2021-2022 Volkl Mantra 102

Ski: 2021-2022 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm

Available Lengths: 170, 177, 184, 191 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 183.2 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2218 & 2244 grams

Stated Dimensions: 140-102-123 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 139.7-101.7-122.8 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (184 cm): 21.4 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 54 mm / 20 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3 mm

Core: poplar/beech + “titanal “frame” + carbon tips + fiberglass laminate

Base: P-Tex 2100

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -11.6 cm from center; 80.0 cm from tail (also marks for +1 cm and +2 cm in front of the line)

Boots: Head Raptor 140 RS; Dalbello Lupo Pro HD; Dalbello Lupo SP I.D.

Bindings: Marker Griffon


  • Sam Shaheen: 5’10”, 145 lbs
  • Luke Koppa: 5’8″, 155 lbs
  • Jonathan Ellsworth: 5’10”, 175 lbs

Test Location: Front Range, CO

Days Skied: ~10

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 19/20 Mantra 102, which was not changed for 20/21 or 21/22, apart from graphics.]

Blister reviews the Volkl Mantra 102
Volkl Mantra 102, 19/20 Graphic
Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Full Review //  Bottom Line //  Rocker Pics


The Volkl Mantra has a long history and a ton of passionate fans. For the 18/19 season, Volkl introduced the 5th generation of the ski, dubbed the “Mantra M5.”

While we’re always wary of companies updating products we like, we ended up getting along really well with the new Mantra M5 and gave it a “Best Of” award in our 18/19 Winter Buyer’s Guide.

For 19/20, Volkl is taking the construction and shape of the Mantra M5 and applying it to some new skis, including the brand-new Mantra 102. Before we get to the details on the new Mantra 102, let’s quickly touch on Volkl’s 19/20 Freeride lineup:

Volkl’s 2019-2020 Freeride Lineup

The 117mm-wide Confession, 96mm-wide Mantra M5, and 84mm-wide Kanjo are the three skis in Volkl’s 18/19 men’s Freeride lineup that come back unchanged for 19/20.

The three new skis in the lineup are the Mantra 102, Kendo 92, and Kendo 88. All three skis feature the “Titanal Frame” construction of the Mantra M5, which you can learn more about on our GEAR:30 podcast with some of Volkl’s engineers.

On the women’s side, the Secret 92 (women’s equivalent to the Mantra M5) and 84mm-wide Yumi return unchanged. Then Volkl is adding the Secret 102 and Kenja 88, both of which feature the Titanal Frame construction. We have the new Secret 102 in hand, and will be talking about it soon.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the Mantra 102.

Shape / Rocker Profile

The Mantra 102’s shape is extremely similar to the Mantra M5’s. Apart from the Mantra 102 being wider, the two skis look basically identical. They both have very minimal tip and tail taper and fall in line with other traditionally shaped skis like the Blizzard Bonafide, Armada Invictus 99 Ti, Nordica Enforcer 100, and Parlor Cardinal 100 when it comes to shape.

The Mantra 102 and Mantra M5 are also nearly identical in regard to their rocker profiles. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out that both skis use the same press. Both have fairly deep tip and tail rocker lines for how narrow they are, but their tips and tails don’t splay out much till the ends of the skis.

Compared to the Blizzard Bonafide, the Mantra 102 has a very similar tip rocker line, but a deeper and more splayed out tail rocker line. Compared to the new K2 Mindbender 99Ti, the Mantra 102 has a bit less tip rocker and a similar tail rocker line. Compared to the Enforcer 100, the Mantra 102 has a more subtle tip rocker line and a pretty similar tail rocker line, with the Mantra 102’s tail rocker rising a bit slower / less abruptly.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Mantra 102:

Tips: 8.5
Shovels: 8.5-9
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-9.5
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-9
Tails: 9 or 8.5

I feel like I sound like a broken record at this point, but after hand-flexing the Mantra 102 against the Mantra M5, the skis’ flex patterns feel nearly identical. If anything, the Mantra 102 might be a touch stiffer in the tail, but the difference is extremely subtle.

The Mantra 102 is a strong ski with a pretty even, round flex pattern. It’s stiffer than the Bonafide in the front, but the two skis feel similar in their back halves. The Mantra 102 is significantly stiffer than the Mindbender 99Ti in the front, but the Mindbender 99Ti is a bit stronger in the back half. The Mantra 102 is notably stiffer throughout compared to the Enforcer 100.

All in all, the Mantra 102 is a very strong ski and stands out from some other directional skis in that the Mantra 102’s flex pattern is pretty round, rather than having soft tips and much stiffer tails.

Sidecut Radius

We typically don’t place a huge emphasis on stated sidecut radii numbers because there are a ton of other factors that go into how a ski feels on snow, apart from its stated sidecut radius. And nowadays, many skis use a combination of sidecut radii, rather than one single radius. This makes stated sidecut numbers a bit less straightforward than they were when pretty much all skis used a single radius along the entire ski.

The Mantra 102, unlike the Mantra M5, reportedly uses three different radii throughout the sidecut of the ski. The radius in the middle of the 184 cm Mantra 102 is supposedly 20 meters, while the tip has a stated radius of 27 meters, and the tail, 25 meters. Volkl averages the sidecut throughout the ski to come up with an average stated sidecut radius of 21.4 meters for the 184 cm Mantra 102.

This “3-Radius Sidecut” is designed to make the ski responsive in the middle for making quick turns, while the longer radii in the front and back of the ski are meant to increase stability when making bigger turns. This is not a new concept (it’s used on a lot of skis these days) but is worth noting as the Mantra M5 uses a single-radius sidecut. For reference, the 184 cm Mantra M5 has a stated sidecut radius of 21.2 meters, which is very close to the average stated sidecut radius of the 184 cm Mantra 102.


The Mantra 102 is a pretty heavy ski. At around 2230 grams per ski for the 184 cm length, it’s one of the heaviest skis in this width that we’ve tested. It’s not that much heavier than the 180 cm Blizzard Bonafide or 185 cm Nordica Enforcer 100, but the Mantra 102 is by no means a light ski.

We beat the “weight is good for inbounds skis” drum pretty loudly here at Blister, so we’re excited about the heft of the Mantra 102. We tend to break out ~100mm-wide skis in a very wide range of conditions, including firm, rough snow. Heavier skis tend to better mute out / blast through rough snow compared to lighter skis, and the Mantra 102 looks like it has the potential to do exactly that. We’ll see…

For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try to keep things apples-to-apples.

1629 & 1684 Elan Ripstick 96, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19)
1758 & 1774 Moment Commander 98, 178 cm (18/19)
1800 & 1824 Luke Koppa’s Romp Skis 100, 183 cm (18/19)
1807 & 1833 Fischer Ranger 98Ti, 180 cm (16/17–18/19)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–19/20)
1894 & 1980 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm (17/18–19/20)
1896 & 1919 Dynastar Legend X96, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–18/19)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–18/19)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–19/20)
2050 & 2080 ON3P Wrenegade 96, 184 cm (18/19)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–18/19)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20)

Some Questions / Things We’re Curious About

(1) The Mantra 102 and Mantra M5 are extremely similar, apart from their width, weight, and sidecut radii. So how different will the Mantra 102 feel, and where does it make sense to choose the Mantra 102 over the Mantra M5, or vice-versa?

