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Reviewed by our Gear Geeks:

BEST K2 SKIS OF 2021

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Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Test 22 different K2 Skis  and write reviews of the best.

The result is 10 of the best K2 Skis on the market today.

hunter bierce

Hunter Bierce

PSIA Ski Instructor
Hunter Bierce is a PSIA Ski Instructor and multidisciplinary outdoor professional.

Bradley Axmith boating & sailing editor

Bradley Axmith

Editor at DIVEIN.com
Vikingship building gear enthusiast and waterworld fanatic.

You don’t need to take my word for the quality of K2 skis. Their longstanding history as forerunners of the industry is more than enough evidence. But we’re not here to talk about the past (for more on that, check out our K2 Overview). K2’s ski catalog has been updated, and there are compelling options across the board.

In addition to the new Mindbender freeride ski, K2 makes fast skis, fat skis, and dedicated backcountry sticks that we’ll be taking a closer look at through the course of the article.

Top 10 K2 SKIS

See our quick top 10, or go further down and read our in-depth reviews.

It’s hard to know where to start with the K2 Mindbender ski series, so we figured we should start out fun with the playful powder option. But don’t be fooled, the entire Mindbender line takes a freeride-oriented approach to their respective specialties, and the 116C is more than just a powder ski. 

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Mindbender 116 C:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Long powder rocker for unmatched float and a surfy feel
  • Carbon "Spectral Braid" for stability and maneuverability
  • Additional carbon stringers along the top to add pop and play
  • 179cm, 186cm, 193cm variations
What we like:
  • Lightweight, powerful, and fun ski
  • A wide waisted powder ski that can still ride the whole mountain
  • One of our favorite topsheets of the year
What we don’t like:
  • It's not as stable as other all-mountain options out there
  • It can ride hard, but you'll be limited by snow conditions in some way

It has a very standard all-mountain rocker/camber profile. The 116 waist is generous enough to give you some float, but not so much that you can’t take these out when conditions are variable. You might have to do a bit of feathering on bulletproof mornings, but they’ll be fun to ride again by the time things soften up in the sun. 

The most fascinating thing about this ski is the “Spectral Braid.” Besides having an admittedly cool name, it’s a means of adding some intentional stiffness or play to the ski without throwing in the weight of a metal sheet. That means that the 116 Cs are uncommonly floaty and light for a powder ski with a comparatively modest waist width. 

The Mindbender 90 TI is less assuming than other skis in the series, but it’s still a standout to us because, like the 116C, it is fun. It’s a super versatile ski for what it is, and it’s a great approach to a comparatively narrow off-piste crusher. 

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Mindbender 90 TI :
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • All-Mountain Rocker
  • Titanal Y-Beam
  • Powerwall to add strength and durability
  • 163cm, 170cm, 177cm, 184cm variations
What we like:
  • Nimble, quick, and playful directional ski
  • Titanium reinforcement keeps the ski light but adds support where needed
  • Packs a lot of power into a small package
What we don’t like:
  • Can't charge through variable snow despite the metal sheet
  • Does much better on groomed snow than off-piste

Picture yourself linking tight turns between trees, crushing firm bumps, or railing turns on wind-scoured slopes.

Like all K2 skis with the TI moniker, the Mindbender 90’s have a metal fork (or titanal Y-beam per their copy) that lets them add a little more oomph to specific parts of the ski. In the 90 TI case, the shovel has a bit more give to absorb chunks, clumps, and the occasional root. 

In contrast, the tail has more of a single titanal beam to give you some serious driving power. To this end, it has a long rocker, but not a very pronounced one to try and maximize performance while still keeping choppy snow in play. 

It’s not often you’ll see a comparatively narrow all-mountain ski that’s this much fun to ride. Whether you’re a beginner looking for an all-mountain option that doesn’t take a ton of finesse or an expert who favors the versatility of a narrow ski, the 90 Ti is worth spending a couple of seasons on.

Oh man, here it is, the undisputed staff favorite of the whole Mindbender line, maybe of the entire year. The stash ravager, the sluff crusher, the K2 quiver-killer-daily-driver that will make you retire your favorite pair of skis. The Mindbender 108TI just makes sense. It’s punchy practicality with a healthy helping of panache. If you want a ski that can rip up the hill but still has some play and maneuverability, the Mindbender 108 Ti is a great place to start your search. 

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Mindbender 108TI:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • All-Mountain Rocker
  • Titanal Y-Beam
  • Aspen and fir blended core
  • 172cm, 179cm, 186cm, 193cm
What we like:
  • The best Mindbender ski for tearing up the mountain
  • Strong enough to blast through any snow conditions
  • Most versatile of the Mindbender line
What we don’t like:
  • A little bit heavier than the rest of the line
  • There are more "fun" skis out there

This model of the Mindbender is marketed as a hard-charging monster. We disagree, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It shouldn’t be compared to the heavy-duty charging skis because the 108 Ti can do so much more than just blast down variable pitches like they were groomers. Thanks to a way-overbuilt sidewall, it can still rail turns. You’d be missing out if you didn’t take a more exploratory approach to riding. 

