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Intermediate Skiier(s) demo impressions: K2 Disruption 81Ti, Mindbender 88Ti, Mindbender 90C ; Line Blade W, Pandora 94

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I was lucky enough to run into 3 demo days this ski trip, and even luckier that my mother finally agreed to try skis just for fun. Today was the last day of our trip and we spent all morning swapping in and out of our own skis and demos to compare them. K2 was here earlier in the week, so I took the Mindbenders out on deeper, fresher snow and generally better conditions last Saturday, as seen below (I was on my own skis for these tracks - we were in the queue 15 minutes before the lift opened and got the second chair up)
IMG_20210717_091311.jpg
Ski level: Intermediate. When we took a lesson together, I think they classified us as Level 6. I am in my 30s, like a little speed, want to like moguls, and am trying my utmost to improve on ungroomed snow; Mum is no longer in her 30s, prefers groomers but will dip off the side of the trail in fresh snow, and hates moguls.
Demo area: The Remarkables, on intermediate trails
Conditions: Mostly sunny with passing cloud, -2°C, variable snow in places. They have needed to top up with snowguns since the start of the week, but last night there was a solid 3cm of fresh but wind-affected snow which was well skiied-over by the time we got to demo. odd bit of crud around and icy scraped-off patches. The intermediate groomers have been developing moguls steadily so we were also practicing our bump technique with variable success.
IMG_20210722_124018.jpg
Time demoed: two runs per ski (standard for most demo days)
Size: Me: 157cm/54kg/ski 2019 Volkl Kenja 156cm
Mum is 164cm/52kg/skis 2019 Volkl Yumi 154cm

K2 Disruption 81Ti 160cm : I took this out today to see how I felt back on a dedicated groomer ski, and my first impression was "this is a solid groomer ski". It was longer than I would normally go for but felt smooth and stable, turned when I asked it to, got on edge with no issues, and handled chopped up snow without getting caught. It didn't hold as well on icier areas for how stable and grippy it felt otherwise, but perhaps I wasn't driving it as much as it wanted. I never quite opened up the throttle fully on it, and I think it would be more energetic with a faster skier or on a steeper groomer/faster day. Photo below came out weird - they are a maroon red.
IMG_20210722_124025.jpg

K2 Mindbender 88Ti 156cm: I took this out on Saturday after everything was becoming tracked out and found my first run felt a little like skiing my Kenjas but with a greater degree of forgiveness and less driving needed - solid, and a ski that goes through crud, but doesn't completely bog you down in softer snow. Like the Kenjas, I needed to work hard for shorter turns and it wouldn't be my first choice for moguls. The topsheet is great with my pants though.
Mum took them out today and they are now on her "possible ski" shopping list. Her impression was that she felt very, very stable but needed to be more aware of getting out of a backseat position compared to the Yumis (I think "less forgiving"). She felt it sliced through crud, held on ice, but she had to work harder to turn them, and thought that it would have been hard on a steeper run.
IMG_20210717_111959.jpg

K2 Mindbender 90C 163cm: I took this out on Saturday just prior to the 88Ti and it felt both too long and too soft, although floated well, was incredibly forgiving, and turned easily. My overall impression was "bouncy, but holds an edge ok."
Mum thought in today's conditions that it wasn't too long once you got used to it and floated well, got on edge "okay" but "no good over bumpy stuff as very bumpy. Not unstable or chattery, just bumpy."
There is a partial photo below as they made it into the photo of the Line Blade.

Line Blade W 160cm: The surprise of the day! It looks like it should be a floaty off piste ski, but I was reassured I could treat it "just like a slalom ski". I disagreed with that slightly as I slid over an icy area, but I could definitely tip it on edge and get up speed rather than having to smear every turn like the Pandoras. It turns remarkably easily and was great for shorter turns. A bit bouncy (with the Kenjas as my baseline for "not bouncy in crud") but not unstably so or throwing me around.
Mum thought: Surprisingly easy and stable at speed. They almost turn for you and are quite forgiving. They don't look like they could carve as the tip is very wide, but they do. They don't charge through crud, but get through some relatively well.
IMG_20210722_113119.jpg

Line Pandora 94 165cm: I wanted to like this ski, and I really didn't. I felt like I was on a ski that was too long and like I could lose grip as soon as I ran into anything icy, which was about 50% of what the bumps were this morning. I felt like I was skimming over the surface of everything and never grabbing hold. I think a shorter length would have helped, but to me this was a soft snow ski not an all mountain one.