(2) We love how well the Mantra M5 carves on groomers, so will the Mantra 102’s wider waist and multi-radius sidecut impact how well it carves? If so, will it be a positive or negative impact?

(3) On the other hand, will the Mantra 102’s width and radius translate to notably better off-piste performance vs. the Mantra M5?

(4) The Mantra 102 is a heavy ski with a strong flex pattern, so we’re eager to compare it to some of the other skis in its class like the Enforcer 100, Bonafide, and Mindbender 99Ti.

Bottom Line (For Now)

Volkl seems to have recognized that they have a good recipe with the Mantra M5, and therefore didn’t stray very far from its design when creating the Mantra 102. The Mantra 102 shares many of the things that we think make the Mantra M5 great: a more traditional shape and rocker profile, a strong, round flex pattern, and a pretty heavy weight. Now it’s time to see how that translates to a wider ski. Stay tuned for updates…

Flash Review

Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Mantra 102 for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.



Sam Shaheen (5’10”, 145 lbs): Although we didn’t get the Mantra 102 until fairly late in the spring, one of the first days I got on it was a solid, mid-winter-style powder day — May 22, 2019. The day before, it had snowed about a foot of denser, wind-affected pow. And then that night, about 6” of surprisingly light fluff came down on top of that already deep and soft base. It was a good day.

You’ll hear me say this a lot about this ski during this review, but I was amazed by how versatile the Mantra 102 felt. During everything from mobbing wide-open pow fields to picking through techy, consequential, steep terrain, I really liked — and instantly clicked with — the Mantra 102.

Sam Shaheen, Luke Koppa, and Jonathan Ellsworth review the Volkl Mantra 102 for Blister.
Sam Shaheen on the Volkl Mantra 102.

At 102 mm underfoot (101.7 mm is our measured width), the Mantra 102 is certainly not a dedicated powder ski. But in the 184 cm length and with a mount point of -11.6 cm, the Mantra 102 has a lot of tip in front of the bindings. Even with its fairly subtle amount of rocker, I was very happy with the float I was able to get out of the Mantra 102. I certainly don’t think I would have been floating to the top of the snow was cold smoke in lower-angled trees. But in steep (35°+), technical terrain and mellower open bowls, I didn’t experience any tip dive on the Mantra 102.

One of the things that makes the Mantra 102 so versatile is that it can be skied from a variety of stances — everything from neutral (but not backseat) to driving hard through the shovels felt very natural. And in powder, skiing from a neutral stance felt the most natural to me. To be clear, this is a pretty heavy, stiff ski, and it feels like all of those things on snow. But it also felt surprisingly forgiving and manageable for how heavy and stiff it is.

One thing I dislike about some traditional “chargers” is how they encourage high speeds and aggressive skiing, but are often pretty demanding and punishing of mistakes. When I ski fast and hard, I’m bound to make some mistakes, so I really appreciate a ski like the Mantra 102 that feels great when skied from a neutral stance and isn’t super punishing. This is true all over the mountain, but I think it’s most evident in powder and other types of 3D snow.

Soft Chop / Soft Variable Snow

Sam: This is not a fat ski, so in deep chop, the Mantra 102 requires a bit of work to keep the tips from diving / punching into the snow. But in chop and variable snow that is less than about 8” deep, I’d say that the Mantra 102 does an exceptional job. The suspension on this ski is amazing, and it is quite heavy; so it easily soaks up the bumps of soft variable snow and chop. There aren’t many skis that I’ve been on that are more confidence inspiring in these conditions. The Mantra 102 just loves to go fast, and it feels composed and comfortable in nearly all soft snow conditions — with the exception of very deep snow.

At one point while testing, Luke and I were discussing which ski we’d take as our FWT competition ski, and I would be hard pressed not to choose the 184 cm Mantra 102. For skiing extremely hard on generally softer snow, I can’t think of another ski I’d prefer. Only on deeper comp days would I be tempted to switch to something wider.

Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs): Yep, I totally agree. The Mantra 102 just feels solid. It’s round, stiff flex pattern, heftier weight, and more traditional shape and rocker profile all encouraged me to ski faster than I’d want to on most other skis in this class.

Blister reviews the Volkl Mantra 102
Luke Koppa on the Volkl Mantra 102.

Much of my time on the Mantra 102 was spent skiing wide-open bowls where the snow was very variable. Some patches were warmed by the sun and fully isothermal, but then I’d randomly run into parts that were still refrozen, or the occasional debris from cornice fall.

On the Mantra 102, transitioning between these conditions was almost unnoticeable. As Sam noted, this ski does a great job of sucking up / absorbing impacts, more so than most comparable skis. I could see it getting bogged down in really deep chop, but I didn’t notice a hint of tip dive in soft chop and variable snow up to around 6” deep.

On the topic of stance, I agree with Sam that the Mantra 102 is surprisingly versatile. Given its rearward mount point, I expected that I’d need to be driving the Mantra 102 at all times, unless I wanted to go flying and explore the upper canopy of the trees or the deep depths of the snowpack with my head.

But I think this ski has a very big sweet spot. It definitely doesn’t feel good when skied from the heels / backseat, and I definitely would not recommend it to beginners or intermediates. But I could just basically sit in the middle of the ski and let it run. Like Sam, I like skis that will let me ski hard, but that also won’t immediately launch me into orbit the moment I make a mistake. Unlike many skis that are this stable, the Mantra 102 is very predictable, has a big sweet spot, and I could always tell in advance when I was getting a bit too lazy / a bit too far backseat before the ski started to get away from me (as opposed to it bucking me the moment I leaned back at all).

Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, 175 lbs): I really, really wish we’d been able to get on this ski sooner, because I personally still have some questions that could have been easily answered. Sigh.

That said, I wasn’t on that chairlift ride when Sam and Luke when they were saying they’d take this ski as a comp ski … but after my first day on it … I very much agree — at least for skiing the beat conditions that are not uncommon to comps.

Sam Shaheen, Luke Koppa, and Jonathan Ellsworth review the Volkl Mantra 102 for Blister.
Sam Shaheen on the Volkl Mantra 102.

Sam and Luke haven’t really touched on it yet, but one of the most notable characteristics of the Mantra 102 to me is just how composed its shovels remain at higher speeds in variable conditions. This tends to be one of my favorite qualities of a ski — and I’d say that it’s a quality that seems to be harder and harder to find. But these shovels are quiet and stable … and I really, really like them.

Now in my 2nd “That said” in this section … I do agree with Luke and Sam that this is not a punishing ski. It did, however, require more input in tight spaces than I was expecting, but it is also not a ski that will kick your ass if you get off line or a bit backseat. And I do agree that its suspension is quite good — though I want to get this ski in more nasty / gross conditions before I sing the praises of its suspension too loudly.

(But I will say, for the millionth time: Dear Ski Designers, if you want to make a stiff ski, then please just don’t also make it super light, and you will probably have made something that doesn’t have super shitty suspension. Which would make us happy. And probably lots of other skiers, too.)


Sam: Crud / firm variable snow is generally more challenging to ski than softer variable snow, and that is definitely the case with the Mantra 102.

