2023 Volkl Mantra 102
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Ski Stats

Sidecut 142/102/124
Radius 26m/19m/24mm @ 177cm
Lengths 170,177,184,191
Weight 2140g @ 177cm
MSRP $799.99
Power Score: 9.22
Finese Score: 8.93
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Don’t let the model name fool you: Völkl still calls this ski the Mantra 102, but the addition of Tailored Titanal Frame, Tailored Carbon Tips and a tweaked sidecut has totally transformed its personality. Last year’s Mantra 102 was a barely tamed beast, subduing all in its path; the new incarnation is a pussycat that readily bends to its pilot’s will. Among 2023’s new models, only K2’s revamp of its Mindbenders made as big an improvement in Finesse properties as the Mantra 102. It behaves like a different ski. One measure of a ski’s steering facility is the skier’s perception of width. In its first incarnation, the Mantra 102 was notable for feeling wider than it measured; the 2023 version “skis narrower than indicated, making it very easy to turn,” according to veteran tester Theron Lee. The combined effect of its triad of new features is what makes the Mantra 102 suddenly so tractable. Like every Big Mountain ski in Christendom, the Mantra 102 is double rockered, but it feels like it has tip-to-tail contact, in part because Tailored Carbon Tips keep the entire rocker zone quiet. Tailored Titanal Frame keeps the mass in the forebody proportional to the ski’s length, facilitating earlier turn entry. The slightly wider tip encourages more pull into the turn, opening up the short-radius spectrum, while the skinny tail helps the skier stay close to the fall line, making crud and powder a hell of a lot easier to plunder. A big contributor to the Mantra 102’s outstanding performance on any snow surface is its first-in-class rebound coming out of the turn. Part of the magic of the Titanal Frame design is the freedom its three-piece top sheet has to flex and compress a full-length glass layer that reacts to this pressure like a coiled spring. Now that the Titanal Frame is tailored by size, the whole ski is more responsive. The Mantra 102 naturally rises as it uncoils during the turn transition, so it’s unweighted while crossing the fall line. Lighter skiers might prefer the floaty, smeary variety of Big Mountain models, but big boys need some beef under them. If you’d had difficulty finding a Big Mountain ski that’s able to support your mass and your mojo, your search has ended. I’m sure that someone whose nickname is Mongo or Moose will use the Mantra 102 as his everyday ski, but its glory is a wide-open crud field where it can cut loose like an extra-large GS race ski with anger issues.
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