Gear of the Week: K2 Rictor - Ski Mag

Gear of the Week: K2 Rictor

Rocker technology has trickled down from the fattest powder skis, and will help you navigate everything from hard snow to choppy crud. Check out the K2 Rictor for a versatile ski with "speed terrain" rocker.
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K2 Rictor Thumb

Where the AfterShock features K2’s “all-terrain” rocker, its little brother the Rictor gets “speed rocker.” Just the forward 10 percent is rockered—the rest is traditionally cambered. K2 pairs that profile with a huge tip and aggressive sidecut for an 80-mm ski that carves with enthusiasm but never talks back. It gets excellent marks in forgiveness—truly an everyday frontside ski an a worthy successor to the late, great Apache Recon. “The tip rocker loosens up the front of the ski, making it just plain easy to turn and more versatile off– piste for such a narrow ski,” said one of our ski testers, Mark Elling. Year: 2011 Level: Intermediate Gender: Male Tip/Waist/Tail: 152/90/113 MSRP: $1125.00 Stability at Speed: 3.35 / 5 Quickness/Bumps: 3.23 / 5 Forgiveness/Fun: 3.55 / 5 Crud Performance: 2.98 / 5 Hard Snow Integrity: 2.91 / 5 Mogul Performance: 3.23 / 5

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2011 K2 Rictor

K2 Rictor (2011)

Where the After Shock (see No. 5) features K2’s “all-terrain” rocker, its little brother the Rictor gets “speed rocker.” Just the forward 10 percent is rockered—the rest is traditionally cambered. K2 pairs that profile with a huge tip and aggressive sidecut for an 80-mm ski that carves with enthusiasm but never talks back. It gets excellent marks in Forgiveness—truly an everyday frontside ski and a worthy successor to the late, great Apache Recon. “The tip rocker loosens up the front of the ski, making it just plain easy to turn and more versatile off–piste for such a narrow ski,” said Elling.

K2 Aftershock

K2 After Shock (2011)

K2 goes deep with rocker. Almost every ski in the line gets some, from huge helpings in powder skis to subtle tip rocker that makes hard-snow skis easier for skidders to pivot. In an all-mountain ski like the After Shock, a 15-cm section of tip rocker gives it float in powder, smooth shock-absorption and quickness in bumps and crud, and forgiving maneuverability on hard snow. That left our 174 cm test length with about 160 cm of traditional camber—plus two sheets of metal—with which to carve trenches as deep as we cared to. “Fun, lively, quick and easy. A true one-ski-quiver ski,” said Garrett.

2011 K2 Darkside

K2 Darkside (2006)

If the Sidestash (left) is built for a modicum of variable-snow versatility, the massive Darkside prefers powdery chutes and north faces. This year’s version is rockered from just in front of the toepiece forward and cambered from there back. It’s metal-free for lightness and ultra-wide for flotation (No. 2). It barely tolerates hard snow and lacks quickness for typical inbounds conditions, but it’s surprisingly forgiving (No. 3) in deep powder. Like other big, rockered skis, it’s both a game-improvement tool for powder novices and an accomplished expert’s big mountain slayer. “Super sturdy, but skis easier than you expect,” said Preston.

2011 K2 Burnin' Luv

K2 Burnin' Luv (2011)

Interesting: Testers liked K2’s lower performing ski, the Free Luv (see left), better than the Burnin’, an expert ski layered with metal laminates. Perhaps with a waist of 70 mm—the narrowest in the test—it got penalized for not being as versatile as others. As you’d expect, though, it was one of the quickest sticks—its edge-to-edge rhythm is as automatic as a metronome’s. But it insisted on short turns, and some felt the new “speed rocker” tip—a slight rise to ease initiation and transition—took some getting used to. “Best suited for an Easterner who wants to carve, carve, carve,” said Wilde.