Ski Reviews

The All New 2019 Volkl M5 Mantra Ski Review

The All New2019 Volkl M5 Mantra: Ski Review: // Ski Reviews

The Volkl Mantra is an iconic ski. Since its introduction in 2005 it's had a strong following and has had a huge influence over how we perceive all mountain skis. It arguably inspired a whole new segment of skis. In 2005 it had a 94 mm waist width and was practically marketed as a powder ski, but its ability to mimic the performance of narrower skis at the time really turned some heads. These days all mountain skis in the 90-100 mm waist width category have become one of the most popular and important segments of skis. We're sure that you can list a few off the top of your head. Some of the most popular skis on the market right now (think Bonafide, Enforcer 100, etc, etc) arguably owe their existence to that very first Mantra. While it's always been positioned as a high performance, hard-charging ski, it's undergone a series of changes since its introduction with different construction techniques, waist widths, rocker profiles, and more. For 2019 we have a brand new Mantra, which marks the fifth version, and it's aptly named the M5 Mantra.

The M5 Mantra has some significant changes compared to the previous version. The current Mantra uses two full sheets of metal, a fully rockered (reverse camber) profile, and a 100 mm waist width. You've probably seen us talk about it plenty of times in different comparison articles and reviews. Now, brace yourself, because the M5 Mantra doesn't use any of those things! Okay, okay, it's still in the same category, but there definitely are some big changes. The new M5 Mantra uses a brand new construction called Titanal Frame, Volkl has brought camber back giving it a rocker/camber/rocker profile, and the waist width has actually been decreased slightly to 96 mm underfoot. The turn radius is a little smaller too coming in at 19.8 m at 177 cm instead of 23.7 m. The same lengths are available ranging from 170 cm up to 191 cm.

The All New 2019 Volkl M5 Mantra: Ski Review : Ski Spec Image

Let's go into a little more detail about this new construction because that (along with the fact it now has camber) is a very important change. The theory behind Titanal Frame is that you don't necessarily need two full sheets of metal to unlock the performance and feel that metal provides. We saw a similar theory with their Titanal Band, which was introduced in the Confession and Kanjo, but Titanal Frame is quite different. The easiest way to think about it is to imagine two elongated horseshoe shaped sheets of metal that sit along the edges and through the end of the ski on both the tip and tail. While we've seen some similar ideas from other companies, Volkl's is unique as these two sheets of metal don't actually connect underfoot. In fact, there's quite a bit of ski underfoot where that metal doesn't connect, and that's important. By locating these sheets of metal along the edges of the tips and tails Volkl is trying to give the ski power along the edge where you need it, retain longitudinal damping, but give the ski a bigger sweet spot and a more natural flex under foot. They've also integrated carbon tips and tails to give the ski a light, strong feel.

The All New 2019 Volkl M5 Mantra: Ski Review : Core Construction Image

The new Volkl M5 Mantra features a fully redesigned core construction. As you can see in the image above, we've come a long way from the early days of simple sandwich construction techniques.

The other most significant change to the Mantra, which we mentioned above, is its camber underfoot. The full rocker shape of the current Mantra has a very unique feel. It's easy to pivot for a ski with two sheets of metal, is very stable and powerful, but requires high speeds and/or a pretty aggressive skier to unlock its full potential. By giving the ski a rocker/camber/rocker profile Volkl is looking to increase performance at slower speeds (even the most aggressive skiers aren't always skiing fast), boost responsiveness on firm snow, and it's all designed to work hand in hand with the new construction. We think it's also important to note the slightly narrower waist width of 96 mm compared to the current ski's 100 mm width, although compared to the changes in construction and rocker profile we think that's a relatively minor change. The industry across the board is actually trending a little narrower (we'll talk about other examples of that in plenty of other 2019 skis), so we're not surprised to see the slightly narrower waist width.

Okay, on to performance. We were lucky enough to meet up with the Volkl crew on January 3, 2018 at Stowe Mountain Resort for some early testing on the M5 Mantra. If you happened to be at Stowe on that random Wednesday you'll likely remember the 12 inches of blower powder that miraculously fell overnight. Sometimes we get lake effect storms that aren't forecasted, and this was one of the best we could remember. Sunny skies, super good snow, and a wide variety of terrain and conditions in which to test the Mantra made for an absolutely perfect day.

The first thing we noticed on the Mantra was the overall sweet spot and balance point of the ski. The reverse camber Mantra was often described as a ski that preferred to be skied off your heel to really get the best performance. This was largely due to the reverse camber shape, while the two full sheets of metal and stiffer flex pattern played into it as well. The new M5 Mantra, on the other hand, has a beautifully large sweet spot that feels like it's right under your foot. You can ski with a more forward stance on the M5 Mantra and really can manipulate the tip and the overall flex of the ski. Give it a little more skier input and you can really feel it flex into a shorter turn shape. The reverse camber sometimes felt like it wanted to make one turn shape more than others, while the M5 Mantra feels allows you to really play around with turn radius because of the slightly softer flex underfoot and the more balanced feel. We were able to get the ski to flex and react in really soft snow more so than the previous version. It also did really well in the deep snow. 96 mm isn't a powder ski by today's standards, but none of us were wishing we were on wider skis despite about a foot of fresh pow.

The All New 2019 Volkl M5 Mantra: Ski Review : Volkl Mantras Throughout the Years

As the day went on and the trails got skied out we were really able to put the longitudinal stability and the skis ability to track over bumpy terrain to the test. Anyone that's skied a Mantra can tell you this is an area in which the ski has always excelled. You've always been able to just point it down the fall line and just go with the utmost confidence. You definitely still can. It still has a very stable, confidence inspiring feel when you're mobbing through chopped up snow conditions. The softer flex right underfoot does give it a more playful feel overall, but you can still ski it really aggressively and the ski responds very well. In a way you can ski it more aggressively as you really can put more skier input towards the tip of the ski thanks to the larger sweet spot and more balanced feel. Even though it doesn't have two sheets of metal anymore, if you're a hard-charging skier rest assured you can still get up and go on the Mantra.

Stowe did a good job grooming out the fresh snow on certain trails during our test day, which gave us some good terrain for testing the ski's performance on firmer snow conditions. When you're linking carving turns on groomers you can really feel the ski's ability to make different turn shapes. Give it a little gas pedal or a little more of your weight into the tip and you can effectively get the ski to carve a shorter radius turn. It makes you feel like Ted Ligety. You can lay it over and really get the ski to flex, while it still delivers a stable, powerful, distinctly Mantra-like feel. The shorter turn radius overall does give the ski a snappier, more responsive feel, but it's not so short that it doesn't like you make bigger, sweeping, almost Super-G-style turn. Maybe the best way to describe the ski's feel on groomers is that it just puts a smile on your face. It's more approachable and a little more user-friendly than the current Mantra, but still can handle high speeds, aggressive skiing, and still has that Mantra "feel."

So, what do we think of it overall? The best way for us to describe the ski is that is has a more playful feel, it's a little more versatile in terms of turn shape and how you can ski it, and that it has a really nice sweet spot that feels like it's right under your foot. On the other hand it still feels powerful, it still has excellent vibration damping, can hold an edge with the best of them, and has that high performance feel that Volkl skiers (and especially Mantra skiers) have come to love. It seems like Volkl has really come up with something special in their new Titanal Frame construction and we anticipate them using similar construction techniques in other skis down the road. The new women's Secret also uses Titanal Frame, which we'll be covering in a full review. Overall we're very impressed by the new M5 Mantra and are excited to see what other skiers think of it. For a ski that's entering its 14th season and is one of the most well-known names in the industry, we're happy to report that we think the new M5 Mantra offers a whole new chapter, but carries on the traditional of the Mantra family.

The All New 2019 Volkl M5 Mantra: Ski Review: Powder ShotThe All New 2019 Volkl M5 Mantra: Ski Review : Buy Now Image

2019 Volkl Mantra M5: Ski Test Image


Written by Jeff Neagle on 1/18/18

253 thoughts on “The All New 2019 Volkl M5 Mantra Ski Review

  1. This is a great review. It is very thorough and I really enjoyed reading it. Loved the Stowe pics! Keep up the excellent reviews. Hope to see you in th mountain one day.

  2. Jeff - Great review! Thank you.

    A few things:

    1) the red strip on the top of the ski that looks like plastic (in the video anyway). Is it functional or just decorative?

    2) How would you feel about classifying it as a western one ski quiver given the slight drop in waist width? Could we expect this ski to perform well on groomers?

    3) Speaking of groomers - I am considering a ski primarily for Snowmass and it's huge, wide, beautifully groomed, mile(s) long groomers. I tend to ski these at a high rate of speed. The skis that I have sort of boiled down to is the Head Monster 98 and the Rossi Experience 100 - skis that are very damp, stiff, and lock you in speed. Should the M5 ski be in this conversation?

    4) I bought a pair of Cochises (from you). Would there be a big overlap between the Cochise and the M5?


    1. Hi Scott!


      1. It's just part of the graphic. Other Volkl skis for 2019 have a similar concept with a different color for different models.

      2. I still think it's perfectly appropriate as a western one-ski-quiver at the 96 mm waist. Yes, we thought it did great on groomers. We had really nice snow during our test, but don't expect it would lose any edge grip on firmer, icier conditions.

      3. Yup, I think the M5 Mantra should definitely be in that conversation. While it's not using full sheets of metal anymore, it still has that damp, smooth feel.

      4. I don't think so. The Cochise is much wider, and really leans more toward "freeride" skiing than the Mantra. It focuses a little more on soft snow performance than the M5 Mantra. I think that would be a nice little two ski quiver. Mantra for a daily driver, Cochise for those "bigger" days whether that means deeper snow, steeper slopes, taller mountains, or some combination of that.

      Hope that helps! Are you enjoying your Cochise?


      1. Hey Jeff - After answering my questions about the new Mantras, you asked me how I like the Cochises that I bought from you. We have only recently received snow conditions out here in Colorado where it would be appropriate to bring them to the hill.
        I've had them in 6"-8". I'll tell you that I love these skis in those conditions. As expected, when you hit the throttle, these skis come to life! Solid, stable, and quick edge to edge (for this width). When the pow turns to crud, these babies only get better. Very little herky-jerky (new ski terminology). They just plow through the cut-up snow.
        Last, but not least, leave these at home if you're out skiing with your intermediate girlfriend. These guys want to go fast and you pay the price for laziness.
        Scott - Happy Customer

        1. Hi again David!

          I really think you'll like the new M5 Mantra. It's great for all those conditions you're describing. Definitely a good mix of performance for groomers, bumps, powder, etc etc. A legitimate "one-ski-quiver" for sure. I would go with the 177 cm M5 Mantra if I were you. We know you can ski that length, and we know you like it based off your experience on the 2012 Kendo, and I think it will give you the stability you need when you're skiing at speed, unlike your 169 cm NRGYs.

          What do you think?


  3. Reviews as comprehensive and literate as this are hard to find. This iteration of Mantras sound like the real deal. Do you think I can convince my Finance Dep't. ( a good and great wife, also) that both BonaFides and Mantras are justified? ( : - )

    1. Hi Joe!

      Ooo... I want to say yes, although that's going to require some persuasiveness on your end I think. It is a different feel than the Bones with this new Titanal Frame construction. Definitely has a more natural flex right under foot and is a little more receptive and willing to make different turn shapes. In a perfect world it would definitely be fun to own both, although in the grand scheme of things they're relatively similar if you know what I mean.

      Thanks for the kind words!


  4. I ski Volkl Karma really from when I was younger and would spend more time in the park, but haven't gotten rid of it love it in the east still don't ride it in CO. 2016 Volkl Mantra I love love love this ski, I rip GS turns on groomers, trees and bowls in Summit County Colorado (I recently moved to Colorado) and Lastly Volkl V Werks Katana for deeper days and tour skiing. I'm an aggressive expert skier and like the stiffness of my Mantra and really V Werks Katana for that matter. I also still have Atomic big daddy's though I haven't skied these in years I don't have the heart to get rid of them.

    Do you think the new Volkl Mantra M5 is worth the purchase? I'm afraid I'm not going to like them and that would just upset me. To put this into perspective if my fiance said either my 2016 Mantra's had to go or she was leaving...I'd be looking for a new girlfriend.

  5. I'm sorry just to add to my first question, I was considering the Icelantic nomad 105 lite: same camber underfoot tip and tail rocker but 105 vs 96. Not thrilled about the skinnier waste

  6. Great review! I really enjoy reading your articles and watching the YouTube videos. Keep up the great work.

    What do you think of the M5 as an East Coast one-quiver ski? I'm a pretty aggressive skier with 50/50 on-off- piste. Would the Kendo or Enforcer 93 be a better fit?

  7. Great review.

    I demo'ed four skis on beautiful mixed condition blue bird day. The M5 and Bonifides were the skis I did not want to give up. I felt the M5 had more spring than the Bonifide. Although the M5 was on its first ski and the Bonifides had some use. Both skis were shorter than I would buy M5 @ 177 and Bonifide @ 180.

    Wondering what way you go and why?

  8. I'm currently riding the 2015 Mantra and absolutely love them! I was at my local shop a couple weeks ago and ready to purchase the 2017/18 model but pulled out. I'm on the east coast and we're having a terrible winter so figured best to just wait until next season. Now that the M5 is on it's way, I'm glad I did.
    I'm a big guy, 6ft 2" and 220lb, so I enjoy the wider underfoot, how will the M5 compare to the 2015 Mantra?


    Excellent review btw!

    1. Hi Jason!

      Totally depends on what you're looking for in a ski. I will say this new M5 Mantra is quite a bit different than the reverse camber Mantra, which we talk about a fair amount in the video and article. It has a more balanced feel and a slightly softer flex right under foot. It probably doesn't have quite the same ability to just blindly straight-line through chopped up snow, but it's really not sacrificing much in terms of power and stability. To me the Nomad 105 is a way different ski than the M5 Mantra. It's much more freeride-inspired, soft snow oriented, etc.

      I would see if you can get on a pair before pulling the trigger just because the M5 Mantra does have a noticeably different feel than the previous version that you're currently skiing. You might love it, or you might find that something like the Nomad 105 is more the direction you want to go.

      Hope that helps!


      1. Hi Joe!


        I definitely think the M5 Mantra could be a great east coast one ski quiver. Gives you great performance on firm snow, and it really does well in soft snow too. I think it's more versatile than the Mantra has ever been before. Definitely gives skis like the Kendo and Enforcer 93 a run for their money for versatile all mountain performance. I like that it still performs really well and feels relatively "normal" on groomers, but you get that little bit of extra waist width compared to those two other skis for the soft snow days. Volkl hit the ball out of the park on the new Mantra, that's for sure.


        1. Hi Glenn!

          Both great skis! I think your description of the Mantra feeling like it had more spring is coming from the fact that it's easier to flex right under foot. Because you're flexing it and de-cambering it quite a bit it's giving the ski the ability to rebound back, translating to a lot of spring and energy out of a turn. The Bonafide is a stiffer ski under foot, so requires more skier input to get it to flex as much, so more power to unlock a sense of energy and spring out of a carving turn. Along the same lines the Bonafide is more "tank-like." It will just plow through choppy snow conditions with no issue slightly more easily than the M5 Mantra. I personally would love to own both skis and I think that's the major difference, the ability to get the ski to flex right underfoot and the result is has on carving turn performance.

          Hope that helps!


    1. Hi Shawn!

      The new M5 Mantra definitely feels different than the old version, mostly because it has camber and because the construction is different. It's more responsive and energetic when linking carving turns as the camber gives it some nice spring out of a turn. It's also easier to manipulate turn shape as you can get the ski to flex more easily and shorten the turn radius. Definitely responds to skier input better than the previous version. That said it still can handle aggressive skiing, still stays nice and quiet and damp when you're skiing fast through choppy snow, and is definitely a worth ski to carry on the Mantra legacy.

      Hope that helps!


      P.S. The season's only half over! February and March are the snowiest months here in Stowe, VT, I hope the same is true for where you're located!

      1. Hi Will!

        The M5 Mantra and the Enforcer 100 are definitely a little different from one another. I think the shape of the Enforcer feels a little bit more playful; it really lets you smear and pivot turns easily in just about any snow conditions. While you can do that on the Mantra too, it feels a little bit more precise and likes being on edge a little bit more than the Enforcer. I also think it feels like it has a slightly softer flex under foot, while the Enforcer 100 feels softer in the tips and tails.

        Hope that helps!


      2. What is the pricing for the M5 Mantra? When will they be available to purchase, didn't see them on your web site for purchase.

