Ski: 2020-2021 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm
Available Lengths: 170, 177, 184, 191 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 183.6 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: 2226 grams
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2311 & 2342 grams
Stated Dimensions: 138-99-123 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137.1-98.5-122.0 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (184 cm): 18.5 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 64 mm / 20 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Core: Maple/Aspen + “Titanal Y-Beam” + Fiberglass Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -11.0 cm from center; 80.8 cm from tail
Ski: 2020-2021 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 177 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 176.8 cm
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1998 & 2041 grams
Stated Dimensions: 138-99-123 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137.0-98.5-121.9 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (177 cm): 17.0 meters
Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 57 mm / 20 mm
Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Core: Maple/Aspen + “Titanal Y-Beam” + Fiberglass Laminate
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -10.9 cm from center; 77.5 cm from tail
Bindings: Tyrolia AAAttack2 13 & Marker Griffon
- Jonathan Ellsworth: 5’10”, 175 lbs
- Luke Koppa: 5’8″, 155 lbs
- Sam Shaheen: 5’10”, 145 lbs
Test Locations: Crested Butte & Summit County, CO
Days Skied: ~20
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 19/20 Mindbender 99Ti, which was not changed for 20/21, apart from graphics.]
Last week K2 announced a brand-new line of skis called the Mindbenders. The whole series consists of thirteen new skis, and you can listen to our conversation with K2 ski designer, Jed Yeiser, for more info on the background of the line and what K2 was aiming to accomplish with each ski.
We’ve also posted a First Look on the Mindbender 108Ti, where we get into the construction that K2 used on this series of skis.
Today, we’re taking a look at the ski that Jed Yeiser said might be the best ski he’s ever designed: the Mindbender 99Ti.
What K2 says about the Mindbender 99 Ti:
“Quick edge-to-edge? Check. Absurd float in pow? Oh you bet. You might be surprised to hear that this ski only clocks in at 99 underfoot – it definitely hits above its weight. Toss in that Y-Beam and you’ll be wondering where the speed limit on this thing really is.”
We’ve got talk of edge-to-edge quickness, “absurd” float in pow, and high-speed stability. That’s a lot to ask of one ski, especially one that’s 99 mm underfoot. So, a big question for us coming into this review has been the versatility of the Mindbender 99Ti.
Shape / Rocker Profile
The Mindbender 99Ti looks very similar to the Mindbender 108Ti, with the Mindbender 99Ti having more subtle taper lines and, in theory, more effective edge. That makes sense, given that the Mindbender 99Ti is supposed to be a bit more firm-snow oriented than the 108Ti. The Mindbender 99Ti’s shape reminds us a bit of the 4FRNT MSP 99 and Nordica Enforcer 100 — two skis we very much like.
The Mindbender 99Ti’s tip rocker line is a bit deeper than some skis in its class, but not wildly deep like the K2 Pinnacle 95 Ti’s (the ski that it is effectively replacing). Like the Mindbender 108Ti, the Mindbender 99Ti’s tips don’t start rising until the end of the ski.
At the tail, the Mindbender 99Ti has a pretty shallow and low-slung rocker line. The Mindbender 99Ti’s tail rocker line is again pretty similar to that on the MSP 99 and Enforcer 100, with the Mindbender 99Ti’s tail rocker line being a bit shallower.
Here’s how we’d characterize the longitudinal flex pattern of the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-9
And here’s how we’d characterize the longitudinal flex pattern of the 177 cm Mindbender 99Ti:
In Front of Toe Piece: 8.5-9.5
Behind the Heel Piece: 9.5-8.5
This is a strong, directional flex pattern with fairly soft tips but a stout midsection and a very strong tail. Compared to the Mindbender 108Ti, the Mindbender 99Ti is stiffer at both ends of the ski. The Mindbender 99Ti’s tips start stiffer and stiffen up quicker than the Mindbender 108Ti’s, and the Mindbender 99Ti’s tail is significantly stiffer.
The 177 cm Mindbender 99Ti’s flex pattern is very similar to the 184’s, with the most notable difference being that the 177 is just slightly softer behind the bindings.
