Völkl added rocker in the tip and slightly widened the sidecut to 98 underfoot last season adding better floatation and maneuverability to the venerable Mantra. But under the Asian-influenced artwork on the topsheet, it's all about "trench digging power," said Ertl. Race-inspired torsion box construction, vertical sidewalls, a layer of titanium and a wood core provide edge grip and stability for a backside-race ski feel—particularly for athletic skiers. "It takes a little energy to initiate, but then the ski rips on edge and handles all snow conditions," said Crawford. "Big, strong and rock solid," added Beidleman.