, he or she won’t be disappointed, nor will the skier that’s looking to step up to a ski that will help them become a charger.”

Freeskier Magazine wrote:
“What made our ski testers clamor for the Volkl Mantra? Why were they calling it ‘flawless at speed; a great all-around ski; and certified hot?’ Altogether, the Mantra is the highest rated men’s all mountain ski in this year’s test.”

Ski Magazine wrote:
“Don’t worry, it still hammers long arcs like a double-wide GS race ski when you want to. But a dose of tip rocker brings the Mantra up to date as it was just beginning to feel a little unwieldy… it puts excitement into everyday skiing.”


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4 thoughts on “2013 Volkl Mantra Review – A Tahoe Favorite

  1. Rich

    I have a confession to make. I never liked the old 2nd generation Mantras. Yes it won a gazillion awards. Yes it could be found on the feet of many weekend warriors with ski magazine subscriptions and gear guides in hand happily carving turns at their favorite resorts. But no I was not convinced. Problem: it was a great hardpack ski for making racy carves on groomers but once you got it off piste in the powder, in the moguls, in the crud, it fell apart. It wouldn’t float, it wouldn’t turn quickly, that tail was grabby and always in your face so good luck doing a powder slarve or getting it to slide between a tight tree line. No it was a really fat carvy race ski that was mediocre once you got it off the race course, and what was the point in that?

    Fast forward to 2012 and the new wider Mantra with just a bit of rocker in the tip. It still feels like a Mantra underfoot It still has that stiff tail. It still carves a hard edge on the groomed. It still even comes with that hollow tinny sound that all Mantras make while sliding in the snow. And yet it also feels different, dare I say, fun off piste. I can actually pressure my boot tongue in powder and not fear having the tip dive and flip me over the handlebars. I can snake my way through a tight tree line without any thought of having a close encounter with a Douglas fir. Sure there’s maybe just a bit of vagueness coming from that rockered tip while on edge, but I don’t care, I’m never going to take this ski through a bunch of race gates anyways. It is now a proper do everything, all mountain, one ski quiver.

    And oddly now that the full rocker fat powder ski craze has swept the nation, more traditional skis like the Mantra are falling out of favor. I see more reverse camber, reverse sidecut, 125mm underfoot nonsense on the feet of those same weekend warriors these days, you know the ones with their ski magazine subcriptions and gear guides in hand. And that’s a shame because the 2012 Volkl Mantra is now one hell of a ski. I suppose I’ll always be a contrarian on the wrong side of public opinion. But I don’t care. I’ll be having too much fun on my 2012 Volkl Mantras.

  2. Start Haus Post author

    Thanks for your feedback! I don’t think you’re in the minority – at least looking around the slopes here in Tahoe, the 2012/13 Volkl Mantra is a hit, especially with locals that live on the snow.

  3. Pingback: All Mountain Ski Showdown - Ski Comparison Test | Start Haus

  4. David L Rubaloff

    I just skied my new Mantra’s in Spring conditions at Mammoth. They took a little getting use to. They held well on firm and were awesome in deep heavy snow. Things just kept better as the day warmed up. Real confidence builders and great fun making GS turns in deep heavy spring snow. Very happy I bought these skis. While riding on the chair lift the top skin even had a golden glow reflection, kind of like Excalibur the sword.

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