2022-2023 K2 Mindbender 99Ti | Blister

Drew: Having skied the old Mindbender 99Ti, I’d agree with Luke in saying that the new version is more accessible in bumps. But more so than many other skis that are built (or redesigned) to be more accessible and have broad appeal, the Mindbender 99Ti is capable of being pushed. While softer, more rockered skis like the Line Blade Optic 96 and Salomon QST 98 are really agile and forgiving mogul skis, their composure when pushed hard limits how fast I can ski a bump line. That’s not the case with the Mindbender 99Ti. Despite being easy to pivot through or slide over bumps, I could still zipper-line moguls without excessive harsh feedback or deflection.

What I will say is that, before the Mindbender 99Ti, I had been spending a lot of time in the bumps on skis that are ~10 mm wider. Coming from those, I did not find the shovels of this ski to be ungainly, which often bothers me in moguls, but I could see how they might to someone used to skiing something with more tapered tips, or just a narrower ski overall.

Jonathan Ellsworth: I’d mostly like to add here that, when skiing off piste, the difference between this new 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti and the previous 184 cm Mindbender 99Ti is absolutely night and day. I know a number of people who found the 184 cm 99Ti to be way too much ski for their tastes. (I was one of those people, especially in moguls.) I don’t find the new 184 Mindbender 99Ti to be demanding at all in moguls. Instead, I just really like it in moguls, trees, and tight terrain. It’s a nice combination of being pretty stable, relatively quick, easy to pivot and release (the ski never felt stuck), and extremely predictable.

Soft Chop & Powder

Luke: As we mentioned up top, the new Mindbender 99Ti is not as damp or stable as the original, and that’s most evident in roughed-up, variable snow. The new ski doesn’t naturally blast through soft chop as well as its predecessor, but it’s still heavy and strong enough that many experienced skiers will find it capable of skiing fast in chopped-up conditions.

What I personally really like with the new Mindbender 99Ti is that, by giving up some of the bulldozer-esque stability of the older, heavier version, the new ski can now cater to a wider range of skiing styles. To me, the old Mindbender 99Ti felt pretty inclined to just ski fast, stay on the ground, and try to blow through everything (especially the 184 cm). The new ski can still handle some big turns and high speeds (especially in softer, lower-density chop), but it also feels much more intuitive / practical than the old one if you want to ski with either a slower, more conservative style or a really dynamic, light-on-your-feet manner.

For me, my style, and my preferences, the Mindbender 99Ti hits a really nice sweet spot of being damp and stable enough to not get knocked around a bunch in soft chop, while also being quick, loose, and energetic enough to not feel like a burden when I want to ski more dynamically, make quick slashes, and get in the air at every opportunity. While there are lots of skis that do better jobs of catering more specifically to either side of the spectrum (i.e., even more stable, or even quicker), the Mindbender 99Ti’s standout trait is its versatility.

All that talk about different styles aside, the new Mindbender 99Ti still floats really well for its width, and the deeper rocker lines on the new version (and lower weight) make it feel like an even more maneuverable and capable powder ski. I’d still prefer the wider Mindbender 108Ti if I planned on skiing a lot of deep (10+ in / 25+ cm) snow, especially deep chop, but the Mindbender 99Ti handles soft-snow duties as well as or better than most ~100mm-wide skis.

Jonathan: I might sum it up this way: the previous 184 cm 99Ti primarily felt — and performed — like a fat GS ski that always wanted to be on edge, being carved powerfully. And if this is your default style in soft chop and powder, you might have loved this. But if you tend to be skiing soft chop and powder not in open bowls but in tighter, techier terrain, then I suspect you will prefer how the 22/23 99Ti performs in soft chop and pow. The ski feels more comfortable making quick changes from running bases flat to pivoting turns to being carved on edge. The previous model was notably more one-dimensional.

Firm Chop & Crud

Luke: If you don’t let really rough, firm, inconsistent conditions keep you from skiing as fast as you do in other conditions, the new Mindbender 99Ti won’t be as ideal as the old one. The new ski gets knocked around more in these conditions, and it doesn’t do as good of a job of absorbing vibrations and impacts from harsh snow.

That said, we’re still talking about a ~2100-gram ski (184 cm), so the new Mindbender 99Ti is still on the more damp and stable end of the spectrum when compared to the current market. It’s just that the old version was near the very top of its class in those regards.