When I weighed the Mindbender 99Ti and told Jonathan Ellsworth the numbers over the phone, I could almost hear the grin spreading across his face. The Mindbender 99Ti is pretty heavy for its size, and since K2 is saying that its speed limit will be difficult to reach, we think that hefty weight makes a lot of sense. Of the skis we’ve reviewed that are currently on the market, the 187 cm J Skis Masterblaster (which measures 184.6 cm long) is the only similarly wide ski that comes in heavier than the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti.
For reference, here are a number of our measured weights for some notable skis. As always, keep in mind the length differences to try to keep these comparisons apples-to-apples.
1629 & 1684 Elan Ripstick 96, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
1734 & 1750 Renoun Endurance 98, 184 cm (18/19)
1758 & 1774 Moment Commander 98, 178 cm (18/19)
1800 & 1824 Luke Koppa’s Romp Skis 100, 183 cm (18/19)
1807 & 1833 Fischer Ranger 98Ti, 180 cm (16/17–18/19)
1807 & 1840 Atomic Bent Chetler 100, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1855 & 1877 Liberty evolv 90, 186 cm (19/20)
1863 & 1894 Blizzard Rustler 9, 180 cm (18/19–19/20)
1894 & 1980 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm (17/18–19/20)
1896 & 1919 Dynastar Legend X96, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1921 & 1968 Head Kore 99, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
1925 & 1937 Liberty Helix 98, 186 cm (18/19–19/20)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19–19/20)
1937 & 1945 Fischer Ranger 94 FR, 184 cm (19/20)
1947 & 2009 Liberty evolv 100, 179 cm (19/20)
1966 & 1973 Liberty Origin 96, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
1985 & 2006 Parlor Cardinal 100, 185 cm (16/17–18/19)
1994 & 2011 Fischer Ranger 99 Ti, 181 cm (19/20)
1998 & 2041 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 177 cm (19/20)
1998 & 2044 4FRNT MSP 99, 181 cm (17/18–18/19)
2007 & 2029 Armada Invictus 99 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2024 & 2029 Salomon QST 99, 188 cm (16/17–17/18)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19–19/20)
2050 & 2080 ON3P Wrenegade 96, 184 cm (18/19)
2053 & 2057 Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, 188 cm (18/19–19/20)
2055 & 2080 Salomon QST 99, 181 cm (19/20)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19–19/20)
2085 & 2096 Dynastar Menace 98, 181 cm (19/20)
2101 & 2104 Fischer Ranger 102 FR, 184 cm (18/19–19/20)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (16/17–19/20)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm (16/17–18/19)
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm (17/18–19/20)
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm (15/16–19/20)
2218 & 2244 Volkl Mantra 102, 184 cm (19/20)
2233 & 2255 Nordica Enforcer 104 Free, 186 cm (19/20)
2311 & 2342 K2 Mindbender 99Ti, 184 cm (19/20)
2344 & 2367 J Skis Masterblaster, 187 cm (16/17-18/19)
2373 & 2397 Head Monster 98, 184 cm (17/18)
All the Mindbenders we’ve measured have very traditional mount points, and the Mindbender 99Ti is no exception. At -11 cm from center, its recommended mount point is quite far back. As always, we’ll be testing the ski at a variety of mount points to see how that affects its on-snow feel.
Some Questions / Things We’re Curious about
(1) The Mindbender 99Ti is one of the heaviest skis in its class. So will it also be one of the most stable skis in its class? And how much will its weight impact its performance in tight terrain, bumps, trees, etc.?
(2) K2 is emphasizing the powder performance of the Mindbender 99Ti, so just how well will it float when the snow gets deep?
(3) The Mindbender skis in general are supposed to be both solid on edge and easy to release from a turn, so how true will that be for the Mindbender 99Ti?
(4) The Mindbender 99Ti has a very strong tail, a very traditional mount point, and a hefty weight. So will it be best suited to expert and advanced skiers, or would we also recommend it to less-experienced skiers?
Bottom Line (For Now)
The K2 Mindbender 99Ti is a strong ski with a pretty traditional shape and a not-so-traditional construction. Blister Members can read our initial impressions in our Flash Review linked below, and then stay tuned for our full review for more info.
Blister Members can now check out our Flash Review of the Mindbender 99Ti for our initial impressions. Become a Blister member now to check out this and all of our Flash Reviews, plus get exclusive deals and discounts on skis, and personalized gear recommendations from us.