But skiing firm variable snow on the Mantra 102 was an absolute joy for me when compared to some other skis in this category. There are some skis on the market that are heavy, damp, and sluggish. They have great suspension and are confidence-inspiring on firm, crappy snow, but none of those skis (that I’ve been on, at least) are also as energetic as the Mantra 102, which I think makes the Mantra 102 feel a bit quicker in that it will respond with energy when pushed hard, rather than feeling kind of “dead.” And to be clear, I’m calling this ski “quick” only in comparison to heavier skis that offer similar stability.

Sam Shaheen, Luke Koppa, and Jonathan Ellsworth review the Volkl Mantra 102 for Blister.
Sam Shaheen on the Volkl Mantra 102.

I am happy to lay the Mantra 102 over in a high-speed carve on firmer variable snow, but if I want to shut down speed a bit and make a few quick turns, the Mantra 102 responds with a good amount of energy and a looseness that is surprising given how strong it is on edge. This ski feels dialed in a way that no other “charger” I’ve been on has.

Luke: I’d agree that the Mantra 102 makes crappy snow a lot less crappy-feeling than many skis on the market. Its suspension is excellent, it’s strong on edge, it’s predictable, and again, it just feels solid.

That said, I think it’s important to highlight that this is still a very heavy, stiff, directional ski. I wouldn’t throw around the word “quick” when referring to the Mantra 102, unless I was comparing it to skis that are significantly heavier and / or wider. I’d agree with Sam in that it is surprisingly easy to shut down and slide around for how fun and composed it is at speed. But if playfulness or quickness are more important to you than stability, there are tons of better options (see the “All-Mountain – More Forgiving” and “All-Mountain Freestyle” sections of our Winter Buyer’s Guide).

Jonathan Ellsworth: Sam and I have been on a remarkable / disconcerting streak lately of agreeing on things, which has actually started to make me worried that I’ve developed a serious neurological disorder. So it’s comforting to be able to say that you probably shouldn’t be listening to Sam here. Rather, Luke is right: “quick” is not a word that I think should be used to describe the 184 cm Mantra 102, and in fact, I was surprised — pleasantly surprised, but surprised nonetheless — how stable this ski felt. It works quite well at slower speeds, but it excels at high speeds. But there are dozens of other skis in this category that I would call quicker and more playful than the 102.

Important Note: After more back and forth with Sam, with Luke Koppa serving as our intermediary (and keeping me from murdering him), we updated Sam’s comments above in this section, and he and I are now back in alignment. I.e., I would agree with Sam that the Mantra 102 might feel a bit quicker than bigger, burlier skis that offer a similar level of stability.


Sam: It’s difficult not to compare the Mantra 102 to it’s skinnier cousin, the Mantra M5. They feel extremely similar across all conditions, but nowhere is this similarity more pronounced than on groomers. If we had both of these skis in the same length, I doubt I would be able to tell them apart on groomers. And that is high praise for the Mantra 102.

The Mantra 102 is powerful, precise, and energetic while also being easy to break free, accepting of a neutral stance, and surprisingly forgiving. This ski is a blast on groomers.

Sam Shaheen, Luke Koppa, and Jonathan Ellsworth review the Volkl Mantra 102 for Blister.
Sam Shaheen on the Volkl Mantra 102.

Luke: Yep, this ski is awesome on groomed snow. It initiates turns quickly and predictably, is easy to break free from a carved turn, smoothes out roughed-up groomers, and will produce some energy / rebound when pushed hard.

Overall, I’d say the Mantra 102 is one of the better 100mm+ carvers I’ve used.

Jonathan: I was just so impressed by how composed the Mantra 102 remained when making big, fast GS turns. And maybe just to serve as a counterpoint to Sam’s claims here, this 184 cm Mantra 102 didn’t really remind me at all of the 177 cm Mantra M5 we reviewed. The shorter, narrower M5 felt like a more precise carver to me — it’s gorgeous on groomers, but I sometimes felt in steep, off-piste terrain that it might want to lock into a turn when I wouldn’t want it to.

The 184 cm Mantra 102 felt the opposite to me. It’s a ski that feels bigger and straighter and requires more input to turn … and as a result, it isn’t going to ‘overturn’ when you’re banging your way down steeper & techier terrain.

All that said, Sam is clear that he is guessing how the M5 and the Mantra 102 would compare in the same length … and he may well be right. So my primary point here is to make clear that the 177 cm M5 did not feel like the 184 cm Mantra 102 to me.

Moguls / Tight Terrain

Sam: This is one of the only places where the 184 cm Mantra 102 didn’t feel super comfortable to me. It is just too heavy and has too much tip in front of you to feel nimble in moguls and super tight terrain. I’ll talk more about sizing in the next section, but if you ski a lot of bumps and tight terrain, I wouldn’t hesitate at all to recommend sizing down on this ski.

Luke: Yep. I loved the Mantra 102 everywhere except tight terrain.

In more open, less steep bumps and trees, the Mantra 102 was surprisingly manageable. Again, it’s actually pretty easy to pivot and has a big sweet spot — two things I look for in a bump ski. I definitely wouldn’t call it quick, but I didn’t mind it in mellower, more spaced-out bumps and trees, given how stable it is in more open terrain.

But in very compact, steep, or otherwise tricky moguls and tight terrain, the 184 cm Mantra 102 felt like a lot of ski. I had to work very hard to flick it around, it would get away from me if I got backseat, and my legs felt pretty beat after skiing a lot of tight bumps on it. But if you’ve gotten this far in this review and think that the Mantra 102 might be the ski for you, you’re probably used to working a heavier, stiffer ski through tight terrain, and I wouldn’t say that it’s notably more difficult than other skis that are similarly heavy, stiff, and that have similarly far-back mount points.

Jonathan: I agree with what both Luke and Sam have written in this section. In the 184 cm length, the Mantra 102 is still a well-behaved ski even in big moguls, but it requires a lot more input than a lot of ~185 cm, 100mm-105mm wide freeride skis on the market. Bigger, stronger skiers shouldn’t have a problem. And those of you who don’t spend much time in big moguls with deep troughs won’t have much or any problem. But this brings me back to why I worry that Sam’s talk about this ski being “quick” could be misleading. I think this is a very good ski. But it is not a very quick ski. Both things are true. And … the next section of this review is very important.


Sam: In the 184 cm length, this ski feels very much like a charger. It feels long and heavy … because it is. If you’re looking for a strong, damp ski for skiing at Mach speeds all over the mountain, then I think the 184 cm is an easy choice. (Or, if you’re a particularly big / aggressive / ballsy skier, Volkl also makes a fairly intimidating-looking 191 cm.)

Though we haven’t skied the Mantra 102 in the 177 cm length, the 184 cm Mantra 102’s similarities to the 177 cm Mantra M5 that we have skied are striking. For someone who wants a more manageable daily driver to handle a mix of open terrain and moguls, trees, and other tight terrain, I think it’s a no brainer to recommend sizing down. In fact, I would go as far as to say I think most people would be happier sizing down on the Mantra 102 from their typical ski length (except for the skiers I mentioned in the above paragraph).

Luke: Mostly, I’m just really eager to ski the 184 cm (and ideally, the 177 cm) Mantra 102 at Crested Butte. Because I loved the ski in the more open terrain I skied it in so far, and still liked it in everything except the tightest bumps with the deepest troughs. So I’m really interested to see how much I like it in the steep, techy, and often tight terrain off of Crested Butte’s High Lift and North Face Lift.

