In the years following World War II, a family by the name of Kirschner was in the business of producing splints and animal cages utilizing reinforced plastic. Based on Vashon Island, WA, the Kirschners were leaders in the field of manufacturing specialized research cages, and they were always keen to innovate new products.
In 1961, Bill Kirschner made a pair of fiberglass skis; they were significantly lighter and more lively than their wood and metal contemporaries. The response was both positive and immediate. One year later, in 1962, the Kirschner family founded K2, named for the world’s second-tallest peak and for the two Kirschner brothers, Bill and Don. In ’64, K2 brought its first skis to market; 250 pairs were produced. One year later, the company produced 1,600 pairs and by 1968, K2 sold 21,000 skis.
In the years that followed, K2’s distribution and marketing efforts would set the foundation for the company to grow into the leader it is today. Names like Bobby Burns, Spider Sabich, Scot Schmidt, Glen Plake, Phil and Steve Mahre, Wayne Wong, Doug Coombs, Seth Morrison, Shane McConkey, Sean Pettit and Pep Fujas helped propel K2 to into the hearts of skiers everywhere, always emphasizing irreverent shenanigans and outstanding product innovation. As K2 puts it, each of these individuals were like “jesters in a chaotic and beautiful circus of serious fun.”
From Alaskan mountaintops to X Games podiums, to the Olympic main stage, to the streets, K2 has been at the forefront. The exploits and adventures of its athletes coupled with the talents of forward-thinking engineers has yielded performance products for skiers across the globe. Years of evolution have yielded FREESKIER favorites like the (new) Pinnacle and Shreditor series and the women’s Luv (it’s back!) and Remedy lines.
It’s never too early to start thinking about skis for next season. Enjoy a few highlights from K2’s 2015-16 line, below, and be sure to subscribe to FREESKIER Magazine to see which skis earn the distinction of Editors’ Pick in the upcoming Buyer’s Guide; we busted our butts in the ski testing department this winter and we’re excited to share our findings. Stay tuned for another 2016 ski preview, coming next week.
Sizes: 170, 177, 184, 191
Radius: 17 m @ 184
The mountain is your oyster whilst shredding the Pinnacle 95; this waist width is prime for attacking the resort in any snow condition. The 95 features K2’s Konic Technology, a core design that redistributes weight to the ski’s perimeter providing power, strength and stability directly over the edge for performance, while reducing swing-weight from the center and extremities for added ease and control. Nanolite (an aerospace quality composite material) comprises the core center, while Aspen wood and a metal laminate run along the perimeter of the ski, allowing you to grip and rip with confidence. Edge like a champ and crush bumps, crud and groomers to your heart’s content. This ski will make your great days greater.
Sizes: 170, 177, 184, 191
Radius: 19 m @ 184
The Pinnacle 105 is positioned in K2’s line-up as a do-anything, go-anywhere ski. Seasoned skiers will surely benefit from the ultra lightweight Nanolite core (an aerospace grade composite) while nuking down that perfect tree-run or floating above the pow. Wood cores with metal laminate over the edges provide rockin’ support for when you’re charging through firmer, variable snow. A gradual early rise and tapered tip, plus a subtly rockered, blunt tail boost your maneuverability in the soft stuff while low camber underfoot ensures you’ll edge turns with the best of ‘em. This ski runs the gamut in terms of snow and terrain conditions.
Sizes: 177, 184, 191
Radius: 23 m @ 184
Seth Morrison’s pro model ski caters to the hardest of chargers out there (naturally). It’s updated with K2 Konic tech this season—the core design redistributes weight to the ski’s perimeter providing power, strength and stability directly over the edge for performance, while reducing swing-weight from the center and extremities for added ease and control. Plenty of taper and rocker in the fore-body ensure top-notch maneuverability and float on the deepest of days. A slightly rockered pintail gives an added level of control when varying speeds and adjusting turn shapes. No backflip is too big for this ski, nor is any line too steep. Get buck wild, folks.
Sizes: 163, 170, 177, 184
Radius: 21 m @ 184
Happily situated between K2’s freeride-inspired Shreditor series and the park and pipe-influenced freestyle sticks, the Shreditor 92 is one versatile beast; rock laps in the park, shred T-2-B’s on the gondola and everything in between. A mid-density Fir combines with a soft Aspen to provide a core that’s lively yet playful. Its dual rocker yields stellar maneuverability for your tree-skiing delight, while camber underfoot ensures all the stability you need to max out your speed limit. Designed with features to be quick and maneuverable, it dominates hard pack conditions and mellows out the harshest landings, thanks to the dampening effect of its ABS sidewalls.