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs): I wouldn’t typically take out a 99mm-wide ski when I know I’ll be skiing deep snow, but we had so many deep days in Crested Butte this season that I ended up on the Mindbender 99Ti on a day when a fresh ~6” was dumped on top of a ~12” storm the day before.
For its width, I think the Mindbender 99Ti is excellent in fresh snow. Its rearward mount point and softer tips helped it plane really well, and I can’t think of many directional ~100mm-wide skis (aside from, perhaps, the ON3P Wrenegade 96) that I’d rather be on in deep snow.
The Mindbender 99Ti is not a surfy ski nor a light one, so it does require some work to turn in tighter spots when the snow is deep. But if I stayed over the front and made some effort to unweight the ski during turn transitions, I didn’t have too much trouble working it through deep snow.
There are plenty of skis out there that make more sense for people who like to surf and slash their way through pow. But the Mindbender 99Ti really starts to shine when the snow is not perfect.
Luke: I couldn’t really find the speed limit of the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti in soft chop, and that equates to a pretty damn fun experience.
Whether picking my way through Crested Butte’s Headwall or making huge turns down International, the Mindbender 99Ti remained solid, predictable, and smooth. I’m not typically one to take the “few turns as possible” approach to the mountain, but in soft snow, the Mindbender 99Ti had me skiing faster than I typically do.
The Mindbender 99Ti’s tips do a great job of planing over and absorbing firmer patches, while its strong and heavy midsection let me blast right through the softer stuff. And again, when the snow was fairly soft, the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti was still quite easy to manage when I wanted to take things slower. It is far from the easiest ski, but it is surprisingly maneuverable for how stable it is at speed.
Jonathan Ellsworth (5’10”, 175 lbs): I’m largely in agreement with Luke here. But just to qualify things a bit further. Luke says that he couldn’t really find the speed limit of the 184 in soft chop, and neither could I. But two things: (1) while the ski offers very good stability, its shovels do not stay as composed as some other skis on the market — i.e., for better (for most skiers) or for worse (for a few skiers), the Mindbender 99Ti has nowhere near the rock-solid stability of a ski like the deceased HEAD Monster 98.
So, on open terrain when I had the room to just fly around down and through soft chop, the Mindbender 99Ti exhibited good stability in that the shovels did not feel twitchy, nor did I have to work hard to keep the ski tracking. But I was surprised to see and feel how much the shovels would be undulating.
Anyway, most people shouldn’t pay any attention to this. But those who really appreciate very stiff, dead-quiet shovels (again, think HEAD Monster 98), will either have to get used to the shovels of these skis, or should just opt for something burlier. But everyone else should focus in on how much we will be complimenting the stability of this ski.
Firm Chop / Crud
Luke: I had a ton of fun on the Mindbender 99Ti in soft snow, but the ski really started to stand out to me when conditions got firm and nasty. This ski just made bad snow feel nice.
Now, I don’t spend a ton of my time on super heavy, stiff, damp chargers — skis on the playful side of the spectrum are more in my wheelhouse. So with that caveat, the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti felt like one of the most stable ~100mm-wide skis I’ve been on. Small chunks of ice and snow were basically indiscernible, the ski felt like it was glued to the snow, and I just kept pushing the ski to see how courageous I really was.
For people who still want to ski fast when the snow isn’t ideal — or those who just appreciate a nice, damp feel — the Mindbender 99Ti seems like a great option. And still, the Mindbender 99Ti remained pretty easy to slide around slowly when the terrain got tight (more on that later) or I decided I should probably chill out before I hurt myself.
Jonathan: I’m going to defer to Luke here, since most of my time on the 184 Mindbender 99Ti was in pretty rock hard and unforgiving conditions, or quite forgiving soft conditions. So let’s just continue.
Luke: My first laps on the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti were spent zipping down Crested Butte’s International, and I was quite happy from my first turns.
Like the Mindbender 108Ti, the Mindbender 99Ti initiates turns quickly and easily — just lean into the front of your boots and the ski will pull you into a turn. Once in a turn, I could bend the Mindbender 99Ti into fairly tight turns (somewhere between slalom and GS) or just let it run and make big, arcing turns down the piste.
Just like in crud, the Mindbender 99Ti does a great job of smoothing out the inconsistencies of the groomers, and I didn’t notice much of a difference in how fast I was willing to ski the Mindbender 99Ti at the beginning of the day (when groomers are clean and smooth) or at the end of the day (when the groomers were much rougher and more inconsistent).
