Expert Review: K2 Mindbender 108ti Skis · 2022Published on 11/22/2022 · 9 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the skis which I purchased on my own in January of 2021.
All photos courtesy of Luke Hinz
About this review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis which I purchased on my own in January of 2021. For information on the latest model of this ski, check out the 2023 Expert Review.
The K2 Mindbender 108Ti is a powder-focused all-mountain ski aimed toward expert skiers looking for an aggressive and hard-charging ski that can also float in the soft stuff.
About the gear
- Model: 2021 Mindbender 108Ti
- Size: 186 cm
- Height: 6’2”
- Weight: 200 lbs
- Experience: 25+ years
- When I bought these: January 2021
- Days tested: 50
- Mount position: Traditional
- Boots: K2 Recon 130 MV
- Boot Size: 28.5
- Bindings: Tyrolia Attack 14 Gw
- Where I’ve used it: Park City, UT and Jackson Hole, WY
- Terrain: Groomers, moguls, trees, steeps, powder
How it performs
What I was looking for
After ten years of only skiing in the backcountry, I decided to buy a new resort setup. Coming from a racing background, I was looking for a stiff and aggressive ski that could arc big turns on groomers, but also be able to float through the deep stuff on powder days.
Why I chose this gear
In truth, I have long spurned K2 equipment. For years, I found their skis to be too soft and unable to stand up to the demands of aggressive skiers. But in 2020, K2 revamped its entire line of skis and boots at the request of many of its pro athletes. K2 marketed the Mindbender as their stiff, aggressive, hard-charging all-mountain ski, and on a whim I took a chance to see what they could do. I had also seriously considered the Blizzard Cochise 106, but was worried it would not perform as well on groomers.
What I love about them
- Speed: Whoa, buddy!! The Mindbender 108Ti absolutely loves to go fast! By laying their patented Titanal Y-Beam metal sheet over a wood core, K2 built the Mindbender for speed. Coming from a racing background, I am no stranger to going fast on skis, but I feel sheepish admitting that I am yet to find the speed limit on my Mindbenders. Truly, I have found myself on more than one groomer getting scared at how fast I am going on these skis.
- Edge hold: Though the incredible speeds I often find myself reaching while skiing the Mindbenders initially scared me, their incredible edge hold has given me 100% confidence that I can turn these skis at such high speeds and not worry about washing out. The unique Y-Beam design of the Titanal results in a full metal treatment over the front edges with a hollow middle, which then transfers into a full metal sheet directly underfoot, then ultimately tapering in the tail. In the end, I get a ski that is torsionally stiff in the front and underfoot for high speed turns, but is able to rail out of turns easily. The Titanal Y-Beam keeps my skis firmly on edge through even the most aggressive turns.
- Turns: As a fan of big, GS-style turns, I am enamored with the way the Mindbender 108Ti turns. Tip it on edge, apply the right amount of pressure, and this ski will literally arc in a perfect circle–it turns that well. However, not everyone is into such large turns, and that is one drawback of the Mindbender 108Ti. With such a large turn radius, it doesn’t lend itself well to smaller turns and actually actively resists doing so. For skiers liking shorter turns with more finesse, I’d recommend the 108’s much smaller and more maneuverable cousin, the Mindbender 90Ti.
- Groomers: Despite having a waist width that firmly plants it within the realm of more dedicated powder skis, the Mindbender loves to lay trenches on the groomers. The stiff Titanal, the incredible edge hold, and the large turning radius create a ski that makes powerful turns on groomers. I’ve raced down many a groomer at mach speeds on these skis with a giant grin plastered over my face. That being said, this is not a dedicated carving ski—as stated above, this ski does not like smaller, shorter turns—instead, it is made for large turns at high speeds.
- Powder: At 108 mm at the waist, the Mindbender has plenty of flotation in deep powder. However, most powder-oriented skis are built to be softer and more playful in order to be easier to ski in powder. Not the case with the Mindbender—its stout construction is borderline a drawback in very deep snow. I found myself wrestling with the ski quite a bit in order to get it to do what I wanted in deep powder. I found that if I drove the ski hard I could manage, but for the large majority of skiers, the Mindbender can be quite demanding in soft snow.