Sam Shaheen, Luke Koppa, and Jonathan Ellsworth review the Volkl Mantra 102 for Blister.
Sam Shaheen on the Volkl Mantra 102.

But given that the 177 cm Mantra 102 should offer much of what the 184 cm does, but in a quicker and slightly less stable package, I’d agree with Sam in that I think a lot of skiers will probably be happy skiing this ski in a shorter length.

Jonathan Ellsworth: Again — and to try to be as clear as possible here: if you spend little time skiing big, tight moguls, you may get on the 184 cm Mantra 102 and wonder why those guy at Blister kept talking about how much ski the 184 cm Mantra 102 is. In the open, rolling terrain of the upper mountain at Arapahoe Basin, I absolutely loved the 184, and would not consider sizing down. But if I was going to do laps of bump lines down Arapahoe Basin’s lower mountain — i.e., lap after lap down Exhibition and Ramrod — I think that I would start feeling a bit worked even after just a couple of laps.

Sam, Luke, and I all ended up talking quite a bit about length, and we all felt pretty confident that at a steeper, techier mountain like Crested Butte, all three of us would probably opt for the 177 cm Mantra 102 — though we haven’t yet skied the 177 cm, so we are saying more than we know here. The alternative would be to stick with the 184 model, avoid certain long-ass mogul runs, and just get stronger and get used to the ski. That would certainly be an option, too.

In sum, hard-charging skiers who are physically strong are probably going to get along quite well with the 184 cm Mantra 102. But we suspect that the 177 model is still going to provide pretty good stability, while also requiring less input and feeling quicker and more maneuverable in tight terrain — and especially big moguls. In other words, we suspect that the 177 will offer a blend of performance characteristics that will be more appealing to a bigger pool of skiers than that of the 184.

(See our accompanying Deep Dive article for more on my thoughts on this, and more on the Mantra 102 vs. the M5.)

Sidecut Radius

Luke: We mentioned in our First Look of the Mantra 102 that it uses a triple-radius sidecut. We also mentioned that we don’t typically pay much attention to sidecut radii numbers and the marketing copy that surrounds them. And skiing the Mantra 102 just reinforced that second point for me.

I never noticed anything weird about how the Mantra 102 carved, slarved, and otherwise went downhill. It just felt intuitive, carved well, and didn’t feel hooky — just like the Mantra M5. So if you were worried that Volkl messed up by changing the sidecut on the Mantra 102 vs. the M5, don’t be.

Who’s It For?

Sam: Advanced to expert skiers who are looking for a powerful all-mountain ski with excellent suspension, and who want a bit more width than something like the 96mm-wide Mantra M5. I don’t think beginners or intermediates will get along very well with this ski — it is quite heavy and stiff.

Luke: Yep. If you value things like damping, stability at very high speeds (in various conditions), and mostly want a ski that feels very solid, strong, and capable, the Mantra 102 makes a lot of sense.

As I noted above, if quickness, forgiveness, or playfulness are priorities for you, this is not your ski. But if you want to go fast, want your ski to encourage you to do so, and don’t want it to kick your ass immediately when you screw up, the Mantra 102 is an excellent option.

Jonathan: My only caveat here would be that I think that big intermediate skiers (let’s say, folks who weigh at least 180 lbs, on up to those who weigh 200, 250 lbs, or more) I think would do just fine on a Mantra 102 in a 177 cm length — especially if they are just sticking to groomers and to mellower, open, off-piste terrain. As we’ve said: this is not a very punishing ski — not even in a 184 cm length. And it does work relatively well at lower speeds. So while I’m not suggesting that this is the best ski for a low intermediate, the heavier you are, the less worried I would be about you being on this ski — especially in a 177.

In sum, this review of ours is of the 184 cm Mantra 102. And I do not think that it is safe in this case to assume that shorter lengths of the Mantra 102 are going to feel similar. In fact, we’ve seen this before: note our review of the 177 cm M5. And note my review and comments about the previous Mantra — the Mantra M4 — and how I talked about the difference between the 177 and 184 cm models.

Bottom Line

Volkl has made another excellent ski in the Mantra family with the Mantra 102. This is a strong, damp, and powerful ski that feels at home in a lot of different conditions and terrain. Advanced and expert directional skiers take note.

Deep Dive Comparisons

Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive of the Mantra 102 to see how it stacks up against the Mantra M5, K2 Mindbender 99Ti, Head Monster 98, Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, Fischer Ranger 102 FR, Nordica Enforcer 100, Blizzard Bonafide, Blizzard Cochise, Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, Black Crows Corvus, J Skis Masterblaster, J Skis Metal, Salomon QST 99, 4FRNT MSP 99, Salomon QST 106, ON3P Wrenegade 96, ON3P Wrenegade 108, Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, and Moment Commander 98.

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2021-2022 Volkl Mantra 102, BLISTER
2021-2022 Volkl Mantra 102, BLISTER

56 comments on “2021-2022 Volkl Mantra 102”

  1. looking foward to yall getting time on these. the built in nudge of the bcl is interesting.

    i have a pair of dynafit huascaran 186 that use the triple radius sidecut. 35m/20m/30m. so versatile. no, they do not pack the density of the mantra102, but they do everything. and gladly.

    my suspiscion with these dynafits has always been that they nailed the rocker/radius/stiffness relationship. a little bit like J Skis talks about.

    that big radius up front keeps the ski from over indulging on turn initiation in deep snow. it is very easy to tip onto that shorter radius center section. this allows for raucus good times in pow and groomers, and mixed bc conditions.

    the other part of this engineering trick is the layup of the ski. which wood(s) and composites give the right vibration absorbtion/power/flex/strength for THIS ski ?

    if you ever bump into a ski designer, buy them a beer !

  2. Uh oh, another one bites the (multi-radius) dust.

    I can’t say I buy the argument that this sort of multi-radius sidecut “make[s] the ski responsive in the middle for making quick turns, while the longer radii in the front and back of the ski … increase stability when making bigger turns”.

    The theory here appears to be that the tighter center sidecut in the middle acts somewhat like an XC ski’s kick pocket, engaging when the ski is driven into a tighter turn. Aside from the very obvious issue of weight/flex matching (traditional XC skis have to be matched to the rider so that the kick pocket only engages in the kick phase) there seem to be a couple problems here:

    First, tighter turns don’t necessarily imply higher turning forces than longer ones. Turning acceleration is speed squared divided by radius, so a relatively small increase in speed will outweigh the difference made by longer turn radius. In my experience most skiers use longer turns to go faster, so I don’t see any way you would avoid engaging the tighter-radius center of this ski when you do that.

    Second, tighter turns are typically initiated by driving through the shovel, for a number of reasons. While I realize that many folks ride more neutral on softer snow (good luck with that on ice), those aren’t the sort of people who are going to be buying a 2200+ g metal sled with a -11.6 cm mount point.

    There is an existing word that perfectly describes this sort of deviation of a ski’s sidecut profile from its radius: Taper.

    OK, done ranting.

    • Isn’t the point of the longer radii in front/back that, when not flexed, the ski is less prone to initiating a tight turn on its own? And then, as you flex it more, you access more and more of the tighter radius?