The Mindbender 99Ti is far from the most energetic ski but, when I push it, it does produce some energy out of a turn. As someone who isn’t very fond of skis that feel “dead,” this was a big plus for me — I could make big turns and stay on the snow while still being able to get some air out of turn transitions.
Jonathan: I really like the 177 cm and the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti on groomers. While up above in the “Soft Chop” section I was probably saying more than I needed to about the shovels of the Mindbender 99Ti, those softer shovels really allowed me to easily bend this ski into hard carves, while the ski remains stable. Often, it is easy at speed to overwhelm skis that have softer shovels, and things can get unstable and scary. That is not the case with the Mindbender 99Ti.
And with respect to the differences between the 177 and 184 cm models, the stability of both skis is very good. The 184 stays a bit more composed, but the 177 is quicker and better if you like to make tight turns or a variety of tighter and larger turns. If you are always all about pinning it down groomers as fast as possible, the 184 might make sense — especially if the groomers you typically ski are wide open and long (i.e., for International at Crested Butte, give me the 184). But if the groomers you ski tend to be crowded, narrow, or relatively short, I think the 177 can be more fun.
Moguls, Trees, and Tight Terrain (Plus One Caveat re: Weight)
Jonathan: Before we start this section, it should be said that our pair of 184 cm Mindbender 99Tis are coming in heavier (by about 100 grams per ski) than the average pair of Mindbender 99Ti. I just talked again last night with K2’s ski designer, Jed Yeiser, about this, and he again confirmed this weight difference. So as you read this, keep in mind that the 184 Mindbender 99Tis that you either have or might demo or might purchase may feel a bit different (and easier) than the 184s that we’re referring to here.
Luke: This is really the only area where I thought the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti felt like a burden.
With fresh legs in moderately tight terrain (think trees or bumps that are ~2 ski lengths apart), the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti was totally fine. I had to stay over the front of it, but as long as I did, the Mindbender 99Ti’s tail felt easy to slide and the ski didn’t feel like that much work.
But as the terrain got tighter and / or I got more tired, I was left wishing for a lighter ski with more rocker and a more forward mount point. Because it’s so heavy and its mount point is so far back, the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti leaves you with a lot of (heavy) ski in front of you. Picking my way through Crested Butte’s Rambo (a very steep run with tons of small trees to avoid), the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti felt like a lot of work. This is not an easy ski to flick around.
The Mindbender 99Ti’s tail also felt a bit punishing in very tight terrain. The ski definitely feels most comfortable when skied with a forward stance. I didn’t have to drive it so hard that I was bending it in half, but trying to ski it centered (or even worse — backseat) left me feeling out of control.
So I think my main point is that you should have pretty good (or very good) technique if you want to ski the Mindbender 99Ti in a lot of very tight terrain (particularly the 184 cm version). If you do, great — you’ll have a really damp ski that makes harsh moguls feel much nicer. But if you often find yourself in the backseat, I’d look to skis with softer tails and / or more tail rocker.
Jonathan: Yep. When skiing Crested Butte’s Headwall in very firm very moguled-up conditions, I was surprised by how hard I was working on the 184s. And in truth, this is one of the main reasons why I thought we ought to call in the 177s — I thought the 184s would feel like too much work for a lot of skiers.
Now, let’s qualify this: Luke just said that this ski doesn’t want you in the backseat. That’s very true. Unfortunately, when skiing big moguls that have very deep troughs, I often find myself getting on my heels in the troughs, then sucking up my knees to my chest to absorb the front side of the moguls. And then doing this repeatedly (all the way down Headwall) with some speed.
Some skis will simply kick your ass if you get back on their tails (e.g, Faction Dictator 3.0). In my experience, that isn’t exactly true of the Mindbender 99Ti. It’s just that if you aren’t getting — and keeping — your weight over those shovels, the swing weight of those shovels starts to feel very cumbersome. So my advice is that if you like to do a good bit of tailgunning in moguls, this should not be your ski.
But if we remove tailgunning and / or moguls from the equation? I would have no issue with either length of the Mindbender 99Ti in tighter trees or tight spots. In very tight chutes, yes, you’ll need to provide a good amount of physical input to make tight turns or jump turns. But you also will get to make those turns on a nice, stable platform.
