Ski: 2021-2022 K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance, 168 cm
Available Lengths: 154, 161, 168, 175 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 167.7 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 1833 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1762 & 1801 grams
Stated Dimensions: 134-98-120 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133.2-97.6-119.3 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (168 cm): 15.6 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 62 mm / 25 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 4-5 mm
Core: Aspen + “Titanal Y-Beam” + Fiberglass Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.05 cm from center; 73.8 cm from tail
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 19/20 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance, which was not changed for 20/21 or 21/22, apart from graphics.]
If you haven’t already, check out our podcast with K2 ski designer, Jed Yeiser, where he discusses the origin and design background of K2’s brand-new ski line, the Mindbenders.
What K2 says about the Mindbender 98 Ti Alliance:
“No compromises, no shortcuts. We turned to the K2 Alliance, women, like Mckenna Peterson, to help design the most versatile women’s ski we’ve ever made. Built to charge through chop, handle the deep stuff, and hold an edge like you’ve never seen on hardpack. Yeah; all that.”
Like the Mindbender 99Ti, K2 is emphasizing the versatility and high-speed stability of the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance. And given the ski’s specs, those don’t seem like ridicilous claims to make.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Mindbender 98Ti Alliance’s shape is very similar to the Mindbender 99Ti’s, with pretty subtle tip and tail taper lines. This is a significant departure from the K2 Fulluvit 95Ti (the ski that the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance effectively replaces). The Fulluvit 95Ti had very dramatic taper lines, and the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance’s more moderate, less tapered shape makes it a bit more similar to skis like the Blizzard Black Pearl 98, Blizzard Sheeva 10, and Armada Victa 97 Ti.
The Mindbender 98Ti Alliance’s tip rocker line is fairly deep compared to other skis in its class like the Black Pearl 98, Victa 97 Ti, and Liberty Genesis 96, though it’s still not as deep as the Fulluvit 95Ti’s. The Mindbender 98Ti Alliance’s tail rocker line is also fairly deep, though again, not as deep as the Fulluvit 95 Ti’s. Like the other Mindbender skis we’ve been revieweing, the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance’s tip and tail rocker lines don’t start rising off the snow / ground until near the end of the ski. These sort of mellow, low-slung rocker lines often equate to more effective edge on firm snow compared to skis with rocker lines that rise abruptly and quickly.
Overall, the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance’s shape and rocker profile look like they’d offer a nice combination of soft and firm snow performance, especially when you consider its flex pattern…
Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance:
In Front of Toe Piece: 7.5-8.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9-8
The Mindbender 98Ti Alliance’s tips start very soft, and then smoothly ramp up. The midsection of the ski is quite strong, though its tail is notably softer than the Mindbender 99Ti’s, and still a bit softer than the Black Pearl 98’s.
Overall, this seems like a nice flex pattern that is supportive where it needs to be, yet forgiving at the ends.
The Mindbender 98Ti Alliance is not a very light ski, though, unlike the Mindbender 99Ti, the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance isn’t that far off from many other skis in its class when it comes to weight. We think the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance’s fairly heavy weight should make it more stable than many of the lighter skis in its class, but it’s by no means extremely heavy, and its moderate rocker profile and fairly forgiving flex pattern should help with its low-speed maneuverability.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some notable skis. Keep in mind the length differences to try and keep things apples-to-apples.
1533 & 1537 Armada Trace 98, 172 cm (17/18-18/19)
1535 & 1555 DPS Alchemist Uschi 94, 171 cm (18/19)
1556 & 1575 Liberty Genesis 96, 165 cm (18/19)
1626 & 1631 K2 Fulluvit 95Ti, 170 cm (18/19)
1635 & 1646 Blizzard Black Pearl 98, 166 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1651 & 1669 Moment Sierra, 172 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1709 & 1710 Blizzard Sheeva 10, 172 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1748 & 1763 Nordica Santa Ana 93, 169 cm (17/18-18/19)
1750 & 1769 Armada Victa 97 Ti, 171 cm (17/18-18/19)
1762 & 1801 K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance, 168 cm (19/20)
1812 & 1813 Head Great Joy, 168 cm (17/18-18/19)
1983 & 1999 Nordica Santa Ana 100, 177 cm (17/18, 18/19)
Like the other Mindbender skis, the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance has a very traditional mount point of just over -10 cm from center. Jed Yeiser did mention that the women’s Mindbender skis have mount points that are a touch more forward than the men’s skis to accommodate different skiing stances / styles. And compared to the men’s Mindbender 99Ti (mount point of -11 cm from center), that does appear to be true of the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance.
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious about
(1) K2’s Mindbender skis are designed to be precise through the front and middle of the ski, but with tails that are still easy to release / slide. So will this be true of the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance?
(2) The Mindbender 98Ti Alliance sits on the heavier end of the spectrum, so how will it compare to other metal-laminate skis like the Nordica Santa Anas and Armada Victa 97 Ti when it comes to stability?
(3) While it’s fairly heavy, the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance’s rocker profile and flex pattern suggest a ski that should still be fairly easy at slower speeds and in tighter terrain. So just how comfortable will the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance feel at higher and lower speeds?
(4) With a pretty deep tip rocker line and a softer shovel, the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance seems like it’d do well in softer snow. So how well will it balance firm and soft-snow performance?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The K2 Mindbender 98Ti Alliance is a fairly heavy ski with a pretty traditional shape — something we see in a lot of the more stable skis on the market. But the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance also has a forgiving flex pattern and fairly deep rocker lines, which is more in line with some of the easier skis on the market. So what’s the result? We’re currently spending time on the ski, so stay tuned for our full review.