- Trees: Much like in powder, the Mindbender has proven to be a two-headed beast in the trees. While hanging turns between trees, I am confident in the skis' stiffness and responsiveness to my demands as a skier, but at the same time, the skis' large turn radius can be a detriment in tight quarters. While I am content to take my Mindbenders into tight trees, I also approach with caution. I am constantly aware that even one turn in my backseat could result in the skis propelling me into a tree.
- Durability: My Mindbenders have proven to be extremely durable. I tend to punish my equipment over time, and these skis have held up incredibly well, surviving hard impacts with rocks time and time again. I even kept them on my feet while walking over a road (long story), and there were hardly any telltale signs afterward. However, I have noticed some discoloration on the topsheet such as black streaks that I have been unable to remove. This is purely cosmetic, so it doesn’t concern me, but it takes away from the aesthetics a bit.
- Switch riding: While the Mindbender is far from a park ski and only boasts a partial twin tip, I find myself skiing switch on it often at the resort. The rockered tail design and tapered metal in the tail allows me to easily hop 180 degrees and cruise down a groomer switch. I’m older now, skiing like that makes me silly happy, and I’m glad the Mindbender allows me to do so.
- Stability: My Mindbenders are the very definition of stability. The torsional stiffness of the Titanal Y-Beam and the sandwich sidewall construction underfoot keeps my ski dialed and on point. I often point these skis downhill and see just how fast I can go, and the whole while they are zipping along healthily below me, barely aware of even the slightest bump against them. Likewise, the Mindbenders are amazing crudbusters. They zoom through crud and packed powder as if it wasn’t even there. Such a solid ski!
Issues I’ve encountered
- Moguls: While the Mindbender 108Tis are not terrible mogul skis, they aren’t that great either. The stiff construction and stout metal sheet make the ski very unforgiving in tight, small turns. Moguls are one area of the mountain where I often get sloppy and exhibit poor form, and I’ve found that these skis immediately punish me if I let them get away from me. But even when I stay centered and in ideal athletic form in moguls, these skis can be very punishing on the legs in tight, bumpy terrain.
- Park: With such a stiff and heavy frame, the Mindbenders were not really designed with the park in mind. That being said, I have skied them through the park just for giggles, but I often pay for it afterwards. The Titanal Y-Beam and stiff construction do not convert into soft landings off jumps, leaving my feet and legs hurting and cramping.
- Backcountry: Nope. The Mindbenders are very heavy, and would not be suitable for the backcountry.
- Weight: As stated above, the Mindbender 108Tis are heavy—as in, very heavy, weighing in at 2225 grams per ski. I’m a rather large person and have found these skis to be a burden to walk around a ski resort base with. However, they are firmly middle of the road in terms of weight when regarding similar skis, such as the Salomon QST 106 or the Nordica Enforcer 110 Free. I remind myself often that the weight of the ski is part of why it performs so well, so it is a problem I am happy to live with. But due to their weight they are certainly not a quick, lively, or playful ski.
Favorite moment with this gear
My most memorable moment on my Mindbender 108Tis was a long weekend in Utah where I reunited with an old racing friend to ski. Over the course of three days, we ripped big GS turns down every groomer in sight and constantly pushed each other to go faster. On my Mindbenders, I was able to push myself to speeds that I haven’t reached since my old racing days, and I skied the whole weekend with a smile on my face, confident that my skis could hold up to whatever I threw at them.
Value for the money vs. other options
The Mindbender 108Ti is a tremendous value for a powder-focused all mountain ski. The Mindbender series, designed with K2’s patented Titanal Y-Beam construction, is priced right alongside other similarly constructed all-mountain skis, and is actually cheaper than many options. For comparison, the Head Kore 105, which is constructed with Graphene and carbon as opposed to metal, retails for more than the Mindbender.
The K2 Mindbender 108Ti is the kind of ski that powder-hungry, speed-obsessed expert skiers dream of. While it most certainly is not a ski for the faint of heart, if you have the skill and the will, the Mindbenders will open your mind to the reality of what speeds are possible with two pieces of wood strapped to your feet.
For information on the latest model of this ski, check out Brandon and Hayden's 2023 Expert Review.