Volkl has always garnered high marks for each of their skis we’ve reviewed. From the Volkl Nunataq and Volkl 100Eight skis to the lighter V-Werks inspired V-Werks BMT 109 and V-Werks Katana Skis. Each of these skis was designed with a distinct purpose and are all unique in their own right.
Volkl's new Mantra V.Werks Skis are a combination of the aggressive performance found in the V-Werks Katana Skis and the tourability and lightweight of the V-Werks BMT 109's. This qualifies the Mantra V.Werks as a ‘quiver of one’ ski that can rip resort laps as good as it can session backcountry bowls all the while making every turn as fun as the last. While not technically designed as a backcountry-specific ski, the Mantra V.Wekrs carbon jacket and wood core are light enough to keep you happy even though this is a high-performance freeride ski at heart. More on this in the rest of the review below.
Watch the following video for an overview of the Volkl V.Werk Mantra Skis.
What makes the Mantra V.Werks Skis different from other Volkl skis we’ve reviewed is their over all shape. At just 99mm underfoot their moderate width is by no means fat, but also doesn’t sacrifice buoyancy in deep snow. The 135mm tips quickly taper to 99m underfoot before flaring out again in the back to 117mm. This provides a responsive and fun 23m turn radius which is ideal for trees and backcountry couloirs.
A progressive tip rocker blends into camber underfoot before returning to a subtle tail rocker. This provides an ideal profile for float in powder and grip with aggressive turns on groomers, while also remaining stable when things get spicy.
The 3D.Ridge Carbon Construction is what’s most noticeable on the Mantra V.Werks Skis. Thick in the centre and thinner at the edges for impressive torsional stiffness and a reduced swing weight making them stable with out adding unnecessary weight. A Titanal insert is integrated into the core to again keep things light while also dampening the skis. The heart of the skis are a milled multi-layer wood core consisting of a combination of beech and poplar with the hard beech wood found in the binding mount area and the lighter poplar in the rest fo the ski. On the underside you’ll find durable P-Tex 4500 bases for smooth gliding on various snow conditions.
Volkl’s Ice.Off Topsheet is designed to keep snow and ice from adhering to the top of the ski which will keep it as light as possible while skinning up
If the V.Werks version of the Mantra isn’t to your liking or budget then consider the Volkl M5 Mantra which was the starting place for the super light Mantra V.Werks Skis. While the M5 Mantra doesn’t have the 3D.Ridge design, nor the full carbon top sheet, it does have carbon in the tips along with the titanium inserts to strengthen the skis—which are also found on the V.Werks version. The M5 Mantra, however, is only 96mm underfoot and not 99 like the V.Werks version. Even though the M5 Manta is a little shorter at 184cm it still weighs quite a bit more than the V.Werks version at 2,130g. Given they share the same Mantra name, these two skis are quite different in design and performance.
Having had a multi-year love affair with the V-Werks Katana Skis I was hesitant to give up their generous dimensions for something much more slender such as the Mantra V.Werks. While these two skis share the same turn radius, the Mantra V.Werks are considerably narrower ski by 7/13/15mm which explains much of its weight savings of over 200g. By contrast, the V-Werks BMT 109 Skis have a larger turn radius by a full 3.5m and thus far less shape but their weight matches almost identical to that of the Mantra V.Werks. The V-Werks BMT 109 Skis also have similar dimensions to the Mantra V.Werks except for underfoot where the BMT’s have a full 10mm more width.
As you can see by the numbers above, the Mantra V.Werkss falls in between and the V-Werks Katana which is one of my favourite all-time in-bounds ski and the V-Werks BMT 109 which is one of the all-time best backcountry skis. The Mantra V-Werks have the ideal shape to rail turns on groomers (which they do with ease) and thanks to their camber underfoot they have more pop and less slarve on the turns than both the V-Werks Katana and V-Werks BMT 109’s which both poses a full rocker profile. Turn initiation is effortless on the Mantra V-Werks and they like to pop out of one turn and go into the next linking up turns with ease thanks to the reasonable amount of camber underfoot. I found myself craving very aggressive, fast GS turns on groomers relying on the Mantra V.Werk’s torsional stiffness to provide all the bite I would ever need. Laying these skis on edge and redlining them is super fun as they like the speed as much as the V-Werks Katana Skis do. I was constantly surprised at how stable the Mantra V.Werks could be at speed with only minimal tip chatter given the length of their early rise tips and how light they are.
With less weight and surface area than skis I normally ride I was apprehensive that I would be happy with the Mantra V.Werks on powder days but having carved my way through a few already I can say that the large shovel combined with the early rise makes them float to the surface no matter how deep which is surprising considering they are only 99mm underfoot. It’s this reduced underfoot dimension that makes them so easy and fun to turn in conjunction with a reduced swing weight as a by product of the 3D.Ridge Carbon construction. This 3D.Ridge Carbon construction also keeps them light and responsive meaning they are fun and spontaneous on the hill and also easy to tour with.
I mounted the Volkl Mantra V.Werks Skis with a pair of Marker’s new Kingpin M-Werks 12 Bindings which is the ultimate pairing for these skis. You get a super direct and strong power transmission through the binding to the ski and the new M-Werks are lighter than previous versions of the Kingpins so it makes for an ideal resort and touring set up.
Overall, as you’d guess by now, I’m smitten with the Mantra V.Werks. They instill confidence at all speeds and thanks to their lightweight carbon construction they're perfect for touring beyond the boundaries. A quiver of one ski? Yes.
Price: $1,229.95CAN / $1,149US
Lengths: 170, 178, 186
Weight: 1.74kg / 3.8lb (186cm length, per ski)
Turn Radius: 23m (186cm length)
|Powder Performance 1.5/2
Groomer Performance 1.5/2
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