2020 K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance

The all-new Mindbender line from K2 has a lot of winners. From the skis themselves to the skiers that ski them, this new lineup is perfect for a wide variety of all-mountain skiers, and within the series, there’s something for everyone. Sitting smack in the middle is the Mindbender 98 Ti Alliance. It’s a long name, for sure, but the ski can live up to it. At 98 mm underfoot, these skis are aiming for that all-mountain, super-versatile width that’s supposed to be that one-ski quiver for everyone and everywhere. Built with an Aspen wood core, the skis have K2’s Titanal Y-Beam built in for damping and strength. This wood core combined with that metal laminate create a super-stable and highly-addictive personality that’s not only suitable but also superlative for any and all conditions and terrain. With a turn radius of 15.6 meters at the 168 cm length, the MB 98 Ti is a pretty turny ski, but that can equal a lot of fun. Stability was a common theme coming out of our testers, as they were all pretty big fans of the ski’s ability to maintain strength, even with some speed.

Annie MacDonald called her 168 cm test length “pretty playful and quick turning. Very forgiving!” She scored the ski 4’s out of 5 for flotation, quickness, and versatility. These are some pretty nice scores that are indicative of a well-rounded ski. While K2 is aiming for the advanced and expert level skier, Annie thought these would also be appropriate for intermediate skiers. She also notes that they are “so versatile, and perform really well in softer snow.” Sounds like what K2 was going after with the inception of this Mindbender line.

Kelsey Boleski would have preferred the 175 over her 168 cm tester, but she still had a very favorable overall opinion of the ski. Scoring all 4’s right down the line, Kelsey’s evaluation is pretty consistent. When we see these scores for one of these ~98 underfoot all-mountain skis, it’s pretty apparent that they’re versatile and well-rounded. “Svelte and strong. The Mindbender is a great do-everything ski for the east and beyond. The Titanal Y-Beam adds the strength while the ease of use makes for the svelte feel.” We know what you mean, Kelsey, that metal laminate does seem to strike the right chord when it comes to how much is too much (or not enough).

Elissa DeGolyer preferred the 168 that she tested, and her highest score was a 5 out of 5 for torsional stiffness and edge hold. For a 98 mm underfoot ski, that’s a pretty impressive mark. All other scores hovered in the 3-4 range, again indicating the overall poise and versatility of the ski. Elissa liked how the Titanal Y-Beam placed the metal where it matters most, and that led to her higher scores for stability and overall impression.

The 161 was the right length for Darcy Mangan, who, like Kelsey, scored the ski all 4’s. This type of scoring is pretty rare, that it’s high and consistent all the way down the line, and we think that’s pretty cool, especially for a new and un-tested product like the MB 98 Ti. Darcy calls the skis “all there without being overwhelming. Stable and quiet.” In terms of ability level and versatility, Darcy notes that it’s “certainly a fun ski that’s willing to do whatever you ask it to. Great for advancing intermediate and above.”

Replacing an older model must be tough, as the Mindbender had some big shoes to fill. K2 has done a masterful job in creating this particular model to fill the need of a lot of advanced skiers who are looking for that supremely versatile ski that quite literally does it all.

Testers

Lauren Lepage

Age: 28Height: 5'5"Weight: 145 lbs.

Ski Style: Half snowboarder, half skier, all fun!

Darcy Mangan

Age: 43Height: 5'6"Weight: 175 lbs.

Ski Style: Smooth and happy, just like it should be

Elissa DeGolyer

Age: 30Height: 5'4"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Precise, aggressive, extensive ski racing background

Kelsey Boleski

Age: 29Height: 5'8"Weight: 150 lbs.

Ski Style: Freeride oriented with a competitive background

Annie MacDonald

Age: 56Height: 5'7"Weight: 118 lbs.

Ski Style: Lots of style, grace, and power

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