      If all you’re doing is big turns or tight turns then this won’t be as good at either (to your point about high forces on fast, wide-radius turns), but on my multi-radii skis I like that I can, with some effort, do either kind of turn, even though it isn’t as locked into a wide turn (feels a *bit* more squirrely) and it fights me a little on a tight turn in the wider-radius tip and tail. But what I get is that I can take it up to higher speeds than I would take a tight radius ski to (as long as I’m careful and deliberate about how much I flex or lean it over), and I don’t have to fight it anywhere near as hard to do a tight turn vs. my wider radius skis. Overall it takes a bit more effort and attention to do either kind of turn but the ski ultimately provides more versatility, which is the point, I think.

      • Skis with a single sidecut radius can make turns with a wide variety of radii by varying edge angle. As you tip the ski on edge you can push it further into reverse-camber, and that causes the ski to make a tighter arc in the snow.

        For example, a ski with a 20 meter sidecut radius scribes a 20 m arc when just barely angled, 17 m at 30 deg edge angle, 14 m at 45 deg, 10 m at 60 deg, and 5 m at 75 deg. Admittedly these calculations assume perfect torsional rigidity, and real skis wash out a bit in the tip/tail, but even so edge angle enables a much wider variety of turn radii than the sorts of sidecut shenanigans we’re discussing here.

        Also it’s always been possible to make tight-radius skis follow longer arcs than their sidecut. As an example I’ve taken 19 meter skis up to >60 mph (confirmed by speed trap). Carving a 19 meter arc at that speed would cause a lateral acceleration of >4 G (i.e. more than my legs can handle) and yet I can make comfortable long turns in that situation. The reason why is of course that we can induce the ski to “skid out” of its native arc a bit.

        • Cool! Thanks for the write-up. Agrees with my experience. I like that when barely angled, I’m getting a wider radius at the ends, and when I angle the skis more (and the tip/tail splay, taking some of the longer-radius edge out of play) I get a tighter radius at the center — it’s consistent with how I want to ski. Sounds like multi-radius should actually help that unless I’m not understanding it. Others probably prefer different.

  3. I would like to see a comparison between these Manta 102’s and the Bonafides! I felt the M5 was a little too glassy while the Bonafides still had a little more dampness with the right amount of twang. Feedback please….. I left the Bonafides when they lightened up but then went too far and onto a pair of Stockli SR 107’s. Great ski a lot of fun but I just don’t what to ski over 35 MPH for a ski to react anymore….. …I liked the Salomon Q106 at lower speeds but did’t get to really get to pounce on them on steeper terrain.

  4. I’m always on the look out for a replacement for the 194 Kastle MX 98. It’s become my go to every day ski for Jackson the past few years. Few companies make a 190 cm plus length big metal ski, and the 102 is now on the short lists of skis to try.

    Any thoughts Blister crew on durability? The one really nice thing about the Kastle MX 98 is I could get 200-300 days out of a pair. When skiing 100 plus days a year, to have a ski that remains fairly consistent over time is really nice. I got away from the Blizzard Bonafide because they would get noticeably softer over a season.

    Side note, can we get a re-review of the Praxis Protest and a Deep Dive against today’s pow skis? I want to hear the crews thoughts on how a timeless classic compares against modern tech.

    • Honestly, I think the Monster 98 is a different enough ski that I don’t think the comparison is worth thinking too much about. The Mantra 102 is more maneuverable / easier to pivot, and it will certainly be better in pow. But it also doesn’t feel like a wider, big-mountain GS ski the way that a 184 cm Monster 98 very much does.

      • Jonathan, what skis currently offer that “big-mountain GS ski” feel that the 191cm monster 98 and 108 had? Are there ANY skis like this left?

        How do these Mantra 102s compare to the old metal Katanas? I always found those older Katanas very stable and great on ice, but also more forgiving than a true race ski and better in moguls. If the Mantra 102s have that feel, in a thinner package, they may be the ski for me.

        Thanks, keep up the good work.

  5. Hey, I ski mostly Alta and Big Sky. 250lbs and currently ski the 184 Mantra M5. I’m looking for a ski that is more stable at speed (50+mph), will handle chop better than the M5 (which aren’t bad), and perform better than an M5 in powder. I also ski moguls and trees some and need a ski that won’t be too tiring in lots of short turns

    Is there a one ski quiver for me, or am I better off using different skis for different purposes?

    • Well given that you are basically describing a unicorn ski … I am certain that you would be better off using different skis for different purposes. Some of the features you say that you are looking for are in direct conflict with some of the other features you want … so that is when it makes clear sense to move to multiple skis, and use the right tool for the job. Feel free to send us a note if you’d like to discuss further.

  6. Love the write-ups! I’m 6’4″, 200 lbs. intermediate skier on the east coast. Do you think I’m better off with the 177 or 184 M5?

    • Without more info it’s hard to say with certainty. But I’m inclined to say the 177s. (And just to be clear, you’re talking about the narrower M5 here, not the wider Mantra 102?)

      But if you’d like to discuss further, just become a Blister Member and send me an email.

  7. Hi! Awesome review as usual!

    I am looking to replace my 2016-2017 Monster 88 184cm as daily drivers for Colorado. I was looking for something wider that handles softer snow a bit better but can still carve and smooth out rough groomers at speed. I demoed the Bonafide in 187cm and really liked it. I havent been able to get on the new Mantra M5 or the Mantra 102 and they are both on my radar. Which one would you recommend to me? (6-2, 190 lb) And which length? Afraid either in the 184cm might be too much for bumped up slopes even though I am used to the Monsters.

    thx in advance!

    • Hi, Ken – this is a tricky question. If you got along well with a 184 Monster 88 and 187 cm Bonafide … I am pretty inclined to tell you to check out the 184 cm Mantra 102, and again, if you got along well with a 184 Monster 88 and 187 Bonafide (and didn’t find them to be too much ski for you), then I really am not worried that you’ll find the 184 cm Mantra 102 to be too much ski. Rather, I would be pretty surprised if you didn’t love it. No, it won’t have the same exact feel on groomers as your skinnier Monster 88, but it will do bigger GS turns in a way that shouldn’t disappoint. And it also should be a *much* more fun ski in moguls than your Monster 88s.

      That said, a 184 cm M5 might actually be a safer choice, but you say that you are looking to go wider. If we were only going to be using these skis on groomers, I would opt for the M5. But for all-mountain use — and especially for all-mountain use in everything from harsher conditions to thick chop to windbuff to 12-18 inches of fresh snow … I’d take the Mantra 102. And … I think you should, too.

      (And if you get ’em, please report back. And if you still have questions, feel free to email me.)

      • Hi Jonathan! Thanks for your thorough reply! I got to demo the 184cm Mantra 102 and the 184cm M5 Mantra at Loveland on a pretty firm day with piles of snow here and there and although I really liked the 102’s I though the M5’s were more dialed. They were just less tiring after a long day. The 102’s 3D radius sidecut made it exciting in that if I layed it over at higher angles it turned much quicker than one would think. But at lower angles it would cruise. I really felt the weight though just more momentum to deal with underfoot. I though the M5 was just a bit more balanced. I also really liked the Kastle MX99 in 184cm. Very refined ski but still somewhat burly. Felt like I could carve through anything on those. They did feel a tad lighter underfoot than the Mantra 102’s though which was nice. Overall for a daily driver no matter the conditions (except powder days and AT days obviously) here in CO the M5 is my ski. More fun/exciting than the Monsters but dont give up edgehold or stability. I think Volkl nailed it.

