Last season Völkl unveiled the fifth generation of its legendary Mantra, the M5. The Mantra M5 was created to win back the experts who once formed the backbone of the brand’s market support. The key to its success was a new way of deploying Titanal, breaking the top laminate into 3 pieces. Two long stirrups of .6mm Titanal wrap around the tip and tail, while a third, .4mm strip occupies the center of the ski. None of the pieces connect, which allows a honking layer of glass directly below them to “breathe.”
By that I mean the broken-up top laminate makes it both easier for the skier to flex the center of the ski and, just as importantly, allows the fiberglass sheet to compress. The instant the skier releases the pressure, ping!, the glass rebounds and pops the skier into the top of the next turn. If there’s one trait the new Titanal Frame could hang its hat on, it’s rebound energy.
Fast forward to this season, and Titanal Frame is starting to spread its wings. Two new key products in the Völkl pantheon have been given the Titanal Frame treatment, the long-standing Kendo and the new Deacon 84, the successor to the RTM 84. These fresh incarnations demonstrate that the new technology is even better adapted to on-trail use than it is for the off-trail world of the Mantra. The Deacon 84 pounces out of one turn and lays into the next with unshakeable authority. The new Kendo 88 instantly rose to the top of the most competitive category in skiing, with average scores more than a full point above the field for both Rebound and overall Power properties.
But wait, there’s more. The new Deacon 80 is essentially a glass ski with spring steel as a stabilizer, so it’s even quicker and snappier than the flagship Deacon 84. The Deacon 80’s playful attitude is the perfect complement to the Deacon 84’s implacable determination. BTW, both use a new Marker interface that drops the skier 1cm closer to the ski, which no doubt enhances the overall sensation of snow feel.
At the other end of the agility scale is the new Mantra 102, also embellished with Titanal Frame, which in this over-sized application creates a ski that tries to subdue terrain rather than caress it. Both the Mantra 102 and Kendo 88 use a new, triple-radius, “3D” sidecut that’s long radius at tip and tail and tight underfoot. If you want to make a short-radius turn, you have to build enough speed to earn it. Power skiers will be in heaven.
Völkl has a huge fan base among strong women skiers who now have three Titanal Frame models to call their own: Kenja 88, Secret 102 and the returning Secret 92. None of these women’s models have been watered down to placate the masses; they’re every bit as bold and badass as their unisex counterparts.