        How would you compare M5 to Salomon QST lineup? I have the QST 106 and 92 today they get a little shaky at higher speeds, but I like the playfulness. M5 might give me more stability without compromising the fun factor?

        1. Hi Niel!

          The junior Mantra doesn't get the same construction update as the adult Mantra. It's still the same traditional construction with the reverse camber (full rocker) shape. Will it change for 2020? We're not sure. Only time will tell. I think a junior skier could definitely get on a 149 cm as long as they were on the bigger side. How tall are they? Weight?


          1. Hi Will!

            We're not yet allowed to list them online due to manufacturer restrictions, but we do have them available for sale. Give us a call 877-812-6710, they are $699.

            Compared to the QST line they do have more stability. There's more metal in the Mantra by a fairly significant margin, but it's definitely more playful in this new construction and new shape than it ever has been before. Still has the Mantra precision and power, but a bigger sweet spot not and a slightly more forgiving nature. I would actually compare it pretty closely with a QST 99, but with more vibration damping, stability, and more power.


          2. Hey SE!
            Thanks always for such detailed reviews on all the skis! I'm 5'11" and 220lbs and Northeast (MA NH VT ME) is where I ski 99.5% of the time. I'm currently on 2014 Atmoic Redster 3.0 GS (Yes, race skis for my daily) and I'm looking something that a bit more modern and easier on varying conditions. I'm torn between the M5 and the Atomic Bent Chetler 100. Any advice to help me decide? And recommendations on length? Thinking of 177 for M5 and 180 for Bent Chetler 100

          3. Hi Will!
            The M5 will be a lot closer to what you have now, but with a whole new outlook on the sport. The Atomic is a great ski, but there's no metal in it, so it's on the softer side, which may be a bit of a jolt for you coming off of a race ski. I'd go with the M5 in the 177--you'll love the carving ability as well as the all-mountain personality. Have fun!

  9. Jeff,

    Did you get your hands on a new Volkl V-Works Katana? I heard that there is some new stuff with it for 2019.



  10. Great review! Love my 2012 Kendo @ 177cm but they have seen better days. Looking to replace them with new Mantra, Kendo, Brahma, Bonafide or Kore 90 for mostly east coast skiing. Any recommendation on which ski and length? I am 5'5" and 158lb, and tried ;shorter skis but am not too happy on my Nordica NRGY @ 169 at speed. Seem to ski too short. Appreciate your feedback. Thank you

    1. Hi Jim!

      Not yet. We did ski some V-Werks skis, but not the Katana. I should have a chance to get out on a pair in the next couple days, however. If I do I'll try to leave a comment here.

      SE (Jeff)

      1. Hi David!

        Do you ski a little bit of everything on your Kendos? Just curious how you spend most of your time on skis so I can make the best recommendation. My instincts are to say the current version of the Kendo, or the new Mantra would be the way to go as you seem to love the Volkl "feel" in your current Kendos. Let me know how you spend most of your time when you're on skis and I'll let you know what I think. Groomers, moguls, trees, always searching for powder, etc etc.


      2. SE ~ Thank you.

        To follow up on my prior question and your feedback. I ski on a variety of terrain, groomers, bumps, (trail edge) powder, etc. so definitely something that more versatile. Recently spent a couple of days on my Blizzard Magnum 8.0 Ti (172cm) up at Sunday River and found those to be much more precise and stable than the Nordicas, although the Blizzards seem to need to be "skied" at all times.

        Looking forward to your recommendation on ski and length.


  11. I'm an east coast skier who likes to get into the soft snow, bumps and tree as much as possible, but realistically spends 75-80% on hardpack carving. I just tore part of the base off my m4 Mantras 177cm. I've loved the power and versatility of those skis but never felt I had as much edge on the snow (ice) as friends on Barhmas. I'm looking seriously at the M5 Mantra staying at 177cm thinking that the camber will give the grip, but sounds like they'll be friendly fun as well. (Funny that the Mantra 177 is longer than the Brahma 180) For east coast one ski quiver that needs to be good hard pack carver, but still able to handle bumps and freash snow, am I nuts to stay with Mantra in M5 version, or better off joining the Barmah/Bonafide crowd?

    1. Hi Andy!

      The new M5 Mantra with the camber under foot does give you a feel of longer edge contact, especially when you're riding a relatively flat base, so I think you'll like their performance in terms of edge grip on firm snow. In soft snow I think the M5 Mantra is more playful and a bit more fun than the Brahma and Bones. Both those skis lean a little more towards firm snow performance in my opinion, at the expense of some maneuverability and forgiveness in softer snow.

      Hope that helps!


  12. I'm interested in the Mantra M5 as well as the Nordica Enforcer 100. I live in the PNW but have a race background (lived in Northern Vermont as a youth). How do they compare? Thanks!

    1. Hi Mike!

      The Enforcer 100 feels a little bit heavier, but also has a little better vibration damping. The new M5 Mantra is pretty darn cool in the way that you can manipulate turn shape easily while still having a stable, powerful ski, but it doesn't just plow through choppy snow quite as well as the Enforcer 100. If you value quickness go with the M5 Mantra, if you value smoothness go with the Enforcer 100, if that makes sense... To me that's the biggest difference.


  13. Hey Mike,

    Rad review mate, really loved how deep you went into the skis make up. Question, I am currently riding a rosignol soul 7 as an every day ski in bounds but am thinking its time for a change/upgrade. how do you think the M5 compare to the soul 7?

    1. Hi Luke!

      My name is Jeff, not Mike, but we'll let that slide 😉

      The M5 Mantra is a little bit different than your Soul 7s. It's more powerful, more stable at speed, has a longer effective edge, holds an edge better, etc. On the other hand it's not quite as super-easy maneuverable as the Soul 7. It's a little heavier and doesn't have as much rocker or early taper, so definitely a little bit of a different feel overall. Are you looking for something similar to your Soul 7? Or trying to go in a little bit of a different direction?


  14. "The M5 Mantra has some significant changes compared to the previous version. The current Mantra uses two full sheets of metal, a fully rockered (reverse camber) profile, and a 100 mm waist width."

    Um, none of this is actually correct. The M5 has 2-3 mm camber + front and rear rocker, and is 96mm at the waist. It also breaks the top layer of metal fore and aft of the binding placement for a radically different flex profile, and lighter tip and tail.

    - David

  15. Argh. My apologies. I still have to learn how to read. I can say, though, that they ski really well. Coming off a similar length of Dynastar Cham 97 2.0, the M5s are quicker, just as stable, can be coaxed into holding a longer-radius turn. They're definitely noisier -- hit the crud and you get the hollow-carbon-box sound. Which is actually kind of cool.

  16. Hey great review/video -
    FYI though for readers/ accuracy:
    you say a few times there is no metal underfoot... however in an interview with Volkl engineers (over on blister gear site podcast) they say the 'titanal frame' is only in tips and tails but there still is a thin full layer of titanal underfoot.
    i'll be honest i was a little confused/turned off by metal ONLY in tips and tails but thats not the case - wanted to make sure nobody else got the wrong idea

  17. Hello,

    I currently have the Blizzard bonafide which I love and think is a great all round ski. How do you think the Mantra M5 stacks up against the Bonafide?

    Thank you


    1. Hey Scott!

      Awesome! Glad you're enjoying them and glad you guys finally got some good snow conditions out there! They really do plow through that chopped up snow really well. I think you describe them pretty perfect, especially the part about leaving them at home when you're skiing with your intermediate level girlfriend 😉


      1. Hi Jeff!

        I can understand why that was confusing, thanks for your comment! I've edited some of the text to reflect that base sheet of metal. I still think the key to understanding the performance of the ski lies in the Titanal Frame construction, however.

        Thanks again!


        1. Hi Neil!

          The M5 Mantra feels a little easier going and a little less demanding than the Bonafide. It definitely rips, but feels a little more comfortable at slower speeds and really does have a nice big sweet spot under foot. I think it's easier to make different turn shapes on the M5, while the Bonafide has a little bit more stability and feels a touch more powerful overall.


  18. I demoed the new '19 M5 skis at 177 and loved them! I bought them IMMEDIATELY! I own the Brahma at 180 and never loved them...really should have bought them at 173. Despite the wider waist and length these skis are much more responsive and handled fresh snow and crud with ease. I wanted to demo the M5 at 170 but they didn't have them. Also wanted to demo the Bonafide but they didn't have them. Oh well, sometimes life presents an opportunity and you jump. And getting next year's ski a year early is awesome.

  19. PS this was a great review and it helped inform my decision to buy and take the leap of faith. I agree with everything you said, and the comments helped too. Thank you.

    1. Hi Min!

      Thanks so much for sharing! The Brahma can be a pretty demanding ski for sure. Glad you're loving your new 177 cm M5 Mantras!!

      Also, thanks for the kind words. We're happy skiers are finding this information helpful!


      1. Hi Scott, can you recommend a short-list of good bindings to look at, which are worthy of these fine sticks? Do you recommend one in particular that will work well with the Mantra M5? Thank you in advance.

        1. Hi again Min,

          I thought I would add my thoughts in case Scott doesn't respond. Bindings are somewhat personal preference, although just about any of the major all mountain bindings would work well on the M5 Mantra. A Marker Griffon or Jester would be the "matching" binding in terms of brands, but we've seen some people go with Attack 13 or 16 and some others mounting theirs with Look Pivots.

          Hope that helps!


  20. Great info!

    I had the original Mantras which I really liked, and then was talked into the rockered Mantras. I did not like them nearly as much, especially when skiing more aggressively. I have been considering the Bonafides. How would you compare the older Mantras with the 2018 Bonafides? And, how would you compare the new M5 with the older Mantras, not just the most recent rockered Mantra?

    Thanks for any help!


    1. Hey Bruce!

      You're not alone. There were a fair amount of skiers who didn't care for the reverse camber Mantra. It's not a bad ski by any means, but not everyone likes that reverse camber feel.

      The Bonafide is a little quicker and more responsive than the original Mantra. It also feels a touch lighter in my opinion, basically due to the advancements in ski construction since that original Mantra. They both rip, but the Bonafide feels a little more user-friendly.

      The M5 Mantra makes different turn shapes a lot easier than both of those skis, however, but still has a stable powerful feel. The new construction is really pretty cool. You can feel the ski flexing right under foot and it really does feel like it has a big sweet spot, but then you get nice stability and power out of it too. Not quite the power of the Bonafide, but pretty close, more versatile, and definitely responds to skier input a little more easily.

      Hope that helps!


  21. Thanks for all the great content. I am looking to make a purchase somewhat soon... have been demoing various options for too long. Are these worth waiting for? If I can't demo/buy them yet, anything I should try that would give a similar feel?

    1. Hi Nick!

      What are you looking for out of a ski? What's your favorite type of terrain, ski style, etc? The M5 Mantra is really cool and has somewhat of a unique feel with the Titanal Frame construction, although it's definitely still competing against the same skis it always has been: Bonafide, Enforcer 100, QST 99, etc, etc. What other skis have you tried? I can let you know what I think and whether it would be worth it for you to wait for the M5.


      1. SE - This past weekend I was on Blizzard Bonafide 180s trying to ski in a lot of off piste powder (Tahoe area... powder dump but not much base). I felt like I was riding pretty far back on my skis to get enough float. That said, I was doing better than my buddy on much narrower skis and did enjoy them when I was on runs that weren't totally cut up. Almost certainly they were not the ideal skis for the conditions, but I'm not planning to buy multiple pairs of skis soon and I'd like something that will prove fun across the mountain.

        1. Hi Nick!

          You're experiencing the stiffness of the Bonafide, especially in the tail, more than its width. That's why It's somewhat hard to get the tips to float in soft snow. Basically the softer snow isn't pushing back enough to get the ski to counter flex, if that makes any sense. The Nordica Enforcer 100 shares similar performance to the Bonafide, but is much better in soft snow. The same could be said for the M5 Mantra, although it comes more from the bigger sweet spot and softer flex underfoot, while in the Enforcer it comes from the tip shape and longer, higher rise rocker. The Blizzard Rustler 10 comes to mind too, much easier in soft snow than the Bonafide, but still some metal underfoot with camber, so still can rip turns on firm snow.

          Let me know if you want to talk more about the differences!


          1. Hi I am from Australia and just wanted some advice on the mantra m5 vs rustler 9. I am advanced intermediate and wanting to know which ski would suit our conditions better. I ski majority on groomers but want to try improve off the groomers as well now as my ability improves.
            I am relatively aggressive and enjoy going fast but do tend to skid turns quite a lot as well.
            In Australia we don't get what I guess those overseas say are powder days because we don't get heaps of snow. So not quite sure if the rustler would be as good here given we don't have as much powder.
            Please let me know what you think for our conditions and my ability level.
            Thanks a lot!

          2. Hi Nick!

            That's a bit of a toss up because, to be perfectly honest, they're both great skis. I am, however, kind of leaning towards the Rustler 9 simply because its shape is a little easier in off-piste terrain. The Rustler 9 allows you to release your tail edge just a little easier, which should help you as you start to progress into new terrain. The Mantra is a fantastic ski, but its shape isn't quite as forgiving as the Rustler 9. Overall they're relatively similar, with different concepts on where to put metal, and I think those differences and the shape makes the Rustler 9 a little more appropriate for someone like yourself.

            What do you think?


          3. Thanks for the quick response.
            After reading quite a lot it does sound as though the rustler is easier to initiate turns and that will help me as I progress as you mentioned.
            In terms of on groomed runs is their performances similar? What differences do you feel in terms of performance on groomed terrain?
            As I mentioned I do tend to spend quite a lot of time on the groomers.
            Cheers Nick

          4. Hi again Nick!

            The differences in performance essentially carry over to groomers too. The M5 Mantra is a little more powerful and has slightly better edge grip as it uses lower rise rocker and more metal, while the Rustler 9 initiates a turn a little easier. Still great stability on a groomer in the Rustler 9 and it's a very responsive, fun ski on firm snow. I was actually quite impressed by how well it performed on firm snow! I really think you'll enjoy it.


          5. Is the Mantra M5 basically a heavier version of the 90eight that can actually carve on hard snow?

            For skis with a roughly 95-100mm waist, what would you say are the top 3 for edgehold on ice? I am basically looking for a wide/fat GS race ski.

          6. Hi Nick!
            I'd say that's basically true. The titanal layers make it a lot more stable on hard snow, and it does carve like a fat GS ski. The 98mm Blizzard Bonafide is right up there, as is the Atomic Vantage 97Ti. I'd say those are the top 3. Hope that helps!

  22. I am seriously considering the Nordica Enforcer 100, Volkl 90eight and now the Mantra M5 and wondering how these compare. I am a bigger skiier (6'3", 225lbs) and like a snappy, but powerful ski. I ski almost exclusively in the east and am moving from a Volkl Vertigo G3 that I find lacks stability through crud and float in powder, moguls or the trees. On groomers I like to scream or slow it down for some quick technical turns. I also like a ski where the tail does not dig in and steer you too much if you happen to get back on your heels.


    1. Hi Roamer!

      I think right away you can rule out the 90Eight. I just don't think that's going to have the stability you're looking for. I also wouldn't describe it as exceptionally powerful. Add in your size and I think it's easy to put that one aside, which leaves the Enforcer and the M5 Mantra. Both I think could be excellent skis for you. The Enforcer 100 is going to feel a little bit more stable and in my opinion it has the edge in vibration damping and an overall quiet feel. On the other hand the M5 Mantra feels a little bit quicker and a little more energetic. It's not quite as stable, but it's no slouch by any means. I think both skis could accomplish what you're looking for, so just ask yourself whether you value stability or quickness more and I think that will help you decide between the two. To be totally honest they are both fantastic skis.


      1. Thanks for the advice! Tried the M5 and Enforcer today and really liked the M5. The Enforcer 93 lacked the edge grip and float of the M5. I also felt like the Enforcer skis small. Only thing the M5 seemed to lack was a little quickness. Should I consider the Brahma or Rustler 9 as well if I want a bit more quickness with stability and float.

        1. Hey Roamer!

          Yeah I would definitely consider the Rustler 9. It's super precise, very quick, and definitely has some nice float, similar to the M5 Mantra. I think you can probably rule out the Brahma, however. To me that doesn't have the crud or powder performance you're looking for.

          Hope that helps!


  23. Hey guys, great review!

    I am looking for the second ski in my ski quiver to complement my Stockli Laser SC. I am looking for a ski for skied out eastern slopes with lots of bumps and tough spring snow. I am 6', 185lbs, decent skier, but lacking finesse. After talking to *a lot* of people I hear consistent recommendations of either Stockli Stormriders or Mantra M5's; no less than three professionals I trust have pointed me to the Mantra's. Based on that I have changed my selection and right now it's between M5's, SR95's, or Fischer Pro MTN 95Ti's, in that order.

