2022 Volkl M6 Mantra Ski Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2022 Volkl M6 Mantra Ski Review

It feels like just yesterday that Volkl announced the new M5 Mantra. I vividly remember our first day testing it. It was a sleeper powder day at Stowe with about 10 inches of some of the lightest, fluffiest snow I’ve ever skied. I don’t think there was a single moment when everyone in our group wasn’t smiling. The snow was amazing, the skis were amazing, all was well. While we haven’t had a powder day like that yet this season, we do have a new Mantra to talk about, now the M6 Mantra, and it’s equally good at bringing smiles to our testers’ faces despite not having that blower powder to test it in.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the Mantra in general. It’s an iconic ski and an iconic name. It’s always been designed for advanced and expert level skiers, and Volkl has often referenced the idea that the Mantra is built for the best skier on the mountain. The M5 Mantra was the best yet, and in our testing, emerged as one of, if not the most, precise skis in the mid-90’s all-mountain category. It has tremendous edge grip, superb responsiveness, really good stability at speed, and some versatility too. We’ve talked about it at length over the past few seasons, and it’s really carved its niche in the market nicely.

AT A GLANCE


2022 Volkl M6 Mantra Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

BINDINGS

163, 170, 177, 184, 191 cm

30m / 17m / 24m at 177 cm

135 / 96 / 119 mm

Multi Layer Woodcore, Tailored Titanal Frame, Tailored Carbon Tip

Precision, Edge Grip, Versatility


The M6 Mantra carries those trends forward, and in a lot of ways, is a very, very similar ski to the M5 Mantra, but with some subtle tweaks and changes that have improved overall feel and performance, increased versatility, increased forgiveness, and also allows for more variety in turn shapes. Those changes haven’t, however, taken away anything that we liked about the M5. It’s still precise, it’s still highly responsive, and it will still satisfy the best skier on the mountain, which is important. Taking away those characteristics would be taking away what makes the Mantra the Mantra, and no one wants that.

So, what are those changes? There are basically 3 major changes to discuss. One of those changes was relatively expected, the other 2, not so much, and arguably mark a bigger change in Volkl’s engineering going forward. We’re not 100% sure about that last part, but it certainly feels that way. The first change, the one we expected, is 3D.Radius. This technology first showed the year after the M5 Mantra was released. The Kendo 88, Mantra 102, Deacon 84, the Blazes 94 and 106, and plenty of other skis within Volkl’s collection all received this update. Longer radii are used in the tips and tails, while a shorter radius is used underfoot. This design helps a skier achieve different turn shapes, especially different radius carving turns, and it’s really cool. It also works well with the Titanal Frame construction, as is evident in skis like the Kendo. There’s less metal underfoot by design, allowing for a bigger sweet spot and a more natural flex pattern underfoot. By allowing the ski to flex more underfoot and by giving it a shorter radius in that area, it’s much easier to engage those shorter radius turns than on a ski with a singular radius and/or a more consistent tip to tail construction.

2022 Volk Mantra M6 Ski Review: Camber Profile Image

Speaking of Titanal Frame, that’s one of the technologies that’s been tweaked in the M6 Mantra, and it isn’t something we necessarily expected to see. For 2022, in the M6 Mantra and Secret 96, we get Tailored Titanal Frame. The word “Tailored” is kind of the theme of these new skis, and it’s something we’re starting to see more of in the industry. Each length of the M6 Mantra and Secret 96 has a slightly different Titanal Frame. In general, metal has been removed from the tip area. Volkl’s engineers determined you don’t need as much metal all the way in the extremities of the ski, and by removing some, they’re reducing swing weight. As you move closer to the bindings or midsole of the ski, the metal goes back to the same width it was on in the previous Mantra, or at least it’s really close, if not identical. Then the Tailored part comes into play. That wider part of the Titanal Frame is shorter on shorter length skis and longer on longer length skis. The idea is a bigger, heavier skier needs more metal, while a smaller skier choosing a shorter length should have less metal, and thus a flex pattern that’s more appropriate for their size, as well as the size of the ski. This is a similar conversation as we’ve had over the past year in talking about Blizzard’s new True Blend wood core, and I think it’s something that we’ll see more and more of in the industry. It makes a lot of sense to customize the performance of each length for the intended skier on that length. It’s more expensive for the manufacturer, but it’s valuable for the consumer.