        • Thanks, Ken_R and Johnathan. Good validation for my time on the 185cm M5 today—really, really liked them. After spending a full day buzzing around a smattering of the Blizzard and Nordica competitors, the M5 stole the show (I’m 6’2″ and 175lbs; Park-City-based). Didn’t find it lacking in the deep, either. All of the other skis felt to me like they lacked the “energy” described in the full review above. Before I pull the trigger on the M5, I think I’ll try to get onto the 187cm Mantra 102. Had 2011 Gotamas as my daily driver for years, so the wider underfoot may feel even more comfortable. I’ll try to supplement the conversation after I get some time on the 102s.

  8. Hi, the tip (140mm) on this ski is quite wide, especially for a 102 waist. I was wondering if it ever felt like too much or clunky? Or an issue at all?

    Also did the side cut ever make the ski feel catchy or hooky in mixed / crud conditions?

    • None of us every found the Mantra 102 to be particularly catchy or hooky in variable snow (and we skied it a lot of it on the M102 last spring). As for the tip width, we didn’t really notice that in particular, but the general weight, stiffness, minimal rocker, and rearward mount point all equate to a ski that feels pretty sluggish compared to the many lighter, more rockered, and more forward-mounted skis on the market. But the M102’s tip never stood out to use as a downside (if anything, it’s probably a part of what makes the Mantra 102 such a solid carver).

      • That’s interesting…I’ve wondered the same. Why the need for a clown tip on a narrow ski, especially when its backed with a long front radius? Can’t say I understand that about the Mantra 102 or the Katana 108. I look at my old Mantra’s, Gotomas, Katanas, Bodacious, Cochise, Bonafides….and just scratch my head with this whole fat tip concept.

  9. Hi all – I am in the market for a west coast resort ski (50/50 in-resort vs. side country, generally all “off piste” though). I have been skiing the V-Werks Katanas for 3 seasons now, and as of last weekend at Crystal Mountain WA, those skis are now officially my rock skis. We’ll see if the ski tech can put them on life support, but they got pretty banged up. Which is too bad, because I have LOVED those skis. Thinking about getting the same skis again since I have loved them, but my quiver is now bigger (with some dedicated carvers and powder skis), so wondering if I should think about something new.

    First about me: 48 yrs old, advanced / expert skier but decidedly not as hard charging as i was circa 15 years ago.

    Here is what I am considering and wonder if you have any guidance.

    Volkl Katans V WERKS (184cm or 191cm)
    Volkl Mantra 102 (184cm)
    Volkl Mantra V WERKS (184cm)

    Any thoughts?

    • Hey Jason,

      I think that the Mantra 102 will feel considerably heavier than the V-Werks Katana and won’t be quite as maneuverable in tight spaces. The V-Werks Katana is a very unique ski on the market — there really isn’t much that’s very similar out there. I don’t think there is anything wrong with getting another pair, especially if you like them as much as you say.

      Although we haven’t skied the Mantra V-Werks, based on the specs it looks like it could feel a lot like a narrower V-Werks Katana (similar shape and construction). If you’re looking for something narrower than the Katana, that might be a good call.

      Hope that helps!

      • Hi again – I ended up getting a pair of Mantra 102s, mostly in the wake of Blister’s high praise + I just wanted to mix it up a bit in my quiver. Anyway, I thought I might share my experience with the ski after 4-5 days of use now. First about me: 48 yrs, 225 lb, 6’4”, advanced / expert skier, Pacific Northwest local. I’ve been skiing on Volkl Katana V-Werks (186 cm) as my daily driver for the last few seasons, and I have loved those skis. I bought the Mantra 102s (184cm) as a replacement daily driver for the Katanas (more on comparison below). I find myself also loving these new skis for all the reasons Blister mentions (stable, damp, fast, charging, edge hold, versatility, yada yada yada). So let me preface my observations by saying the Blister review is pretty spot-on (including your comments to me above), so I won’t reiterate anything here, just add what I think I can to round out a picture for someone my size who skis in the PNW.

        (1) Comparison vs. Katana V-Werks: these are very different skis for sure, but in many ways they target the same “in-resort but off piste terrain.” They just do it in very different ways. The Katanas lean more side-country while the Mantras lean more front-side. Given the size, shape, weight, and rocker profile of each, maybe this shouldn’t be surprising. Recently I‘ve mostly been skiing in 6-8 inches of fresh in the early AM and then cut-up soft chop in the late AM + hardpack in the PM. Maybe the only surprising thing to me in this comparison is the relative performance in soft chop. I thought the Mantras would feel much more stable here, but I have not found that to be the case. I have found the the extra shovel length of the Katanas helps someone my size stay on top of the chop in a way that more than compensates for added stability and dampness of the Mantra. The Mantras punch through, while the Katanas float. As a result, I find the Mantras are more work here. Not necessarily less fun, but certainly require more of my attention. FWIW I will likely look for another set of Katanas at the end of this season, if only for days of hiking into the side country.

        (2) Sidecut: this is maybe the strangest and most surprising aspect of the Mantra for me. I thought this would be 100% a marketing gimmick. But you really can feel the different radii in play. I have found in particular that this difference in radii while providing some added flexibility in how I ski, also forces me to think about an added dimension when I ski. Meaning when “I’m on” it can be super fun to mix up turn radii and stance. But if I get lazy, things can go south. I agree that this is a ski that won’t launch you into orbit when you make a mistake. But on 1-2 occasions when I am being lazy with my turns I have found my uphill and downhill skis can “lock” into a different radii, and the skis wander apart. This is a strange and spooky sensation I have not felt on any other skis. To be clear, if I am really driving the skis, no problem. It’s only happened to me on the runout down to the lift when I’m not really thinking about what I’m doing. Still it’s weird.

        (3) Length: I’m a big guy. But I also like a shorter ski in-bounds. Invariably, I find that by day’s end, when things get bumped out, I need to make tight turns. So I have generally opted to size down in my skis. I had no regrets with my Katanas in that size. And I definitely have no regrets in the Mantras. The Mantras definitely ski big. Maybe if I had gotten the 191s, my comments on the soft chop would be abated somewhat. But I think I would find the ski utterly exhausting in almost every other way if I had done that. Amen to you if you opt for the bigger Mantra.

        Anyhow, that’s my $0.02.

  10. I’m a solid intermediate skier from Hawaii that gets 2 weeks on the snow each year. I’m 48 y/o, 6′ , 250lb physically strong skier looking for a stable ski for all front face conditions. No moguls or off piste action for me anymore. Just dawn to dusk charging on fresh groomers, crud, afternoon ice and fresh powder. My skiing is all west coast, Canada and Japan.
    Would this ski be a good fit or too much work? Looking for a solid stable ski that will be solid year after yesr.

    • I know this is ancient, but cannot not reply. Frank, with all due respect, that’s (almost) like me buying a surfboard for my 2 week Hawaiian vacation each year. The cost of the board, storage, transport, no idea what the surf conditions will be like (what if it’s puny and I have some 8′ funboard I suck on anyway?): why? Rent.

