You’re Invited To Basin Sports Customer Appreciation Demo Day #2!
- Black Crows
The moguls are on the iconic Outer Limits, that get deeper as the days 150 competitors ski them, nestled between two large jumps and surrounded by the many who come in costume, ready to cheer and tailgate. Competitors ski a qualifying run where the top 16 women and 32 men progress to finals, a sudden-death dual format with the first person through the finish line progressing into the next round, all with big airs and underdog upsets. Killington is still a bastion of mogul skiing, a community who loves to celebrate a competition where anything can happen. To such an extent that when the mountain decided they wouldn’t host the rowdy event anymore in 2012, bumpers hosted it anyway and titled it the “Denial Cup.” The next year the event returned, and recently the mountain acknowledged those winners by engraving their names onto the trophy that sits in Bear Mountain’s base lodge.
It’s hard to think of another event that is more of Killington and espouses just how much we love skiing here. Whether you are tuning your skis, seeking out the seeded bumps on Wildfire, or picking out your best eye-turning outerwear, prep work for Saturday continues for many. If you are considering attending your first Bear Mountain Challenge, whether to ski it or to see it, you won’t be disappointed and you will really know that you arrived at the Big K, where mogul skiing is still very much alive, well, and celebrated.
We’re Ready To Shred, Are you?
As the holidays of 2018 approached rumors started to swirl that K2 Skis had something psychedelic brewing. When our industry Demo Day rolled around and we had a chance to take out the Mindbenders we were blown away by their performance in a multitude of conditions. But the question we’ve been getting a lot is how it compares to the Black Pearl or Santa Ana (which we’ll do another review on). How does this rookie in the ski world compare to the best selling women’s ski ever? Well lets jump into is shall we. First we’ll go over each skis key features, then we’ll throw them head to head and let you decide who’s the winner.
K2 has been struggling to create a ski that worked well for most skier types. Not to say the pinnacle wasn’t a good ski, it just didn’t necessarily perform well in the many “all-Mountain” conditions. The K2 Mindbender is here as a replacement to the Pinnacle and Luv Series. Speaking of Luv series skis- The Alliance series was created as a replacement for that. Why the name change? The women at K2 wanted to create a ski series that better connected with their audience base and resonated with female skiers, so Alliance was born. Though there is a full line-up of waist width options for men and women, the 88 Ti is the best east coast all-mountain option (in our opinion. This would translate to 90 in the men’s version too). The Mindbender 88 Alliance Ti comes with an Aspen Veneer core for it’s wood construction. This is going to be like the 90, but the veneer and sandwiching of the core makes the 88 lighter and easier to turn. Then there’s the Titanal Y-Beam. Think of a tuning fork used to tune pianos. The Y-Beam looks like that, laid into the ski. It makes the Alliance stiff and reliable underfoot while allowing the tip to flex more easily. There’s a carbon spectral braid on top of all this construction which also helps to reduce chatter as well as help power imitation through turns. The sidewall is ABS which is a standard for most ski companies. In the alliance it is oversized. This translates to you can lay the ski all the way over. Want to go from making Slalom turns to jumping into a mogul field and bashing bumps? Yep, this ski is going to do that. Another honorable mention is that K2 has a 2 year warranty on their skis which is awesome!
The Blizzard Black Pearl 88 is undeniably the best selling women’s ski- ever. There’s a reason for that too. Virtually any female skier can take this ski out and have a good day on it. It’s going to do well at most All-Mountain conditions and since it’s not over powering and easy to turn ladies love it. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts right? The Black Pearl is a light ski, made with what Blizzard calls their Lite Wood Core. In the case of the Black Pearl 88, it’s a poplar beech core that’s sandwiched into the Carbon Flipcore WSD. W stands for women’s. No metal here, just good old wood and carbon. This makes the Black Pearl poppy and maneuverable across many conditions. We personally found them to carve exceptionally well too. The topsheet is a duratec composite which helps with scratch resistance. Sidewall will be the same as the Mindebender Alliance 88Ti, made with ABS Sidewall. Since there’s no metal in the Black Pearl so it retails at $600 vs $650 for the Mindbender.
