Last season, K2 athlete McKenna Peterson shared this glimpse behind the ski development curtain at K2: The creation of the Mindbender line was an opportunity for K2 to completely revamp its women’s freeride skis. We started with a conference call between K2 engineers, product managers, K2’s female athletes and K2’s women’s test team. We each stated what our ‘ideal’ line of skis would look like and the engineers started innovating. Throughout that winter, the women’s test team completed 5 tests at different ski resorts, in varying conditions. Some models, like the 88Ti, skied really well right out of the gate and we only tested those prototype variations at two of the tests. Other models were tested over and over again until the ski was perfect. The first time I skied on what is now the Mindbender 98Ti Alliance was during our second round of testing at Crystal Mountain, Washington. It had snowed a bit up high but had rained down low on the mountain so conditions were variable. I’m a big mountain skier and have always preferred fatter skis for float and stability at speed, but there was something about this 98mm underfoot ski that made my jaw drop. Up high, the 98Ti floated through the powder, perfectly balanced between riding on top and diving too deep. The ski carved through the nasty re-frozen wet snow of the lower mountain as if it were butter. The ski was both confident and playful. We had a winner.