2023-2024 K2 Mindbender 106C W

Ski: 2023-2024 Mindbender 106C W, 176 cm

Test Location: Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO

Days Skied: 5

Available Lengths: 155, 162, 169, 176 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length (straight-tape pull): 175.7 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski (176 cm): 1961 & 1985 grams

Stated Dimensions: 138-106-127 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 137-105.6-125.5 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (169 cm): 15.7 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 57 mm / 32 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3 mm

Core Materials: aspen + “carbon spectral braid” + flax & fiberglass laminate

Base: sintered

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -8.5 cm from center; 79 cm from tail

Boots Used: Lange Shadow 115 LV W

Bindings Used: Marker Griffon 13

2023-2024 K2 Mindbender 106C W, BLISTER
K2 Mindbender 106: 23/24 Top Sheet
Review Navigation:  Specs //  First Look //  Full Review //  Rocker Pics

Intro

K2 first released the Mindbender 106C in 2019, and those first-generation women’s Mindbender “C” skis (formerly called the “Mindbender Alliance”) proved to be pretty versatile models that sat on the lighter and more maneuverable end of the spectrum, particularly relative to K2’s heavier and burlier Mindbender Ti skis.

For the 2023-2024 season, K2 overhauled their Mindbender C skis — new constructions, new shapes, new widths, new rocker profiles, etc.

You can hear all about the details of these changes — and why they made them — from K2’s Head Ski Designer, Jed Yeiser, at Blister Summit 2023:

What K2 says about the Mindbender 106C W

“Every skier needs that one set-up that can handle it all and rip despite varying forecasts. That’s why we built the women’s-specific Mindbender 106C W. The 106C features a mid-fat waist and a lightweight Aspen Micro Block core, the perfect combination of float and fun. Uni-Directional Flax improves the ski’s ability to track in variable terrain resulting in improved suspension and composure.

Coupled with Spectral Braid technology, a variable-angle fiber reinforcement that allows for precision-tuned torsion and flex these skis are stable despite their lighter construction and maintain complete maneuverability. The 106C is the ultimate one ski quiver, for when you don’t know what the forecast has in store.”

Construction

As was just noted in K2’s description of this ski, there were several notable material updates made to the Mindbender “C” skis with the goals of both increasing performance and decreasing environmental impact.

We won’t go too heavy into the details here since Jed Yeiser does a great job in the Brand Lineup video, above. But to summarize: the new Mindbender C skis feature aspen wood cores, uni-directional flax fibers for added damping / suspension, a new resin that’s reportedly 60+% bio-based while offering improved mechanical properties, and the brand’s “Carbon Spectral Braid.”

That last feature carries over mostly unchanged from the previous Mindbender C skis, and still serves the purpose of making the skis more torsionally rigid (and therefore precise on edge) in front half of the ski and less torsionally rigid (and therefore more maneuverable) through the back half of the ski.

Worth noting, the original Mindbender 106C Alliance and Mindbender 115C Alliance were unique to the women’s lineup at the time. For the 23/24 Mindbender C collection, all of the skis in the series share a construction across the women’s and men’s lineup, but the entire lineup was reportedly built collaboratively with their male and female athletes.

2023-2024 K2 Mindbender 106C W, BLISTER
K2 Mindbender "C" Carbon Spectral Braid

Shape & Rocker Profile

The v2 Mindbender 106C is a new shape with a new rocker profile. Its shape looks fairly similar to the previous v1 (18/19–22/23) Mindbender 106C Alliance, but with less dramatic tapering at the tips and tails.

The bigger difference comes down to rocker profile, with the new Mindbender C skis featuring deeper tail rocker lines, particularly through the tail. They also feature a bit more tail splay / tail rise.

Overall, the Mindbender 106C W has notably deep tip and tail rocker lines for its class, and fairly tapered tips and tails, but it’s less of a standout from a shape perspective.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the Mindbender 106C W:

Tips: 4.5-5
Shovels: 6
In Front of Toe Piece: 6.5-9
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel Piece: 9
Tails: 8-7

The Mindbender 106C W’s flex pattern starts quite soft at the very end of its tips, but then it quickly transitions to a fairly average-feeling shovel and forebody. It’s quite stiff around the middle, and then softens through the back half to a tail that’s stronger than the shovel but not by a massive margin.

Mount Point

In line with the Mindbender series as a whole, the Mindbender 106C W features a pretty directional, rearward mount point of about -8.5 cm from true center.

However, this is slightly more forward than its predecessor, the Mindbender 106C Alliance (-9.7 cm), and most of the Mindbender Ti skis, which have mount points around -9 to -10 cm.

2023-2024 K2 Mindbender 106C W, BLISTER

Weight

The new version of the Mindbender 106C W has gained some weight, relative to its predecessor. Our pair of the first-gen Mindbender 106C Alliance weighed about 1740 grams per ski for the 175 cm length; our v2 Mindbender 106C W comes in at about 1970 grams per ski for the 176 cm length.