So to conclude: tight spots and tight trees shouldn’t be a problem for stronger skiers who are staying on top of the shovels. But if you have found yourself having to work harder than you’d like in tight trees and tight terrain, you might just want a lighter ski, and / or a more rockered ski than the Mindbender 99Ti.
Luke: I tried the 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti with the bindings on the recommended line, at +1 cm, and at +2 cm.
Unlike the Mindbender 108Ti, I didn’t really like the Mindbender 99Ti with the bindings in front of the recommended line. Turn initiation felt a bit off, edge hold wasn’t as good, and overall the ski just felt best on the recommended line. When I talked with K2’s Jed Yeiser about this, his response was something like: “Weird. It’s almost like they were designed to ski with the bindings on the recommended line.”
So if you’re wondering whether moving the bindings forward on the Mindbender 99Ti will make it feel easier or more playful while maintaining its excellent all-mountain performance, I wouldn’t hold your breath. But man, if K2 decides to make a more progressive-mounted, freestyle-oriented Mindbender series, I personally would not be upset about this.
Jonathan: I’m generally just a simple guy who respects authority, does what he’s told, and doesn’t think outside the box, so I’ve only skied the Mindbender 99Ti on the line.
Length: 177 cm vs. 184 cm (and a cameo by Sam Shaheen)
Sam Shaheen (5’10”, 145 lbs): I haven’t had as much time on this ski as Luke and Jonathan have, and most of that time has been in the 177 cm length. But I will say that the 177 has reinforced an emerging theme in my ski preferences.
For skis like the Mindbender 99Ti that are (1) heavier, (2) offer good suspension, and (3) have less tail rocker, I’ve been very happy sizing down one size from what I would usually ski (~185 cm).
For these skis, in the shorter lengths I find that I still get excellent suspension (though not the same top end stability) but the quickness and ability for me to push the ski hard tend to increase. If you’re on the fence about which size to get, I wouldn’t be afraid to go shorter on the Mindbender 99Ti.
Jonathan: I largely agree. When mobbing around the open terrain and slushy spring conditions of A-Basin, I really enjoyed this ski in both lengths. But I would opt for the 184 and get that top-end stability bump.
But as an everyday driver in Crested Butte, where I frequently get into tight, steep, techy, and / or moguled-up sections? I would opt for the 177 — or a lighter 184. (I.e., while I can’t be certain here, if our pair of 184s was actually ~100 grams lighter per ski, then I might stick with the 184 length.)
Who’s It For?
Directional skiers who value stability at speed, damping, and great soft- and firm-snow performance.
Beginners and low-intermediates would probably be better off on a softer and / or lighter ski (see the “All-Mountain – More Forgiving” section of our Winter Buyer’s Guide).
But advanced and expert skiers who like to drive the front of their skis and appreciate a ski that does a great job of smoothing out rough snow should definitely check out the Mindbender 99Ti. It’s not the easiest ski in tight spots, but it rewards skiers with good technique with a platform that encourages you to go faster than you would on lighter skis.
The Mindbender 99Ti also performs very well across a wide range of conditions, making it a prime 1-ski-quiver candidate for a lot of mountains. If you rarely ski powder, you might be better off on a narrower ski. And if you ski a lot of really deep snow, a wider ski (like the Mindbender 108Ti) would be a better call. But for one ski to do everything pretty well — and with a bit more of a bias toward firm conditions — the Mindbender 99Ti makes a lot of sense.
The K2 Mindbender 99Ti is a ski that rarely feels out of place, and it inspires confidence at speed like few other skis in its class. If you’re a technically proficient skier who’s looking for a ski to use for a bit of everything and you appreciate a damp and stable feel, the Mindbender 99Ti should be on your short list.
Deep Dive Comparisons
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive of the Mindbender 99Ti to see how it stacks up against the Volkl Mantra M5, Blizzard Bonafide, Nordica Enforcer 100, J Skis Masterblaster, 4FRNT MSP 99, Moment Commander 98, ON3P Wrenegade 96, Blizzard Rustler 9, Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, Atomic Vantage 97 Ti, Liberty Origin 96, Renoun Endurance 98, and Dynastar Legend X96.