2020 K2 Mindbender 90C Alliance

The all-new K2 Mindbender 90 C Alliance is an awesome choice for ladies who are looking for a light, quick, easy to use ski that is versatile and all-mountain oriented. On the wider side for a carving ski, and on the narrower side for a powder ski, the 90 C sits right in that sweet spot of a versatile all-mountain shred stick. Built with an aspen wood core and a carbon spectral braid, these skis are light, quick, and surprisingly stable. They’ve got a relatively short turn radius, with a 14.5-meter arc at the 163 cm length, so they do like to turn. K2’s Carbon Spectral Braid is the new technology here, as it winds and wraps its way around the core, making the ski stiffer in the forebody and underfoot, while emphasizing playfulness in the tail. The end result is a business up front, party in the back type of ski that’s pretty fun and exciting on any terrain. Our testers generally loved the quick and fun-loving nature of the ski, with strong scores given for versatility and maneuverability.

Carly Monahan ripped a few runs on the 163, which was the right size for her. She scored the ski 5’s out of 5 for quickness, playfulness, and forgiveness, which are right in line with what K2 intended to hit with this ski. 4’s were given for flotation, stability, versatility, and overall impression, so it’s pretty safe to assume that Carly was a fan of this fun ski. “Super-nimble and playful. Great for someone who doesn’t want a heavy and aggressive ski, but rather something they can relax on and still rely on to perform well in soft snow, trees, and groomers.” In terms of how the ski handles variable terrain and speed, the MB 90 C “seems pretty versatile and easy to maneuver. Short turns and bigger turns both felt natural.”

Shelby Parenteau also liked the 163 cm test length, and she scored all 3’s and 4’s with high scores for versatility, edge hold, quickness, playfulness, and overall impression. As a part-time skier with a strong snowboard background, this seems like a perfect ski for Shelby. “Really fun ski for a lady who wants to make some turns. Very playful and light ski. Still stiff enough and held an edge well throughout. I was able to hold an edge and lay down turns best on this ski out of all others. Good for laying trenches!” That light weight does come at a cost, though, and Shelby astutely picks up on this. “Only con was it felt a little chattery when pointing it at higher speeds.” As a concluding compliment, Shelby calls it “my favorite ski of the day.”

Also on the 163, Allison Ruschp loved the maneuverability, quickness, and forgiveness of the ski. Stability and playfulness were on the next tier of scores, with edge hold and overall impression bringing up the rear for Alli. She notes: “this ski is best for a true intermediate skier. It’s light, soft, and forgiving. It likes to make short radius turns. They’re good for the lady looking to cruise around and carve some easy turns. They’re very easy to complete turns.” In terms of limitations of skier ability, Alli says that they’re “not meant for a hard-charging skier” as they’d most likely overpower the Mindbender 90 C. That’s why they make the Mindbender 88 Ti!

Kristi Brown is one of those hard-chargers that Alli was warning against. Kristi found the 163 to be too short for her, and her scores with the exceptions of quickness and playfulness echo that sizing discrepancy. She marks it for the “teen/twenty front-side skier who is not aggressive would enjoy this.” As usual, we refer back to our philosophy that there’s not one “best” ski, but rather a ski that’s perfect for each individual. There’s certainly no shortage of ski models out there.

Our more casual skiers really liked the Mindbender 90 C Alliance, while our more aggressive testers were forced to take their feet off the gas, and this is a perfect example of how and why we do this test.

Testers

Kristi Brown

Age: 49Height: 5'9"Weight: 133 lbs.

Ski Style: Energetic, precise, very smooth and skis with a lot of finesse

Allison Ruschp

Age: 32Height: 5'5"Weight: 135 lbs.

Ski Style: Ex-racer who's calmed herself down

Shelby Parenteau

Age: 27Height: 5'2"Weight: 130 lbs.

Ski Style: Snowboarder

Carly Monahan

Age: 33Height: 5'4"Weight: 135 lbs.

Ski Style: Athletic and active, but laid back

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