    Any and all thoughts on the differences and appropriateness for the mission are appreciated!

    It's snowing like crazy right now -- only thing that would make this better is a new spring ski! 🙂

  24. Hi Jeff,

    Congrats for your in deep reviews, as entertaining as didactic so that they are really helpful to make good decisions. However I would appreciate your point on the following concern:

    I am 181 cm high and weight 73 kg, the last pair of skis I bought were the Völkl race-tiger SL (circa 65 cm wide under foot and 165 cm high- I don't have them with me to double check sizes right now-) back in 2006. As You can imagine I have enjoyed on piste skiing stringing short radius carved turns easily (but not effortlessly) as well as medium turns at speed.

    The feeling of skiing on railways, the blind confidence on their stability and stiffness once you pspeed them up on their edges despite their short length, the fact that they always obey as expected at the smallest variation on the applied pressure and the slingshot that literally pushes me from side to side of a turn once you charge them with energy are what have made me love the brand. However they are giving me their last breath of life and it's time to provide them a well deserved retirement from the daily use so that I still can ride them from time to time as a second pair.

    Dealing with the decision of what to buy I commited to make a mistake (if any) by trying something new rather than remaining stuck in the slalom type skis. So recently I tried several different skis and this is what I felt (in the hope this helps you to foresee what may suit the best to me).

    - lacroix slx 78mm waist, circa 180 cm high. Pure racing skis, blasted out up to 10 cm of fresh snow on groomers as well as choppy piles of mashed snow. They are missiles willing to run more...always more. Really stiff as for linking short turns with ease. On powder they sink like plumb, very heavy. Not what I was looking for, very demanding for on piste whilst beside of that I was looking for some extra support off piste.
    - k2 pinnacle 95 mm. waist, 191 cm high. Great in powder, surprisingly manoeuvreable despite their length. Very light feeling. Correct on groomers at medium radius turns, not that steady at high speed turns and definitely the short radius turn are not where they bright although they were somehow doable.
    - atomic vantage 100 mm. waist ,circa 180 cm high. A little bit less playful than the K2 in powder but still floating enough as to dare with virgin slopes as I did, surprisingly nimble on groomers where I was perfectly able to string short tuns in a run besides the medium and long turns they do call for... But I found they were lacking easiness to pass over or through the late day choppy snow, I expected them go trough like a monstertruck over small bumps but they did not. At first I thought it was due to my fatigue but after reading it looks like some other people has felt the same. This model could be a good choice even economic wise since apparently next season they are going to be redesigned and a narrower model (97mm I think) is to substitute them., I was pretty close to buying them..but...

    Then I read your review about the new mantra M5 and the Enforcer and that made me think twice. And here goes where you can give me your point.

    Compared to the Atomic vantage 100, the new M5 performs as well off piste (despite it is little narrower) while performs better on piste?. Do you think that with the M5 I would feel the same float and manoeuvreability in powder but will find better feelings on groomers at any sort of turn radius?, will the choppy snow hook and trap the M5 as much as it does (to me) to the atomic?.

    And comparing the M5 with the Enforcer ... It seems that being both top rated skies that outperform on almost every kind of snow, in order to differentiate one each other the Nordica do lean towards the fresh or powder (not disappointing in any way on groomers) meanwhile the M5 does to the groomers (not disappointing off piste). Would this be a fair conclusion to you?. In case of 70%_30% (on- off) usage, which of these two would suit better considering that the groomers are not always going to be perfect but tracked away by other skiers etc etc?.

    Thanks a lot, greetings from the Spanish Pyrenees!.

  25. Would you or could you take these into the BC and have tech bindings mounted? With burly AT boots they could really be the one quiver setup.

    1. Hi Nedim!

      I really think you'd love the M5 Mantra. To me it's also a little bit easier to ski than those other two skis, which are both great by the way, but as soon as you said you think you lack a bit of finesse my mind went to the Mantra. I think it's a little bit more forgiving if you happen to weight improperly or make a mistake with its nice big sweet spot under foot. Pretty easy to recover on it, and I think it's a ski that you could use as a tool to build your "finesse" or technique, or however you want to think of it. Really does great in choppy snow conditions too. Nice and stable, but not so stiff that it bucks you if you hit a firmer bump; there's some forgiveness there. In my opinion the M5 sounds like a fantastic ski for you.


      1. Hi Miguel!

        Would you be able to give us a call and chat over the phone? Not sure because you're in Europe. Let me know if you can't and I'll put together a response for you, but I want to do it justice and you're asking a lot of in depth questions.


        1. Hi L Dakota!

          You absolutely could put an AT binding on it! I would shy away from a frame binding on the M5 Mantra as I think it would slightly diminish the nice big sweet spot under foot, although something like a Marker Kingpin or the new Salomon Shift binding would be an awesome setup.


  26. What are the big differences or another way of looking at it what are the strengths and weaknesses of the following skis:
    Volkl Mantra M5 in a 177
    Head Kore 93 in a 180
    Blizzard Rustler 9 in a 180

    Thanks for the great job you do on all your reviews.

    1. Hi CWH,

      It's somewhat hard to do those skis justice without going into a lot of detail, but I'll do my best:

      M5 Mantra: Very versatile performance. Somewhat of an even mix of performance characteristics for different types of terrain and snow conditions. Does great on firm snow, definitely has that precise Volkl feel, but has a much bigger sweet spot and is more forgiving than the Mantras of the past. Not a tremendous amount of rocker or taper, but it still feels maneuverable in soft snow.

      Kore 93: Exceptionally light, super maneuverable, yet still impressive stability and vibration damping considering its weight. Not as quiet or stable as the Mantra, but it's a ski where you really have to keep in mind how light it is. There's not really anything on the market that hits the same weight/stability combination, at least nothing beats it in my opinion.

      Rustler 9: A unique blend of playfulness and seriousness. It's like they took a Brahma, cut the metal off the tips and tails, rockered the tips and tails more, and gave it some early taper. On firm snow it feels super precise and pretty powerful, although you get a little movement out of the tips and tails that doesn't happen on the Mantra as much. In soft snow the shape takes over and gives you a nice catch-free, maneuverable feel, while still feeling responsive and energetic.

      Hopefully that helps!


  27. Hey guys, awesome review! After a little advice if possible. Currently riding Atomic Vantage 90cti and would like a stronger ski overall. Very interested in opinions between the M5 Mantra in 177 and the new Vantage 97TI in 180, how do you think they will square up? Really after a solid ski for all hardpack conditions and something that will plow through crud/chop.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Charlie!

      While we've been on it, we haven't had quite enough time on the new Vantage construction to really give a fair comparison. That said, next week is our 2019 ski test at Stowe Mountain Resort and we will definitely be spending quite a bit of time on the Atomics. I'll try to remember to come back here and let you know what I think!


  28. Hi
    I have thoroughly enjoyed listening and watching you reviews and deep knowledge of ski constructions etc so to start, thanks for that!!

    Now I wonder about the Völkl Mantra M5. My kids are good skiers and we enjoy the slopes as often as we can. I have been looking at end of season sales of the junior Mantra for the kids but then I was thinking. Will Mantra jr ski also be updated as significantly as the standard one? Or would the Secret version be a good option anyway (at least for taller kid)? The kids will be 13 and 15 next year meaning skis from 138 and up is about right I guess.


  29. I tried the new Blizzard Rustler 9 this week and it's a great ski. Curious to hear your thoughts after you try the new Atomic Vantage 97. I'm trying to decide between the Rustler 9, Vantage 97 or 100, and the Mantra M5. I have always skied on a race ski (currently on 183cm Atomic G9) but I need something more flexible for moguls, powder, and blasting through crud. Thanks!

    1. Hi Scott!

      The Vantage, in our testing, was more similar to the M5 Mantra than the Rustler 9. Out of these skis the Rustler 9 is definitely the most maneuverable in terrain like moguls because of the more pronounced tip and tail rocker. Both the M5 and the new Vantage use a pretty low-rise rocker, which gives them great stability for blasting through crud snow and skiing at high speeds, but they're not quite as quick and maneuverable as the Rustler. So, if you value mogul quickness and maneuverability more I would go Rustler, if you want a tank that can just plow through crud I would go Vantage 97 Ti, and if you want something in between those two skis I think that's the M5 Mantra.

      Hope that helps!


      1. Hello,

        I'm a 5'7 175lb north east coaster looking to fill the void between my Head Supershapes and my Icelantic Nomad 105 for a daily driver. The new M5 has really got my eye. I'm finding my go to size to be about the 170 ( + or -) range in most ski types. Anything to long on my short frame seems to tangle me up. Like the stability at speed but also looking for maneuvering ability in the bumps and woods. Is the 170 right on or is the 177 the recommended size for my height/ weight? I would say I'm an agressive advanced skier who loves to carve but enjoys getting off piste also.

        1. Hi Eli!
          Of those two fantastic choices, I'd say the Mantra is your better on-trail carver while the Enforcer is more versatile due to its shape and rocker profile. The Mantra is a bit more demanding, but both have very high-performance ceilings. I'd go with the Enforcer in either the 177 or the 185 depending on your level of aggressiveness. Have fun!

          1. Hi Scott!
            I'd say the 170 is the right length for you based on your stats and your preferred ski terrain. They're pretty stable, so I don't think you'll miss much with the shorter ski. Have fun!

  30. Hi,
    Thanks for a great review!
    Two or three things:
    1. Will you be reviewing the new Mantra V-Werks as well? I've been skiing the old second iteration of the Mantra (2011 98 mm full camber) and the Nunataq (2013 107 mm full but moderate rocker) for years and I'm thinking of replacing them both.
    2. Mantras and boots (and bindings): Regarding the M5, what would be the appropriate Marker bindings and Dalbello boots on these. I reckon a Jester 16 ID would do the trick. I'm a tall skier (192 cm, 90 kg). For boots I'm thinking of the Krypton 130 ID vs. the DRS 130 AB as I have narrow feet and don't want anything wider than say 97-98 mm lasts. Will the Kryptons have a better stance for this type of ski? Will the DRSs have a too aggressive forward lean for this type of ski? For the Mantra V-Werks I would probably go for the narrow and stiff Lupo FCR. Wouldn't you agree?
    3. The mid 90 mm ski review roundup: I'd love to see the M5 included in this roundup to see how it compares to it's competitors.

    Best regards,


    1. Hi Erland!

      1. Quite possibly. It's on the list of potential reviews and we're going to try to get to it. Whether we have time or not, it will be included in our 2019 Ski Test results. We had quite a few testers on it during our test, plus some additional time on it a few months earlier when we first skied this M5 Mantra.

      2. With the M5 Mantra I think it's a versatile enough ski that you could really mount it with whatever binding and boot combo you wanted. I personally would love skiing it with the Jester and a Krypton, but I could definitely understand someone focusing on a less playful feel going with more forward lean. Does that make sense?

      3. The M5 will definitely be included in that comparison. It's an important ski in that category for sure.

      Let us know if you have any other questions!


  31. Great review guys!
    I just ripped the edge out of my second pair of Mantras so I'm in the market for a replacement. I've had the 07-08's and the 12-13's (both before they went to the full rocker). The rockered Mantra never seemed to have the grip on east coast boiler-plate as my older cambered skis as i was excited to learn that the M5's went back to a cambered profile. All of the reviews I have seen have said that the M5 is more "approachable" than the older models and that makes me nervous. The reason I like the mantras so much is how powerful and high energy they are. The more you put in the ski the more it gives back like a GS ski. I have spent a fair amount of time the Enforcer 100's and the Bonafides and while they are both great skis they just don't seem to have the same energy and seem lifeless in comparison to my Mantras.
    My question is: does more approachable mean less aggressive and easier to ski? Should I bee looking at the M5 or is it time to look elsewhere for my 12-13 mantra replacment?

    1. Hi David!

      So, the biggest take-away in our testing was the increased sweet spot of the Mantra. On the M5 Mantra you really feel very balanced and in control, which is why so many reviews are referring to it as "approachable." For a less experienced skier they'll be able to figure out the M5 Mantra a lot quicker and more easily than on previous versions. That said, they really didn't take much away from the skis overall power and performance. It's a bit lighter as it doesn't use two full sheets of metal anymore, but there is still one full sheet along the base plus the Titanal Frame on the top of the ski, so it's still pretty darn powerful. I would definitely consider the M5 Mantra as a replacement for yours. In my honest opinion it's the best Mantra yet.


  32. Hi SE...
    Recently demoed a few skis with both the M5 and Rustler 9 being my favorites. 5'10" 195 and totally comfortable on the M5 at 177. I really liked the Rustler 9 but only demoed at 180 cm. Curious if the shorter 172 Rusty9 would be "too short". I am trying to improve my off-piste/softer snow skiing as well as trees and especially moguls, so thinking the 172 would be a benefit. Your thoughts?? Thanks and really appreciate the great reviews!!

    1. Hi Don!

      I do think the 172 cm Rustler 9 would feel a touch short for you at your size. While it would be more maneuverable, I think you'd lose some valuable stability and float in softer and more variable snow conditions. The shorter length might help in moguls, but in my opinion that's about it. 180 cm feels much more appropriate to me.

      Hope that helps!


      1. I now live in Bend, Oregon and am trying to decide between the M5 Mantra and the Rustler 9. Can't say that I am the model of perfect form going down the slopes (I plan on booking a few ski lessons this year to improve my form and skills), but I tend to go faster than the vast majority when skiing and I will probably spend 80% on piste. 90% of my skiing will be at Mt Bachelor, with a trip or two to Utah and CA.

        I think I have read every post on this site for both skis. Am leaning towards the M5, but I have not been a frequent skier, as I once was, for the past 15 years and the Rustler 9 sounds like it might be more forgiving/better fit as I resume frequent skiing with a season pass this year. However, I also like the idea of pushing myself to improve my skiing, as needed, to get the most out of the M5.

        I am 6' 3", 190lbs, 58 years old--but work hard to stay in shape. Any suggestions as to which of these two skis would be a better fit for my objectives and skiing the PNW? Also, would like your suggestion regarding ski length for the ski that you suggest.

        Thanks in advance for your advice!


        1. Hi Don!
          The Rustler 9 has a pretty high skill limit, I wouldn't worry about surpassing the ski's ability. That being said, the Mantra has a higher limit. I was very impressed with both skis, but the Rustler blew me away. I loved how it carved, floated, and played. It was stiffer than I thought, but was still able to break out of a turn thanks to the turned up tail. The Mantra felt glued to the snow--it is solid, stable, and super-fun. They're more forgiving than they used to be, and that is a good thing for a lot of skiers who have found the older Mantra to be a bit abusive in the past. If you're looking for more forgiveness, the Rustler is your ski, if you're looking for top-end performance, then the Mantra will fit the bill. I'd recommend the 188 in the Rustler and the 184 in the Mantra. Hope that helps!

  33. Great reviews and comments on this site! I think I'm getting the differences between the M5 and Rustler 9; M5 a little more stable in crud + powder and probably higher top end (fatter tip/longer radius/lower rocker) with R9 being quicker in bumps and edge to edge on groomers being narrower and tighter radius. Now to dig more...which is better for grip and stability on early season machine snow hard pack plus versatility in turn shape? Which has a better planing vs punchy feel going from groomed to a patch of soft snow? Which tail feels less locked and easy to pivot like when someone cuts you off or just fun in a quick direction change? More pop? And how about comparison to the Liberty Origin 96.....I know that's a lot to ask, so any bits of info are appreciated!

    1. Hi Chris,

      Edge grip and turn shape versatility feel like two different things to me. In my opinion the M5 Mantra has the better edge grip, but I would say they are similar in their ability to make different turn shapes. A different feel as the Rustler 9 uses more rocker, but they both allow you to play around with turn shapes. Neither ski really feels like it's going to punch through as long as you're skiing at a necessary speed. The Rustler 9 probably planes a little bit easier and will keep you on top of the snow at slightly slower speeds than the Mantra. Even through it's narrower, the tip shape and amount of rocker really help. Rustler 9 is definitely easier to pivot and release the tail edge, again just because of the amount of rocker. I wouldn't say one ski feels significantly more energetic than the other. Both have a relatively damp overall feel. I'd probably give the edge to the Rustler 9 in terms of "pop" out of a turn. It just feels slightly more lively.

      Tough to compare either to the Origin 96 to be honest. That ski is much lighter and doesn't have the same stability or damping properties as the Rustler 9 or Mantra. If anything it's closer to the Rustler 9 just because of similarities in rocker profile, but overall even those two skis are quite a bit different in my opinion.

