2021 K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance Skis
- Lengths: 154 cm, 162 cm, 168 cm, 175 cm
- Rocker: Tip and Tail
- Stiffness: 7 out of 10
- Weight per Ski: 1833 grams per ski [168cm]
- Dimensions: 134 / 98 / 120mm [168cm]
- Sidecut Radius: 15.6m [168cm]
- Construction: Aspen Veneer Core with Titanal Aluminum Y shaped Layer
- Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.5 cm from center or 73.8 cm from tail
- Name: John Persons
- Days skied on 2021 K2 Mindbender 98 Ti in 168cm length: 15
- Height: 5’7″
- Weight: 135lbs
- Skiing Level: Expert
- Ski Length Tested: 168cm
- Boots/Bindings Used: Marker Griffon TCX and Dynafit ST Radical | Scarpa Maestrale RS
- Preferred Snow/Terrain: Powder/Steep
- Wasatch Backcountry, UT
- Snowbird, UT
- Solitude, UT
- Alta, UT
Who This Ski Is For:
- Advanced skiers who spend most of their time skiing off-piste inside and outside resorts, and who enjoy charging down regardless of the terrain.
At the time of writing this, the Wasatch mountains have only 53% of their normal snowpack and the backcountry is plagued with a bad persistent weak layer that has already claimed one life.
This ski was built to be an all-around mountain ski and it really shows. There is nothing that this ski can’t handle.
Of all the widths of the Mindbender that K2 makes I think that this is arguably the best one. If you ski the midwest (you never ski powder) then this ski is probably a bit wide, but for everywhere else in the US it’s a perfect width.
The 98Ti is narrow enough for maneuverability through trees yet wide enough for when Alta gets one of its freak lake-effect storms.
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 added stability. The video in the “Construction” section below is what K2 says about its Titanal Y-Beam.
This is a ski that is marketed towards advanced and expert skiers but after riding it I think that Intermediate skiers who are trying to up their riding could also ski it.
I like this ski as an off-piste, jack-of-all-trades ski so much that it has become my main backcountry ski. I mounted a pair of Dynafit ST Radicals on them.
Later this season I intend to do a follow-up review after I ski 50 days in the backcountry with this ski. Hopefully, this will allow me to get some better photos once the persistent weak layer heals.
These skis carve ok. I prefer a carving ski with a really short turning radius and these skis seem to have a bit longer turning radius than I prefer.
Due to this, the Mindbender 98’s don’t whip you out of a corner as fast or aggressively as many carving skis do.
If you ski more groomers than off-piste, I would recommend getting a narrower version of the Mindbender or just a different ski.
For everything else, these skis are great.
I recommend mounting these skis at the factory recommended mount point.
- Handles Crud well
- Great all-around size especially for the West Coast
- Easy off-piste turn initiation
- Stable at higher speeds
- Uneven flex pattern
- Not good for those who like to ski backward
- Very occasional chatter when slam stopping from 25+ MPH
- Does not excel at any one specific thing
The K2 Mindbender is capable of skiing powder very well. I am 5’7” and 135 lbs and have had no problems staying afloat on the 168 cm length.
I personally prefer a little bit of a narrower ski for powder because it makes face shots easier, so these skis are a perfect width for me.
Skiing powder through trees is where these skis really excel because they are wide enough to float yet nimble enough for quick needed turns.
This ski skis crud very well.
The K2 PowerWall gives you a really direct feeling of the skis that, especially paired with a stiffer ski boot, give excellent control.
The only thing that could make this ski better in crud is if it was a little bit heavier.
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—this is what K2 has to say about their PowerWall technology.
These skis ski ok on groomers.
They hold an edge and stop very well but they don’t shoot you from side to side as effectively as many carving skis do.
I’m used to carving skis with a shorter turning radius so I found myself almost falling over sideways a few times when pushing deep, leaning carves, especially at a lower speed.
I would not recommend these skis if carving is your main thing.
The maneuverability of the K2 Mindbenders makes them good at skiing moguls for the same reason they are good at skiing crud.
These skis are light enough that they can be thrown back and forth quickly.
Grain of Salt: I hate moguls and usually either avoid them or just charge straight down them.
These skis are very nimble especially when skiing trees and off-piste terrain at ski resorts.
The titanal Y Beam in the core of these skis allows for quick turn initiation.
This maneuverability is great especially when forced to ski tight trees in the Wasatch Backcountry due to high avalanche danger on the open faces.
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.
You can initiate the turn fast but the skis fail to whip you as hard as better carving skis do
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.
This creates a stable ski at speed but not a very playful one.
So while the front is kinda playful the tail isn’t. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing it just depends on what you are using the ski for.
If you want a playful ski to sometimes ski switch on, this isn’t your ski.
However, if you want a charging ski with a little bit of forgiveness upfront then it is.
Tip & Tail Rocker:
This ski has All-Terrain-Rocker.
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.
The tested Mindbender 98 with a length of 168 cm has a claimed weight of 1833 grams.
This puts this ski on the heavier side of skis in this class. It’s not a ridiculously heavy ski but it’s definitely on the heavier side of the spectrum for this class of skis.
This heavier weight gives the Mindbender decent stability in uneven skiing conditions. This weight also gives the Mindbender good damping at speed.
This weight does make the ski less ideal for backcountry skiing. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a deal-breaker. These skis have become my new backcountry skis for the season. As mentioned above I will post an extended review after I have skied about 50 days on them in the backcountry.
I usually ski on skis that are between 162 cm and 174 cm in length.
The tested length of this ski was 168cm in length, which is right in my wheelhouse.
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 98mm underfoot size is a great width for an all-around ski, especially if you live out west.
Wide enough to stay afloat but narrow enough to ski groomers and not get tired legs on long traverses.
- All-Terrain Rocker: Softer upfront, 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.
I tried skiing on these with the original demo bindings at multiple different places on the skis before I remounted them with touring bindings.
I personally prefer the factory recommend mountain point of -10.5 cm from true center or 73.8 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 point.
I mounted my dynafit ST radical backcountry bindings at the factory recommended mount point.
If you are looking for a good all-mountain ski, and if you spend more time off-trail than on, I recommend the K2 Mindbender 98Ti.
I give this ski a 7 out of 10.
The only real reason that I docked these skis a few points was because there are all-mountain skis that carve better. They carve ok but not as well as some of the less traditionally shaped skis like the Head Kore.
My favorite conditions on this ski are 8-14” of the Wasatch’s greatest snow on earth combined with steep chutes or open bowls. In these conditions, you’re going to have a blast flicking these skis left and right with ease.
These things serve as a confidence-inspiring charging ski with remarkable stability.