2023 Volkl M6 Mantra
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Ski Stats

Sidecut 135/96/119
Radius 29.8/17.5/24.3m @ 177cm
Lengths 163,170,177,184,191
Weight 2070g @ 177cm
MSRP $749.99
Power Score: 9.04
Finese Score: 9.01
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Any time a brand introduces a fundamentally new technology, it takes a couple of years to learn how to optimize it. After Völkl engineers had a few seasons to tinker with Titanal Frame, testing countless iterations, they found a way not only to perfect the benefits of Titanal Frame, but to magnify its virtues with a couple of complementary components. The marriage of Tailored Titanal Frame with 3D Radius Sidecut and Tailored Carbon Tips created a new benchmark for the genre, that will, in all probability, soon be recognized as one of the greatest all-terrain skis of all time. The key to Titanal Frame is breaking what is normally a uniform topsheet of metal into three sections. The fore and aft sections of Titanal are shaped like an elongated “U”, with metal concentrated around the perimeter. The alu alloy here is .7mm thick, much thicker than usual, which accentuates the tip and tail’s connection to the snow, somewhat counterintuitive for an all-terrain ski. The center section, which doesn’t mesh with the tip and tail pieces, is .3mm thick, a brilliant touch as it makes the center of the ski more flexible without losing its damping qualities in the critical underfoot area. This feature matches up perfectly with 3D Radius Sidecut, which we’ll get to in a moment. New for 2021/22 was Tailored Titanal Frame, that trimmed the width of the front section of Titanal to fit each size. This has the direct effect of making longer lengths noticeably beefier than their shorter kinder. If you’re used to skiing a 184cm, you might consider dropping to a 177cm to maximize the M6’s versatility. Not content with all the forebody stability delivered by Titanal Frame, Völkl added a delicate braid of carbon fiber to the shovel, part of the ski most other all-terrain models leave floating inertly in space. Völkl made 100’s of iterations of Tailored Carbon Tips, searching for just the right response. The patch of fleece containing the carbon matrix has to be hand-laid into the mold, a level of artisanship that many skiers assume is the exclusive province of luxury brands. Despite all these embellishments, the $749.99 MSRP for the 2023 M6 Mantra is less than it was two years ago for the M5 Mantra ($825). During a Zoom call prior to the M6 launch, I asked product manager Andreas Mann how it was possible, in an age when many brands strive to cut costs, Volkl ownership allowed R&D to increase their costs, to make a better, rather than a cheaper ski. His reply was the design team had the full confidence and support of upper management. This is what happens when product comes first. With its ultra-secure snow connection, the M6 behaves like an obese Technical carver, with an on-trail bias despite its off-trail girth. Yet the M6 is only as carve-obsessed as its pilot is: it can drift into a turn as readily as any ski its width and its extremities are modestly rockered. The Mantra M6…
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