The Mantra has a small army of adherents, many of whom have been waiting for this moment: the fifth-generation Mantra M5 signals a return to its roots as a cambered ski with a mid-90mm’s waist that loves to be loaded and released. Equal in importance to the changes in baseline and sidecut is how Völkl breaks up the top sheet of Titanal. Called Titanal Frame, it consists of long U-shapes of Titanal that wrap around the tip and tail and extend down the sidewalls. A thinner (.4mm) Ti laminate runs edge-to-edge in the binding area, slightly overlapping with the tip and tail pieces but not connected to them.
Breaking the top laminate of Titanal into 3 pieces allows the full-length glass layer beneath to respond to pressure with a lively recoil – the wonderful rebound quality the Mantra has been missing of late. The M5 is so solid on edge it could be a skilled skier’s daily carver yet it has the dimensions of an off-trail ski. The same elite performance is offered for women skiers in a slightly slimmer package called Secret.
For elitists who’d rather not ski the M5 Mantra made for the masses, there’s a new Mantra V-Werks (135/99/117, $1,350). If you’d like to cruise in comfort for less coin, the new Deacon 76 ($1,065) is as smooth as XO cognac.