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K2 Mindbender 99Ti - Women's Review

Mindbending in powder and light snow, but lacking in edge hold and stability in bumpier conditions
k2 mindbender 99ti for women all mountain skis review
Credit: K2
Price:  $750 List
Manufacturer:   K2
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 14, 2022
62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 14
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 5.0
  • Carving Ability - 20% 5.0
  • Powder Performance - 20% 8.0
  • Crud Performance - 20% 7.0
  • Terrain Playfulness - 15% 6.0
  • Bumps - 5% 6.0

Our Verdict

Our minds truly were bent by this ski’s ability to soar through fresh powder; the K2 Mindbender 99Ti is built for floating on soft snow. This ski also has a keen knack for pivoting through moguls and tight trees. However, when we took it onto a harder snowpack, it didn’t have the stability and edge hold we wanted. Likewise, when we wanted to carve it, it took a long while to get engaged, and even then the grip wasn’t very solid. We’d recommend this ski as a more powder-oriented option, but it isn’t ideal for anyone looking for something truly versatile in all conditions.
REASONS TO BUY
Great powder performance
Likes to pivot quickly
REASONS TO AVOID
Less than perfect for carving and edge-hold
Too soft for the roughest terrain

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Great powder performance, likes to pivot quicklyCrud blaster, dependable, great one-ski quiver option, good for every ability levelCarving machine, powerful yet accessibleAwesome powder tool, fabulous fun factor even for light skiers, affordable priceGreat stability at high speeds, good on hard snow and crud, more affordable than others
Cons Less than perfect for carving and edge-hold, too soft for the roughest terrainNo wow-factor, not a lot of reboundSinks a little in powder, too beefy for bumpsGets bouncy in crud, slight tip flap, doesn’t carve perfectlyOnly for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide them
Bottom Line Mindbending in powder and light snow, but lacking in edge hold and stability in bumpier conditionsA great all-rounder ski that we think is the most versatile option for a one-ski quiverAccurate and easy to carve, this ski is a dream on the groomersA fun and responsive toy for powder days, groomer antics, and bumps, with a value-oriented price tagThis model will do great in everything but the deepest powder and is ideal for an aggressive skier
Rating Categories K2 Mindbender 99Ti... Nordica Santa Ana 98 Kastle FX96 W - Wom... Elan Ripstick 94 W Faction Dictator 2.0X
Stability at Speed (20%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
Carving Ability (20%)
5.0
8.0
10.0
7.0
8.0
Powder Performance (20%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
9.0
5.0
Crud Performance (20%)
7.0
9.0
7.0
5.0
9.0
Terrain Playfulness (15%)
6.0
6.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Bumps (5%)
6.0
7.0
4.0
8.0
5.0
Specs K2 Mindbender 99Ti... Nordica Santa Ana 98 Kastle FX96 W - Wom... Elan Ripstick 94 W Faction Dictator 2.0X
Waist Width 99 mm 98 mm 96 mm 94 mm 96 mm
Sidecut (Tip-Waist-Tail width) 134-99-120 mm 132-98-120 mm 133-96-119 mm 136-94-110 mm 127-96-117 mm
Available Lengths 154, 160, 166, 172 cm 151, 158, 165, 172, 179 cm 156, 164, 172 cm 154, 162, 170, 178 cm 155, 163, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187 cm
Length Tested 172 cm 172 cm 172 cm 178 cm 171 cm
Turn Radius 16.8 m 16.3 m 16 m 18 m 18 m
Camber Profile All-terrain rocker Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot Progressive rise, dual rise, low camber Rocker tip and tail, cambered inside edge, Amphibio tech Rocker tip and tail, camber underfoot
Weight Per Pair 8.7 lbs 8.1 lbs 8.0 lbs 7.4 lbs 7.9 lbs
Construction Type Hybrid sidewalls, cap regions tip and tail Energy Ti W Powerzone, sandwich-sidewall construction SST sidewall Sandwich
Core Material Aspen Veneer Performance Wood & Metal Paulownia, beech, poplar Tubelite wood Paulownia & Poplar
Ability Level Intermediate-Advanced Intermediate-Expert Intermediate-Expert Intermediate-Expert Advanced-Expert

Our Analysis and Test Results

The K2 Mindbender 99Ti, at only 99 millimeters under foot, performs surprisingly well in deeper snow but lacks some stability and edge hold to make it our first choice for our favorite all-around ski for women.

