Gear Review: 2021 K2 Mindbender 106 Alliance Ski

John Persons | | Gear ReviewGear Review
K2 Minbender 106
K2 Mindbender 106C Alliance Skis. PC: evo.com

2021 K2 Mindbender 106C Alliance Skis 

  • Lengths: 159cm, 167 cm, 175 cm
  • Rocker:  Tip and Tail
  • Stiffness:  8 out of 10 stiff
  • Weight per Ski:  1740 grams per ski [167cm]
  • Dimensions:  139 / 106 / 124mm [167cm]  
  • Sidecut Radius:  15m [167cm] 
  • Construction:  Aspen Veneer Core with Titanal Aluminium Y shaped Layer 
  • Factory Recommended Mount Point: -9.75 cm from center or 78 cm from tail

Reviewer Stats:

  • Name:  John Persons
  • Days skied on 2021 K2 Mindbender 106 in 167cm length: 13
  • Height: 5’7″
  • Weight:  135lbs
  • Skiing Level:  Expert
  • Ski Length Tested:  167cm
  • Boots/Bindings Used: Marker Griffon TCX
  • Preferred Snow/Terrain:  Powder/Steep

Locations Tested:

  • Deer Valley, UT
  • Solitude, UT
  • Alta, UT
  • Wasatch Backcountry, UT

Who This Ski Is For:

  • Advanced skiers who spend most of their time skiing powder off-piste and enjoy charging down regardless of the terrain.
John Persons skiing the K2 Mindbender 106 in the foothills above Salt Lake City, UT. PC: Jason Grosklags

Overall Impression:

This is one of the two pairs of Mindbender skis that I reviewed for SnowBrains this year. Along with these skis, I am also reviewing the K2 Mindbender 98C Alliance. You can find that review here.

K2’s line of Mindbender skis is designed to be bomber all-mountain skis capable of shredding anything you point them towards. 

This specific ski in the lineup is on the wider end of the Mindbender Alliance lineup. K2 makes this ski in underfoot widths of 85mm, 88mm, 98mm, 106mm, and 115mm. 

Of all the widths of the Mindbender that K2 makes, this is one of the best ones. 

I personally prefer skiing the Mindbender 98 on most days, but on deeper powder days, I find myself reaching for the Mindbender 106 instead. 

These skis really come alive in deep powder. The width, rocker profile, and shape of these skis allow for fast powder skiing without the concern of submarining a ski. 

Much like the Mindbender 98, these skis are excellent at charging down the mountain and are incredibly stable at high speeds, even over chrud. 

Despite their width, they are still plenty maneuverable through trees or tight chokes. 

The Titanal Aluminum “Y” layer in the core helps this ski remain planted at speed and through choppy conditions. This technology allows the tips to have a different flex than the tails, which brings more stability. The video in the “Construction” section below is what K2 says about its Titanal Y-Beam.

This ski is marketed towards advanced and expert skiers, and I think that is who these skis will best suit. If you are more of an intermediate skier, I recommend getting the Mindbender 98 or Mindbender 88 instead. 

If you ski a lot of powder in the backcountry, this would be a good ski to mount a pair of pin bindings on. I have a pair of Dynafit ST Radicals mounted on my Mindbender 98s, but I hope to get another pair and put them on the Mindbender 106s. 

For a ski that is this wide underfoot, they carve averagely. I personally prefer a carving ski with a really short turning radius, and these skis seem to have more of a medium turning radius. Also, edging hard on these skis is definitely more difficult than on a narrower ski.  

If you ski more groomers than off-piste, I would recommend getting a narrower version of the Mindbender or just a different ski. 

Overall, these skis make for a great pair of off-piste powder day skis. 

I recommend mounting these skis at the factory-recommended mount point or just a few centimeters further back. 

Pros:

  • Great in Powder
  • Stable in all conditions
  • Handles Crud well
  • Nimble for the width
  • Stable at higher speeds

Cons:

  • Carving
  • Uneven flex pattern
  • Not good for those who like to ski backward
  • Stiffer tails
John Persons Solitude K2 Mindbender 106
John Persons skiing at Solitude Ski resort in Utah. PC: James Muir-Jones

Powder:

The K2 Mindbender is capable of skiing powder very well. I am 5’7” and 135 lbs, and I have no problems staying afloat on the 167 cm length. 

These skis float exceptionally well, making them great for fast powder skiing and huge slashing face shots. 

Despite their width, these skis are still very nimble through the trees. 

Stomping cliffs on these skis is also a breeze due to how well they float. 

Crud:

Crud is another area where these skis really excel. 

The K2 PowerWall gives you a really direct feeling of the skis that, especially paired with a stiffer ski boot, give excellent control. 

If you are an intermediate or beginner skier, the energy transition from the PowerWall might be a bit much because it gives these skis a very technical, direct feel. 

The tip rocker profile does a great job at neutralizing both uneven snow conditions and chatter. 

Pairing this ski with a bomber binding, like the Marker Griffon, makes for an excellent crud ski.  

Groomers:

These skis have the same fault as the Mindbender 98 when it comes to groomers. Both skis initiate the turn well, but neither ski has the sidecut to really whip you hard into the next turn. 

