As befits the brand that made “rocker” an enduring entry in the ski design lexicon, K2 hasn’t paid much attention to the ski market below an 80mm waist width – where cambered baselines still dwell – since the brand lost interest in racing around the turn of the millennium. In 20/21, K2 error corrected with a vengeance by launching the 10-model Disruption series of carving skis.
As is often the case in the world ski market, K2’s new carving collection straddles the Technical/Frontside divide, with the vector models landing on the skinny side, and the more versatile, less demanding models populating the slightly wider Frontside domain. In the Disruption series, the 78 Ti isn’t a watered-down carver, just a wider one, as it borrows the same construction and almost fully cambered baseline of the flagship Disruption MTi.
Both the power and forgiveness inherent in the Disruption 78 Ti derive from the same source, a single band of Titanal the runs nearly the entire length of the ski in a uniform width that matches the waist dimension. This creates an edge that holds firmly yet softly, as if its aluminum alloy guts were wrapped in velvet. On soft groomers, it feels like the edge is cushioned yet never loses contact, thanks in large part to a baseline that has zero tail elevation and only a smidgeon of early rise at the tip.
The Mindbender 106C Alliance ties together several strands of K2’s DNA. One strand is K2’s pioneering history of women’s models; since K2 introduced its first women’s ski, I dare say they’ve marketed more women’s models than any other brand. Another spiral of its genetic make-up is K2’s early adoption of rocker, giving it a wealth of experience in mastering flotation and ease of operation in deep snow. The baseline of the Mindbender 106C uses a low, gradual rocker on both ends, so all that surface area can take care of job one.
The third embedded gene is K2’s integration of its Women’s Alliance test team in its product development, a process that has been going on for over twenty years. Kim Reichhelm has been a leader of K2’s Alliance since its inception, and continues to contribute every year. Last year she filed a review of the Mindbender 106C that provided peek behind the curtain at her role at K2.
K2 has always had a strong presence in the Women’s Frontside field, a tradition it’s reasserting with the Disruption Alliance series it inaugurated last year. The Disruption MTi Alliance uses the same trifecta of key features – Dark Matter Damping, Ti I-Beam and Powerwall – as the unisex Disruption MTi, in a modified flex, shape and size range. This year, there are five new Disruption Alliance models, taking over all duties in the Frontside genre from the retired Anthem series.
No other Women’s Technical model is as slender in the forebody as the Disruption MTi Alliance, creating a gentle pull into the turn that never feels rushed. A strong ski with a gentle disposition, it takes less energy to extract a long turn than on a more torsionally rigid ski with a deeper sidecut.
Not only is the Disruption MTi a graceful carver, its slightly softer edge gives it a forgiving quality that’s a K2 hallmark. The main reason the Disruption MTi feels different on edge from, say, an e-Magnum, is because its Ti I-Beam metal laminate is only as wide as the thinnest section of the ski. As the ski widens at tip and tail, a gap grows between the Ti sheet and the edge. This allows the edge to give a little, which creates a cushioned ride on a firm surface.
To be clear: the edge doesn’t give out or wiggle around – despite its name, the edge grip is never disobedient or disorderly. If anything, the mildly less aggressive grip feels easier to trust in a fully-laid over carve. Due to its markedly mellow character in a category dominated by brutes, we award the Disruption MTi a Silver Skier Selection.