When the Völkl M5 Mantra and women’s-specific Secret skis launched in 2018, they turned heads in ski shops and in magazines across the country. Built with a Titanal Frame to put more material over the edges in the tip and tail—plus a carbon laminate insert in the shovel to keep the ski spry—the fifth-generation Mantra set the standard for multiple other brands to follow with similar types of construction for the past three years.
The next generation of the Mantra and Secret, the M6 and Secret 96, respectively, steps up both of these construction techniques to create a ski that better suits individuals based on their size. The key new technologies from Völkl are what the brand calls the Tailored Titanal Frame and the Tailored Carbon Tip.
The Tailored Titanal Frame is a prescribed amount of metal incorporated into each length of the M6 Mantra and Secret 96. The ski’s top layer of metal has a reduced amount of Titanal near the shovel and tail of the ski to provide a specified flex and easy handling. Shorter skis have less metal, making them better suited for shorter, lighter skiers, while the longer skis have more metal, providing more stability and damping for larger riders.
This concept is explored in soothing German with Völkl’s product leads for the M6 project (Don’t worry, there are English subtitles).
The other key tech addition to the M6 Mantra and Secret 96—the Tailored Carbon Tip—isn’t exactly new for Völkl. A variation of it appeared in this season’s award-winning Deacon 84 carving ski, but the updated version in the M6 Mantra and Secret 96 takes the tech to another level. Strands of carbon fiber are directionally-woven into a laminate of the ski with different angles and spacing tailored to the ski’s length, adding more liveliness and supple feel as needed. Also, the striking carbon weave overlaid on a fiery red background makes the M6 Mantra’s shovel stand out on the shop rack and in the liftline.
The original name for the Tailored Carbon Tip was “Tailored Fibre Placement,” and is explained by two more Völkl brand reps in a video below.
Lastly, the new M6 Mantra and Secret 96 also feature the brand’s 3D sidecut technology, which incorporates a variable sidecut that makes short turns easier at slower speeds, and long turns more attainable at faster speeds. This concept was first introduced in last season’s Kendo, Kenja, and Mantra 102.
Völkl M6 Mantra and Secret 96 First Impressions
SKI was given an early preview of the ski at the beginning of December 2020 at Vail, Colo. During the preview, I was able to ski on both the 177 and the 184 models of the M6 Mantra. The difference in feel for the two skis was especially noticeable when getting the ski on edge, with the smaller ski requiring less effort to get it engaged compared to the longer option. Less effort doesn’t equal less backbone, however, as the shorter ski was still powerful and damp throughout the turn. I’m 6’0” and 200 pounds, so the 184 was better suited to my aggressive style, but the 177-length didn’t feel smaller or weaker in any way. It just felt easier.
The subtle changes in performance based on length is similar to what Blizzard did in 2020 with the TrueBlend core. Völkl’s modification of the metal and carbon aims for—and in my experience so far, achieves—the same goal of enhancing the ski’s feel at different lengths in a way that will please any North American all-mountain skier.
Luckily, SKI’s Test crew will take this ski head-to-head with Blizzard and a slew of other all-mountain skis during our SKI Test later this month. You’ll be able to read the final verdicts for the actual performance of both the M6 Mantra and Secret 96 in the 2022 Gear Guide, as well as get your hands on these skis, next season.
2021-’22 Völkl M6 Mantra Details
- Lengths (cm): 163, 170, 177, 184, 191
- Sidecut Dimension (mm): 135-96-119
- Main Turn Radius (m): 17.5 (177 length)
2021-’22 Völkl Secret 96 Details
- Lengths (cm): 149, 156, 163, 170
- Dimensions (mm): 135-96-119
- Main Turn Radius (m): 14.2 (163 length)