Mum previously hired an earlier model in a shorter length for a powder day in Madarao in early 2020, and remembers they were nice and floaty for those conditions, and easy to turn.

Overall, this was a pretty fun day and I'm glad I finally got my mother onto demos after several seasons of encouraging her to do so. The quiver may expand further in the future, I suspect.
IMG_20210722_143307.jpg
 

Eera

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Haha just 'cause I'm desperate for a fix, I'm going to play "what's the run?" in the full frame photos

I'm going to say that first photo is looking up Curvey Basin on the Centurion / ice bar side;
second one is looking down Alta Blue;
Last one would be looking up Shadow basin. How'd I do?

Great review and food for thought, be great to see if I can hire these for a tryout - keen on giving the K2 a go, particularly.
 

DebbieSue

Certified Ski Diva
I was lucky enough to run into 3 demo days this ski trip, and even luckier that my mother finally agreed to try skis just for fun. Today was the last day of our trip and we spent all morning swapping in and out of our own skis and demos to compare them. K2 was here earlier in the week, so I took the Mindbenders out on deeper, fresher snow and generally better conditions last Saturday, as seen below (I was on my own skis for these tracks - we were in the queue 15 minutes before the lift opened and got the second chair up)
View attachment 16237
Ski level: Intermediate. When we took a lesson together, I think they classified us as Level 6. I am in my 30s, like a little speed, want to like moguls, and am trying my utmost to improve on ungroomed snow; Mum is no longer in her 30s, prefers groomers but will dip off the side of the trail in fresh snow, and hates moguls.
Demo area: The Remarkables, on intermediate trails
Conditions: Mostly sunny with passing cloud, -2°C, variable snow in places. They have needed to top up with snowguns since the start of the week, but last night there was a solid 3cm of fresh but wind-affected snow which was well skiied-over by the time we got to demo. odd bit of crud around and icy scraped-off patches. The intermediate groomers have been developing moguls steadily so we were also practicing our bump technique with variable success.
View attachment 16238
Time demoed: two runs per ski (standard for most demo days)
Size: Me: 157cm/54kg/ski 2019 Volkl Kenja 156cm
Mum is 164cm/52kg/skis 2019 Volkl Yumi 154cm

K2 Disruption 81Ti 160cm : I took this out today to see how I felt back on a dedicated groomer ski, and my first impression was "this is a solid groomer ski". It was longer than I would normally go for but felt smooth and stable, turned when I asked it to, got on edge with no issues, and handled chopped up snow without getting caught. It didn't hold as well on icier areas for how stable and grippy it felt otherwise, but perhaps I wasn't driving it as much as it wanted. I never quite opened up the throttle fully on it, and I think it would be more energetic with a faster skier or on a steeper groomer/faster day. Photo below came out weird - they are a maroon red.
View attachment 16239

K2 Mindbender 88Ti 156cm: I took this out on Saturday after everything was becoming tracked out and found my first run felt a little like skiing my Kenjas but with a greater degree of forgiveness and less driving needed - solid, and a ski that goes through crud, but doesn't completely bog you down in softer snow. Like the Kenjas, I needed to work hard for shorter turns and it wouldn't be my first choice for moguls. The topsheet is great with my pants though.
Mum took them out today and they are now on her "possible ski" shopping list. Her impression was that she felt very, very stable but needed to be more aware of getting out of a backseat position compared to the Yumis (I think "less forgiving"). She felt it sliced through crud, held on ice, but she had to work harder to turn them, and thought that it would have been hard on a steeper run.
View attachment 16240

K2 Mindbender 90C 163cm: I took this out on Saturday just prior to the 88Ti and it felt both too long and too soft, although floated well, was incredibly forgiving, and turned easily. My overall impression was "bouncy, but holds an edge ok."
Mum thought in today's conditions that it wasn't too long once you got used to it and floated well, got on edge "okay" but "no good over bumpy stuff as very bumpy. Not unstable or chattery, just bumpy."
There is a partial photo below as they made it into the photo of the Line Blade.