      Hope that helps!


      1. Thank you for way more info than expected! Absolutely -- edge grip and versatility are different things, I just didn't write the question very clearly. So many new and great options out there, my list is close to 10 models to find a compliment for a 108-110ish soft snow ski for the Rockies. Thought I'd ask about the origin 96 since I've heard it's a tenacious carver and looking at it, the flex in the middle third of the ski is pretty stout and has a thick core. I don't typically go for a metal ski since they tend to beat me up in the bumps and I'm only about 160lbs, though I occasionally bring out my old fully cambered Kendos and have a great time cruising hardback and pushing through slushy spring snow. Just trying to figure out what direction to go and the newer partial metal design is intriguing.

      2. I'm 53 years, 6'3", 230lbs - advanced / expert level skier. strong technique, from when I was a Tahoe local of the past. Still in OK shape for an older guy, just not the legs of younger years. Recent past skies include Volkl AC 50, and Atomic Vantage 100. 184 / 188 CM respectively. Ski all double diamond and some groomed single diamonds.

        I actually want a ski somewhere in-between the AC 50 and Vantage 100. I love the hard charging AC 50, but it really beats me up. Definitely enjoy laying down trenches with the AC 50. I have the technique, but not the legs to really stay on top of these, especially in varied conditions. Bumps and varied terrain take way too much energy.

        Love the Vantage in powder, bumps, most crud, but feel the tip washes out a bit on hard charging groomed runs / gets kind of a funky feel when you really wind these up. Makes me want to stay off the tips and ride the tails at speed (with some tip flap). The unnaturally wide tip seems to stray too far away from the parabolic type shape of the AC 50, causing me to overly adjust carving technique to something strange.

        I'm a true 50/50 skier. Spend the first 5 runs on black groomers, then head out in the bumps, crud, skier packed bowls. Kirkwood is my main mountain. I have a dedicated powder ski, K2 Pinnacle 118, so not too worried about the deep / powder days. More of skier packed, to packed to spring conditions. My turn radius is long slalom to med GS, varied, tempo'd. I don't really point them straight, but do ski fast linked turns.

        Let me know your thoughts and suggestions

        I'm looking at the Mantra M5 184 or 191? I'm thinking shorter as I have a dedicated powder ski, and would rather save leg energy over top speed.

        1. Hi Chris!

          I think the M5 Mantra could work for you. It's pretty ideal for what you're looking for. Performs really well on groomers, can handle that choppy afternoon off-piste snow, is maneuverable enough for moguls, etc. If you decide to go with the M5 Mantra I think 184 cm is perfectly reasonable for length. That 191 cm kind of turns into a lot of ski, definitely more challenging in tight terrain, even for someone your size. The only hesitation I have is the Mantra's turn radius doesn't necessarily match your desired turn shape of short to medium turns. You can get it to flex into shorter radius turns, something we talked about quite a bit in this review, but it does require some skier input to do so.

          Have you skied the Nordica Enforcer? I would think you'd prefer the width of the Enforcer 93, judging off your reaction to the width of the Vantage 100. It has a shorter turn radius than the M5 Mantra, something to consider.

          Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.


          1. Thanks for the feedback. Since you mentioned narrower skis, I was thinking 88 mm. Maybe the Salomon XDR 88?

            I'm a bit worried about 2 full sheets of metal in the Nordica. My ski turn radius is more GS on groomed, shorter off to respond to terrain, and steeps

            Thinking the XDR may be great Carver and easy going off road?

          2. Hi Nick!
            Both are great skis. The M5 is a bit narrower and has more of an "on-trail" personality than the Enforcer 100. That's not to say that you can't ski off-piste on the M5 by any stretch, they're both supremely versatile skis. They both come in a 177 and a 184, and both will be considerable performance upgrades from the Soul 7. You'll get a bit more flotation from the E100, and a bit more carving ability from the M5, but other than that, they're both pretty sweet. Happy winter!

          3. Hey Chris!
            You are correct in all of your statements. The XDR 88 is a great on-trail ski that can handle a bunch of different conditions. They have a lighter swing weight and are more maneuverable than the Nordica. The carving performance is stable and pure. They have a very natural feeling that a lot of skiers really enjoy--not something that can be defined by numbers or stats. Also in that 88 mm category are K2 Pinnacle 88 and Rossignol Experience 88--both similar performance level skis. Hope that helps!

          4. HI SE,

            I'm 5'10", 165 currently skiing Atomic Blackeye TI's 174 in the east coast on hardpack. I'm unhappy with the atomics from an edge hold perspective and turning ability especially at lower speed. I was considering the Mantra M5's as a good all around all mountain ski for my Jersey/New York skiing and vermont/new hampshire skiing. I had been reading the new mantra's hold edge extremely well while turning is a quite nimble. Would you advise a ski like this for the areas I am talking about? Should I be concerned about anything?


          5. Hi Chris!

            The Mantra has exceptional edge grip, and it's not overly challenging at slower speeds when initiating turns. It's not the most forgiving, maneuverable ski at slow speeds, but it's also not the most demanding. Would you find it significantly easier than your Atomics? I'm not sure. Have you considered going with a slightly softer flexing ski? The Rustler 9 from Blizzard comes to mind. Tips and tails are a little softer, so it feels good at slower speeds, but the metal underfoot allows for good stability and vibration damping too.

            Hope that helps!


          6. Hi Sam,

            Thanks for the response with regards to the Mantra M5 and the suggestion of the Rustler. I was looking at the mantra and rossi experience 94TI for the turning radius range of 20-22. I am a fan of the Volkl and Rossi lines but I will definitely look at some others. the Rustler looks like an interesting ski. How is it in terms of pop. I like to play in the park from time to time, but I am usually skiing fast and carving. Skiing with a friend of mine requires lower speed as she isn't the quickest and I won't leave her alone on the mountain. I have been on Atomics for a long time, but like I said, I am finding the Atomics a bit unbearable this year when it comes to the slow turning and edge control.


  34. Hi,
    I ski a 177 2017 (M4) Mantra, im 170lbs. The 177 felt a little long so i sold them and was about to buy some 170 M4's untill i saw the M5 was out. Would you guys say stick with the same length in the M5 as you would have with the M4?

    1. Hi John!

      Even though the skis are quite a bit different in terms of their camber/rocker profiles and construction, yes, I would stick with the same length in the M5 as you would in the M4. I could see why someone would think the camber in the new ski would make it ski "longer," but it's lighter and a touch more user-friendly overall, which in my opinion negates any difference from that new cambered design. So, in other words, if you think you're best off on the 170 cm M4 I'd go with the 170 cm M5.

      Hope that helps!


  35. So I see in today's Volkl review that there is a V-Weks Mantra, did you guys get to ski that? I got a pair of Mantra's a couple years ago, (my 3rd pair) in a 191. I would have thought the full rocker would have made this ski just as responsive as a 184. Not so, The Mantra has been one of the most popular skis here in Fernie BC due to its Pow, crud and groomed capabilities. It used to be be the single ski quiver. Many people I ski with either dumped the skis on unsuspecting, less educated and lightened their wallets by a fraction of cost or simply stopped skiing them. Do you feel that the new Mantra goes back to what it was and how does the new V-Werks ski?

    Cheers, it is the day after the summer solstice and thank god winter is coming

  36. Hi,

    Your thoughts on Mantra m5 vs Enforcer 93 in regards to terrain: 1) hard pack groomers, 2) off-piste crud and 3) tree skiing? And also in regards to preferred turn shape (short vs long) or ability to make multiple turn shapes?



    1. Hi Gary!

      Lack of responsiveness was a common complaint on the reverse-camber Mantra. It was a cool ski, stayed very composed through basically whatever terrain you pointed it towards, but it did lack a certain amount of excitement. The new M5 Mantra, in our opinion, is a definitely improvement. I do think it goes back to what the Mantra was before the M4 version, with some improvements as well. It's more of a single ski quiver again, while the M4 felt more like a relatively-narrow freeride ski.

      We have skied the V.Werks Mantra quite a bit, yes. It will be included in our 2019 Ski Test results, which will be published sometime in late July. It's exceptionally responsive, very quick, and impressively stiff. It's also, of course, very lightweight. The combination of being lightweight and fairly stiff gives it a relatively unique feel. If you've skied something that uses this much carbon you might know what it feels like already. It can get deflected in firm, inconsistent snow, but among carbon skis the V.Werks Mantra has decent vibration damping. Would make an exceptional AT ski.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!


      1. Hi Todd!

        Hard Pack Groomers - The lower rise rocker profile of the M5 Mantra gives it the edge on groomers in my opinion. It's a little bit more responsive, holds an edge a little bit better, and overall just has a slightly more rewarding feel on firm snow. The Enforcer 93 is no slouch, but I'd give the edge to the M5 here.

        Off-Piste Crud - I think this is a tie to be completely honest. They have a slightly different feel, but I can't say that one outperforms the other. The M5 tracks a little better with the lower rise rocker, while the Enforcer 93 stays super composed through anything and stays on top of choppy snow nicely thanks to the tip shape. Overall really similar.

        Tree Skiing - I think the Enforcer 93 is a little easier in the trees. It's easier to release the tail edge and get the ski to smear or pivot a turn, which really helps in tight trees. They feel about the same in terms of swing weight. The M5 Mantra is fun in the trees, don't get me wrong, but the Enforcer 93 is a little more user-friendly in tight terrain.

        Both skis will make different turn shapes. It's easier to manipulate carving turns shape on the M5 Mantra thanks to the big sweet spot and the ski's willingness to flex right underfoot. The Enforcer 93, on the other hand, as I mentioned earlier, is easier to release the tail edge. It's easier to make a slarving turn on the Enforcer 93 (a slightly skidded carving turn) and easier to pivot. So, they both can make different turn shapes, but there's some difference there for sure.

        Overall, in my opinion, the biggest differences between these two skis are all driven by the difference in tip shape and overall rocker profile.

        Hope that answers your questions!


  37. What do you recommend: Mantra set-up with Jester 16. Blizzard Bonafide with Jester 16 or Stoekli Stormrider 88 with Vist 412?

    I am a skilled skier, normally skiing 2-3 times a week.

    1. Hi BA!

      Mantra set-up with Jester 16. Blizzard Bonafide with Jester 16 or Stoekli Stormrider 88 with Vist 412?

      Depends what you want. The Mantra would give you the most versatility out of all of those options. More forgiving and more maneuverable in soft snow. The Stormrider 88 would be the best on groomers out of those three, mostly just because it's a bit narrower so quicker edge to edge. They all have similar levels of torsional stiffness, so will all hold an edge well, but the Stormrider would feel more responsive. What type of terrain do you ski? Spend most of your time on groomers, or are you venturing into soft snow and un-groomed terrain often? Do you ski fast and aggressively or do you prefer slower speeds and rounder turns?

      Let me know and I'll see if we can narrow down a recommendation.


    1. Hi Lee!

      That's somewhat difficult to answer as there's definitely some personal preference when it comes to ski length. Some skiers prefer shorter skis than others.

      My best answer would be somewhere around 5'10-6' and 170+ lbs. That said, I'm sure there are some bigger skiers out there who prefer skiing at slower speeds who would prefer the 170 cm over the longer lengths, but the majority of people around that size will want to go with the 177 cm length or longer. That's assuming a relatively advanced ability level, of course.

      Hope that helps!


  38. Hello from Greece,

    Thank you for the great review! Really enlightening. I have a few questions though.
    I'm an aggressive skier, former racer and a bit heavy nowadays 😉 . I'm 5'9'' and a little less than 220lbs.
    I have experience with GS skis and for the last 5 years I use Rossignol Radical 9 SL Slant Nose ti 1,71m, in all conditions. I recently started to move out of the groomed slopes with mixed, conditions(powder, crust, wet snow, ice etc), also grooming in Greece is not so perfect. So I would like some advice from you.

    1) Size? 1,77cm or 1,84cm ?
    2) How do you feel about this binding: MARKER DUKE EPF 16 110MM L ??
    3) Is this ski able to climb with skins(and the above binding) for a short distance ?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Iraklis!

      You're going to love the M5 Mantra! It works really well for skiers like yourself: racing background, but looking to venture into off-piste terrain and softer snow conditions.

      1. I would go 177 cm. The M5 Mantra is a very stable ski. I think you'll be just fine on the 177 cm at your size. Plenty of stability, power, and edge grip, but will be a little more manageable and maneuverable in tricky off-piste terrain.

      2. The Duke is a cool binding, although among touring bindings it's one of the heaviest. Combining that with the fact that the Mantra is relatively heavy too (compared to touring skis) and it might be a bit much. Definitely an option, however.

      3. Definitely can be a touring ski for you, but as I mention above it's not going to be the lightest setup. Still, that's not a problem in my opinion. If you're really just doing quick tours the Duke will work. That said, do you have tech-fit boot? If you do, the new Salomon or Atomic Shift is really impressive and would be a good choice for the Mantra.

      Let me know if you have any other questions! Hope that helps!


      1. Hi "SE" !

        Many many thanks for your answer, I'll definitely go for the 177cm.
        As far as bindings are concerned, I think I'll go for the Duke just for the reason that I want to have the option to hike for a little bit if I have to.

        But although I'm used to race-plates on skis and I know how a race ski reacts on plate rise, I have no idea how the extra rise on the Mantra M5 with the Duke would be. I mean a Jester rises the boot for 22mm and a Duke 36mm. Does this extra rise affects the M5 and how ?

        p.s. Its my first non race ski and I really have no idea about the "physics" around them.

        Really appreciate the time you spent to solve my questions!

        1. Hi again Iraklis!

          So, with the Duke, in my opinion the stand height isn't that big of a deal. What is more interesting is that a frame touring binding like the Duke has an effect on the overall flex pattern of a ski. It won't flex quite as much right underfoot, which is one of the performance benefits of the M5 Mantra. Now, I haven't skied an M5 with a frame binding on it yet, so I can't claim to know for sure what the effect will be on flex pattern, but it will change it a little but undoubtedly. The benefit to a binding like the Shift is there are separate toe and heel pieces, which allows the ski to flex more naturally under your boot. Does that make sense?

          That said, people have been skiing on the Duke for years. I've had it on a couple pairs of skis and it's a great binding, I just want to make sure you understand the potential change in performance that comes with a frame touring binding.


          1. Thank you very much!!

            I fully understand your answers and your concerns. I better then use the Mantra M5 as it is meant to be, with a powerful(~16 DIN) two piece binding and in case I want to go uphill I will put together another set of equipment (since I don't have tech-fit boots). I saw Atomic Shift, seems a good idea but as a told you, in case of uphill I will consider a lighter setup.

            Thank you very much again! You've been a great help 🙂


  39. Hi SE,
    I'm highly considering purchasing the mantra m5 this season. I'm 6 ft 205lb and intermediate to advance skier but not a professional. What size would you recommend and what would be the difference when choosing between the 177 and the 184 size? Thanks


    1. Hi Sean!

      It really comes down to how aggressive you are and how fast you like to ski. The major benefit to the longer 184 cm length would be the increased stability at speed and longer effective edge. So, take some time to think about how you like to ski. Fast and direct? Perhaps go 184 cm. Moderate speeds, prefer making lots of turns over more direct lines, probably 177 cm. Both lengths could definitely work for you, just a matter of whether you want to focus on stability or maneuverability in my opinion.

      184 cm will be just a little bit taller than you, which can feel like a lot for some skiers, so keep that in mind when making your final decision.

      Hope that helps!


  40. I'm ready to replace my pair of RTM 86, 2015, and am debating between 2019 Mantra 5, 2019 RTM 86, and Nordica Enforcer. Any help will be appreciated.

    1. Hi Ralph!

      Are you looking for similar performance to your RTM 86, or are you looking for a little more versatility? If you like the feel of your RTM 86, and are happy with its performance, you'd undoubtedly like the 2019 version.

      Both the Enforcer 100 and M5 Mantra, on the other hand, would give you more versatility for off-piste terrain and softer snow. They're both a little slower edge to edge, but still feel good on firm snow. Both hold an edge well. The Enforcer 100 is a little more freeski-inspired with more rocker and a slightly more playful feel. The M5 Mantra has a longer effective edge, is arguably more responsive on groomers than the Enforcer 100, but you lose a touch of maneuverability and forgiveness in soft snow.

      Let me know what you think, happy to answer other questions.


  41. Hello,

    Thank you for all the information and review of the new Mantra. I'm excited to get a set!

