2023 K2 Mindbender 89Ti W Review
This accessible all-mountain tool for ladies earned high marks in versatility and quickness
This article was first published by SkiMag.com.
The Scores (out of 10)
- Overall Score: 7.27/10
- Rank: #10
- Versatility: 7.83
- Crud Performance: 7
- Playfulness: 7.5
- Responsiveness: 7.33
- Hard-Snow Integrity: 6.33
- Quickness: 7.83
- Stability at Speed: 6.67
- Carving: 7
- Flotation: 6.67
- Forgiveness: 7
- Price: $850
- Lengths: 146, 152, 158, 164, 170
- Dimensions: 130-89-114
- Radius: 13.1m (164)
- Level: Intermediate to Advanced
In a Nutshell
- Pros: Versatility (#7), Quickness (#8)
- Cons: Hard-Snow Integrity (#15), Stability at Speed (#15)
The women’s-specific Mindbender 89Ti W is technically new this season, though it’s based on the previous women’s 88Ti model. This new version features a slightly different sidecut, turning radius, and increased tail rocker, but fans of the previous iteration won’t be disappointed with these changes. In fact, they make the Mindbender 89Ti W quicker and more user-friendly. The old version was slow to release out of a turn, but the increased tail rocker in this new model takes care of that issue and makes the ski significantly more agile without sacrificing too much stability. “Surprised by how agile and easy this ski is,” noted tester Michelle Nicholson. “Way more playful than anticipated,” commented Renee Cernichiari, a former ski racer from Colorado.
All testers called out this ski’s performance in the bumps and tight terrain, where its newfound playfulness and effortless turning makes life easier and more fun. But like the old version, this new Mindbender 89Ti isn’t the biggest fan of hard snow despite the Titanal Y-Beam in the core, a layer of Titanal shaped like a “Y” which is supposed to add stiffness and torsional rigidity underfoot and along the edges without adding too much heft to the ski. While the strategically placed metal in those places does increase performance on groomers, the lack of metal in the ski’s tip was all the more obvious to testers, especially when cruising groomers at speed. “This ski’s weakness is high speeds,” commented tester Avery Pesce, who’s used to skiing the boilerplate of the East. “That wide shovel at the contact point has a little too much chatter.” Other testers also noticed the ski’s tendency to chatter and become less stable at speed and pointed to both the lightweight tip and increased rocker design, which combined make the Mindbender 89Ti W less reliable in big arcs and on true hardpack. “Beware of GS turns, the tail is a little washy,” said Pesce. “Skis a little short and swishy,” added Cernichiari.
If you ask most testers, that weakness is a small price to pay for the added playfulness and quickness you get from the reduced amount of metal and increased rocker. This design makes the ski far more accessible to the intermediates, who will find the ski easy to turn on and off the groomers. It also makes the Mindbender 89Ti W more versatile when it comes to both terrain choices and snow conditions. This ski may not slice and dice like others in the frontside category, but it’s a lot of fun in bumps, trees, and even in crud.
“Pleasantly surprised how well the new metal mapping and increased tail rocker performed,” said Pesce. “This ski has great stability through the turn but releases smoothly while transitioning from edge to edge. Super maneuverable in the woods, not hooky, and crushes bumps with ease.”
All of this makes the Mindbender 89Ti W a ski best suited to intermediates and advanced skiers who like to play all over the mountain—with the emphasis on play. “An amazing ski for the everyday skier, it does what it is told and is loose in the tail to keep things playful,” summarized Cernichiari.
Jenny Wiegand is SKI’s managing editor. Born and raised in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Jenny grew up exploring the Alps on skis, bikes, and her own two feet. She has since traded in the Alps for the Rockies to seek new trails, new adventures, and write about her favorite sport—skiing—in her new home of Boulder, Colo. Since joining the SKI Magazine editorial team in 2018, Jenny has written and edited stories for SKI’s print and digital outlets. A lifelong skier and former club racer, Jenny is also a self-proclaimed gearhead and puts that knowledge to good use as one of SKI Magazine’s official gear testers.