2023 K2 Mindbender 106C W Review
If you like playful powder planks (who doesn’t), check out this energetic ski
This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Overall Score: 7.76
- Rank: #3
- Flotation: 8.4
- Playfulness: 7.8
- Responsiveness: 7.6
- Quickness: 6.8
- Crud Performance: 7.2
- Stability at Speed: 7
- Forgiveness: 7.8
- Versatility: 7.8
- Price: $800
- Lengths: 159, 167, 175
- Dimensions: 139-106-124
- Radius: 15m
- Level: Intermediate, Advanced
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Flotation (#2), Playfulness (#2)
- Cons: Quickness (#6), Crud Performance (#4)
An energetic ski that loves to party, the Mindbender 106C W is a capable and forgiving powder ski, but one that can handle the heat if you decide to step on it. Previously known as the Mindbender 106C Alliance, the newly dubbed Mindbender 106C W carries over the same all-terrain prowess from last year.
Unlike the beefier Mindbender Ti skis, the 106C W doesn’t utilize any metal and instead features a weave of carbon stringers—K2’s proprietary Spectral Braid technology— that boosts stiffness and power. Combined with a lightweight aspen veneer core, the Mindbender boasts a poppy and energetic feel that grabbed testers’ attention on the first few turns. The rockered tip and tail make for easy steering, so it’s a breeze to initiate turns while arcing down back bowls. Camber underfoot helps this ski hold a solid edge while railing icy groomers, with easy edge-to-edge turnover that testers appreciated for reliability when hopping onto firm slopes in between pow stashes. The 106mm waist was on the slimmer end of the powder skis we tested, but the wide shovel on the Mindbender 106C W kept things floaty, allowing the ski to feel consistent when conditions inevitably change from bell to bell.
“Great rebound and wicked fun,” said tester Avery Pesce. “Surprisingly reliable on groomers and excellent float and stability in soft snow. Definitely a narrower powder ski I’d recommend for a New England resort skier.” For a beefed-up powder chaser, ladies should reach for the Mindbender 115C W to really float the day away, or the 90C W and 85 W for sleeker options that will bring the acclaimed Mindbender energy to areas with less snowfall.
Testers did ding the Mindbender 106c W in the Quickness category, saying its chargy attitude fell short in narrow glades and bumps, where the ski requires more work than it should to initiate turns and weave through obstacles. “I had to muscle it around in tight trees,” said tester Erika Northrop. “And the shovel was a bit hard to whip around in variable terrain.”
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Still, testers agreed that the Mindbender 106C W is an ideal powder or wide all-mountain ski for intermediate to advanced skiers because it’s stable and quiet at high speeds in wide-open terrain yet still allows skiers working on their skills to pivot and smear turns in more technical terrain. “This is another ringer for me!” said tester Elyse Schreiber. “I know K2s to be damp and not very playful, but this allowed me to get into a little bit of every kind of terrain comfortably and felt dependable where I needed it.”
Lily Krass is a freelance ski journalist based in Jackson, Wyoming with work featured in SKI Magazine, Powder Magazine, Freeskier, Teton Gravity Research, and Ascent Backcountry Snow Journal. She spends winters backcountry skiing in Grand Teton National Park and riding lifts at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, with the occasional trip to the Alps (for the food, obviously). While she’s been in ski boots since she learned to walk, Lily has been professionally writing about skiing, gear, and all things outdoors for the past seven years. In addition to an all-consuming addiction to powder skiing mixed with heavy doses of Type II fun, Lily takes snacking seriously, and when she’s not writing or sliding on snow, she’s likely deep into a baking project in her tiny kitchen. She is the co-author of Beyond Skid: A Cookbook For Ski Bums, a collection of dirtbag-friendly recipes inspired by life in a mountain town.