Expert Review: K2 Mindbender 115C Skis · 2021
This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in September of 2020.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in September of 2020.
The Mindbender Alliance 116C is K2’s women’s specific powder ski designed for intermediate to expert skiers. It is a surprisingly versatile, fun, fat ski both in bounds and in the backcountry.
About the gear
- Model: 2021 K2 Mindbender Alliance 115C
- Size: 172
- Height: 5’7”
- Weight: 135 lbs
- Experience: 29 years of skiing
- When I bought these: September 2020
- Days tested: 12
- Mount position: Factory Recommended
- Boots: 2018 Atomic Hawx Ultra 115 and Technia Zero G Tour Scout
- Boot Size: 25.5
- Bindings: 2021 Salomon Shift MNC 13
- Where I’ve used it: Jackson Hole, Aspen, Winter Park, Steamboat, Crested Butte Berthoud Pass (backcountry), Mount Emmons (backcountry)
- Terrain: Bowls, Glades, Groomed Terrain, Steep Chutes, Backcountry
How they perform
What I was looking for
After 6 seasons on a pair of 103 underfoot Salomon QSTs, I decided I was ready for a new pair of pow skis. After a sinking a bit on some deep powder days, I decided I was ready to commit to something wider and more powder specific.
Why I chose this gear
After reading a lot of product reviews myself and listening to some presentations from sales reps, I decided to give the Mindbenders a try.
What I love about them
- Turns: These skis have a pretty large turning radius (20.4m in the 172), but thanks to their lighter weight they are easy to maneuver quickly, tighten up when needed, jump turn in steeps, or whip around quickly when needed in the trees.
- Groomers:** **The Mindbender 115Cs are surprisingly fun on fresh corduroy and feel impressively damp for a lightweight powder ski. To really carve, it can take a little extra lean to get the edges fully engaged, but once they are there they rip and are so fun!
- Powder: Powder is why I got these skis. They provide excellent float in fresh snow thanks to their overall width and stay up with their rockered 140mm tip shovels. They also continue to perform well as fresh snow gets skied throughout the day and are incredibly fun in softer, chopped-up conditions, too.
- Trees: Since these skis have carbon and are lightweight, they are fun and easier to get around in the trees with fresh snow than a lot of other heavier skis. If the trees are scraped out, these wouldn’t be my top pick because they take more effort to get on edge, but for the most part, they are poppy and maneuverable.
- Backcountry: I’ve skied several backcountry days on these skis with my Shift bindings and I’d describe them as just light enough that I still opt to bring them even if I’m only skiing 5 or 6 inches of fresh snow. They also do well in variable conditions, which I encounter almost every time I’m in the backcountry.
- Durability: So far these skis are holding up great! I took them through plenty of rocky terrain, especially in Crested Butte and the bases and edges are still in excellent condition.
- Weight: For their size, these skis are light. I didn’t initially purchase these thinking I’d tour on them often, but since they are less than 1900g, I’ve been pleasantly taking them uphill several times per season.
- Stability: Stability is where these skis have surprised me. Flying out of a big bowl and into some chunder? No problem, minimal chatter. Skiing out a narrow and winding ice luge skin track? No problem. They feel damp for such a lightweight ski.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Carving: While these skis are impressive on groomers, they certainly don’t carve as well as something narrower underfoot. They don’t quite dig in like my narrower Prodigys and take more effort to get edge to edge.
- Moguls: These Mindbenders can handle some moguls and bumps around trees, however, full-length, hard-packed mogul runs are not great on these skis primarily because the wide width makes them cumbersome to maneuver in moguls.
Favorite moment with this gear
My first experience with these skis was a 2 ½-foot powder day at Jackson Hole and I couldn’t stop smiling. They popped over pillows and floated effortlessly through the trees and I still dream of more days like that.
Value for the money vs. other options
K2 skis tend to be pretty comparable or slightly less expensive than other similar options like the Line Pandora 110 or Salomon QST 106 or Blank. For something versatile that will last a long time, I think they’re a great deal.
The K2 Mindbender 115C Alliance skis are FUN. They excel in the powder and are fun in more variable conditions all across the mountain, too.