2022 K2 Mindbender 85 Alliance

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lengths: 149, 156, 163, 170 cm
radius: 12.1 m at 163 cm
sidecut: 130/85/113 mm
price: $ 279.95

The K2 Mindbender 85 Alliance is a fantastic choice for beginner and intermediate lady skiers who are looking for something that is not only easy to use, but is also quite peppy and energetic. It’s pretty amazing what K2 can get out of a simple wood core ski, and most of that is due to the positive camber underfoot that gives the ski its energy. Built with an aspen veneer wood core and a half-cap construction, these skis don’t have a whole lot of technical stuff that goes with them, but they definitely have the shape and profile to make them feel like a much higher-end ski. At 85 mm underfoot and with a moderate amount of taper and rocker, the Mindbender 85 Alliance is versatile enough to rip around the whole mountain, but is definitely more comfortable on the groomed terrain. Also great in the bumps and trees, these skis have a mellower fore/aft flex that gives you the necessary confidence to drive the tips of the skis into the bumps or around in the glades. Overall, this ski punches above its weight, allowing for progression and confidence in an all-mountain format.

Rocker / Camber / Rocker
Aspen Veneer
Fiberglass, Slantwall
All Mountain, Groomers, Powder

Lexi Hildreth skied the 163 and noted that it skis true to size. She may size up for a personal pair, but the 163 was just fine for testing purposes. Her high marks of 4 out of 5 were given for flotation and playfulness, and we do often see those two categories going hand in hand. 3’s out of 5 were given for versatility, forgiveness, and overall impression, so even for more of a beginner-oriented ski, these Mindbender 85 Alliances have a lot going for them. “Not for me,” Lexi states “but great for a beginner to intermediate skier looking to buy an all-mountain ski. It wasn’t stiff enough so I did not feel stable, but it was nice and light for skiers who prefer a lightweight option. Very surfy and would do best in softer snow.” I do think the shorter length comes in to play here, as she might not have the same experience on the 170.

Also on that 163, Alli Ruschp notes that while it skis true, it was slightly on the shorter side for her. Another candidate for the 170, Alli still gave top marks of 5 out of 5 for quickness, maneuverability, playfulness, forgiveness, and overall impression. On a shorter length, with “less” of a build versus some upper-end models, Alli definitely pumps the tires of the Mindbender 85 Alliance. "Every lady’s ski, it’s fun and stable, peppy in bumps but smooth carving on groomers. Lightweight and forgiving. I think a wide range of skier abilities would like this ski, it’s a breeze to ski.” That broad appeal is one of the most outstanding qualities to this ski for sure. Carly Monahan was right on size with the 163, calling it a “Great ski for smaller skiers or ladies who don't spend a ton of time on the hill. Still figuring out your ski style and want to venture off-trail a bit more? Just wide enough to not flounder in fresh snow. The softer tails release easily and let you play with your turns. They're happy to smear through soft snow, or skid in tighter terrain, but the platform underfoot is stiff enough to really engage in a carved turn too. Super approachable and confidence-building.”

Building skills, gaining confidence, and learning new ways to view the mountain are all hallmarks of a great ski like the K2 Mindbender 85 Alliance. If you’re looking to progress and advance, but not pass the level of your skis, this is a great place to be.