K2 Sidestash (2011) - Ski Mag

K2 Sidestash (2011)

The tip and tail notches are for climbing skins—not required, but you get the idea. The Sidestash is built for adventure in the kind of snow you might find beyond the ropes, with or without a short-to-medium hike. Rockered in the forebody and traditionally cambered underfoot, it tolerates hardpack, but greatly prefers soft snow and deep powder. If your snow is typically somewhere in between the two, you’re in luck: Testers ranked the Sidestash No. 2 in Crud. More important: It ranks among the top three in Overall Impression. “Blends big-ski float with user-friendly agility; surprisingly forgiving.” said Gleason.
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2011 K2 Sidestash

Rating: / 5
Price: $950.00
Year: 2011
Level: 2
Gender: Male
Waist Width:
Tip/Tail/Waist: 139/108/127
Lengths: 174

Stability at speed: 3.83 / 5
Hard snow performance: 2.38 / 5
Crud performance: 4.10 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.55 / 5

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2011 K2 Free Luv

K2 Free Luv (2011)

For years we’ve been saying nothing smears better in powder than rocker, but get on groomed and, well, good luck steering around those lift towers. So imagine our curiosity about K2’s new line, in which every ski—even carvers—incorporates reverse camber. The verdict? K2 wins—again. The Free Luv’s elevated tip effortlessly scouts lines through variable snow. It initiates and releases with ease, earning it No. 1 in Forgiveness. Testers admired its versatility, but found it to be a standout in no one criterion. Racer types will want more grip. “Perfect meat-of-the-market ski; forgiving and easy,” said Shultz.

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 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.

2011 K2 Got Back

K2 Got Back (2011)

Some skis are like good party guests: strong personalities that light up a room, but too much to handle in a long-term relationship. The new rocker-tipped Got Back—female counterpart to the Coomback—is life-partner material: easygoing, dependable and forgiving (No. 1) of even major mistakes. It’s not beefy enough to bust through thick crud, but its lightweight feel is easy on the thighs—and ideal for earning your turns, if you’re into that kind of thing (K2 skins clip into holes in the tip and tail). Intermediates, this is your mentor. Experts, relax and enjoy the ride. “Any skier will love it,” said Beale.

2011 K2 Lotta Luv

K2 Lotta Luv (2011)

Typical. K2 has another ski that’s fun, versatile, playful—and did we already mention fun? Like all the K2s we tested, the Lotta Luv is suited for the broadest range of ability levels. A huge sweet spot makes it forgiving enough (No. 2) for advanced intermediates, and two sheets of Titanal give it enough spine for experts. A bit of tip lift makes it easy to pivot, and yet the edge engages so easily, carving feels automatic. No. 1 in Quickness, it’s a lightweight, easygoing ride that won’t give you attitude—even if you’re not on your game. “Ski it aggressively or ski it easily,” said Humes. “It’s just plain fun.”

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.

2011 Nordica Radict

Nordica Radict (2011)

The first thing you notice is how huge it is. Then the scary clown. Then the tip profile: There’s almost no upward curve to it. The new Radict has traditional camber underfoot—about 60 percent of its length—with pronounced rocker tip and tail. The tip rocker starts 40 cm back and rises almost a full 3 cm—so high there’s no need for much additional tip curvature. The combination of width and rocker adds up to supreme flotation in the deepest pow. Testers had to punish it for lack of versatility, but still gave it the No. 2 ranking for Overall Impression. “Surprisingly maneuverable for its size; super fun,” said a tester.

Blizzard Titan Atlas

Blizzard Titan Atlas (2011)

Blizzard makes rockered skis, too, but the Atlas proudly rocks traditional camber, and its No. 3 overall ranking speaks volumes. Among the fattest in the category, it floats through crud and powder as you’d expect, but its edge-grip and carveability are faultless. The camber gives it a responsiveness and explosiveness that rockered skis lack. “Such a silken grip; surefooted in chunky snow; nice round turn finishes,” said Gleason. The Slider binding interface gives you options: Buy another Slider ($75) for a tele or AT binding, and presto: interchangeable bindings.