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.”