2020 Volkl M5 Mantra
Here we go again with another fantastic Mantra! Unchanged from last year’s debut except for minor graphics, the M5 sits right at the top of the All-Mountain category. Advanced skiers looking for that one-ski quiver don’t need to look much farther than this stick. The addition of the titanal frame last year proved to be a big success, as the skis maintained all the performance from previous models, but added some newfound maneuverability. At 96 mm underfoot, the skis got narrower and more fun. With the addition of the Mantra 102 this year, skiers looking for that wider version should check that out for sure. Our testers, both male and female, raved about the M5’s strength, precision, and unflappability.
Justin Perry appreciated the 177 and its ability to “do it all at high speeds!” He gave top marks for stability, quickness, torsional stiffness, and overall impression. It’s safe to say that Justin is a fan (he owns a pair, just to be transparent), but is still “surprised at how the skis cut through some deeper snow as well as the hard pack.” The “high speed” aspect of the M5 is one to take note of, as many testers found the Mantra performed better when at speed. His scores of all 4’s and 5’s lead us to believe that he’s happy with his skis.
Parker Herlihy found the Mantra to be “meaty.” He called it a “strong all-around ski that is fun on groomers.” Specifically, he calls out “dads who used to race” as being a target demographic for the M5. We agree that former racers will love the full-metal construction and race-room attention to detail of the Mantra, just as they always have. This “meatiness” resonates with a lot of skiers, and makes the M5 a strong candidate for heavier and stronger athletes. Parker skied the 184 and found it to be the right size, with an appropriate amount of stability.
Also skiing the 184, Josh Wolfgang gave top marks for torsional stiffness and edge hold. No surprise there, and also his claim that “if I’m skiing on-piste they’re the right size, but could be a bit long off-trail.” A fair amount of testers found this to be true, that the shorter size would be a better option for anything other than on-trail, high-speed cruising. As one of our taller testers, it’s good information to have that even at over 6 feet tall, a skier could be comfortable on the shorter length. Josh also found that the Mantra was “super-fun once it’s on edge, but it requires some speed to roll it over.”
Now in its second year of its newfound shape, build, and profile, the M5 Mantra is again positioned squarely at the top of its class. From groomers to steeps and everything in between, advanced and expert skiers do not need to look too hard to see that the M5 is a true all-mountain killer. Our testers were across the board impressed with the stability and precision of the skis, and if you’re looking for one ski to rule it all, the Mantra is a fantastic choice.