That being said, for the width, these skis carve better than I expected them to. If you like carving bigger, arcing carves, then these skis will work well for you. It is primarily low speed or tighter carving where these skis are slightly disappointing. 

If you are not huge into carving, then none of this will be a problem for you. However, if you are buying this ski for primarily carving, I would recommend looking elsewhere. 

Moguls:

Overall, these skis are good at skiing moguls for the same reasons: they are good at skiing crud. 

These skis are light enough that they can be thrown back and forth quickly.

The only drawback is that they are a little bit on the wide size. If I were buying these skis to ski moguls, I would recommend getting the Mindbender 98 instead because of its increased maneuverability.  

Particularly Large Grain of Salt: I hate moguls and usually either avoid them or charge straight down them.

John Persons K2 Mindbender 106
John Persons carving the K2 Mindbender 106. PC: James Muir-Jones

Turn-i-ness:

These skis are nimble enough to ski tight trees and steep chutes. 

The titanal Y Beam in the core of these skis allows for quick turn initiation. 

These skis turn similar to the Mindbender 98 that I previously reviewed. You can’t flick them back and forth quite as quickly as you can with the Mindbender 98s, but that is to be expected because of the larger width.  

The only thing I don’t like about the turn-i-ness of these skis is their inability to whip you hard into a turn after you have initiated it.

These skis initiate turns well but do not whip you as hard as many dedicated carving skis do. 

Stiffness:

I give these skis a stiffness of 7 out of 10. 

Due to the Tianal Y Beam in the core, the stiffness varies a lot at different parts of the ski. The front of the ski is softer, the middle of the ski is stiff, and the tail is slightly softer. 

Because the flex is not symmetrical and the tail is stiffer, I would not consider these skis very playful. 

This isn’t necessarily bad; it just depends on what you are using the ski for. If you don’t spend much time in the park, this probably will not bother you. 

If Ollies and landing switch are your thing, then I would recommend getting a more park-oriented ski. 

However, if you want a charging ski with a little bit of forgiveness upfront, then these skis are for you.  

Tip & Tail Rocker:

This ski has All-Terrain-Rocker. A diagram of what this looks like can be found below. 

The rocker in the tip is much more pronounced than that in the tail. 

The tip has a fair amount of rocker. This allows for a forgiving front end. 

The tail rocker is much less profound. This allows for support when landing backseat off of kickers or side hits. It also gives the ski added stability in uneven conditions.

All-terrain Rocker
Diagram of All-terrain Rocker on a ski. PC: Snowcountry.eu

Weight:

The tested Mindbender 106 with a length of 167 cm has a claimed weight of 1740 grams. 

The tested Mindbender 106 is just slightly on the heavier side of skis for this class and ski width. This is largely because of the Titanal Y Beam inside the ski. 

This extra weight gives the Mindbender good stability at speed even when chagrin through uneven terrain. This helps by dampening the impacts to the front of the skis. 

The main downside to the added weight is if you plan to use this ski for backcountry skiing.

This photo accurately describes what it’s like to ski these skis on a deep powder day. PC: James Muir-Jones

Size:

I usually ski on skis that are between 162 cm and 174 cm in length. 

The tested length of this ski was 167cm in length, which is the perfect ski size for me. 

I am five foot seven inches, and in my opinion, this is a great size ski for my height. Long enough to stay afloat in powder and maintain stability over crud but short enough for quick maneuvers through tight trees.  

The 106mm underfoot is a good width for an all-mountain ski, especially if you ski mainly on powder days. 

These skis are wide enough for the deepest days but still nimble enough for tight tree skiing when the main areas get skied out. 

Construction:

  • All-Terrain Rocker: Softer up front, stiffer in the middle, and slightly softer in the tail. 
  • Aspen Veneer Core: Lightweight yet strong core material.  
  • Ti Y-Beam Aluminium Layer: Below is what K2 has to say about this technology. 

  • PowerWall Technology: Below is what K2 has to say about this technology. 

Mounting:

I skied on the Mindbender 106 with the bindings centers over multiple different locations. I was able to do this thanks to the adjustability of the Marker Griffon TCX.

I personally prefer the factory recommend mountain point of -9.75 cm from true center or 78 cm from the tail.

 If you like a little bit more of a tail, I recommend mounting the bindings 1-2 cm further forward compared to the factory’s recommended mounting point. 

If you want a little more float for powder skiing, I recommend mounting the bindings 1-2 cm further backward compared to the factory’s recommended mounting point. 

Bottom Line:

If you are looking for a great all-mountain ski, and if you ski mainly on powder days, I recommend the K2 Mindbender 106. 

I give this ski a 7.25 out of 10. 

The only real reason I docked these skis several points is that they don’t carve as well as some less traditionally shaped all-mountain skis like the Head Kore or Line Blade. 

My favorite conditions on this ski are 14-90” of the Wasatch’s greatest snow on earth combined with some fun cliffs to drop.  In these conditions, you are going to have a fantastic time in the white room.

These things serve as a confidence-inspiring powder day charging ski that can tank just about anything.


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One thought on “Gear Review: 2021 K2 Mindbender 106 Alliance Ski

  1. There is no Titanal in the the Mindbender 106C Alliance. The ‘C’ is for the spectral braid carbon. Mindbenders with Ti designation have the Titanal Y Beam.

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