Line Blade W 160cm: The surprise of the day! It looks like it should be a floaty off piste ski, but I was reassured I could treat it "just like a slalom ski". I disagreed with that slightly as I slid over an icy area, but I could definitely tip it on edge and get up speed rather than having to smear every turn like the Pandoras. It turns remarkably easily and was great for shorter turns. A bit bouncy (with the Kenjas as my baseline for "not bouncy in crud") but not unstably so or throwing me around.
Mum thought: Surprisingly easy and stable at speed. They almost turn for you and are quite forgiving. They don't look like they could carve as the tip is very wide, but they do. They don't charge through crud, but get through some relatively well.
View attachment 16242

Line Pandora 94 165cm: I wanted to like this ski, and I really didn't. I felt like I was on a ski that was too long and like I could lose grip as soon as I ran into anything icy, which was about 50% of what the bumps were this morning. I felt like I was skimming over the surface of everything and never grabbing hold. I think a shorter length would have helped, but to me this was a soft snow ski not an all mountain one.

Mum previously hired an earlier model in a shorter length for a powder day in Madarao in early 2020, and remembers they were nice and floaty for those conditions, and easy to turn.

Overall, this was a pretty fun day and I'm glad I finally got my mother onto demos after several seasons of encouraging her to do so. The quiver may expand further in the future, I suspect.
View attachment 16243
Never mind the skis and runs, love those black and bright flowered pants!
 

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Haha just 'cause I'm desperate for a fix, I'm going to play "what's the run?" in the full frame photos

I'm going to say that first photo is looking up Curvey Basin on the Centurion / ice bar side;
second one is looking down Alta Blue;
Last one would be looking up Shadow basin. How'd I do?

Great review and food for thought, be great to see if I can hire these for a tryout - keen on giving the K2 a go, particularly.
Yup, got it in one! I've been seeing the Mindbender line around a bit this year, particularly bigger guys on the 108 up Remarkables (hard to miss because they're bright yellow) as well as a lot of people who seem to be either demoing or hiring. Sorry to hear you won't be able to come enjoy our snow with today's update though!
Never mind the skis and runs, love those black and bright flowered pants!
Thank you. They are from Airblaster - I saw them online at the end of last year and fell in love - they were on special as well!
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Never mind the skis and runs, love those black and bright flowered pants!

This was my first reaction! (I appreciate your reviews, too!) I wondered if anyone carries these in the US? And look! They are on sale! (Size S)

Airblaster
 
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fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Great write up! The conditions looked fun too.

I like that we've both demoed some of the same or similar skis now - can't remember which ones I've written about, but I also tried one of the K2 Disruption skis this year (the MTi? it was 75mm anyway, and grey/black, same tip shape though) @160, also longer than I'd normally go for a groomer ski but it was actually solid.

That's cool you got your mum demoing too, I try to get my friends to demo when we're skiing together, it's really interesting to see what they make of the same skis.

I'd be interested to try the Pandora 94 at some point, I've never been on it but I own the 104. I really love the 104 (with the knowledge that it is not a hardpack groomer ski, hah) but you're not the only person I know who has tried the 94 and not enjoyed it. One of my local friends demoed it earlier this season and hated it! We both enjoyed the Mindbender 88Ti though.
 

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yes! Demo days are better with friends. I have a fair idea of what my mother likes in a ski, so I specifically asked for the demos I thought she might enjoy.

Honestly, I think with the Pandora 94 it's a case of what I like, and 'soft' and 'playful' (both terms I see liberally sprinkled in most reviews) are never high on the list. I mean, I think the Kenjas are the epitome of a tank ski and I love them for it, aside from when I need to make shorter turns.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yeah, I also feel like I like different things in skis of different widths! The Pandora 104 is a super fun soft ski for me but my skinny piste skis are kinda built the opposite, they have two layers of metal and are some of the most stable skis I've been on, and I love them too! For different reasons. But I don't think I'd like such a ski in a wider width...

...(i really wish NZ had demos of the Santa Ana 104 free, I'd be fascinated to see if i enjoy that ski given that I love the SA 88/93, but sadly the Nordica demo guy I saw this season didn't have any :( they had the Enforcer 104 free though.... cmon guys.... ladies like big skis too!)
 

scandium

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Yeah I think wider I would appreciate a softer ski although not soft-soft - I took a couple of skis out specifically on that fresh snow day to try them and liked the Faction Prodigy 2.0X, but got my ass handed to me by the Black Crows Atris Birdie.
 

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