      Renting would be a bonus for you. You’d be able to rent based on the conditions and get to choose whatever you wanted as a ski and swap it out as needed.

      Sorry, I mean no disrespect, but the idea of purchasing a ski optimized for ideal (which is not as often as poor) western conditions when one is only skiing a couple weeks a year just makes no sense.

  11. Great review! I’m trying to make a decision between the 102 and the V Werks Mantra 99. I’m front side 85% of the time. 6 foot and 210lbs. Really like the idea of a lighter poppy 100ish ski vs the heavy charger with less energy to give back. I’m a strong intermediate skier living in NZ with annual visits to Canada and/ or Japan. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi, Nick – we have yet to ski the V-Werks Mantra, but for a guy your size who is skiing “frontside 85% of the time,” man, I have to think that you’re going to have a much better time in mediocore to very firm conditions on the Mantra 102 than (any) lightweight V Werks ski. Like, I’d bet you a lot of money on that.

      Now, if you told me that you plan to break out this ski *only* on softer, more-forgiving-conditions days, then the “lighter, poppier” V Werks could make sense.

      But if this was supposed to be a deep-snow ski … then I also would be steering you more toward the V Werks Katana.

      Long and short: I’d only consider the V-Werks Mantra if you will be skiing on smooth snow (groomers) or soft, forgiving off-piste conditions.

  12. I assume you mean the Sick Day 104? We can’t really say compared to the V-Werks Mantra, but a 186 cm Sick Day 104 is *much* less ski than a 184 cm Mantra 102. If you’re looking to go a bit lighter than something like the Mantra 102, I still think it might be wise to look at skis that are at least coming in around 2000 g per ski, and not significantly lighter than that.

    But again, if by “frontside 85% of the time,” you might really like the Sick Day 104 if you are keeping it in fairly soft, forgiving conditions. (It’s a great ski, and we all love it.) But none of us would choose it as our frontside ski in firm / very firm conditions.

    So between something like the V-Werks Mantra / Sick Day 104 on the one hand, and the Mantra 102 on the other, I think a ski like the Salomon QST 99 or Fischer Ranger 102 might be more solid options that would hold up better than the V-Werks Katana & Sick Day 104 on rough, firm snow. (Again, *if* rough, firm snow is something you’ll be using this ski on a good bit.)

  13. I’m debating the Mantra 102 in a 184 and Blizzard Cochise in a 185. The simpler, longer turn radius of the Cochise appeals to me, but I haven’t skied any of these new 3D sidecut designs. I tour on the Zero G 108’s in a 185 and absolutely love them, I’m just looking for something beefier for resort and sled laps. Any thoughts?



    • Well these are two of my current favorite skis. I’d say the Mantra 102 has better suspension. It also might actually feel a bit less quick than the Cochise? Both are easy to pivot. The firmer things get, the more I’d take the suspension of the 102. But like I said, it might actually require a bit more strength / input than the Cochise.

      I’d give the nod to the Cochise for use in deeper snow.

      And ultimately, if you are already getting along well with a Zero G 108 … then I suppose the Cochise is a bit closer to being an ‘inbounds’ version of that ski.

      • Hey Jonathan,

        Please help me choose between the old and the new Mantra 102.
        I also love my old 2018/19 Cochise in 185 and find it very surfy and user friendly and not too directional in softer snow (I have not tried to charge on it as I love its smeery side a lot) but on the other hand have not been able to find attractive my 2016/17 180 Bonafide. That is because I find them to be too boring as only a directional ski and not supporting me enough with the afternoon bumped up terrain.
        Which Mantra 102 should I go for, 2021 or 2022 one, both would be in 184?


    • That’s a really good question. Surprisingly, I haven’t been thinking about that previous Mantra 100 at all while skiing the M102 – which is usually my signal that a ski doesn’t remind me at all of the new ski that I’m testing.

      If you go back and read my review of the fully rockered 100, you know that I thought something was ‘off’ about our pair of 184s – and there were a number of other people who wrote to say that they’d had a similar experience.

      With the Mantra 102s, nothing at all feels off about them.

      What they share in common with the fully-rockered Mantra 100 is that both of these are fairly big, substantial skis. But I think the Mantra 102 pivots so well – given that it’s such a strong ski – that there is honestly nothing about the *184* Mantra 100 that I think was better than this 184 Mantra 102.

      Again, many skiers out there will find this to be too much ski. But compared to the previous 100 … this new ski is as good or better in every way.

  14. I have a question about a mount point. I bought Mantra102 177 cm. I’m 5’7”, about 175 lbs, a former racer. Mostly I will ski on powder but some days I would love carving on groomed slopes. I’m not going to use plates, so I can’t experiment by drilling extra holes in the skis. Sam indicated that his mount point was -11.6 cm. I think it would be too much for 177 cm. What’s your suggestion and why there 3 lines on the skis?

  15. I’m looking at either the Mantra 102 or the J Skis Masterblaster for my everyday ski. I ski the front range in Colorado and for deeper days I have the 184 Blister Pro but am looking for something I can use for days without a bunch of new snow. You’ve spoken highly of both of these skis but I’d love your take on the two head-to-head.

  16. Hi all,and thanks for a great review and ver interesting and well informed comments.
    Any suggestions regarding mount points for the M 102, I saw three lines a while back before stores closings at the shop, and when I asked salesperson he was honest enough to say he didn’t know,
    I am considering the M102,East Coast, long turns aficionado,
    6 1”,225lbs, advanced.
    Any input will be much appreciated
    Stay safe,

  17. I think this could fill the hole in my quiver for a hard snow ripper that was long held by the 188 Rossi E98. I loved the fierce grip on hard and damp power of that ski but eventually couldn’t accept the shortcomings in versatility of that ski’s design (essentially full camber/flat tail with hammerhead and tail) specifically the lack of ability to release the edge in tight spots and hookiness in heavy PNW snow, especially heavy chop. Float wasn’t an issue for me, at least on the days I wanted to ski that ski.

    After ditching the E98, my hard condition ski has been the Masterblaster 187. It is awesome, particularly off piste and in tight spots. It’s hard for me to imagine a better coral reef ski. I’m not looking to get rid of it, but complement it in more wide open spaces and groomerville (e.g. Sun Valley or Big Sky).

    The Mantra 102 must kill the E98 in versatility (release, float, and stability in 3-D snow and chop). Would you please compare power, energy/pop, edge hold and dampness?

    Thanks. Love what you guys do!

  18. Re: the questions above about the 3 lines on the Mantra 102s – it appears the large back line is the recommended center point for mounting bindings. There are 2 more lines forward of this line, +1 cm and +2 cm if you prefer to mount slightly forward.

  19. Hey guys, I have a question regarding the Volkl Mantra 102.

    I’m currently a resort skier with approximately +/- 30 weeks of experience. I have a very good technique and I ski really aggresive with long turns and high speed. My current pair of ski’s is a pair Blizzard Brahma’s (year 2016) with a length of 180 cm. However, I want start with freeriding and thus I’m looking for a wider pair. I’m considering the Volkl Mantra 102, but I have two questions:

    1) I want to do a few tricks on my new freeride ski’s (for sure 360s, possibly backflip) – are the M 102 too stiff for that?
    2) I’m 190 cm tall and my weight (without gear) is 81 kg. What size do you recommend?