The other “Tailored” technology is the new Tailored Carbon Tip. The previous M5 Mantra used a unilateral sheet of carbon fiber, similar to what we see in most skis that use carbon. The new M6 Mantra has strips of carbon that basically crisscross in the tip of the ski. The placement of these carbon strips is, you guessed it, custom tailored for each length ski. This is something we expect to see in more and more Volkl skis going forward, as it gives their engineers a lot of control over the turn engagement of each ski. Also, after removing some metal from the tip and tail of the ski, Volkl wanted to make sure they retained strong torsional stiffness, and this new technology gives them a lot of control over that aspect of the flex.

2022 Volk Mantra M6 Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 1 2022 Volk Mantra M6 Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 2

So, what about performance? As we said at the beginning of this article, overall, the M6 is very similar to the M5. Still responsive, still really good edge grip, but it feels a little more versatile now in a few different ways. Let’s start with the 3D.Radius and its effect, as I think that’s a really important new feature on this ski. In my opinion, 3D.Radius has two major benefits. It makes the ski feel quicker underfoot, and also makes the tips and tails less catchy. That phenomenon is extremely evident in skis like the Blaze 106, but also holds true in the M6 Mantra and other narrower skis as well. The M6 Mantra in the 177 cm length has radii of 30 m in the tip, 18 m underfoot, and 24 m in the tail. For comparison, the M5 in the same length had a singular radius of 19.8 m. The shorter radius underfoot, although not a drastic difference on paper, really changes the way the ski comes across the fall line. I find it completes a carving turn more easily, or more specifically, a mid to shorter-radius carve. I think this is one of the most important technologies in Volkl’s skis right now. It allows the skier to (relatively) easily make both big, sweeping Super G turns as well as tighter, more aggressive GS turns. I like that a lot, and I am excited to get that performance in the M6.

The other benefit of the 3D.Radius is the less catchy feel in the tips and tails. While you can make a quicker carving turn on the M6 than the M5, it also releases the tail edge more easily and feels more compliant when you want to skid or smear a turn. That’s enhanced by the fact that the swing weight is a little lighter and the tips and tails aren’t quite as stiff, at least in the longitudinal sense of stiffness (they still have equally strong torsional stiffness). In other words, the M6 Mantra is noticeably easier to flick around than the previous ski. The M5 wasn’t as challenging in that regard as other skis in its category with lots of metal (think Bonafide, MX99, etc), but it wasn’t exactly easy either. It was something that required good technique for sure. The M6 still responds best on the feet of a skier with good technique, but the way it allows you to play around with the style of turn you’re making is noticeably easier than on the M5, and I think most skiers will really appreciate that.

The new Tailored Carbon Tip retains the precision and responsiveness we’ve come to expect in the Mantra, and if anything, it takes it to another level. It’s noticeable that the M6 Mantra performs better at slower or more moderate speeds compared to the M5. I think that’s a combination of a lot of things, including the shorter radius underfoot and lighter swing weight, but I’m going to give some credit to the new tip construction too. Although it’s lighter up there, it feels like it’s puling you into a turn a little more easily. The previous ski, at times, felt like it required a lot of speed to really come alive. The M6 feels less planky when you’re just cruising around at slow speeds. It allows you to make fun little carves on flatter sections of trail, an area where the M5 kind of felt like it was bored, as if it was saying “why aren’t we on the steepest trail on the mountain?” I think the M6 has a similar personality, it loves steep, challenging terrain and a skier who will push it, but now it feels like it’s saying something like “hey, this is fun too! Sure, go ahead and make some fun turns while you’re cruising down this green circle.” I think that is a valuable characteristic to have in a ski, especially when a manufacturer can achieve it without taking anything away from the top-end of the ski like Volkl did with the M6.

Choosing length is arguably more important than ever before with the new M6 Mantra, as you are going to get slightly different performance in each length. We’ve been busy putting different skiers on different lengths and will continue to do so throughout the season, so don’t hesitate if you need help deciding what’s best for you. To summarize, and to wrap up this review of the new M6 Mantra, I think it’s fair to say that Volkl just made it better. It’s objectively a better ski, which is saying a lot, because the M5 is also a really, really good ski. I think it’s natural for skiers to get excited about something that’s totally new, but that’s not always the best thing for a manufacturer to do. If you’ve got a good recipe already, don’t just throw it away and start over. Maybe just add some extra spices or change your cooking times…. We’ve seen that method be successful in recent years for other big players like the Blizzard Bonafide 97 and Nordica Enforcer 100, and I think Volkl nailed it too with this new ski. Give the people what they already like, just make it a little bit better.

2022 Volk Mantra M6 Ski Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Jeff Neagle on 01/06/21

36 thoughts on “2022 Volkl M6 Mantra Ski Review

  1. Any chance you'll have the m6 available for sale this season? I have the m102, which I absolutely love. I'm imagining the m6 as a quicker m102, which would be awesome.