Head to head you’re getting so skis that are similar, yet different. The Mindbender 88 in our opinion is for more aggressive skiers whereas the Black Pearl is focused on intermediate level skiers. Both the Black Pearl and Mindbender were great carvers and the Black Pearl made longer methodical turns whereas the Mindbender could get laid all the way over and make tight slalom like turns then transition into smooth GS style carves. The Mindbender wasn’t limited to a select level of turning. Whatever your style was it responded. In deeper snow, both felt similar and responded the same, nothing really changed here. Then moguls- This was a game changer between the two. To be honest the Black Pearl just felt sloppy in bumps. It could be my style of bump skiing, or the lack of metal in the ski, whatever the culprit the Black Pearls felt dead and confused on how to respond in bumps. The Mindbender was different. The Mindbender snaped through turns easily and launched you into the next bump almost like you intended to do. The Mindbenders are just fun- and as I’ve been saying around the shop are totally psychedelic.
So my final thoughts? Both skis are great skis. The Black Pearl seems to favor softer conditions and intermediate level skiers more. When the terrain got more aggressive the Black Pearl struggled to keep up. The Mindbender is definitely stiffer and more aggressive than the Black Pearl but that’s not to say a beginner could take it out and not have a good time. The Mindbender is flexible and would be a great ski for someone looking to progress their skills over a long period of time. The Black Pearl is predictable though and is a great value for an All- Mountain Ski that does everything okay.
|K2 Mindbender 88 Ti Alliance||Blizzard Black Pearl 88|
|Core||Wood: Aspen Venner||Lite Wood Core|
|Carbon||Carbon Spectral Braid||Carbon Flipcor WSD|
|Topsheet||Unsure (looks like Duratec)||Duratec|
|Sidewall||Oversized ABS||Full ABS Sidewall|
|Warranty||2 Year||1 Year|
* Obviously this Review is extremely biased and based upon my skiing style and the brutally odd East Coast Conditions. Hopefully, we’ll put together a video soon. If you like this head to head style review and want to see more let us know! If this was crap let us know! We are only human after all.
Updates From Basin Sports, Maybe you’ve been in the store and have noticed the absence of one familiar smiling face. Our president, Christine Torrey has taken a much-wanted Sabbatical and will be missing the majority of our winter season (though she’ll be stopping by here and there). Where is she you ask?
Just imagine, waking up every day to endless sunshine, surfing, and cycling within an arms reach. Plus with Tahoe not too far away, well that’s not a horrible place to go for a change of scenary. She’s been out there for most of the summer already too. Chief Financial Officer, Owner , and Mom, Lorraine Torrey is out visiting Christine and went Mountain Biking with her the other day. I mean, doesn’t everyone want to take an extra long California vacation sometimes?
Of course we have been sending photos of this year’s tremendous snowfall to Christine, making sure she is missing all of us and Killington as much as we are missing her!
Photos and Words by Basin Ambassador and Killington Local Tricia Noelle
No lack of ski season stoke as lift spins~ The beginning of the ski season is always a time of excitement. Some wait before the sun rises for the gondola to turn on opening day, others may opt to a midweek start, and others might not have gotten to make turns on snow yet; but all share one thing in common, and that is stoke for the return of the winter.
The conditions for early season have been a little bit of everything so far; from passing clouds, moments of sun, soft spring conditions, the magical manmade snow our snowmakers make, and even flurries that fell in clumps yesterday. The coverage and conditions have been stellar in North Ridge, and while a short run in comparison to what we will have in a few months, laps on Rime, Reason and Upper East Fall are plenty to reawaken muscles that have been dormant since Spring.
From locals to season regulars, we all get to holler from the lift as our friends make their first turns of the season. North Ridge is small enough that we can see everyone we missed all summer long, and give hugs and greetings to people we will make turns with for months to come. We all may be returning from different challenges in life, and in different abilities to hike those stairs, but for all of us sliding on snow helps bring us together at least for a few runs, and makes the stairs undeniably worth it.
It is about way more than just returning to the movement we love, we get to share something larger as a community that brings us together. We get to tune out of the stressors of life and tune into the frozen covered trees and snow around us. We share conversation on the lift over the roar of snow guns. We see our friends carve their first turns of the season, smile ear to ear. Killington has a stoke for the ski season like no other place I have been to yet, and we keep it going all the way until June. I don’t know about you, but I am stoked to be celebrating another season back.
Basin sports is the premiere mountain sports retailer in Vermont, specializing in skiing, snowboarding and biking. Basin Sports has received the Ski Magazine Gold Medal nine years in a row and twice naming Basin Sports the best ski shop in New England. Basin Sports has some of the best technical boot fitting service in the country, with certified Pedorthists on staff. As much as we love getting Basin Sports customers into the perfect gear for them, there is one thing we love just as much, if not more. You guessed it, skiing, riding, and just plain enjoying the mountains. You can rest assured that all of us at Basin Sports are taking every opportunity to get out and enjoy all that Killington has to offer. In the winter we ski daily and we are constantly testing new gear, sampling the conditions, and sniffing out powder stashes. Feel free to ask us any questions that you may have, we love to talk about skiing, snowboarding, cycling, hiking and even snowshoeing. In fact, in the winter, we update our website, basinski.com, every day with conditions reports, photos, and videos. Check us out for the most up-to-date and honest info around.