    Thanks in advance for the help!

  20. Hi! Would you put a Kingpin on the Mantra 102? Or does it need a frame binding/alpine binding in your opinion? I ski the BMT 109 and BMT 122 with pin-bindings (Ion and Kingpin) and loooove them. But earlier I skied more burly/charging skis and I miss that missile-feeling every now and then. So I thought I’d complete the set-up a bit. But I still want to be able to tour ok with it. I know we’re talking like at least 25-30% heavier then the BMT 109. But weight is only one factor. The benefits in touring with a pin-binding vs a frame binding is even more decisive than weight if you ask me. So I would really like to mount Kingpins on them. Hence: would the Mantra 102 ski well also with a Kingpin you think? Or would that rather mean that I cant use the full potential of this beast of a ski? :). One option could be the Shift or the Tecton… But they are both pretty new on the market so heard a bit about some issues on durability and handling… Thanks / Andy

  21. Hi Guys, Thank you for the wonderful review, as usual. Please comment on +1 and +2 mount points. what advantages and disadvantages you experience with moving the mounting forward? This is particularly relevant because the design of ski seems to have provided those options. How did it feel to you when you moved the binding to +1 and +2?


    • We’re planning on doing an update to this review with info on different mount points, but my suspicion right now is that moving +1 or +2 cm in front of the recommended line wouldn’t make a huge difference, given the big sweet spot on the ski. So I think moving a cm or two in front of the line would probably be fine, and would likely make the ski feel just a little bit more nimble (i.e., lower its swing weight a little bit).

      • Hey Luke, did you and the crew ever do experimentation on the M102 mount points? Would be very curious the read your thoughts on that before I mount mine up.

  22. Hey guys – for a bigger guy – 200 lbs (220 with gear), over 6 feet – how does the M102’s suspension/plush ride compare to the Enforcer 100 in 186 and the Enforcer 104 Free in 186?

    I have the bonafide 97 in 183 and love the suspension and precision. But want something that floats better that has a plush ride and better than the B97 in 4-10 inches of snow on the east coast. Thanks.

    • Hmm, at least to me, the E100, E104, M102, and Bonafide 97 all feel fairly similar in terms of damping / suspension. That said, if you like the precision of the Bonafide and want something that floats a bit better but that still feels similar, I do think the Mantra 102 would make a bit more sense than the Enforcers. I think you might find the E104 a bit too loose / slarvy, and in our experience, the Mantra 102 offers a more intuitive, predictable ride than the newest E100, but the Mantra 102 is still similarly smooth and stable. The Katana 108 would also be an option, but for 4-10″ days, I don’t know if its slightly better flotation would be worth the extra heft in tight spots or its slightly less quick edge-to-edge feel vs. the Mantra 102.

  23. Reader Comment / Test of the Mantra 102 in 191cm:

    As an avid reader of Blister, I thought I should share my impressions with this ski.
    Me: 6.2 ft. and 225 lbs.
    Ski: Mantra 102 (19/20) in 191 cm
    Binding: Salomon STH 16 Steel, DIN at 12
    Boots: Dalbello Krypton ID
    Days Skied: 8
    Level: Expert / Instructor

    All right, here are my impressions of the Mantra 102:

    I start this right away with a little bit of a letdown. I did not ski this Ski in powder and will probably never will. Why? If there is only a slightly chance of powder, I grab one of my other wider skis to enjoy the powder. It does not cross my mind to purposefully pick the Mantra on a powder day. Will that ski work in powder? Well, are there skis that does not work in powder one way or the other? But yes, I think they will do well.

    Soft Chop / Soft Variable Snow:
    The ski works very well in those conditions. Stability, control and the easy turn initiation leads to a very enjoyable skiing. There is not much of a surfy feeling to it, for that a more powder-oriented ski would better. What there is, and that is a very positive aspect, that regardless of the speed you can ski through this kind of snow with ease and just enjoy your day in the mountains. But, you may as well decide for yourself to go full throttle and charge through this kind of snow and really enjoy your day in the mountains. Either way, the Ski stays composed, damp and does not need much input. However, we do need to talk later about technical and conditional requirements the Ski needs, and the skier should match.

    The Mantra 102 makes skiing through crud or any other kind of bad, hard, icy and terrible snow surprisingly fun. To be honest, what we all wish for is powder what we more often get is hard pack, crud and bad snow. On those days you may ask yourself why skiing off-piste? You may think that there is no fun there, let’s get our race carvers out and make this a day on the groomers (or going to the park). Now, I find this is not true when using the Mantra 102. Make these crud days great again. This is where this Ski shines. The ski handles these conditions in the best possible way. Its stays composed, does not deflect, turns easy and is not overall demanding while doing so. Plus, even so there is a speed limit, it is in such a far distance you do not want to go there. The Mantra 102 confirms the reputation the various Mantra Skis over the years have gained: they are some of best skis for these conditions.

    The Ski carves well, has lots of edge hold and makes you ski faster that you probably should. Making short turns requires more input and – if you primarily ski short turns – will tire your legs rather soon. However, when skiing with a variable set of turn radii however the ski again is easy to control and very enjoyable.

    Moguls / Tight Terain:
    I had the chance to ski this Ski in hard, icy and very irregularly formed moguls. It was not fun. I think there is hardly any ski that handles this very well. The good part is that the ski is agile enough, does not fold on you and stays composed with allows you to maintain control and get through that challenge. Since the Ski is agile, the Ski works well in tight terrain. There are of course more playful skis, but the Mantra 102 is not a handful in the trees or any other tight spot.

    What is this Ski not good for?
    First, the Mantra 102 is to my mind are very versatile Ski. It handles a lot of different snow conditions and skiing styles very well. Deep Powder is not necessarily the best usage for this ski, as well as powder skiing through the trees. There are more powder specific skis that serve that purpose better.. Other than that, the Ski handles everything else well or very well.

    Who is it for (and who should rather not buy it)?
    This is not a beginner Ski. The Ski is best for advanced intermediates and experts. They will get the most out of this ski. The Ski is constructed to go fast and asks for more active Skiers. I found the Ski works best if driven through a more forward and traditional stance. The better your skiing technic is the more easy and almost playful you will find this ski (well, that is a statement that actually applies to all skies) If you mostly cruise down the mountain in long smeary turns, the ski will still work for you, but you do not use about 70% of the Skis capabilities. For larger and/or heavier folks who only occasionally go off-piste I would not hesitate to recommend this as a daily driver.

    A final word on technical and conditional requirements the Ski may have. It should quite clear that the 191cm length requires a solid skiing technic and at least some noteworthy physical stamina. Having said this I also want to stress that the Mantra is an accessible Ski, even in the 191 cm length. It also is quite easy to ski, so you can ski it all day and the next day and the day after that.

    Bottom Line:
    Völkl managed to build with the Mantra 102 a 191cm Ski that can charge hard, is still easy to ski and provides a lot of fun regardless of the snow conditions. I can recommend this Ski.

  24. Thanks for a great review!
    What are your thoughts on mounting +1 / +2. I followed your rec on mounting my BC Atris +2 couple of year back which worked out perfectly. Thanks again!

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