    I'm still undecided on the length and hope you can help a bit. I'm 6'4", 220 and want to use the skis both on and off the groomers. My current skis, 16/17 V.Werks Code UVOs in 177, are great on piste but don't work off piste and are a challenge in afternoon crud and I think they are probably a bit short for me.

    What length do you recommend? I'm inclined toward the 191s. Also, what binding do you recommend? I'm leaning toward the Marker Griffin 13 ID.


    1. Hi Rob!

      Do you consider yourself a fairly advanced, somewhat aggressive skier? If yes, I think that 191 cm length will be a lot of fun for you. That's about an inch shorter than your height, which is a perfectly reasonable length for an advanced skier. That would provide a night-and-day difference in afternoon choppy snow conditions. It would also be better in pretty much any off-piste situation. Tight trees would be the only thing I can think of that would be more challenging on the 191 cm length. So, if you don't consider yourself aggressive, or don't ski fast, you could consider sizing down to 184 cm, but I too am leaning toward the 191 cm length.

      Hope that helps!


  42. I'm 40 years old, weigh 180 lbs and i'm 5'9". I feel like i'm an aggressive skier and like to ski steep non groomed runs. I currently ski the older (pre HD) Soul 7 in 180 but feel it is just too soft. I love the playful nature of the ski but want something with a little more power for those tracked out days on the steeps. I have considered the M5 or the enforcer 100. Would either of these skis be better for me?

  43. Hey Everyone!

    I am trying to decide between 3 skis: The mantra m5 184, enforcer 100 184, and the Bonafide 187. I am a very aggressive skier, and will take this ski everywhere - hard over bumps, fast on flat, ect. . Would love if someone could provide some differentiation between the 3 - I am struggling to decide.



  44. I'm 6'2 208 lbs skiing the Fischer Motive 87 and Liberty Double Helix. Skiing out west Mt Bachelor. I'm in between the M5 or Kore 105 thinking 177, 180 respectfully. Thought on size and which ski? Torn as both look too fit the bill.

    1. Hi Patrick!

      Out of those three skis the Bonafide is the stiffest and most demanding. The Enforcer 100 is probably the most maneuverable and most forgiving, even though it technically uses more metal than the Mantra. The Bonafide in that length really requires a high level skier. If you're super aggressive that might be the way to go, as it will provide the most power and stability. The Enforcer 100 in 185 cm skis significantly shorter than a 187 cm Bonafide. Much longer rocker profile, softer flex, and a little lighter. Way more maneuverable and forgiving, not quite as powerful.

      The M5 Mantra falls somewhere in between in my opinion. That's kind of over-simplifying it, but that's how I think of it. It's a softer overall flex compared to the Bonafide, but really doesn't lack any torsional stiffness, vibration damping, or even stability. It just has a slightly softer flex, especially right under your foot.

      What do you think? Hope that helps!


      1. Hi Bart!

        What are your goals with these new skis? Versatile performance? Do you lean more towards firm snow or soft snow intended use? Of course it's probably a bit of both, but I wonder if you think you'll use them more for a certain application than another.

        The reason I ask is, in my opinion, those two skis are quite a bit different. The Kore 105 is focused on being lightweight and super maneuverable. Easy to flick around, super maneuverable and fun in soft snow. It has pretty long rocker, however, so on firm snow it will have a shorter effective edge than its actual length. The Mantra, on the other hand, is heavier, has better vibration damping, and uses less rocker. Superior firm snow performance, at least for most people, and not quite as maneuverable or playful in soft snow. You also get quite a bit more float out of the Kore 105, so if you think you'll ski them in powder, keep that in mind. I assume your Double Helix is more of a dedicated powder ski for you, but I wanted to mention that.

        Let me know what you think!


    1. Hey Wade!
      Because they are lighter and thinner than the previous Mantra, they perform a bit better in the moguls. As a dedicated bump ski, you surely could do better, and the same is true in powder, but as an all-mountain ski, they perform admirably in the bumps. The lack of the second full-sheet of metal makes them a bit more flexible, so when you shove the tips into the front of the bumps, they won't buck you back as much as a stiffer and wider ski would. In the icy bumps, the addition (or reclamation) of camber underfoot will give you better edge grip in the troughs. At the end of the day, for a mid-90's all mountain ski with metal, they perform pretty darn well in the bumps. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks Ski Essentials. I don't really find myself primarily in bumps. But... I do enjoy a good afternoon of bowls in Fernie, Marmot Basin, Sunshine Village and Panorama. When I am not in the bowls I enjoy time on piste with my wife and young daughters. I was looking for a ski that would do everything. I purchased a pair of M5's that were used a handful of times last year as late season Volkl demos. They came for Head PRD12 bindings for $500. Do I do well?

        1. Hi again Wade,

          Absolutely! You did very well. The M5 is emerging as one of the most versatile all mountain skis out there. Can rip turns on groomers, performs well in powder, and can do just about anything in between. Also, that's a heck of a deal for a 2019 model ski, even used!


          1. I'm 65, 5'9", 200lbs, and have been skiing the 2011 - 2012 Mantra for the last 7 years, and I consider myself an advanced skier. My Mantras have about 170 days on them, and I have loved the skis from the first time I put them on. I have been looking and reading up on the M5, and demoed a pair in Utah on Feb 19, 2019. I liked the ski, but did not really notice much difference between my 7 year old Mantras and the new version. The one thing I noticed was a little more pop on the tail while skiing some bumps. So help me out here, did I miss something, or not?



  45. I'm a 65 yr old, 62 yrs on the mtn skier. A turn geek, so to speak. As a 2nd quiver, I'm looking to an Enforcer 100, Kore 99, Mantra 5 or Atomic 97 TI.
    I have new knees and I'm not as strong as I once was. I'd appreciate your opinion. I'm 5'7" , powerfully built. My other ski is a Atomic Vantage 83 cti in a 168 length.....
    very impressive on last yrs conditions (Vail Valley)...looking for a more width versatility to couple with my narrower carving ski.

  46. Hi,

    I'm 6.1" and approximately 180, i consider myself an advanced intermediate.

    Do you think the 170cm length would be more maneuverable than the 177cm length? I'm more of a crusier type as opposed to hard charger and probably ski 70/30 in favour of piste primarily in Europe.

    How do these M5 compare to the 2019 Volkl 90Eight is there much difference?

    1. Hi Seth!
      The good news is that you'll still get great carving performance from any ski on your list. Additionally, you'll find a lot more similarities than differences between these models. I found that the Kore 99 and the Enforcer 100 ski a lot alike, with great edge grip and a freeride mentality. The Mantra M5 is an awesome blend of an all-mountain carving ski and a narrower powder ski. The camber underfoot takes the ski to a new level, and the turnability of the ski is off the charts. If you love the art of the turn, as you say, the Mantra is a surefire winner. If you're familiar with the Atomics and how they ski, you won't be in for much of a surprise with the 97 Ti. They're stiff and burly, but won't be as quick as your 83. As far as sizing, I'd recommend something close/similar to the 168 that you're currently on. Happy skiing!

      1. Hi Brad!
        The short answer is yes, the 170 is more maneuverable than the 177, but given your height, I wouldn't get a ski that short. On-piste, the Mantra is superior to the 90Eight due to the narrower width and the metal laminates. If you're 70/30 off-piste, the 90Eight would be a better choice, but since you're the other way, I'd recommend the Mantra in a 177. Hope that helps!

  47. HI SE,

    I'm 45, 5'9", 160lbs and a fairly aggressive advance skier. I'm looking for a narrower all mountain/freeride ski to compliment by Black Crows Atris (184) for firm snow days.

    I ski mainly in Val d'Isere and some of the other higher resorts in Europe and i want some that rips on the groomers and blasts through tracked out snow/crud. On the groomers I generally like to make fast GS style turns but i like to be able to vary my turn shape and enjoy hitting the moguls as well as going through the trees from time to time.

    Whilst i'd definitely be riding my Black Crows when the the snow is fresh or soft top to bottom there's plenty of times (in Europe at least) when there's still some soft untracked stuff up top but crusty/cruddy, sometimes refrozen crap lower down and on days like that i usually prefer to be on something a bit burlier.

    I've narrowed my search down to 3 options: Blizzard Brahma, Blizzard Rustler 9 or Volkl Mantra M5 (had considered the J Skis Masterblaster but they are way more expensive than the other two options over here). I skied the older 173 Brahma (16/17) for most of a season and i got on with them well (hence considering them now) but having read reviews for the other two options i'm wondering if something else might be a bit more versatile/manouverable without sacrificing high speed performance and stability too much.

    Basically i'm trying to determine which ski am i going to have most fun on overall. Any help, or other suggestions, would be gratefully received.

    Great in depth reviews by the way!


    1. Hi Michael!

      If I were you I think I'd look towards picking up a M5 Mantra. The Brahma is awesome, as you know, but it lacks a little bit of versatility. It's not the easiest in off-piste terrain, and it sounds like you'll be doing a fair amount of that, even if it's more on the crud-snow side of things as opposed to powder. The Rustler 9, on the other hand, might not have quite the stability from tip to tail you're looking for. It feels solid underfoot, but the tips and tails are lighter, more rockered, etc. The M5 Mantra, even though it's wider, sort of falls between the two in overall performance. Great edge grip, maybe not Brahma-level stability, but really darn close. It also performs more easily in un-groomed terrain, which I think you'll appreciate. It really sounds like it would be a great ski for you. In my opinion the 177 cm would be an appropriate length.

      What do you think?


      1. Hi SE,

        Thank you very much for the advice. My gut was saying Mantra so I'm definitely going to pull the trigger on a set of M5s.

        Re sizing I kind of felt like 177 was the length to go for but I was wondering if the 170s might be worth the trade off in some top end stability and crud busting ability for a bit more manoeuvrability?

        Thanks again


        1. Hi again Michael!

          Just based off your description of being a "fairly aggressive advanced skier" I think you'll prefer having the 177 cm length. I'm really close to your size, about 5'10 and 150 lbs, and I really like the feel of the 177 cm.

          Hope that helps!


          1. Hi SE,

            Yes that's very helpful indeed. I've taken your advice and i've ordered a pair of 177s.

            Can't wait to get my hands on them!

            Thanks again for your help.


  48. Hi,
    I'm 5'7" 175lbs and looking to pick up a pair of Mantras. Do you have a length suggestion? I'm struggling to decide whether to go 170 or 177cm. I ski the east coast. My skill level is somewhere between intermediate to advanced.

    1. Hi Shaun!
      I'd recommend the 177. You'll get some extra stability, and they're maneuverable enough to handle some tight eastern skiing. Have fun!


  49. Hi, Jeff.

    Thanks for all your really informative videos. I've learned quite a bit. I thought I wanted a Kendo, but your Review of the best of 2019 and Enforcer 100 had me convinced on that ski. Now that I've seen your review of the new Mantra, I'm up in the air again.

    I'm an intermediate skier, mostly in PNW - Mammoth and Tahoe. I really enjoy hard blues, and I can hang with wide black diamonds but I'm still learning to ski moguls, so I need a ski that will help me survive when i end up on a slope full of them. I need the confidence of a stable ski I can crank over when I need to turn quickly and I really want something fun. I will probably never ski in the steeps - in late 50's and there isn't enough time left to get that accomplished. 😉

    6 feet, 215 pounds.

    What do you suggest?

    Thanks again!


    1. Hi Art!

      Both skis are great, that's for sure. In my opinion, however, I think you're going to benefit from the softer tips and tails of the Enforcer, or softer flex overall rather, compared to the M5 Mantra. That's going to help you in moguls, and there's really no way you're going to push the Enforcer past its limits in terms of edge grip, stability on groomers, etc. It's a more forgiving ski in off-piste, un-groomed terrain, which I think will help you in terrain like that. It's also an easier ski for quick turns, especially quick, pivoting, smearing turns. Enforcer feels like the way to go, and as a benefit it's an absolute blast for Mammoth and Tahoe. Works really well for the variety of terrain you have out there and your typical snow conditions.

      Hope that helps!


  50. Jeff,

    I really enjoy watching your videos, very knowledgeable on the subject matter. I am 5'8" 190 pounds and currently ski the Shreditor 102 172cm. Im looking to transition to the M5. I need some advice on deciding between the 177s or the 184s. I am leaning towards the 184s for carving maneuverability and powder days. What are your thoughts.

    1. Hi Chandler!

      184 cm feels like a big jump in length from your 172 cm Shreditor 102. The M5 Mantra is already a much more stable ski than the Shreditor, and has significantly better edge grip. I wouldn't think you would need the increased edge grip of the 184 cm. The 177 cm rips. I'm 5'10" and about 160 lbs and I really enjoy skiing that length in the M5. I still think you'll get enough float out of the 177 cm too. Really the only reason to go to the 184 cm is if you're an exceptionally aggressive skier that skis really, really fast.

      Hope that helps!


  51. Hello. I have been skiing on 177cm 2011 Mantras for quite a few years and am planning to replace them with a new pair of M5s. I am a 58 year old advanced/expert skier, 5'11" and 180 lbs. I mostly ski Tahoe resorts and usually about 70/30 on/off-piste. I've often wondered whether a slightly longer Mantra would have been a better ski for me. The 2011 177cms turn fine on the groomers but seem to be a tiny bite unstable at high speed, and also tend to sink a bit in the crud. With the new M5s, should I size up to 184cm or should I stick with 177cm? Thanks.

    1. Hi Graham!

      Yeah, if you were feeling a little unstable or felt like the ski was lacking a little float, you could definitely size up to the 184 cm. That's not an unreasonable length for you size by any means. In general, we've been recommending skiers stick with the size that they felt was right in the previous version of the Mantra, but it sounds like your 177 cm felt a bit short at times.

      Hope that helps!


  52. I just did a visual comparison between my old 177 2011 Mantras and the 177 M5s. My old Mantras have a traditional camber w/ no rocker, and a pretty long "effective edge". The M5s are rocker/camber/rocker, with a much shorter effective edge. More reason while it should be OK to size up, (I hope). Thanks SE!

  53. Your review convinced me to buy the M5! However, I am torn between the 177 or 184. I am 6'3" and weight 185 pounds. I am an advanced skier that speeds on groomers, but deals with a lot of bumps off piste.I think the 177 is the safer choice, but wondering if you think its worth sizing up to 184. What do you recommend?

    1. Hi Ryan!

      On one hand, the 177 cm would be more maneuverable in moguls, trees, etc. On the other hand, the 184 cm is more stable at speeds. Which do you value more? It sounds like maneuverability in the bumps is more of a concern for you, if that's true I would go with the 177 cm length. The M5 is already a very stable ski at speed, so you're not losing much stability dropping down in length like that, but you will pick up some forgiveness and maneuverability in bumps.

      Hope that helps!


  54. Hi, great reviews. How is the M5 at low speed? Does it need to be skied 'aggressively' all time? I am 5.8", 172 lbs advanced intermediate and was considering the 177cm. Like to ski 50/50 on-off piste and looking at a one ski quiver (as much as possible of course).
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Franco!

      It loves to be skied fast, that's for sure, but it's also relatively forgiving at slower speeds considering its level of performance. The Titanal Frame construction is less demanding than skis with two full sheets of metal, and it's easier to manipulate turn shape with less skier input. As long as you have reasonably accomplished technique, you should be fine.

      Hope that helps!


  55. Hey SE,

    What to do, what to do.. I am 5'9 155lbs, ski over 100 days a year, and teach and work at a western resort. Expert skier who likes to ski big rowdy lines and throw down off of 30 footers. I own the Rustler 10 and 11 in a 188, and i used to own the mantra 1 in a 177 and mantra 2 in the 191 (most stable ski ive ever hucked with until the bindings blew out off of a routine 20 footer) Mantra 1 in 177 was my daily driver - loved that ski ..

    I'm excited that they brought back the camber, and would like to jump on a pair, but my question is should i try the 184, or stick with the 177 which i loved. because of the early rise, i imagine the 177 skis shorter? I would be using this as a daily driver, through tight trees, chutes, bumps etc..

    any insight would be appreciated.

  56. Hey guys!
    Thanks for a great review. Just wondering if any of you have skied the Stockli SR95 (2017 or 2018/19 models), and if so, how this compares?
    I've skied the 2017 SR95 and loved it as a powerful, do-anything ski and was curious as to how the new Mantra compared as it's gotten (on paper) more similar to the SR95 in shape (96 waist and camber underfoot)

    1. Hi Ty!

      I'll preface this by saying that I'm just about your size exactly, and it sounds like we have relatively similar skiing styles too. If I were you, and in terms of size I pretty much am you, I would go with the 177 cm length.