Few things bring that more home than having to watch on from the sidelines, but times like those bring the value of being out there, a life outside fully lived, that much more apparent. We are so fortunate to have all of the many opportunities the Green Mountains have to offer, whether here for the day, weekender or local; from downhill skiing to biking, and beyond.
I have been lucky enough to call Killington Mountain home since 2013 and was 44 days into my fifth year as a season pass holder when a freak accident on New Year’s Eve tore my ACL and Meniscus. My ski got stuck in a notch of ice and my leg went in the wrong direction, and I knew immediately my knee and season were done.
I also was reminded quickly that being hurt in this town is something to be immensely grateful for. Offerings of help are plentiful as are reminders from so many friends that they too also wore the ACL badge, and that while a long recovery, I will be coming back stronger than before.
Injuries are accidents, but what we do with them as a result never is. After I accepted that there would be no fifth 100 day season in a row for me this year, I counted all the good that would be happening as a result. Becoming a better trained, balanced athlete, having the time to re-learn guitar, reading more, the list goes on. I am also extremely lucky to have something go wrong that can be fixed. And as a friend said, “if you are an athlete at all, it happens, now you are a part of the club.”
As I heel from ACL reconstruction I have been living vicariously through the many deep powder pictures posted of last week. I look forward to seeing everyone in the parking lot when tailgating season begins. If you see me taking gondi laps, or once ready, hiking to the top of Superstar to great my bump enthusiast friends in the spring, say hello! And please make an extra turn or two!
Praying for snow still,
Trish, Basin Sports Ambassador
Basin sports is the premier mountain sports retailer in Vermont, specializing in skiing, snowboarding, and biking. Basin Sports has received the Ski Magazine Gold Medal nine years in a row and twice naming Basin Sports the best ski shop in New England. Basin Sports has some of the best technical boot fitting service in the country, with certified Pedorthists on staff. As much as we love getting Basin Sports customers into the perfect gear for them, there is one thing we love just as much, if not more. You guessed it, skiing, riding, and just plain enjoying the mountains. You can rest assured that all of us at Basin Sports is taking every opportunity to get out and enjoy all that Killington has to offer. In the winter we ski daily and we are constantly testing new gear, sampling the conditions, and sniffing out powder stashes. Feel free to ask us any questions that you may have, we love to talk about skiing, snowboarding, cycling, hiking and even snowshoeing. In fact, in the winter, we update our website, basinski.com, every day with conditions reports, photos, and videos. Check us out for the most up-to-date and honest info around.
Partly Cloudy, Hi 9/ Lo -13 F
What a difference two days make after Friday’s wet precipitation- this Basin Snow Report is extra special. Sunshine, bluebird sky and smiling faces. Although it was a crisp -3 degrees at 8 am Opening Bell, it didn’t curtail the adventure seekers. Started at Bear Mtn with the top of OL lit up with guns. The fresh corduroy groom on Skyeburst, Gateway, Bear Claw, Lower Wildfire was terrific. Lower Skyeburst had a few guns producing dry silk live powder! It was wonderful to alternate rides up both the Bear Mtn. Quad in sun with no wind and the SPQ lift too. Then over to Bittersweet to Highroad for a warm up in Skyeship Stage II. So much fun we did Panic Button to Needles Eye, then Cruise Control. On the Skylark with guns blasting. After a full morning, we ventured to Peak for coffee and drinks. Others said Cascade, Lower East Fall, Mouse Trap and Highline were super crushing runs.
We’re Ready To Shred, Are you?
That’s right folks, game on! Killington Resort Announces Official Opening Day For November 8, 2017, and we couldn’t be more excited. Based on where we’re sitting it’s snowing first off- not just snowing due to the immense beast cloud being produced, but actual snow, from the sky. This is not a drill, we ARE skiing tomorrow.
We expect to open the K-1 Express Gondola at 9:30 a.m., although it could happen earlier, please be prepared. (Killington Resort)
If you need your skis and boards tuned and waxed we’ll be opening at 8:30 AM tomorrow and have called on extra staff to make sure we’re ready. The weather pattern looks very conducive to snowmaking for the next week and we wouldn’t be surprised if we’re top to bottom in the next week or so, so stay tuned. We’re very excited to be skiing!