Zooming out to look at the wider women’s all-mountain class in general, the Mindbender 106C W is situated on the heavier end of the spectrum, though there are several comparable skis that come in at similar weights.

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 to keep things apples-to-apples.

1676 & 1700 Majesty Vadera Carbon, 176 cm 
1693 & 1710 Moment Sierra, 172 cm
1735 & 1740 K2 Mindbender 106C, 175 cm (1st version)
1741 & 1747 Nordica Unleashed 98 W, 174 cm
1752 & 1751 Blizzard Sheeva 9, 172 cm
1761 & 1778 Zag Slap 104, 176 cm
1762 & 1830 DPS Kaizen 105, 179 cm
1787 & 1798 Faction Dancer 2X, 172 cm
1792 & 1792 Nordica Santa Ana 104 Free, 172 cm
1797 & 1839 Rossignol Rallybird 102, 170 cm
1797 & 1839 Rossignol Rallybird 104 Ti, 171 cm
1835 & 1820 Armada ARV 116 JJ UL, 185 cm
1836 & 1838 Armada ARW 106 UL, 180 cm
1847 & 1854 Wagner Summit 106, 172 cm
1851 & 1856 Blizzard Sheeva 10, 180 cm
1860 & 1862 Majesty Vadera Ti, 176 cm
1867 & 1890 K2 Mindbender 115C, 179 cm
1878 & 1891 Salomon QST Stella 106, 173 cm
1928 & 1945 K2 Mindbender 99Ti W, 172 cm
1933 & 1975 Volkl Secret 96, 170 cm
1927 & 2009 Mindbender 116C W, 177 cm
1955 & 1990 Coalition Snow SOS, 173 cm
1958 & 1960 Faction Dancer 3X, 172 cm
1961 & 1985 K2 Mindbender 106C W, 176 cm
1969 & 1988 4FRNT MSP CC, 171 cm
1959 & 1986 Blizzard Sheeva 11, 180 cm
2010 & 2063 Volkl Secret 102, 170 cm
2035 & 2083 Nordica Unleashed 108 W, 180 cm
2057 & 2061 Fischer Ranger 102, 176 cm
2074 & 2088 Line Blade Optic 104, 178 cm
2178 & 2166 Coalition Snow Rafiki, 180 cm

With all the tech and specs out of the way, let’s get into how all of that translates on snow:

2023-2024 K2 Mindbender 106C W, BLISTER

FULL REVIEW

Moguls, Trees, & Tight Terrain

Kara Williard (5’9”, 170 lbs / 175 cm, 77 kg): The first-generation Mindbender 106C Alliance stood out for its maneuverability in moguls and tight terrain, so I was curious to see how the new version — being heavier but also more rockered — would compare. Thankfully, this trait has been maintained, if not slightly improved. The Mindbender 106C W is one of the more maneuverable skis in its class.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Mindbender 106C W — and the other Mindbenders — are directional skis. So while it’s not an extremely playful, freestyle-oriented ski, if you drive its shovels slightly, the Mindbender 106C W is quite easy to pivot and flick around. This is especially noticeable through the tail, thanks to its newer, deeper tail rocker line.

Overall, the Mindbender 106C W feels better in slightly softer conditions rather than firmer ones, so I enjoyed it most in tighter terrain that had a bit of soft snow on top, as opposed to really firm days. Overall, I didn’t find its tail to feel particularly quick to punish off-balance and backseat turns, though there are softer, more freestyle-oriented alternatives that are even more forgiving if that’s a priority.

Kara Williard reviews the Mindbender 106C W for BLISTER.
Kara Williard on the Mindbender 106C W (Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO)

I wouldn’t call the Mindbender 106C W super damp, but it does feel fairly supportive on edge (more on that in the On-Piste section). And despite it being notably heavier than the previous version, the new Mindbender 106C W still feels like it has a fairly low swing weight, lively flex pattern, and is easy to release and pivot without a ton of effort, making it pretty favorable and easy-going in this type of terrain.

Powder & Soft Chop

The Mindbender 106C W felt most at home in fresh snow and soft chop, of which there has been plenty lately here at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. In untracked powder, the Mindbender 106C W floats really well for its width, and what we just said about its maneuverable, surfy ride also translates in deep snow. I skied the Mindbender 106C W for several days during a recent and very productive storm cycle, and I was continually impressed by how loose and easy to turn it felt for its width, even when the pow was variable in terms of density.

As things get more tracked out, the Mindbender 106C W does lose a bit of its composure. Especially in dense chop, it tends to get knocked around a fair bit, particularly compared to similarly heavy or heavier skis that are a bit less rockered and/or stiffer. Pressuring the Mindbender 106C W’s shovels to drive the ski through chop helps here, and it is more damp and stable than the first-gen version, but I wouldn’t say high-speed composure in variable snow is a standout trait of the new Mindbender 106C W.

Kara Williard reviews the Mindbender 106C W for BLISTER.
Kara Williard on the Mindbender 106C W at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO (photo by Taylor Ahearn)

If much of what the Mindbender 106C W offers sounds compelling to you but you’d trade lower-speed maneuverability and quickness for improved high-speed stability and suspension, then you might want to check out the Mindbender 108 Ti, which is available down to a size 172 cm.