      I've skied both the 177 and 184 and I never felt like the 177 cm was lacking in edge grip or stability when skiing aggressively. It does use some early rise, but it's relatively low rise, so maintains good edge contact. It's not like the Rustler 10 or 11 where the rocker really rises quite abruptly off the snow. With the M5, you really don't need to worry about it skiing short. So, I would go 177 cm if I were you. You already have longer, wider skis, so float really shouldn't be a concern, and I don't expect you'll find the 177 cm to be unstable. On the other hand, you'll benefit from the increased maneuverability.

      Hope that helps!


      1. Hi Rawi!

        I have skied the SR 95! Great ski, and yes, very similar to the M5 Mantra. In my opinion the M5 has a bigger sweet spot and is a slightly more forgiving ski, while still having the ability to absolutely rip. Overall, however, they're very similar. Powerful, damp, versatile.


  57. I am a patroller in the east and considering the mantra 5. How do you think it will perform running a tobaggon at high speed. Will it allow quick turns and will it hold an edge on hard pack (we don't have ice! lol) thanks

    1. Hi Steve!

      Should work really well for patrolling. It's a stable ski that has good edge grip (relatively long edge contact). On the other hand, it also has a big sweet spot, which I think would help when skiing with a toboggan. I personally don't have any experience with it, but in my opinion the M5 Mantra should work really well. Flat tail too, I know patrollers like having that for self-belaying, etc.

      Hope that helps!


  58. I've narrowed my list to the Enforcer 100, Mantra M5, and QST 99. I live in the PNW skiing the cascades so snow can be a bit heavy and choppy at times. I am an advanced to expert skier and prefer moguls, off-piste, trees but will blast down groomers on hard snow days. I've been skiing a pair of Rossignol phantom 80s 175 for a number of years. 6 ft 165. Which would be most ideal in your opinion? Pros and cons?

  59. Thanks for the review! I'm 48 years old, 5'10, 160 lbs. I'm between the 170 and the 177. I've been skiing all my life but only get to ski around 10-15 days per year. I probably do 50/50 on vs off piste and enjoy skiing in all conditions. I like to go fast and carve turns in the groomers but also enjoy the back bowls. I do love to ski bumps and that's why I'm considering the 170's. I feel the shorter length will make them easier to ski down the bumps but i don't want to sacrifice too much on the rest of the mountain. I appreciate any feedback you can provide.

  60. I'm 5'10" and 210 Lbs. I'm something like an advanced skier, I avoid mogles and trees but everything else goes.

    I demoed the Mantra M5 184 today at Cannon Mtn and will be trying out the 177 tomorrow. The 184 for me was a lot of fun, very stable on edge and fast but I think just a tad too long. I'm hoping though that the 177 will maintain that stability but be a little more dynamic in terms of turns.

    This ski might be the one quiver option for me both here in the East and on planned trips to the French Alps later this year or out west in future years.

    1. Hi Matt!

      In a sense, you can actually align the skis you're looking at from most on-piste to most off-piste oriented. In my opinion, The M5 is the most on-piste oriented, and the QST 99 is the most off-piste oriented, with the Enforcer 100 somewhere in between.

      Since you describe your skiing as doing a little bit of everything, the Enforcer 100 feels like a good choice. QST 99 could definitely work too, but I don't think the M5 has the soft snow performance you're looking for. Between the Enforcer and the QST, the QST feels lighter and quicker, while the Enforcer feels smoother and has better vibration damping. If you're really charging groomers, you'd probably appreciate having the Enforcer feel, but if you prefer lighter, quicker skis go with the QST.

      Hope that helps!

      Let us know if you have any other questions.


      1. Hi Ricardo!

        When skiing moguls, how fast do you ski? Do you find yourself maneuvering your skis from side to side at moderate speeds, or are you taking more direct lines and using your knees and the moguls themselves to slow yourself down? If you're more of the pivoting, smearing style, you'd probably prefer the 170 cm length, and I don't think you're going to lose too much stability. A shorter length in the M5 will definitely help in ungroomed terrain as the ski doesn't use a drastic amount of rocker in either the tip or tail.

        Hope that helps!


      2. Hi Ski Essentials,
        I am 6'0" , 47 years old and 185 pounds. advanced/expert skier. currently on Volk Mantra 2012/13 184cm
        I am really keen on the new Mantra M5 but not sure which size. stick with 184cm or downsize to 177cm...

        I generally ski off piste and pretty aggressively. I like the occasional bump and love the powder.
        i do a mix of big and small turns. Where I ski I also have to put up with a fair amount of crud and ice unfortunately...

        From your previous answers, it sounds like 184cm has more stability and 177cm would be more manoeuvrable..
        But is there more to my decision than this to consider..?
        I would greatly appreciate your advice please.
        Can you recommend 177 or 184cm for me..?

        1. Hi Adam!
          I think if you're comfortable on your current size Mantra, then there's really no reason to change. Unless you're looking for a different experience than what you currently have, the 184 fits your size and stats and desired application. Hope that helps!

  61. Matt, just skied my new Mantra M5's this past week at Jackson Hole and I have to say they were AMAZING! Did everything so well that I loved about my old Mantras, but in addition they felt much easier to turn. I loved them! Here's a quick question though...... our group was mid-mountain and we were looking at the lengths. If you compare my new Mantra M5's in 177 length, to my old Mantras (177), to my buddy's even older Mantras (177), and another buddy's Bonafides (180)..... these new Mantra M5's seem to tower over the others in length. Can you explain the difference in length? Thanks

  62. Has anyone at SkiEssentials skied the M5 in the 191? I'm 6' 3", 230 lbs and am a strong, hard charging, fast skier. I spend most of my time at Vail, all over the mountain (trees, bumps, groomed, whatever). I had a pair of M2 Mantra's in a 177, but I was really experimenting with going shorter back then (as was the rage several years ago). They always seemed way too short. For reference, my fave skis before that were a Stockli Stormrider AR in 185 and a Volkl P40 F1 in 197 (yes, I'm that old) I demoed a Bonafide last year in a 180 (the longest I could get my hands on). Like them, but wanted the 186. Now its time to buy. So, its either the Bonafide in 186, or the M5 in a 184 or 191. Is 191 just crazy big?

    1. Hi Gene!

      That's really interesting, and to be honest it's not something we've noticed until you pointed it out. That said, we're also not totally surprised. There's some variety in how manufacturers measure their length. You can either take a straight line from the tip to the tail, or you can measure the actual length of the edge, including where it curved into the tip of the ski. In this scenario, it would appear Blizzard is measuring the running length of the edge, while Volkl is actually taking a tape measure in a straight line from tip to tail.

      Overall, however, we've learned over the years that there's not really any industry standard to how to measure length.


      1. Hi Bob!

        So, I just ran this scenario by one of my coworkers who is 6'5" 225. If he had a choice between 184 and 191, he would go with the 184 cm M5 Mantra. 191 cm is just a lot of ski, especially in tighter terrain like the trees. I would venture a guess that the 184 cm would be plenty of ski for you and would be that much more maneuverable, forgiving, etc. Did the 180 cm Bonafide feel noticeably unstable? Or were you just thinking you'd prefer the longer length? As pointed out by Gene, the 177 cm M5 is actually longer than a 180 cm Bonafide, so even more evidence that a 184 cm M5 would probably be enough ski for you.

        Hope that helps!


  63. I'm considering switching from the RTM 84 to the Mantra. I'm 5'8" 175, and skiing for almost 5 decades. i ski mostly in Oregon at Bachelor. Its not a steep mountain, but on a given day I could have a run with ice chickenheads, deep powder, some sweet trees, and groomies. i ski pretty aggressively but less so than in my 20's. What would be the advantage of going to the Mantra?

  64. Hi SE!

    I'm in something of a pickle here. Ex ski racer, 5'10, 155#, out in Colorado with a OSQ of 2008 170cm Fischer WorldCup RCs, and I'm mostly skiing Copper and The Jane.

    It's time for a replacement.

    I put in an order for 170cm Mantra M5s but they might be out of stock at the good price. I have the option of moving up to 177cm on the Mantras, potentially getting a cosmetic second @ 170 or switching models. I was thinking Enforcer 100s @ 177 or possibly the Bonafides @ 180 (only size available, seems long and I have a memory of demoing the Brahmas @ Mt Bachelor a few years back and HATING them for feeling unwieldy)

    So my question is, should I go with the cosmetic seconds @ 170? size up? or switch models? and if so, am I missing any contenders? Solomons aren't available, and seem a little powder focused.

    1. Hi Sam!

      You really just get way more versatility out of the M5 Mantra compared to the RTM. You get a lot more width underfoot, and a little more rocker in the M5 Mantra too. Realistically the RTM is more focused on being a carving ski than anything else, while the M5 is a true all mountain ski. Considering where you live and ski, the M5 feels like a much more appropriate ski if you're skiing the whole mountain. Handles variable conditions much better too.

      Hope that helps!


      1. Hi Gage!

        I'm about your size exactly and I find the 177 cm M5 Mantra to be the right length for me. So, I don't think that's an unreasonable choice by any means. If you're still thinking 170 cm, however, we do have it in stock...

        Considering your racing background I do think you'd like the Mantra a lot. The Enforcer is a little softer flexing and has more freeride/freeski influence in its design. The M5 is really responsive, which I think you would appreciate. The Bonafide rips, but is less forgiving than the M5, especially for lighter weight skiers like us. Fischer Ranger 98 Ti comes to mind too, that's another ski that definitely fits in this category.

        All that said, I'd feel pretty confident getting a 177 cm M5 if I were you.


  65. Have been a long time skier and lover of the Mantra. I am looking at the new M5 Mantra. What binding width do i need to get with this new ski?

    1. Hi Joe!

      Most bindings have a 100 mm brake width option that will fit really well around the M5 Mantra. The 95 mm brake in the Tyrolia Attack 13 works too, that brake runs a little bit.


  66. Hi SE

    I'm debating the 2019 M5 Mantras and Kendos. I'm 6' 170lb and consider myself a pretty aggressive skier, also enjoy off piste if there's enough snow.

    From reading the reviews it seems like I'd be happy with either ski, but do you have anything I should consider as a tipping point between the two to make my decision or recommendation?


    1. Hi Joe!

      Considering you're spending some time off-piste and because the M5 Mantra uses a newer construction technique than the Kendo, I'd go with the M5. It's a fantastic ski both on and off-piste. I think you'll find it is an absolute pleasure to ski. Rips when you want it to, but is a touch more forgiving than the Kendo and also more versatile. Such a great ski. For length, you should be just fine on a 177 cm. It's a "long" 177 cm (a 177 cm M5 has a longer measured length than a 180 cm Bonafide, something I recently noticed).

      Hope that helps!


  67. Hi Chris/SE,

    Sorry to jump in, but as another Blackeye 174 rider who has just tested out the Mantras I thought you might appreciate some thoughts.

    Personally I haven't had an issue with edge hold with them, but agree on turning at low speed. I am looking for something wider to cope with chop and off-piste skiing more comfortably.

    Granted the conditions were pretty tough, a huge amount of recent snow and very mixed visibility, but I found the Mantras to definitely be more stable and have really strong edge hold, however I found them pretty hard work, took much more effort than the Atomics to initiate a turn.

    I switched onto the Rustler 10's from last year and had an absolute blast, miles better stability and ability to deal with chop/soft than my Atomics, and I didn't feel like it was a huge drop-off from the Mantra's performance.

    I've commented on the Rustler 9 article with some questions I have about 9 vs 10, but if you can see yourself skiing something 102 on a regular basis I'd definitely recommend giving them a look.



  68. I'm a pretty big skier (6'4" 230 lb) and ski out West most of the time. I like to ski pretty fast/aggressively. I need an all mountain ski that allows me to ski blue cruisers with my wife, chase my kids through the trees and bumps, and hopefully get some time off piste off the back side on guys trips. I am looking at Mantra M5, but also considering Rossi Experience 94, Blizzard Russler 10, and Head Kore 99. Any thoughts?

    1. Hi again Chris!

      The Rustler 9 has a ton of pop actually! It loves to jump and play around the whole mountain. In the park, the Rustler 9 is definitely more appropriate than the M5 Mantra. Sounds like it would be a good ski for you. Playful and fun, can be skied at slower speeds, but you can also lay into it and generate some pretty darn powerful carving turns.


        1. Hi Rob!

          The Kore 99 actually feels like a really good choice. You're a big guy, so you need a pretty stable ski that's not too soft flexing. On the other hand, you ski a lot of different terrain, so you need a shape that will work accordingly. The Kore 99 is pretty darn stiff, so will support your size nicely. It also uses quite a lot of rocker and early taper, which makes it super fun in the trees and in just about any off-piste, soft snow situation. For length, I'd probably go with the longest, the 189 cm.

          Let us know what you think!


  69. Hi SE,

    Have you had any experience playing with the mount point on the M5's? I see there are +1 and +2 mount mark and was wondering how sensitive the ski is to a change in mount point. Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated.


    1. Hi MIke!

      Unless you know something about the ski and your skiing and what you like, we always recommend the factory line. Moving forward makes the ski a lot turnier, so take that for what it is. With a ski this precise, moving the mount point will make a difference for sure! Happy skiing!

  70. Hi guys,
    With the huge storm coming this weekend my buddies and I are pumped to hit our local mountain (Whaleback, just down the highway from you all). I'm 6"4, 204lb, intermediate skier (just started over 2 years ago learning with my 6 year old - we ski 3 days a week). I go down blues without trouble, straightforward blacks and enjoy reasonable speed with quick turns. I'm looking at upgrading my gear to an all mountain ski and was going to demo the Mantras or Enforcer 93 in the powder this weekend. Are these good options or would you recommend something else? Thanks for any advice!

    1. Hi Paul!

      Yeah! Should be a great weekend!

      I'd start with the Enforcer 93. That ski is a little easier and arguably performs better in soft snow, which we're going to have a lot of, especially Sunday. The Mantra is great, but it's a little stiffer and uses less rocker, so it's a little more demanding and less forgiving in un-groomed terrain. If after skiing the Enforcer, you find yourself wishing for a stiffer ski, definitely try out the M5. I'm guessing, however, that you'll prefer the Enforcer 93 based on your description of your skiing.

      Have fun!


      1. Which ski will be the best in tight trees and moguls: the new Mantra, Enforcer 93, or Rustler 9? I'm looking for a ski that can make tight turns but is also playful and lively. I'll only be using it on non powder days. Also I'm a 5'10, 180 pounds, advanced skier that skis softer snow out west. Thanks

        1. Hi Paul!
          I'd go with the Rustler. The lack of metal all they way to the tips and tails make it more maneuverable and flexible, especially in tight moguls and trees. If you go with the 180, it has a 94 mm waist width which is right in the middle of the other skis on your list. Have fun!

  71. Im looking to complete my quiver a bit. Im all set regarding pow-days with my original 2012 Bibby Pro 190. I have actually used them for everything since I bought them, even rock hard local ski hills in Sweden where the amount of pow is totally non existing. But now Im getting a bit tired of the sideways chatter from a 118mm waist on hard groomers, when pressured. I also do one tour or so each winter. Its not enough for a dedicated touring ski but I would prefer not logging the really heavy Bibbys around. My choice now is more or less the Kore 93 or M5s. Im 6ft2 and 170lbs so Im guessing 189 Kores or 184 Mantras is what Im looking for? I have always been a sucker for Katanas, I had the original in 183 and the 2009s in 190. The problem with them is that they kind of swallow a swedish ski hill in two turns and you wouldnt even notice running over a medium sized family.

    The ski Im looking for should be able to handle going mach 3 down a 1000 vertical meter groomer in the alps and also tour decently. I realize that the Mantra would be better at the first and the Kore 93 will be better at the latter. But where do they meet so to say? How much M5 stability do I have to sacrifice compared to the gain in tourability with the Kore? An important side note is that a lot of my skiing will be in Sweden and we have short hills and the offpist is mostly tight trees, where I have a tendency to sometimes end up a little in the backseat. The bibbys are extremely forgiving here and if there is a big difference between the two skis in this regard that might be the deciding point. To be able to thunder to chop and crud Katana/Mantra style is of course something that I perticularly look forward to 😉

    1. Hi Rikard!

      From everything you've said, I think the M5 Mantra makes more sense than the Kore 93. You correctly identified their strengths and weaknesses in the start of your second paragraph, and I just think you'd be giving up too much stability at speed if you went with the Kore 93. The M5 also feels like the better compliment to your Bibbys. You already have a maneuverable, soft snow ski, so you don't necessarily need another maneuverable, soft snow ski that just happens to be much narrower, does that make sense?

      I say go with the M5 so you have that stable ski that can just fly through crud and chopped up snow. You'll still be able to tour on it without feeling like it's way too heavy, and it still can handle some tight terrain now and then, but again, you already have that Bibby.

