Expert Review: K2 Mindbender 99Ti
This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in March 2020.
About this review This review is my own honest opinion of the skis, which I bought with my own money in March 2020.
The K2 Mindbender 99TI is a hard-charging, all-mountain ripper with no speed limit that is ideal for upper intermediate to advanced skiers.
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 165 lbs
- Model: 2020/2021 K2 Mindbender 99TI
- Size: 177cm
- Boots: Atomic Hawx Ultra XTD 130
- Boot Size: 26.5
- Bindings: Tyrolia Attack 13
- Experience: 4 years
- When I bought these: March 2020, received new model under warranty 2021
- Days tested: 20
- Where I’ve used it: Killington, VT; Sugarbush, VT; Alta, UT; Snowbird, UT; Solitude, UT; Brighton, UT
- Terrain: Groomers, Powder, Chop/Crud, Trees, Moguls
How it performs
What I was looking for
Technically, I wasn’t on the hunt for skis when I made the decision to purchase the Mindbender 99TI in its first season. I had just bought a pair of playful, non-metal skis and thought I was good on new purchases for a while. After demoing the Mindbender, I had to get my hands on a pair. I fancy myself as a true all-mountain skier that loves exploring bumps, trees, hidden East Coast soft snow stashes, ripping down groomers and jumping/jibbing off interesting terrain features. Everything pointed to a soft/playful ski for me but the Mindbender changed my idea of what type of skier I am and what I enjoy.
Why I chose this gear
Any East Coast (icecoast) skier will tell you that our snow conditions are often less than ideal. I always assumed that a heavy ski with metal would be cumbersome but all that changed once I felt how stable and damp these things felt charging through frozen crud. Where most pairs of skis I own would be chattering and flapping in the wind, the Mindbender 99TI held strong. There is no speed limit on these things and it makes for great skiing wherever I go. They are an awesome daily driver for an advanced/expert skier that knows how to really work a ski.
What I love about it
- Speed: The term “speed demon” comes to mind. Driving turns with the Mindbender 99TI is like taking a Ferrari down the slope. Zero chatter and total stability. Anyone who likes long sweeping GS (giant slalom) turns will have a blast on these.
- Edge hold: Maybe it’s the weight on these skis but the ski feels constantly glued to the ground when on edge. A definite bonus in cruddy conditions.
- Turns: This ski favors sweeping long turns no matter the terrain. Expert skiers can definitely play with turn shape to get things a bit tighter.
- Groomers: These babies are right at home arcing long fast turns down groomers, hardpack and iced over conditions.
- Powder: Let’s be honest, powder days on the East Coast don’t happen as often as we’d like. The Mindbender 99TI is surprisingly floaty despite its weight. I skied these throughout a recent trip to Utah and found them totally acceptable. While there are certainly other skis out there that will surf more, this ski works well as a daily driver that can dabble in powder just fine. Where they really excel is when that fresh snow gets chopped up. Where other skis get bounced around and throw your balance off, the Mindbender cuts right through.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Trees: A sore point for us tree skiers, the Mindbender 99TI is definitely tough to work in tighter terrain. The weight of the ski, combined with a relatively flat tail and directional profile make the ski a bit cumbersome. Advanced skies can certainly make these work in tight spots through well-coordinated unweighting of the skis, but there are other skis out there that will tackle this challenge with less effort.
- Moguls: If moguls are soft, I have a blast on these skis slashing up the bumps and sending it 80’s style. If those bumps are frozen solid however, I’m in for a real thigh burner.
- Durability: Unfortunately, the first pair I bought in the 2020 season delaminated within my first 2 days on the ski and had to be sent in for warranty. However, props to K2 for turning around a quick warranty and sending me a 2021 pair within a few weeks of me reporting the issue.
- Weight: Not the heaviest ski out there, but they’re heavy. There’s no denying it.
Favorite moment with this gear
Hopping off a plane from Boston to Salt Lake City, grabbing a rental car and driving right over to Snowbird on a bluebird day. Looking over the lip of a bowl and the chopped up crud of Mineral Basin, I went ahead and sent it. The dampness and stability of the Mindbender 99TI made it feel like a hot knife slicing through butter. Can’t beat it!
Value for the money vs. other options
The Mindbender 99TI is definitely on the more expensive end for a flat ski but it is also a ski that is particularly aimed at upper intermediate to expert skiers. Skis in this area typically feature burlier construction, advanced materials and metal throughout the ski. In that sense they are well worth it and priced competitively with comparable skis such as the Nordica Enforcers, Blizzard Bonafides and Völkl Mantras.
This is a solid ski option for hard-charging, advanced skiers looking for something to rip up groomers, tear through crud, float through powder and just have a blast across the mountain.