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All-new and much needed for 2024, the K2 Mindbender 96C is a welcome addition to the Mindbender family. There were some gaps in this grouping of skis, and the 96C has filled a glaring hole. In the carbon-powered skis, we went from the 90 to a 116, so something needed to be done. The 96C fits the role of being the versatile and high-performance ski in the bunch, creating an easier option than the 108Ti, and a fun-loving blend of freeride flair and all-mountain precision. We had a blast on this ski this past season, hooking into it early in December for some firm groomer skiing, and ending on it in mid-March in a blizzard, all while mixing in mid-range days in between. The end result and impression are that this ski has a lot to offer to a ton of skiers.

As with the other skis in the collection, the Mindbender 96C starts with an aspen wood core for a mix of energy and stability. By keeping things simple, the ski is predictable and easy to use. K2 uses their Carbon Spectral Braiding technology in order to boost the specific performance of the ski in certain zones. By using a tighter weave of carbon stringers in the shovel and underfoot, the ski is more torsionally stiff and responsive when entering and holding a carved turn. In the tail, the cross-hatching of stringers is elongated, keeping the stiffness intact but increasing the playfulness and maneuverability during the finish phase of the turn. The addition of Uni-Directional Flax stiffens the ski and keeps the weight around normal—the 184 hits the scale at 1930 grams, so even in the longest length, this ski remains below 2000 grams. It’s not that it’s significantly lighter than the 89Ti, rather it has a friendlier flex that makes it easier to ski in a variety of conditions.

166, 172, 178, 184 cm17.8 m at 184 cm131/96/119 mm

Aspen Core
Carbon Spectral Braid
Uni-Directional Flax
Preferred Terrain
Soft Snow

It also features a slightly longer turn radius than the 89Ti, with a 17.8-meter cut in the 184. This longer turn shape allows for smearier and more playful flotation while keeping the ski quick and agile in a multitude of terrain and snow types. There’s low and gradual rocker in the tip and a flatter tail, keeping the ski pretty well planted on the snow when asked, but floaty and fun when the conditions allow. Since it bridges the gap between all-mountain and freeride, there’s some taper, but not a ton, making the ski smooth enough to handle deeper snow while keeping it precise and agile for firmer snow, corduroy, and ice. The shape and profile make the 96C one of the better tree skis out there, as it’s able to swivel in and out of tighter spots easily and with grace.

We not only had a lot of days on this ski, but we also had a lot of different days. From cold and fast groomers to deep and driving snow, the all-new K2 Mindbender 96C was able to handle it all. We even got on this ski on the coldest and chalkiest day of the year, and other than the ski’s flexible shovel, it performed admirably. For most skiers looking to progress to the advanced and expert level and for those that aren’t naturally aggressive, this ski has a ton of benefits, and we’re stoked to see it as a wonderful addition to the Mindbender family.