Considering how recently Kohlberg & Co acquired K2, it’s remarkable how quickly the brand overturned almost its entire Alpine line-up. There are six new Mindbenders for men and an equal allotment of Mindbender Alliance models for the ladies. To complete the turnover trifecta, the women’s Frontside series that bore the LUV imprint have been revised and re-issued as Anthem models, in waist widths from 72mm to 80mm.
All the new Mindbenders do more than unite the men’s and women’s freeride collections under a common banner; they also share two design templates, Titanal Y-Beam and Carbon Spectral Band, that alternate between models labeled “Ti” or “C.” The Titanal Y-Beam looks like a giant tuning fork atop a wood core, giving the front more bite over the edge and the tail more ability to twist. The Carbon Spectral Band uses a K2 staple, triaxial braiding, this time using carbon instead of glass fiber.
Another key feature shared by Ti Mindbenders is PowerWall, an extra stack of sidewall underfoot to lend more leverage and power transmission over the camber zone. On the “C” skis, the sidewalls are slanted so the ski can slide sideways with less resistance.
While we were able to cull sufficient test cards to fairly evaluate the men’s Mindbenders, we barely registered any women’s cards on the new K2’s. We attempted to capture this data on a couple of occasions and regrettably came up short. We’ll continue to look for new ways to adjust our methods so we end up with more data and commentaries on women’s skis in general and K2’s in particular.