Reviews You Can Rely On

Volkl M6 Mantra Review

With these on your feet, you'll be ready for anything the mountain has coming at you
Volkl M6 Mantra
Photo: Volkl
Editors' Choice Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $700 List | $609.00 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Stable, confidence inspiring, magnetic ride quality
Cons:  Damp
Manufacturer:   Volkl
By Bobby Garrett ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 27, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 10
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 9
  • Carving Ability - 20% 9
  • Powder Performance - 20% 8
  • Crud Performance - 20% 9
  • Terrain Playfulness - 20% 6

Our Verdict

The Volkl M6 Mantra once again earns our Editor's Choice award. Simply put, the versatility this ski provides is unmatched in this year's ski lineup. With Volkl's innovative new technologies combined with an already tried and true recipe, the result is close to perfection. Strong through long turns while still nimble in tight terrain, our testers always wanted another run on this ski. Through all of the scores, the M6 Mantra stood out above the rest and retains the title of Best All-Mountain Ski.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Volkl M6 Mantra
This Product
Volkl M6 Mantra
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $609.00 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$699.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$699.95 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
82
80
76
70
68
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Stable, confidence inspiring, magnetic ride qualityStiff, explosive, carving machineBurly construction, feels extremely well madePowerful float, stable at speed, can arc or smear turnsPlayful, responsive, versatile
Cons DampHeavyHeavy, requires a strong and confident skierSome vibration, sometimes feels softVibrates at high speeds, overly soft tip
Bottom Line With these on your feet, you'll be ready for anything the mountain has coming at youA combination of raw explosive power and stability puts this ski well ahead of the competition for carving and is ideal for even the firmest snow daysThis big, burly ski requires a strong pilot but rewards you with equally strong performanceThe unique rocker/camber profile and wider 102-millimeter waist width promote versatile performance wherever your powder stash may bePlayful and adventurous, this ski is also manageable and forgiving. It encouraged us to explore the changing terrain over the whole mountain
Rating Categories Volkl M6 Mantra Nordica Enforcer 94 Black Crows Justis Blizzard Rustler 10 Faction Dictator 2.0
Stability At Speed (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
Carving Ability (20%)
9.0
10.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
Powder Performance (20%)
8.0
5.0
8.0
10.0
7.0
Crud Performance (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
Terrain Playfulness (20%)
6.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
9.0
Specs Volkl M6 Mantra Nordica Enforcer 94 Black Crows Justis Blizzard Rustler 10 Faction Dictator 2.0
Waist Width (mm) 96 94 100 102 96
Shape (Tip-Waist-Tail) (mm) 135-96-119 127-94-115.5 138-100-123 133-104-122.5 127-96-117
Available Lengths (cm) 163, 170, 177, 184, 191 165, 172, 179, 186,191 171.3, 177.4, 183.1, 189.3 164, 172, 180, 188 163, 171, 179, 187
Length Tested (cm) 177 179 177.4 180 179
Radius (m) 30-18-24 17.1 20 17.5 19
Rocker Style Tip-Tail Rocker Rocker/Camber/Rocker Progressive front Rocker/Classic Camber/Slight rear Rocker Tip-Tail Rocker Tip Rocker/Freeride Flat Tail
Mfr. Claimed Weight (Per Pair Unmounted) (pounds) Unavailable 8.9 lbs 9.5 lbs Unavailable 8.2 lbs
Core Material Poplar/Beech/Double Titanal Woodcore/Double Titanal Poplar/Fiberglass/Double Titanal Multi-layer Woodcore/Carbon Fiberglass/Titanal Poplar Woodcore/Double Titanal

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Volkl M6 Mantra proves to be yet another top-notch product from the German manufacturer. Volkl builds on their success from previous Mantra models that also received our review's top award. The result is a true all-mountain machine that is offered at a very competitive price.

Coming in at 96 millimeters underfoot, the M6 Mantra includes Volkl's Tailored Titanal Frame and Tailored Carbon Tip Technologies. This combination serves to create a powerful concoction of stability no matter the snow conditions. Unlike some skis with double titanal sheets, the M6 remains accessible to a wide range of skier abilities and styles. Whether you occasionally venture off the groomed trails or are a more seasoned off-piste skier, we think this ski will support your skills well.

New to the Mantra is Volkl's 3D Radius Technology. Adding to its already impressive versatility, the three built-in turn radii help the skier create the perfect turn for any situation. Our testers thoroughly enjoyed arcing with confidence down the entire mountain.

Performance Comparison


Slice through the turns and carve up the terrain on the M6 Mantra.
Slice through the turns and carve up the terrain on the M6 Mantra.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Stability at Speed


The M6 Mantra has a magnetic edge grip quality to it. We liked this ski/snow interaction sensation when on edge and at speed. Vibrations were aptly dampened and helped us remain confident even on early morning frozen hardpack. Continuing in the Mantra tradition, torsional rigidity is superb. At high speed, this ski keeps asking for more and more edge angle while maintaining solid ride quality.


Volkl's Tailored Titanal Frame is tailored to each ski length. In the 177-centimeter length we tested, we were impressed with the superior stability at speed the Mantra provided. These inserts are strategically placed above the sidewall at the tip and tail area.

