K2 Mindbender Skis
K2 Skis have just launched their brand-new Mindbender series of freeride skis, part of their 2020 range. K2 have gone back to the drawing board and completely re-engineered a new series of skis from the ground up to replace their existing Pinnacle range.
K2’s head ski designer, Jed Yeiser, wanted to create a ski that didn’t compromise in terms of edge grip or driftability. It’s common to find a ski on the market that has either attribute, but very few skis combine both. I would say the new K2 Mindbenders have really incorporated both of these qualities. It can be pushed hard, but it's easy to break free for control.
The Mindbender men’s range comprises of 116c, 108ti, 99ti, 90ti, 90c and 85c. We will be stocking the Mindbender 108ti, 99ti and 90ti as pictured below.
The female specific range, Mindbender Alliance, include 115c, 106c, 98ti, 90c, 88ti and 85c. We will be stocking the Mindbender Alliance 106C, 98ti and 90c
Titanal Y-Beam Technology is the heart of the new Mindbender series. This unsurprisingly Y shaped Titanal laminate modulates the torsional flex without affecting longitudinal flex. This delivers a damp stable ride at higher speeds and still allows the tips and tails to remain easy to initiate into or out of the turn.
The Titanal Y-Bean is found on Mindbender 108ti, 99ti, 90ti; and the Alliance 98ti and 88ti
Carbon Spectral Braid Technology is a variable angle carbon laminate that allows the torsional and longitudinal flex to be tuned independently. This construction is lighter and more playful. This tech can be found in the Mindbender skis where power isn’t as important.
The Carbon Spectral Braid Technology can be found on: Mindbender 116c, 90c, 85c, Alliance 115c, 106c, 90c and 85c.
One thing I would really like to point out here is the weight, the Mindbender 99ti comes in at 2226g/ski at 184cm. K2 seemed to have bucked the trend of trying to build the lightest ski. Why? Probably because light skis don’t tend to ski as well when not on light or smooth snow. Mass is important to keep the ski tracking as it should without extra effort from the skier. Well done K2 on this front!
K2 have also stated that each model of Mindbender has been designed and tuned for its intended skier. They haven’t just bumped up or down the waist width. Construction, shape, rocker, radius, flex and camber have all been adjusted to where each ski is likely to be used the most. This is relatively unique in todays terms of ski engineering.
On Snow Performance
My first ski on a Mindbender was at our local ski field, Porters Ski Area. I bumped into the NZ K2 importers who were with the K2 designers including Jed Yeiser and his team of engineers. On this day I managed to sneak in three short runs on the Mindbender 99. Instantly I was impressed with it’s ease of turn initiation, the tips engaged, and the ski bent easily. As I gained more speed the grip and sensory feedback I was getting was telling me to open up and lay into these skis. The ski was truly intuitive. It was easy to break from short to long turns or long to short, add more angle and pull more G. Serious Fun, it seemed in those 3 short runs that K2 have produced just that. A ski that was fun to be on but could be pushed and deliver a high top-end when required. I left wanting more.
What K2 say: Not every day is hero pow and waist-deep trenchtown. But when that high pressure sets in, you still gotta put ‘em down and rip. So take on the hardpack, the blown out sastrugi – yeah that’s a word – and churn and burn no matter what’s in front of you.
127/90/114mm | 17.9m @ 184cm | 1924g @ 184cm
The Mindbender 90ti felt quick to engage, pulling into the turn a little sharper and carving a smaller radius. Energetic with fast edge-to-edge. This is more suited for the skier spending a bigger portion of time on the groomers but wants to venture off on occasions.
What K2 say: Quick edge-to-edge? Check. Absurd float in pow? Oh you bet. You might be surprised to hear that this ski only clocks in at 99 underfoot – it definitely hits above it’s weight. Toss in that Y-Beam and you’ll be wondering where the speed limit on this thing really is.
138/99/123mm | 18.5m @ 184cm | 2226g @ 184cm
The Mindbender 99ti is a true all-rounder, the longer radius and rocker lines meant the ski wasn’t so grabby or eager to bite meaning it was smoother and easier to start a turn. It was very easy to ski shorter skidded turns through bumps or tricky terrain. Even though it scores extremely high for freeriding on its was unbelievably powerful on groomers, full steam ahead. The more energy you put into this ski the more it gave back. Great for medium to longer turns.
What K2 say: String ‘em up and slap ‘em down. These freaks were made to run. Utilizing our proprietary Titanal Y-Beam™, this freak of a ski is meant to do one thing: mash. From deep pow to the chalky steeps, this beast is the big mountain charger you’ve been waiting for.
136/108/125mm | 22.9m @ 186cm | 2236g @ 186cm
The Mindbender 108ti as expected was more of a true freeride/big mountain ski. Again, slightly longer rocker profiles when comparing to the 99ti, the 108ti was very predictable is variable snow, confidence inspiring. It did nothing funky or weird that we had to work out how to get the most out of it, we could just get on with skiing fast and cranking turns. But even so it still held that edge on-trail and still carves with power and bite, a little less energic but that’s a positive thing considering where these skis should perform at their best.
On groomers carving, smashing through variable and even took them for some laps in the park, they ticked all the boxes.
It’s been the best part of a decade since we have stocked K2 skis, until now they have lacked top-end and performance in variable snow conditions, which is important for skiing in NZ. After spending a few days on the new Mindbender series it’s clear that this new breed of ski is capable of skiing what NZ can throw at it and more. A ski that is hard charging and fun, has this been done before? I’m not sure. This ski is going to suit a broad spectrum of skiers and for good reason.
We will have Mindbenders up for pre-order online mid-May. If you want to reserve a pair now please contact us.
Andrew Bellanti having fun with the Mindbender 108ti
Andrew Bellanti on the Mindbender 99ti, making light work of firm conditions