Sizes: 170, 177, 184, 191
Radius: 20 m @ 184
Versatility is the name of the 102’s game. An optimal amount of camber, sidecut, tip rise and waist width provides all you need to carve trenches in the firm stuff, rip hot laps through the park or plow through fresh snow all damn day. A mighty playful offering, the Shreditor 102 is designed with added tip and tail taper, upping your maneuverability. You’ll have a blast popping off every side hit in sight, or buttering your way around the hill ’til kingdom come. Rest assured, it’s snappy and stable. Romp all over the place, because you deserve it.
Sizes: 169, 179, 189
Radius: 22 m @ 179
The widest ski in the Shreditor collection, the “Pettitor” is designed by wild child Sean Pettit. The ski returns to K2’s line-up as a well-rounded offering that thrives in the deepest, softest snow you’ll come across. A tapered tip and tail adds predictability to its rockered profile, which provides optimal float on the deepest of days. While comfortably at home in the soft stuff, the Pettitor ain’t no slouch when it comes to crud and variable conditions; despite its size the ski boasts a light and lively feel. If massive 360s and pillow smashing are a part of your regular on-hill repertoire, this tool will serve you well.
Sizes: 159, 164, 169, 174, 179
Radius: 21 m @ 179
K2’s only fully symmetrical ski, the Domain is celebrated for its performance in the park and beyond. It comes equipped with a hint of tip and tail rocker ensuring a smooth, catch-free ride from the park’s biggest jumps to the frontside’s hidden side-hits. The Domain boasts ample camber ensuring you can rip comfortably at speeds. Not to mention the pop and rebound essential for a successful day of park shredding. Whether you’re dialing in tricks with your pals in the park, tackling jibs in the street or just plain nuking up a storm across the entire resort, the Domain is versatile to meet your every need.
Sizes: 149, 159, 169, 179
Radius: 20 m @ 179
Jib and jump through the terrain park in the morning, then set your Sight elsewhere on the frontside; K2 touts this ski as its most versatile ski of the twin-tip Freestyle collection. Tip and tail rocker provide for a fun ride, while standard rise in the tip and a 20 m turn radius allow you to rip edge-to-edge with ease. The Sight has all the predictability you need, but the playfulness to be loose, fun and balanced. Get jibby wit’ it.
Sizes: 156, 163, 170
Radius: 15.5 m @ 163
Rule the entire mountain with ease whilst shredding the Remedy 92. The versatile waist width is ideal for spending time in softer snow, and its equally at home on hard pack and mixed-bag conditions. Tip and tail rocker provides ample float and enhanced maneuvering, while a tapered tip and tail adds playfulness to your ride by reducing swing weight. Skilled skiers will dig this ski for its all-mountain prowess; there’s no place you can’t play while romping on the Remedy 92 (park included).
Sizes: 156, 163, 170
Radius: 16 m @ 170
The Remedy 102 boasts a maneuverable, easy to release personality, with a knack for soft snow conditions. Whether you’re dodging trees or roaming the hill in search of fresh “chowda,” the 102 is equipped to handle anything that comes your way, from moguls, to crud, to the steep and deep faces. The ski features K2’s BioFlex core: a lightweight, women’s specific blended wood core, combining Aspen on the perimeter with Paulownia in the center, reinforced with a Bamboo stringer. The result? Reduced swing weight and a playful flex pattern. Rest assured, the 102 mm waist width certainly ain’t too wide for groomer destruction.
Sizes: 163, 170, 177
Radius: 7.5 m @ 170
K2’s Luv line is back, and the 98Ti is right at home for the all-mountain rippers with a need for speed. This ski’s directional design offers a traditional and predictable feel. Ample rocker and taper provide plenty of play when called upon, though the Ti’s forte is in the carving department. This ski features a women’s specific Channel Light Core, designed to remove unneeded materials by grooving channels through the length of the ski for added ease and control. A BioFlex core (see write-up above) maintains strength and stability while keeping swing weight in the sweet spot. For those looking to grip and rip, you’ll be sure to impress the masses on the chairlift as you blur past on the 98Ti.
Luv Boat 108
Sizes: 163, 170, 177
Radius: 18.5 m @ 170
The Luv Boat 108 delivers primo float in the fresh stuff, while maintaining solid performance on the corduroy, too. Its Channel Light Core, made with Bioflex, keeps your legs fresh by redistributing the weight where it’s needed the most and removing excessive materials. Whether you’re hunting for the best pow stashes or leading your pack of pals down your favorite double black, you’ll be in the driver seat with the Luv Boat 108.
Sizes: 149, 159, 169
Radius: 15 m @ 159
Back for another season, the MissConduct is the go-to for podium regulars like Maggie Voisin, Anna Segal and Yuki Tsubota. This high-performance stick is reliable to a T; you can rely on the MissConduct whether you’re dialing in new tricks in your free time, or dropping in for the most nerve-wracking contest run of your life. The MissConduct offers plenty of versatility, too. Its playfulness and maneuverability will gain you “boss” status all over the mountain.