If you want to go fast and hold an edge, look no further than the M6...
If you want to go fast and hold an edge, look no further than the M6 Mantra.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Carving Ability


Volkl gives us a mostly traditional blend of rocker/camber/rocker, which results in a predictable and progressive ski flex. With the aforementioned 3D Radius Technology, the M6 Mantra boasts three turn radii in a one ski package. At higher speeds, the tip and tail edges gripped and pulled our testers through longer turns. Shorter turns were aided by a shorter turn radius built into the midsection of the ski.


Volkl's 3D radius did require some "getting used to." Our testers did admit to feeling unimpressed with this technology initially. However, this review involves testing each skis strengths and weaknesses over a longer period of time, not just two or three runs. This mileage allowed our testers to truly build a relationship with this new M6 Mantra; just as you might with your new pair of skis over your first few days on them. We feel confident in saying this technology from Volkl adds quality to the ski and will help more levels of skiers experience different carving sensations.

More edge angle means more fun. Tip the M6 Mantra up on its edge and...
More edge angle means more fun. Tip the M6 Mantra up on its edge and hold on.
Photo: Scott Rokis

The overall feeling while carving on the M6 is one of confidence. The consistent ski flex helped keep our testers stay composed at both medium and high speeds. Damp and nimble, the M6 Mantra kept our crew more than satisfied on-piste and encouraged us to "mix it up."

Powder Performance


Realistically, how many days are actually bottomless powder? Even after a five or six-inch storm, except in the heaviest snow conditions, you will likely find the bottom very quickly. There are endless what-ifs and ideal situations to hope for. As skiers, we are used to making the most of the situation. Heli-skiing? No, we would not ever take the M6 Mantra out. Big resort snow day with some variable conditions and eventual tracked out lines? All-mountain ski every time, and in that case, why not choose the M6 while you're at it? With less titanal material than other, similar-width skis, it floats noticeably better.


Volkl's Tailored Carbon Tip technology really shines in this category, even if it is just out of sight. Other similar-waisted skis in this review tended to dive and get bogged down in softer snow. The slightly extended tip rocker, in combination with less titanal material at the front of the ski, proves again to be versatile as ever. The M6 Mantra provided the float to keep our testers feeling agile and confident on big resort storm days.

Even in powder or slush, the ride is smooth and predictable on the...
Even in powder or slush, the ride is smooth and predictable on the M6 Mantra.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Crud Performance


Despite lacking the double titanal layer construction common among skis that perform well in this category, the M6 Mantra more than holds its own. We figured there had to be something that would hold this ski (or any ski) back, but this category seems to represent the whole story for the Mantra. The combination of Volkl's technologies, such as the Tailored Carbon Tip and the tried and true rocker/camber/rocker profile, serve to cement this ski as the true all-mountain machine.


Crud is best charged into and through with purpose. With just the right blend of characteristics, the M6 Mantra stays true to its line even when submerged in the gnarliest Sierra Cement. Simply put, commit and be rewarded.

Ugly snow? No problem with the M6 Mantra. Just be sure to dodge the...
Ugly snow? No problem with the M6 Mantra. Just be sure to dodge the rocks.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Terrain Playfulness


The M6 Mantra retains its stability and nimbleness in bumps and tight terrain. Our testers sometimes noticed the 3D Radius Technology would "get in the way" through deep troughs or rock gardens. However, the narrower waist width and extended tip rocker were enough to keep things manageable and fun. The M6 is no slouch by any means but is also not a top pick for a freestyle session or bump camp.


The "locked-in" feeling from carving on-piste served to hold some of our testers hostage in the bumps specifically. Making quick adjustments while still on edge was more difficult. After more and more laps with the Mantra, we learned how to control its tech and find its sweet spot even in misshapen bumps. If you have an experienced touch, the M6 Mantra remains a solid platform on which to chase your kids down the bumps after lunch.

Though not as nimble through bumps as others, the M6 Mantra can hold...
Though not as nimble through bumps as others, the M6 Mantra can hold its own.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Value


As our Editor's Choice for Best All-Mountain ski, you might guess this one to be among the most expensive in our review. In reality, it sits comfortably middle of the road price-wise. Volkl has already established previous models in the Mantra series as top-of-the-line, award-winning products. With the added improvements and Editor's Choice in hand once again, the Volkl M6 Mantra checks all the boxes for us.

The M6 Mantra's Tip-Tail Rocker supports solid all-mountain skiing.
The M6 Mantra's Tip-Tail Rocker supports solid all-mountain skiing.
Photo: OutdoorGearLab Review Team

Conclusion


If it ain't broke, don't fix it. While Volkl may have broken something here, they have definitely kept our faith in the Mantra series. They have added impressive new technologies and made adjustments to an already award-winning product. Constant positive innovation is clearly at work here and keeps the M6 Mantra above the competition. If you are looking to demo all-mountain skis this season, we recommend you make time to try this one.

Get creative and be rewarded. The M6 Mantra will hang with you...
Get creative and be rewarded. The M6 Mantra will hang with you through it all.
Photo: Scott Rokis

Bobby Garrett

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More