New M5 Mantra awarded Outside Magazine Gear of the Year Award 2018

A complete revamp of a classic leads the cream of the crop from our test in Snowbird, Utah

How do you freshen up a ski you’ve been making for 12 years and already redesigned four times? You blow it up entirely. That’s what Völkl’s German engineers did with the brand-new M5. Their goal: keep one of the most versatile all-mountain skis in history relevant. Not only did they succeed, but they created the best ski of the year. How? By bringing back underfoot camber for better glide and rebound, decreasing the width (from 100 to 96 millimeters at the waist) for easier edging, and deepening the sidecut for a more dynamic ride on hard snow. But what sets the M5 Mantra apart is its groundbreaking construction. Völkl’s skis are justifiably famous for their sturdy wood cores sandwiched between two sheets of titanium alloy, but they tend to be on the heavy side. To maintain ride quality while stripping away grams, Völkl reinforced the perimeter of the ski with Titanal, a NASA-grade aluminum alloy, shedding weight from the center. On the hill at Snowbird, the M5 Mantra was the most versatile ski in our test—stable but lively, floating in resort powder, carving like a frontside ski, and seamlessly transitioning from groomers to bowls. “It’s lightweight and precise at the same time,” said one tester. “I expected it to carve well, but I was surprised by how well it performed off-trail. Skilled skiers will excel on it. The sweet spot is huge.” 134/96/117

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