      For length, yeah, you're spot on with the 184 cm.

      Hope that helps! Have fun!


  72. Hi,

    I am a intermediate/advanced skier - mainly on runs than in powder and have been skiing for over 30 years, but mainly now skiing with my increasingly quicker 10 & 11 yr olds. I am looking for an all round ski that it is mainly a good carver, but can do some powder when it is available. I am looking at the Volkl M5 Mantra vs the Nordica Enforcer 93. I am 250lbs and 6ft. Still a reasonably aggressive skier..... Will be skiing in California/Utah as well as the French/Swiss Alps.

    Can you give me some guidance and if there are any other skis I should look at?



    1. Hi Ed!
      Both are great choices and it's hard to go wrong. I'd give the on-piste advantage to the Mantra, but not by much. Also check out the Rossignol Experience 94 Ti. It's another rugged and durable ski that will allow you to keep up with your kids. Hope that helps!

  73. Hey SE, I am looking to buy a pair of Mantra's but i'm hesitant as to what length I should get. I am 6'2", 83kg and want to use these skis primarily on groomed snow for good carving on the slopes but also for a bit of off-piste as I live in Quebec and so don't have much backcountry to ski in. Should I go with the 177 or the 184? Also, I currently ski on a Rossignol Experience 83 length 176 (I plan on keeping them) so what would be the main difference due to size if I go with the 184?

    Thanks in advance,


    1. Hi Guillaume!
      I'd go with the 184. I think you have the size to handle it in the woods as well as on the groomers. You'll get a lot more stability at speed, and if you went with the shorter length, you might feel like you're going over the handlebars. Have fun!

  74. Hi SE,
    So I am a teenager about done growing at around 6 feet, 14- pounds. I know that the Mantra M5 and the Enforcer 93 are at the top of the list in terms of all mountain skiing, but I am not sure which one to buy. I certainly am an aggressive skier, and I do like the firm groomers as well as the soft stuff. Could I have an input of whether I should get the Mantra or the Enforcer? Thanks!


  75. Hey,

    I'm 5'8", weight is between 165lbs and 175lbs. Mostly ride East Coast groomers with a little powder when we get it or going through the trees. I'm a moderate-aggressive skier that likes speed and am advanced but not quite expert skill level. Definitely want to be able to turn, carve and have control, so appreciate the playfulness on a set. I've been riding 2010 163cm Line Chronic Kryptonites for a while now, but have always found them a little short and am looking to upgrade. Just got them because I got a killer deal.

    Do you think the M5's would be a good fit at the 170 or 177 length? Or, do you have any recommendations on other sets that might be better for me? Thank you!

    1. Hi Ian!
      The Mantra is a pretty sweet ski for carving and edge control--the titanal frame really delivers precise performance to the edges. As far as playfulness, you'll have to sacrifice a little of that, but not much. I thought the slower speed performance was actually a strong suit of the Mantra, whereas that's not always the case for a high-performance ski. I think you'll get better playful performance out of the 170 while still retaining the strong edge grip and precision that it sounds like you want. Check out the Blizzard Rustler 9 and the Rossignol Experience 94 for comparison. Have fun!

  76. Hi SE,

    I'm 5'6" (169 cm), 185 lbs and ski in Quebec and NE (Mainly in Tremblant but also Le Massif and Jay Peak)
    I'm an advance skier and love to push my short (162cm) Rossignol Hero Elite ST Ti on the groomed track in the morning.

    I'm looking for a second pair of skis for the choppy snow conditions, for when I ski with my teens off-piste or in trees or for the somewhat rare powder days.

    I tried a pair of Soul 7 this weekend and liked them in the trees and bumps but really not sure if these skis are for me as they are not at their best when you need to take a groomed track to go to the mountain base.

    I really liked your review of the M5 and I'm considering getting them. Would you recommend 170 or 177 cm?
    Any other recommendation that could be better than the M5 Mantra?



  77. Hey SE,
    I'm looking for an all mountain ski for everything from beginner slopes to double blacks. I enjoy being aggressive on piste and off. I'm a college student living next to the slopes so I'll be on the mountain a ton. I'm 6'4 and 200lbs. I've been looking at the Volkl Mantra M5's and the Nordica Enforcer 100's which I'm between and I was also wondering if yall had any other recommendations. I'm also between lengths wondering if I should go with around 180 for playfulness in the trees and on the slopes or stick with the 190s because of my size and powder stability? I skied Rossignol E88s last season but found I continually were pushing them past their limit so I'm looking for something I can be aggressive on. Thank you for your assistance in advance.

    1. Hi Cedric!

      In the M5 Mantra, I'd go with the 170 cm length. It's not really the type of ski where you need to size up. It doesn't use exceptionally long rocker, and has a really stable feel overall. Much different than the Soul 7. I'd also take a look at the Nordica Enforcer 100 if you haven't already. Similar in terms of versatility, but it's a little more forgiving and more maneuverable than the M5. Not quite as precise, kind of like blending the M5 with the Soul 7 in terms of overall performance.

      Hope that helps!


      1. Hi Gavin!
        The Mantra has more of an on-piste personality while the Enforcer is a bit happier all over the mountain. The Mantra has tremendous precision and edge grip while the Enforcer is more versatile. If you're looking for a more adventurous ski, the Enforcer is the way to go. I'd recommend the 185 for a bit more maneuverability--they'll still be quite stable at speed. Have fun!

  78. Hi - I read your mantra M5 review with great interest/ Appreciate the detail - Tks!. I ski mostly Vail and Beaver Creek. Love to ski the back bowl but BC's lay out and long runs w/consistent pitch is great for getting a lot of vertical in a shorter amt of time. My everyday skis are 2011 Mantras 177 and I love them. I'm 6'0" 190 lbs but find that on days w/3"+ of fresh, they don't float well and prone to nose diving. (at least for me). I don't ski groomers much other than to get around the mtn. My powder skis are Atomic Automatic 117s and live for thosepower days of 6"+ . But I want a ski that nca ski well in bumps, plow thru curd chppse dup snow (Myy 11 mantra really come inot their own in those conditions) and handle pow up to 6in even as I ski owvevr what was bumped out terrain. I do some tree skiing but only when there is is fresh. Its time fo rme to replace my 11' mantras (hariline crakced in sidewall and a major crack that I repaied a few yrs ago) and I've demo's some skis recently . I tried the Enforcer 100s and thought they wre OK but in fairness it was a very hard pack day at A Basin. Today I demo'd Bonafides in 180 and Kastle FX95 in 181. Conditions were somewhat hard (at least by Colorado standards -last snow was 3-4 days ago). Hated the Bonafies in the bumps - for me they were liek skiing 2x4 planks. ON groomers, they were pretty awesome, super stable at speed. Loved the Kastle FX95 (these skied wellin varerity of consditions and turn initiationin th ebumps was light andsuper easy compared to the Bonafides) but that is a pricey ski. SO was wondering if any of your team has skied the Kastle FX95 and how you guys would describe the comparison between the Mantra M5s. If we get an few inches tonight per forecast, I wil try out the Mantra M5s. ANything else you would recommend trying based on the above? Tks vm.

    1. Hi Harry!

      I consider the performance of the M5 Mantra somewhere in between the Bonafide and FX 95 HP. It doesn't feel as maneuverable or as capable in un-groomed snow as the FX 95 HP. The shape of that ski and the relatively light swing weight give it a very maneuverable feel, especially considering the power it achieves on groomers. The M5 Mantra is definitely easier in the bumps than the Bonafide. It's softer flexing overall, and the shape gives it a little easier smearing/slarving/pivoting performance compared to the Bones. You should definitely get on it if you can. Maybe try the Enforcer 100 again too, especially if it's a softer snow day. I'd throw the QST 99 in there too, if you have a chance to get on that ski. Maneuverability more than matches the FX 95 HP, and its stability and power is relatively surprising considering that off-piste performance.

      Hope that helps!


  79. Hey all, appreciate the great site and reviews. So I am an advanced skier, who has not bought new skiis in > 10 years and had my first day out on hill last week in some fun stuff. 6'2 about 250 is where I am currently. I love to ski all over hill and if there is fresh definitely love to get off groomers. I like to mix it up, and do enjoy going fast on groomers but am not what I would consider fast charging and taking big risks anymore. I tend to lean more to shorter turns etc., but do love to let them run sometimes on groomers and do big carves etc. More controlled in variable conditions off groomers is more my style.

    So I demoed the Mantra 5 184's first day on the hill the other day (blessed with powder) and had a blast. Super fun on groomers laying them out, and letting them run, seemed excellent in powered and good in variable. Towards end of day, in some variable (e.g., powder, crud, chopped up, with bumps here and there [poor visibility] and in general I was wishing I could get them around a little quicker at times, and had some mild out of control moments. Nothing too outlandish and mighta been more my jello-legs and out of ski fitness / form.

    My question is really would the 177 maybe be a better fit for me, or do you think that is too short given my size?

    Hope you can give an educated guess and help me out!

    thanks for what you do. These skis really have me excited again!!!!!!


    1. Hi Brian K!
      For your size, I'd recommend the 184. If it's your first day out on the hill, I suspect your legs would be tired even on the 177, especially with fresh snow. My guess is that you'd find the 177 to be a bit short after a few days. Also keep in mind that the demo bindings are heavier than regular bindings! Have fun!


  80. Hi there!
    I'm 53 years old, advanced intermediate (super solid on piste, gaining skills off-piste), 5'10" 160 lbs, grew up skiing in the PNW, recently moved back (to Bachelor) after 30 years (!) in the midwest, looking for my 1st all-mountain ski, torn between a 173 cm Bonafide and 177cm Mantra. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Paul!
      Both are great choices. I've always felt like the Bonafide had more of a "woody" feel while the Mantra was a bit more "metallic." I personally prefer the Bonafide--it's wider and more in tune with PNW type snow, I believe. If you're spending more time on-trail at high speeds, the Mantra will be a better fit, but I'd recommend the Blizzard. Have fun!

  81. Thanks for the great videos and advice! I'm 6ft, 175lbs, like to ski everything on the mountain and off when the snow is good. Trying to decide between the Head Kore 99 and the M5 Mantra - any advice to help me decide? And recommendations on length?

    Many thanks


    1. Hi Tim!

      Between the two, the M5 Mantra is a little more precise on firm snow, while the Kore 99 performs a little better in soft snow conditions. So, it's kind of a matter of which performance you want to focus on more. Can the M5 ski soft snow? Absolutely. Can the Kore 99 rip some groomers? Yes, so you're not giving up a ton of performance in either direction, but that's where the biggest difference is. More rocker and early taper in the Kore 99 makes it a little easier to maneuver in soft snow. I'd say right around 180 cm should be a good length for you. In the M5 you'd have to decide between 177 and 184 cm, but I think a Kore 99 in 180 cm makes sense. Between 177 and 184 cm it should come down to how aggressive you are and how fast you like to ski, but keep in mind 184 cm will be harder to maneuver, especially in tight terrain.

      Hope that helps!


  82. Torn between Mantra M5 and Enforcer 93. I really want it all. Really like race like carving in firm snow, but also want to plow through jacked up snow and swoosh through some knee high powder. I noticed in all your other answers comparing these two skis, the gist is that Mantra is more on-piste oriented and Enforcer is more all-round (though you're talking about the 100mm, but I'm thinking the 93 is actually more in the M5's category than the 100). I'm wondering if you could quantify that a bit. Just how much edge grip on firm snow am I losing by going with Enforcer 93? Like if Mantra is a 10, what is Enforcer? Likewise, when you talk about soft snow performance, M5 has 3mm more width, but Enforcer has the bigger rocker. Which would float better and how would you quantify the difference? I'm assuming, both plow crud about the same being they're both pretty heavy, metal skis?

    1. Hey Dan!

      Edge grip? If the Mantra is a 10, I would say the Enforcer 93 is an 8. It still holds an edge really well, it just doesn't feel quite as precise on firm snow. The M5 Mantra also lets you drive the tip more, the Enforcer responds well to lateral turn initiation. So, kind of depends how hard you ski. A skier with a race background could, in theory, push the Enforcer 93 past its limits, but it would take a lot.

      Soft snow? The Enforcer's benefits don't just come from the rocker, but also the smooth early taper. Even though the M5 is wider, I think the Enforcer 93 performs better in soft snow. It is, at least, more maneuverable. It all comes down to how easy it is to release the edge. The Enforcer 93 never feels catchy, it's super smooth in soft snow in the way it can pivot and smear. The M5 requires a little more skier input, it's not quite as forgiving or as easy in soft snow. Both plow through crud really well, hard to pick a winner there.

      Does that help? I hope so.


  83. Hey y'all,

    Thanks for the detail in your reviews - super helpful! So I'm stuck between the Enforcer 93 and the Mantra... I'm a very aggressive skier, 23 y/o, 5'8 and 140lbs, and I spend my time in the trees, on moguls, or hiking up into backcountry areas, with the occasional race down the groomers. Right now this will be my only ski, but I will be adding something for powder at the end of this season. I ski primarily in Colorado so we see some pretty decent snow sometimes, but I still want to be able to play around in the crud and skied off resort runs when necessary. I've only been able to demo the Enforcer in the 169 length and LOVED it but was a bit disappointed by its performance in the bumps... little stiff for me for a full mogul day. Thought about the Santa Ana but haven't been able to demo those, and I've been pretty bored with most of the women's skis the rental stores have thrown at me so far (Black Pearl, Volkl Aura & Kenja, Atomic Vantage, K2 Alluvit, etc).

    My question is: any ideas on whether the Enforcer or Mantra would be a better match for me? Do you think the Mantra would be too wide for everyday use or too much for me? Is there a better all mountain ski you might point me towards? Thanks!

    1. Hi Serena!
      The Mantra's are pretty sweet, and I don't think they're too wide for an everyday Colorado ski at all. They're pretty stiff in the tails as well, so I'd expect similar mogul performance as the Enforcer 93. The Santa Ana is the same as the Enforcer, just with a lighter wood, so they're a bit more flexible, but still pretty substantial. Have you checked out the Blizzard Rustler/Sheeva 9 at all? They're pretty fun and lively, and highly versatile. Not two sheets of metal like the other skis, but still a ton of fun. Hope that helps!

  84. Hi Jeff,

    I just bought the Mantra M5's in the 177cm length. I am 60 years old, 5'10 and 160lbs advanced skier. I did not ski for a few years and have been 20+ days each of the last 2 years. I had a pair of Soul 7 HD's that were great in the soft snow but really lacked on anything else. I am amazed at the how bullet proof the Mantras feel in all snow conditions and am impressed with the ability to make short and long turns all with a bit of a pop. I was also startled by how heavy they feel and how aggressive I feel like I need to ski them. Most of my buddies ski the Kendos and they complain a little when we get deeper snow, especially if its heavy. I am in Eastern Washington we get a mix of heavy and light snow. I have a pair of Head Super Shape Titans for groomer/hard snow days. Do you think the shorter 170cm length in the Mantra would be a better fit for me or should I just look at less demanding skis? Thank You

  85. Hi SE,
    I'm 5-9, 180lbs. Been on Salomon enduro past 7 yrs and time to move on as these don't handle powder at all. Ski in UT and spend most time on groomers and moguls but would like to venture into trees and get skis that would handle the great powder days we've had this year as well. Looking at Volkl Mantra M5, Fischer Ranger 98 and Head Kore 99. Which do you suggest (or any other brand) and how long a ski do you recommend. Thanks very much for your help.

    1. Hi Brian!

      If you're finding the M5 Mantra feels like a little too much ski, I'm not sure the 170 cm length would solve the problem. You're not shedding too much weight just dropping down from the 177 cm to the 170 cm, and the 170 cm isn't necessarily softer flexing. I would imagine you like them in certain scenarios, but not all? Going fast, linking carving turns, they probably feel great. Slower speeds, quicker turns, and releasing the tail edge probably feels more difficult, right? If that's the case, you could consider keeping them in your quiver for those applications. That would allow you to really pick up a ski that focuses on maneuverability without worrying too much about giving up stability, edge grip, etc. For instance, something like a Liberty Origin 96 or an Armada Tracer 98 would round out your quiver nicely. If you want to replace the M5, from the sounds of it you'd probably really enjoy skiing the QST 99 from Salomon. I think they key here is getting something lighter with more pronounced rocker, whether you decide to keep the M5 or not.

      Hope that helps!