    1. Hi Jason L!
      Yes, we normally see a handful of early release skis available for sale in the next month or two. Certainly going to be a similar overall personality as the 102, and yes, quicker for sure!
      SE

  2. Great review. Finally understand the changes to titanal frame.

    6’1, 195 lbs (210 with gear). Aggressive advanced skier, but want something maneuverable and not too demanding. What length would you recommend? Would be used east coast (sugarbush, Stowe). I have two sizes in mind but would be very interested to get your view (not influenced by my idea).

      1. Thanks, that’s what i was thinking. How does the M6 184 compare to the new bonafide 97 in 183 - anything in particular stand out to you? Would you say one ski is less demanding/easier to cruise around on? Or are they both generally consistent in precision and in requiring a similar level of forward/aggressive skiing style?

  3. Hi I have 2016 mantras and I want to up grade what do you recomend atomic bent chetler or new mantras M6 unused 177 I am 5,11

    1. HI Gabriel!
      If you're looking for a similar ski, the M6 is pretty sweet, while the Bent Chetler is certainly lighter, more playful, and less-demanding. For a more fun-loving and slightly more relaxing ski experience, I'd go with the Atomic, but for that same precise style of skiing, the M6 Mantra in the 177 will certainly fit the bill. Have fun!
      SE

  4. If you were in the market for new skis would you wait for the M6 skis or just go ahead and get the M5 skis (for $599)? Thanks for your opinion and review!

    1. Hi Kevin!
      Depends on you and your finances. Money aside, I think the M6 shows improvements in responsiveness and quickness--two areas I thought the M5, and most previous Mantras, lacked somewhat. What's best for you?
      SE

      1. Thanks SE! I am going to wait for the M6. I better hide the “ski” funds so my wife and/or kids don’t spend it. 🙂 Going to upgrade from the Rossignol 88 Experience, which have been good skis. Thanks again! Can’t wait to get back on the mountain!

  5. How would the Mantra M6 compare to the Nordica Enforcer 100 and the K2 Mindbender 99ti as a one-ski quiver for resort skiing in the west?

    1. I am also interested in the answer here. I still ski on 10 year old Mantras and just love them. They have a ton of miles on them. I also have the Volkl 108 for powder days but the Mantras are better for groomers. I’ve been debating between the Nordica or Volkl for my next 100 or sub 100 mid waist ski. Head Core is also getting great reviews. I’m thinking of going shorter ( currently 184) and trying to slow down as I am now 56 years old and still going balls out.

      1. Rob,
        I think the Enforcer 94 and the M6 Mantra line up while the Enforcer 100 and Mantra 102 are closer in category. Kore is a lovely ski, but just not quite as stable as these metallic skis from Nordica and Volkl. East or west, for one pair, I'm looking at the 94/M6 in the 191. For more of a softer snow performance, I do like the versatility of the Enforcer versus the bruising and cruising Mantra 102. That ski, again I prefer in the 191. I do think the Enforcer offers a bit more compliance for less-ballsy skiing. Hope that helps!
        SE

  6. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on the Mantra M6 vs the Nordica enforcer? which has more rebound energy? thanks. BT

  7. Great review again Jeff, thanks a bunch.
    Where would you see the ups and downs of the M6 compared to a Dynastar M Pro 99 (both 186 length) like groomers/hardpack/bumps7trees/soft snow/pow ect. and which would be the better one ski quiver?

    1. HI Hartmut!
      I found the M6 to be an incredibly capable carver and on-trail ski, it's just on the stiff and heavy side to keep up with the M-Pro 99in an off-piste format. Perhaps in crud and chop, the M6 could maintain more stability at speed, but in pretty much all other categories other than groomers, I'd rather have the M-Pro. Have fun!
      SE

  8. Agree. I skied this the other day at Norquay. It surprised me how well it skied in the bumps, which I usually do not ski. Really very forgiving and easy to turn. M6 is a refined M5 which excels greatly from the M5 in many ways. I skied 184 ( 6' / 175 lbs) and it did the job.

    However I found it did not eat up ugly granular as well as the M5. Less Titanal and torsion probably in the M6. I would say is a little floatier feel at the tip which was a good thing. However I felt the M6 lacked the aggressive charge nature if you put more energy and up front power into it, for fast turns.

    I would get this ski. I presently ski a M Pro99 and that ski rocks.

  9. -6’1” 182lb, 40yr Advanced
    -Currently on 2010 Volkl Mantra 184
    -West Coast (Mammoth/Tahoe)
    -Mostly On-Piste, off-piste when I can get away from wife/kids

    Been waiting on the M6 because of the tighter turn radius. Looking for something less demanding than the 2010 I am on now. More playful, but can still hold an edge on the steeps.