Performance Comparison


k2 mindbender 99ti for women all mountain skis review - our gals grinned the whole way back to the chair whenever they could...
Our gals grinned the whole way back to the chair whenever they could have a playful moment on the K2.
Credit: Nate Greenberg

Stability at Speed


There used to be a consensus amongst our testers that women’s K2 skis tended to be quite soft and too flexy for expert skiers. However, the last couple of K2 models that we’ve tested have certainly made us question that theory. The Mindbender 99Ti is far more stable than the women’s K2s of old, but unfortunately, it still doesn’t stack up against the burliest skis in our test group. The edges are slow to engage, and there is some chatter on firm snow. At higher speeds on fast snow, the tips flap more than is comforting.

k2 mindbender 99ti for women all mountain skis review - the k2 performs best in off-piste conditions or with a whimsical...
The K2 performs best in off-piste conditions or with a whimsical mentality on the groomers; it isn't a hard-charging carving ski and has some chatter on firm snow.
Credit: Nate Greenberg

Carving Ability


The Mindbender 99Ti loves to skid and butter across the snow’s surface, but this characteristic makes it less adept at carving. The lethargy with which it grips the snow causes a long delay before the ski engages, and once it does, the long turn radius and mediocre edge hold make for a less enjoyable carved turn. The 16.8-meter turn radius actually feels even longer in reality, as our testers agreed that it performed more like an 18-meter radius ski.

k2 mindbender 99ti for women all mountain skis review - the mindbender 99 shows up fair to middling in regards to both...
The Mindbender 99 shows up fair to middling in regards to both stability and carving ability; it prefers to lie flat and smear rather than grip and slice.
Credit: Nate Greenberg

Powder Performance


This is where the Mindbender shines. It stays afloat even in deeper, heavier powder and offers a much easier ride than its mere 99-millimeter waist width would suggest. The rockered tip and tail construction give it a very nimble feeling, even in tight spaces like trees and couloirs. Our testers found it very easy to maneuver in all types of softer snow. It didn’t quite hit the top of our charts for this metric, but it wasn’t far away.

k2 mindbender 99ti for women all mountain skis review - this ski was mind-bendingly powerful in deep snow, keeping us...
This ski was mind-bendingly powerful in deep snow, keeping us reaching for it on powder days.
Credit: Renee McCormack

Crud Performance


The Mindbender’s performance in the crud depended a lot on exactly what type and texture the snow was. The type of chop we experienced at the end of a cold mid-winter powder day was handled well. When things got heavier — later in the season or during a wetter storm cycle — it didn’t have the oomph to slice through the chunkiness, nor the dampness to cruise on top. Our testers found them to be a bumpy ride in all but the mellowest crud.

k2 mindbender 99ti for women all mountain skis review - light and maneuverable, the k2 handles cold-weather choppy...
Light and maneuverable, the K2 handles cold-weather choppy conditions well but struggles a bit with a bumpier ride when cruising through warmer or wetter crud conditions.
Credit: Nate Greenberg

Terrain Playfulness


We found that while there was some rebound to this ski, we really had to be giving it some energy for it to give something back. In other words, we either needed a lot of power or a lot of speed to feel the ski kickback at the end of the turn. When we did feel it, it wasn’t significant nor was it reliable. It feels light enough under your feet to get airborne easily, and its ability to release the edge quickly and pivot gives it a fun twisty sensation. The Mindbender is great for playing with flat-land 360s, shifties, and other rotational tricks.

k2 mindbender 99ti for women all mountain skis review - the k2 loves to pivot and butter across the surface, so it's a lot...
The K2 loves to pivot and butter across the surface, so it's a lot of fun in the trees and in a terrain park.
Credit: Nate Greenberg

Bumps


Again thanks to its softer edge hold, the Mindbender twists and pivots with ease through moguls. It is much more maneuverable in the bumps than many of the skis in our test group. The same characteristics which are a deficit in the carving metric are an asset in this type of terrain.

Should You Buy the K2 Mindbender 99Ti?


If you only have eyes for soft snow and moguls, this ski is a fabulous tool for those types of terrain, and worth the price tag. However, if you’re looking for something that also performs well on hard snow and in tough crud, you will need to look elsewhere for that versatility.

What Other Women's All-Mountain Skis Should You Consider?


The Mindbender 99Ti is a great mid-fat powder ski with a bent for nimble, pivoty turns. A slight step up within this same vein is the Elan Ripstick 94 W. If you’re searching for something which leans more towards the hard-snow, deep-carving end of things, look towards the Kastle FX 96 or the Volkl Secret 96.

Renee McCormack
 
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