Featured Image: Courtesy of K2
No need to wait until the fall for the new K2 Mindbender Ti collection to drop because it hits ski shop walls this March. The New Mindbender Ti collection consists of three Men’s models—108Ti, 99Ti, 89Ti—and two Women’s models—99Ti W, 89Ti W. This new collection of skis follows its Mindbender predecessor—a ski that strong skiers loved but was perhaps too aggressive for intermediates. The new Mindbender Ti Collection maintains that high-end performance but is more approachable at the start of the turn and releases out of the tail with the consistency that less advanced skiers are looking for.
“We got a lot of feedback from intermediate to upper-intermediate skiers that the previous collection took a lot of effort to get into a turn,” K2 Global Marketing Manager Matt Miller said. “Just like rocker profiles and waist widths of the past, we’re reining this collection back in. It is part of the evolution of getting to a ski that is damn near perfect.”
This year’s Mindbender still uses Torsion Control Design, TCD for short, but with a big upgrade for 2022. As a recap, TCD is a technology used on all Mindbender models, both the “C” models and “Ti” Models. The “C” models control torsion with a patented aramid layer; called Spectral Braid, that changes fiber angles over the length of the ski. The Ti models use a titanal Y-Beam construction that puts titanal over the edges in the forebody of the ski, uses full width titanal underfoot, and then tapers off to a titanal strip in the tail. This unique titanal shape controls the torsional stiffness of the ski to make for precise turn initiation out of the forebody of the ski with a consistent, smooth release in the tail.
For the new Ti collection, “TCD was updated to add a chunk of titanal near the contact points. By adding titanal in the tip and tail, near the contact points, we’re adding weight to the extremities of the ski without affecting the overall torsional stiffness. This additional weight results in better turn initiation, tracking and stability out of the forebody while maintaining consistent turn release in the tail,” K2 Ski Design Engineer Nick Crocker said.
The previous version of the Mindbender Ti collection came in both a men’s and women’s ski that were individually engineered. The new Mindbender Ti collection maintains a M’s and W’s graphic however the skis were designed with the size of the rider in mind as opposed to the gender. This new approach allowed K2 engineers to scale the flex profile, sidecuts, mount points, and rocker profiles to fit the size of the rider more accurately.
“I took the flex profile, sidecut, mount points and rocker profile from the previous women’s ski that did a lot of things well in terms of accessibility,” Crocker said. “Then we tweaked the current Mindbender Ti chassis that had the performance and stability characteristics and married the two. We took from the women’s and put it into the men’s ski because the women’s did a lot of things well that the men’s lacked.”
The iterations to the Mindbender Ti collection began over two years ago with feedback from K2’s core testing group. Because of the pandemic, the team couldn’t test together so K2 shipped skis to testers all over the world and gathered feedback virtually. Then the engineers refined the ski at K2’s Advance Resource Collective, or ARC, in Seattle.
“We can be testing a ski one week, go to the ARC to make changes and have a new ski ready to go and test again the next week,” Crocker said. “Having access to the ARC allows us to innovate in a way that others can’t,” Miller added.