Rating: / 5
Stability at speed: 4.40 / 5
Hard snow performance: 3.82 / 5
Crud performance: 4.22 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.62 / 5
If you can admit that beating everyone to the bottom gives you satisfaction, here’s your ski. The Mantra, surely a classic by now, gulps powder- and crud-covered vert with shameless greed. As in other categories, there are lighter and less demanding skis than the Völkl, but here again, none more stable, smooth and predictable. The Mantra’s race-ready construction—wood core, vertical sidewalls, metal laminates—knows no speed limit. “Solid and predictable, like an old friend,” said Howard.