      1. Hi David!

        If I were you, I'd probably go with either the Kore 99 or Ranger 98 Ti out of the skis you listed. The M5 Mantra is great, as you probably know if you read this review, but those other skis are a little easier in moguls and trees. Between the two, the Kore 99 is quite stiff, while the Ranger 98 is a little softer flexing. They actually share fairly similar rocker profiles and early taper designs, so it's kind of a matter of how stiff of a ski you want. How aggressive do you consider yourself? If you like to ski fast and hard, I'd go Kore 99. If you want a slightly easier-going ski, that still performs at a high level, go Ranger 98. The M5 Mantra has better edge grip on firm snow than both those skis, but it's more challenging in off-piste terrain. So, still an option if you want to focus more on groomer performance. What length are you coming off? You could potentially get either the Kore or Ranger in the 180 cm length, as long as that's not a huge jump from what you've been skiing. In the M5, I would go shorter.

        Hope that helps!


  86. Hi there-- I am 6 feet tall and weigh 195 lbs. I love carving and have a pair of Head Supershape i.rally in 177 cm for carving fresh groomers. I recently purchased a pair of 2020 Volkl Kendo in 177 cm for carving groomers when they get a bit torn up. They freaking rock. I had demo skied the Mantra M5 two weeks ago and loved them. I found them really easy to turn and carve with--not as nice as the Kendos however. I want to learn to go off-piste and learn to ski some powder and moguls. Is the M5 a good ski for this or should I look at the Head Kore 99 or the Ranger 98 TI. I demo skied the head kore 93 two weeks ago and found them a bit stiff. Any Advice Greg

    1. Hi Gregory!

      Ranger 98 Ti feels like a fantastic choice for this. The Kore 99 is actually even stiffer than the 93, and the rocker profile and heft of the M5 Mantra makes it a little harder to ski in off-piste scenarios than the Ranger. The Ranger has a fantastic light swing weight, but still feels fairly stable and has good vibration damping. Long rocker too, which makes it easier to maneuver in softer snow conditions. Considering you're working on your technique and learning in these off-piste situations, I wouldn't want to point you towards a ski that was too stiff or too challenging. The Ranger 98 Ti will be a lot of fun for you, will definitely help you improve off-piste, and I don't expect you'll "outgrow" it, even if you turn into the world's best mogul skier.

      Hope that helps!


  87. I've had the Volkl Vertigo Motion 177's for 16 or so years. I haven't skied regularly but last weekend, I skied for 3 1/2 hours and I struggled. I'm 5'11", 180 lbs and skiing was a real effort. The skis seem way too heavy, I was sliding and skidding, almost losing some control. I had the guy at the ski shop give his opinion and he said my Volkl's are way outdated and my Marker bindings have way too many moving parts. He recommended the Volkl Mantra for a much lighter and flexible ski. My question is should I get 177 or 170? Really appreciate your reviews that are helping my decision to get new skis. Thanks very much!

  88. Hi SE,

    Nice job on the M5 review and answering all of the reader questions! My question is similar to some others that you've answered regarding ski length, but here it goes. I'm 6'0", 185lbs, 40 yo, and consider myself an advanced/expert skier who likes to ski all over the mountain (except the terrain parks...don't really care about those). I like to let my skis run with large radius turns on groomers, but I also spend a lot of time off-trail exploring new routes or just hitting some really steep runs. I primarily ski in the Northeast with a few days out west each season. I've settled in on purchasing the M5 Mantra, and I had a chance to demo the 177s. They were great cutting through the crud and held an edge well on hardpack. They felt a tad short, but mainly just different from what I was used to. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try the 184s. So my question is which length would you recommend?

    One other variable to consider is that I've been skiing on a pair of Dynastar Speed SX 192s for the last 20 years. That length was fine for those, although they are quite a bit narrower than most of today's skis. I'm still trying to find a pair of 184's to demo, but until then, what do you think?


    1. Hi Rich!
      While the new M5 is not a "light" ski by industry standards, you will notice a lot more performance with a lot less effort. If you're looking for more maneuverability and control, go for the 170, but if you're aggressive and like skiing fast, the 177 will give you more stability. Have fun!

      1. Thanks, Brian!
        I'd definitely try to get my hands on the 184 for demo. Your size and speed warrant the longer length so I'd wait to try before buying, especially if you are used to skiing a longer length ski. Have fun!

  89. Hi SE,
    live west at Big Sky previous decades in Colorado using 191 ON3p billy goats as daily driver all conditions. Also use same in backcountry with dynafits along with a shorter lighter dynafit rig. Big sky has lots of longer steep chutes with chokes to exit through hardpack. the BG's while handling the start zones with pow or chopped pow stable and well, due to length, weight and dampnes became a liability trying to exit tight chokes with boilerplate and bumps into a usual pow or chop pow apron. The bg's are just too long and heavy to jump turn them on the mandatory boilerplate and carved out hard bumps in there as well due to tightness of terrain. skiing straight with no turns builds too much speed for unknown apron conditions...during this season i bought some old volkl AC4's for the piste hard pack, great but crap in the offpiste ,and they dont like bumps or any measurable pow and have hooky tails in those conditinos. Picked up some used Blizzard bushwackers, great on flat hard piste, terrible in pow, bumps and hooky tails in the hard bumps and pow even while skiing forward against front of boots aggressively. 6'2", 200 driving i picked up a deal on some M5's (having them mounted now). I need something that can be fun in the fairly open 10M wide chutes pow, chop pow, but then get me out through a 5meter wide 50+meter long choke with boilerplate and some bumps.....I got the 184 length . Will this ski do it or do i need to put em on craigslist? thanks Mac

    1. Hi Wade!
      You must have the version with the camber underfoot. They went to a full-rocker profile for a few years, and now they're back to a rocker/camber/rocker, which is more similar to the skis you have. Other than that, the addition of the Titanal Frame construction is probably the cause for the increased snap, as they're a bit more poppy than damp for this version. Overall, the general personality of the Mantra has not really changed, and with the success of the ski, why would they? Hope that helps and that you love your new Mantra!

      1. Hi Mac!
        Sounds like they are on the short side for you. I'm your height but a bit heavier, and I'd use the 184 here in VT, but out west, I think I'd prefer the longer one. If you sell them, I'm sure you'll get a good price!

    1. Hi Alex!
      I'd say the 170 Mantra would be fine. If you wanted shorter, the Secret is the same as the Mantra, and that comes in a 163. Hope that helps!

  90. Hello SkiEssentials! I am a skier of beginning skills with a strong desire to perfect in next season, 5'77" and 205lbs. What length would you advise to me, please?

  91. Hello, I am just returning to skiing from snowboarding for the last 20 years. My kids are young and learning to ski and I have returned to skis to ski with them. I am just getting reacquainted with skis again and currently Intermediate/Advanced. I like the Secret 163 or Mantra 170. Which would you recommend for me. I am 5'6" and weigh an athletic 160. I want one ski that can handle groomers and powder in a fun and capable way. Also, which bindings? Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Lucinda!
      I think the 163 is the way to go. It's a fantastic all-mountain ski that has tons of stability while still being fun and maneuverable, so I think you'll love them. We pair them with either the Marker Griffon or the Tyrolia Attack 13 bindings--both are well-made and easy to use, but the Tyrolia has an easier step in, if that's worth anything to you, that's pretty much the only difference. Hope that helps!

  92. I am 5'9' 190 pounds. A pretty aggressive skier. Should I go with 170 or 177 mantra. Want as a second pair of skies for crud or powder when my carvers just won't cut it.

  93. Hey. I just bought a pair of the M5 Mantra in 191. I'm wondering what type of bindings to use with them. I'm 6'5", close to 300 lbs and am for the most part an advanced skier. But generally not too aggressive, staying mostly on trail or groomed runs. I see Volkl recommends using a Marker Royal Family binding. I was thinking the Duke because of my height and weight. What bindings would you recommend?

    1. Hi Justin!
      The Duke has a touring plate on it, so if you're interested in putting some skins on the skis and doing some backcountry, those would work fine, but for regular lift-serviced skiing, you should steer clear of touring bindings. You might need that 16 DIN though, so check out the Marker Jester 16--it's like the Duke but without the touring plate. Also a Tyrolia Attack 16 or a Salomon STH 16 would be good choices. Hope that helps!

  94. I'm 5' 10" 165 pounds 57 yrs who mostly likes carving but looking for new skis that will also perform well in crud, sierra cement and on the odd powder day but mostly doing fast carving around Tahoe. Currently have Dynastar Speed Cross from about 2012 which are great but only 72 under foot and 171 cm so considering trying something wider this time. Can't decide between RTM 86, or Mantra M5. I'm somewhat aggressive but self taught so don't have technically great form. Probably considered lower end of advanced. So questions are will the RTM 86 be too much for me and not give anymore advantage in the crud and new snow than what I have now, will the M5 be disappointing carving and too different from what I have now. Basically just want a bit better crud/soft snow capability whilst keeping cheater style carving capability. Any insights appreciated. Thanks

    1. Hi TJ!
      The M5 is far from being a disappointing carver. That's really what it's meant for, but in a wider overall shape, so it handles softer snow properly as well. If you plan on keeping the Dynastar, I'd recommend the Mantra. If you're ditching the old skis and are only going to have one, the 86 is a great choice. Hope that helps!

  95. Hello,

    I'm currently skiing 2017 Blizzard Brahmas, but I'm looking to replace them with a more versatile one ski solution. I'm 52 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. I ski primarily in the East, but I take at least one trip per year to Utah/CO or to Europe. I'd grade myself as a low to mid-level expert skier. I love ripping the groomers on the Brahmas, but I find that when I venture off piste (which I enjoy and do 30% of the time), the Brahmas are too heavy and demanding by the end of the day. So much so that when I travel, I leave the Brahmas behind and take my old Nordica Hell and Back 100s with me. Unfortunately, while the Nordicas are reasonably fun to ski off piste, they are not anywhere near as agile or locked in as the Brahmas when I'm on the groomers.

    Ideally I'd like to find a ski which is stable on hard pack, able to pivot and smear relatively easily, and does well enough in soft snow conditions. Also, I'd prefer a ski that doesn't feel as heavy and fatiguing as the Brahmas do after several long days of skiing. Quite a wish list, right?

    So, I'm looking at the M5's but was a little bit concerned about their weight. I'm also considering the Kore 93s as they are lightweight, but I wasn't sure about how they'd ski on our Eastern boiler plate conditions. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Craig!
      I think you're going to have the same problem with the Mantra as the Brahma. While they're a bit wider than the Brahma, they're still pretty demanding. The Kore is on the opposite end, being super-light, but not quite as stable. It's pretty stiff for how light it is, but doesn't quite have the damping necessary for high-speed cruising. You should look for something with partial metal rather than full metal like the Brahma/Mantra. Check out the Blizzard Rustler 9, Rossignol Experience 94, or on the slightly stiffer side, the Nordica Enforcer 93. All great all-mountain skis with varying degrees of metal laminates. The Enforcer has two full sheets, but they're thinner than normal, so they're more playful than the Mantra. Hope that helps!

  96. So M5 or 102?

    I'm 55 still fairly aggressive, 50:50 on:off, mainly Europe, some west coast NA, doing around 5-6 weeks skiing per year. 6' 4" and 210 pounds. Currently on the 2017 version and had the M3 before that - all 184. Thanks

    1. Hi Adrian!
      If you're used to the 100 mm underfoot Mantra, I'd say the 102 is the way to go. At 96 mm underfoot, the M5 has more of an on-trail personality, especially with the camber underfoot. I was a huge fan of the 102 for all-mountain skiing for sure. I'd still go with the 184 if you're comfortable with that length. The 191 looks big.

  97. Hi 🙂

    I am 26yo, weigh 185lbs (83kg), and 6'1 (187cm) tall. I spend about a week per year on groomers in Austria with family during Christmas, but also do a lot of steep runs and backcountry skiing with friends in France. I would consider myself advanced skier, and my ski style is a mix of powder/crud runs, moguls, between the trees, carving and some slower "in a group" skiing with the family. That's the main reason I want an all-mountain ski.
    Unfortunately I tore my ACL on a big air jump in a snow park 2 years back. Got the surgery and everything, and was back on skies last year. My current skies are the ones I had since I was 15 years old, Atomic GS skies 166cm in length and 66mm underfoot. With those, powder is not as nice an experience as I want it to be.
    I'm not sure whether to take the 177 or 184 Mantra m5. Most of the info says, based on my length weight and experience level, go for the 184. But since I have had knee surgery, and I am used to smaller skies, I am not quite sure what would be best.

    1. Hi Jules!
      I think you're leaning to the 177. It's an 11 cm difference from your older skis, which is already a pretty big jump, and I think the move to the 184 might be a difficult one. Additionally, they're built very well, and even at the 177, it's very stable at speed. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Kyle!
      The farther forward you mount the skis, the tips become more maneuverable while the tail, since it's longer, gets stiffer. When you move it back, the skis want to take off a bit more. For a directional ski like the Mantra, we recommend mounting on the manufacturer's point. Have fun!

  98. Hi
    I am 5' 7'' tall and weigh 177 lbs. I have been skiing for 5 years on the west coast and consider myself an intermediate level skier. I love my first volkl narrow width skiis which has helped me to get to where I am currently. I want to get to the next level, buy an all mountain ski and I am looking at Salomon QST 92 vs Volkl M5 Mantra 96.

    I feel I am heavier on my Volkls, place a lot of pressure on the edges to control speed and they have so far taken the beating well. Hence i am very impressed by Volkl. I want to go with the same if possible.I am very impressed by the reviews you have on M5 mantra. However I have realised that they are advertised for an advanced level skier. I want to buy skis wider than 90mm and the other option for me would be QST 92.

    I am looking at 50/50 on/off piste. In you opinion, does M5 Mantra need a lot of skill and input from the skier (advanced) as advertised?

    1. Hi Sudheer!
      The metal of the ski is a bit prohibitive for less experienced skiers, especially when it comes to the stiffness. That said, they're a lot more approachable than the previous version, so I wouldn't rule it out quite yet. I do think that the QST is a better choice for you, and even that one is aimed at advanced and expert skiers, but the lack of metal makes it accessible. Hope that helps!

  99. I am a 56 year old expert and currently ski on Volkl AC50s 177cm (2009). They are great for stability at speed, plowing through crud, carving, and can still make fairly quick turns, but are a bit challenging in moguls. I am considering new all mountain skis, including Volkl M5 Matra and Nordica Enforcer 100, among others. Any thoughts or suggestions on ski and length? (I am 5'11'' and 170 lbs). I want a ski that remains stable at speed, handles crud and at least some powder, is good on hard pack and decent enough in moguls for at least a few mogul runs (after which my legs are spent!). Thanks!

    1. Hi Alex!
      I think the Enforcer 93 would be a better choice than the 100 for your application. The Mantra checks in a 96 mm underfoot, so I think you should put it between the 93 and the M5. Of those, the 93 is a bit more playful while the M5 is more precise on the groomers--more of a race-ski feel versus the freeride-oriented Enforcer. I'd say the 177 is the size to be on in either model. Have fun!

  100. Hello Ski Essentials team,

    I primarily ski out west, can cruise through easier single blacks and (mostly) confidently make my way down most single blacks I try, however I do over-rely on my athleticism and need to improve my overall technique. I like to do a bit of everything (groomers, trees, powder, and some moguls). Last year I had a chance to try the Fischer Ranger 99 TI's and really liked them. They were the first performance oriented ski I've tried and would like to try a few other options before making a final decision on what to purchase. I really liked the increased feel and especially their performance in the trees, powder and crud. However, my left foot is fairly duck footed due to an ankle break, and felt like the left ski wanted to race away a bit more than the intermediate and narrower skis I'd used in the past. Not sure if this is a product of the Fischer's or a product of all higher end skis and my anatomy. I was thinking about trying the Mantra M5's and maybe the Enforcers 93 or 100? Do you have any specific recommendations I should try/consider?



  101. Great article and in-depth comment answering! I had a question regarding ski length on the M5s. I am 6.0” 190lbs previous freestyle skier 33yro. I have always loved volkl specifically the bridges because of the park/all mountain versatility. But as I approach my 40s, I’m looking for a more “adult” non-park ski. I mainly ski NY/VT occasional out west trip. I’m narrowing it down to the all mountain quiver skis to target. M5, Enforcer 100, k2 minderbender, etc. I am definitely an advanced level skier but I’m not sure about the 184 vs 177. Volkl website says for my height to go with the 184 but will these be too long and heavy for narrow trees or bumps etc. but maybe better for speed and powder (west coast travel). Tough decision?

    1. HI Chris!
      I think your size and background put you on the 184. I just think the 177 will be too short and you'll appreciate the extra stability of the 184. Have fun!

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