Firm Chop & Crud

Similar to what I said above, the Mindbender 106C W is a ski that offers more in terms of maneuverability than it does stability. I found it easy to make tight, light-on-my-feet turns on this ski and was less inclined to try to push its limits via faster, larger turns in cruddy conditions.

I opted to take a slower and more conservative approach to skiing crud on the Mindbender 106C W than I would on something ultra-damp and much more precise, such as the Volkl Secret 102, but for that more conservative style, the Mindbender 106C W’s accessibility and easy-to-turn ride can be assets in this type of difficult snow.

Kara Williard reviews the Mindbender 106C W for BLISTER.
Kara Williard on the Mindbender 106C W (Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO)

Groomers / On-Piste

For a wider all-mountain ski, the Mindbender 106C W is quite engaging and fun on groomers. It’s impressively stable on edge, especially on groomers that aren’t super scraped-off and icy. Its shovel engages quickly and feels pretty precise through the turn. That, combined with its softer tips, made it easier to bend and trust on firm snow than something more tapered and stiffer, like the DPS Kaizen 105.

On icier groomers, the Mindbender 106C W doesn’t encourage high speeds and big turns since it’s not very damp. However, its impressive edge hold — especially relative to how loose / maneuverable it feels off piste and in soft snow — keeps it feeling predictable when skidding more conservative turns.

Kara Williard reviews the Mindbender 106C W for BLISTER.
Kara Williard on the Mindbender 106C W (Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO)

Length

The 176 cm Mindbender 106C W worked well for me across all terrain and conditions. For reference, I generally prefer all-mountain skis somewhere in the 170-184 cm range. Since I reviewed and enjoyed the first-generation Mindbender 106C W in a 175 cm length, the 176 cm updated version seemed like a natural choice, and that ended up being correct.

While the new version is more stable, I found it to feel similar in terms of maneuverability and overall accessibility, so I didn’t feel the need to change sizes.

Mount Point

As I mentioned in my Flash Review, the new Mindbender 106C W feels a bit surfier / easier to pivot around than its predecessor. It also seems a bit more adaptable in terms of stance.

The Mindbender 106C W is still very intuitive for me as a directional skier and it still performs best when skied with a traditional, forward stance. That said, I also found it to be a little more forgiving and accepting of a centered stance, or when I found myself getting a little backseat in chop or pow. In other words, I didn’t need to be driving the shovels 100% of the time for it to feel pretty intuitive and accessible. 

Kara Williard reviews the Mindbender 106C W for BLISTER.
Kara Williard on the Mindbender 106C W at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO (photo by Taylor Ahearn)

Who’s It For?

The original Mindbender 106C Alliance was a versatile all-mountain ski for its width and this holds true with the updated version — with a few subtle, but largely positive, changes.

The Mindbender 106C W will feel most intuitive to directional skiers who want a maneuverable and fairly agile ski that excels in soft snow but is still pretty predictable in firmer conditions.

In terms of specific use cases, there are a lot I can think of. The Mindbender 106C W could be a good 1-ski quiver in high-snow areas; a downhill-oriented 50/50 (resort / backcountry) setup; a wider ski for soft-ish resort days that’s in a quiver with narrower, more firm-snow-oriented options; or perhaps just an option for folks who are specifically looking to gain some confidence in tight, technical terrain, especially relative to narrower, less rockered alternatives.

Within the directional category, I’d say the Mindbender 106C W feels more forgiving and maneuverable than most of its competitors, and generally not quite as damp or stable. So it’s not the best choice for charging in variable snow, but it can be a great ski to grow with as you progress, or as an option for experts who ski with a more dynamic and finesse-oriented style.

Kara Williard reviews the Mindbender 106C W for BLISTER.
Kara Williard on the Mindbender 106C W (Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO)

Bottom Line

K2’s first-generation Mindbender “C” skis stood out for their versatile and maneuverable rides that worked well for the more directional-minded skier who didn’t want or need the hardest-charging ski. This updated version maintains much of the identity of the original, but in a slightly more stable and still very maneuverable package.

Deep Dive Comparisons

BLISTER+ members can check out the Deep Dive comparisons linked below. Not a member? Become one today to get access to this and a LOT more, including the best worldwide Outdoor Injury Insurance, exclusive deals and discounts on skis, personalized gear recommendations from us, and much more.

Check out our Deep Dive comparisons of the Mindbender 106C W to see how it compares to the first generation Mindbender 106C, Folsom Cash 106,  K2 Mindbender 116C W, Faction Dancer 3X, Salomon QST Stella 106, Armada ARW 106 UL, RMU Valhalla 107, DPS Kaizen 105, Blizzard Sheeva 10, Line Blade Optic 104, Nordica Unleashed 108, Majesty Vadera Ti, Blizzard Sheeva 11, & Coalition Snow Rafiki

2023-2024 K2 Mindbender 106C W, BLISTER
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