    Stick with M6 184, or do you recommend something else? (Nordica 94, Ripstick 96, K2 Mindbender 99, Head Kore 93/99, Fischer 94 Fr, or .......)

    Thank you and love your reviews!!!

    1. Thanks, Ryan!
      You'll see a big uptick in versatility and playfulness, along with better energy than your older Mantras. If you still want that Volkl feel, I think it's still a fantastic choice. Enforcer 94 has more of a freeride influence, rather than a carving one, and the K2 is another big and burly ski that's Cadillac-smooth and very strong. Not quite as agile as the Mantra or Enforcer, but still a ton of fun. The other skis, the Ripsticks, Kores, and Rangers, are another level lighter and more playful, so if you're looking for Mantra-like performance, you're not likely going to get it in those, but they are lighter and more maneuverable while still retaining a high-performance ceiling, just not quite the top gear as the others. Hope that helps, all good skis!
      SE

  10. “Old Man”, 5’10”, 210lb, can still kick butt on any 🔹 but for much shorter spurts. Skied 190 GS skis most of my life in the east. Don’t get out west much anymore.
    Mantra, Kando, Kanjo? 177, 184?
    Skiing on 165 Dynastar 72 CR72 Pro & hate them!

    1. HI Todd!
      The Kendo is probably your best choice. Kanjo is a bit light, and I don't think you need the wider Mantra. Kendo 88 is what you need, and I'd say 177 is the way to go. Have fun!
      SE

  11. Great review as always! I’m an older 5’6”, 170, advanced aggressive skier on old 2001 Dynastar Intuitiv 75s (167). I’m can finally afford to upgrade my kit and wanted to know what size you’d recommend, along with bindings. Thanks for your help.

    1. HI Larry!
      I'd go with the 163 in that ski, unless you know you want a longer ski than you've had, and we pair it with either a Marker Griffon or a Tyrolia Attack 13. Have fun!
      SE

  12. Hi, thanks for the great review. What length would you recommend? 165-170 lbs, 6’0”, advanced/expert. I do lots of east coast trees and bumps.

    1. Hi Jay!
      Between 177 and 184. I'm 6/2 220 and I found the 177 to be too short--wanted to turn more than I wanted it to turn, even in bumps. I'd lean to the 184, especially if you value stability at speed. Have fun!
      SE

  13. Hi Jeff, thank you for a great review! I just tested Mantra M5 and was amazed how well they grip. Very stable in variety of speed and snow conditions, confidence inspiring and quite manageable (I ski older Bonafides). Now with M6, I am concerned that 3-D radius could bring split personality into these great skis instead of delivering real improvement. I did not like the feel of latest Kendo 88 I tested at the same time. They were lacking some... predictability (to certain degree), and been narrower they actually required more input. Could you please speak from your experience and clarity if my concerns have any ground? Thanks!

    1. HI Mikhail!
      I do know what you mean, but I'm one of the skiers who really prefers the new 3D radius along with the titanal frame. I was never a Kendo fan until the current 88, and whether it was the frame or the radius, I finally found something to like, especially in shorter-radius turns. My hesitation with the M6 was when I went from the 184 (which I thought was great) down to the 177 (which I struggled with). As a result, I've concluded that the longer skis work a bit better, so if you're in between sizes, I'd go up. If you don't like the sound or style of the 3D radius, you'll probably be able to find some great deals on the M5 this spring!
      SE

      1. Thank you for your reply.

        Great deals are always in the picture, but money aside do you think M6, as overall package, is worth waiting for over M5 (Western Canada)?

        I am 5'9" (175 cm), light 140 lbs (64 kg). When I tested 170 M5 and I did not feel a need for them to be any longer. Do you think the same would hold true for M6?

        Thanks!

      2. Thank you for your reply.

        Great deals are always in the picture, but do you think M6, as overall package, is worth waiting for over M5 (Western Canada)?

        I am 5'9" (175 cm), light 140 lbs (64 kg). When I tested 170 M5 I did not feel a need for them to be any longer. Do you think the same will hold true for M6?

        Thanks!

  14. Great review as always! You steered me to the M5 170s when they came out and they have been wonderful. As I get older (52 now) and my knees get more cranky, I was thinking of downsizing my skis to a more manageable 163 to accommodate my less aggressive style. I don't have to keep up with my 19 year old ripping down the mountain at 50+ MPH anymore. What do you think about me getting into the M6 163s? (I'm 5'6'' 200lbs.) They look more forgiving for a cruiser like me. I ski the east, but will be visiting Keystone in March. Thanks again.

    Tom.

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