They have the proprietary K2 titanal fork that gives the tips a little more flexibility and makes the ski more forgiving in chunky snow. It’s a partial twin-tip, and the tail has a little bit more of the traditional rectangular shape; it can still be skied switch, but gives you more of that driving power when you need it.

Do you like to go fast? Are you not satisfied until all of your friends are mere specks on the hill behind you? Do you revel in comments like “Dude, maybe you should slow it down a little bit?” 

If you’re an advanced skier who refuses to let a ski control you, the Disruption MTI’s are your ticket to the bottom of the hill. They are absolute groomer nukers, sure to leave twin tracks of burning snow in perfect s-turns all the way down the mountain. 

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Disruption MTI :
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Dark Matter Dampening
  • Titanal I-Beam
  • Powerwall sidewall construction
  • 165cm, 170cm, 175cm, 180cm variations
What we like:
  • A very fast and powerful ski
  • An excellent option for recreational skiers who want a race style
  • Damp and heavy, built to fly downhill
What we don’t like:
  • High barrier of entry in terms of skill level
  • Not a versatile ski in any way

At its heart, it’s a pretty standard carving ski. Still, the intricacies of the MTI’s construction is what sets it apart from the competition. K2 runs a single titanal beam along most of the ski’s length, which lends the MTI some serious umph. It’s further dampened by a ring of polymer sandwiched between two carbon layers, which circles the perimeter of the ski. 

The Disruption is a well-engineered carver that feels eager to roll from edge to edge. It’s not the right ski for everyone. But Given how well it performs within the confines of its design, it certainly holds appeal for a vast number of ex-racers and ski pros who favor big, charging turns.

Everyone has their preferences, but you shouldn’t be limited by them. The Disruption 82 Ti is an all-mountain take on a modern K2 race ski. They’re not built to float on top of powder or fly off of kickers, but they can hold their own when the terrain gets variable. The one caveat is that you need to be a pretty strong skier to keep these beasts in line. 

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Disruption 82 Ti:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Dark Matter Dampening
  • Titanal-I Beam
  • Powerwall sidewall technology
  • 163cm, 170cm, 177cm, 184cm
What we like:
  • A more versatile option for skiers who want race-inspired gear
  • Really fast while allowing for multiple turn shapes
What we don’t like:
  • A pretty limited ski unless you spend most of your time on groomed terrain

They have the full run of K2’s race features- the single titanal I-beam, Dark Matter Dampening, and a full ABS sidewall. They’re also as stiff as you’d expect a dedicated racer to be and have a recognizable profile of a frontside ripper. But the difference is that they can still manage smaller turns and do so even when you get off the groomed snow. 

It’s not particularly heavy and not particularly light. But it does offer a reasonable compromise for skiers who favor a traditional downhill ski and might venture off-piste more than occasionally. But as mentioned, skiers might be limited by the good form and power it takes to steer this boat. If you’re not paying attention, it can really get away from you.

The Reckoner 122 is one of our favorite powder skis of the year, but it also comes in a 102 and 112 waist width if you want something a little more versatile. In a lot of ways, the Reckoner 122 resembles the Catamaran that it’s replacing this year. K2 seems to be standardizing their construction efforts because the Reckoner line has a lot in common with their Mindbender series. Namely, in their inclusion of the “Spectral Braid” which gives the skier a little more underfoot power while yielding at the tips.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Reckoner 122 :
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Twin Tipped Powder Rocker
  • Spectral Braid
  • Twintech Sidewall
  • 177cm, 184cm, 191cm variations
What we like:
  • Lightweight given its considerable width
  • Peak powder performance
  • A playful approach to a deep snow ski
What we don’t like:
  • Limited by design, not great when there's no fresh snow

The Reckoner is a freeride approach to powder ski. It feels similar to other twin tip skis, and anyone who spends time in the park will appreciate its intuitive ride. There’s a lot of play in the tips and tails, making them easy to bend and do buttery things with. In deep snow, it wants to pull to the surface like a pair of waterskis. Once you’re up there, it feels loose and forgiving, leaning more towards playful approximation than precision turns.

These are the perfect skis for clean lines but don’t handle the as well as moderate waist Reckoners when it comes to ripping variable snow. They can feel a little squirrely when you start to pick up speed in lumped-up sluff but shouldn’t be too much trouble if you take it turn by turn. Overall, they’re a great powder ski that deserves a place on your ski rack when a storm cycle rolls into town.

K2’s Wayback 106 is one of the lightest skis in its category. It’s probably one of the more practical backcountry options currently on the market. It’s a medium-width ski with an eye-catching low weight and reasonable performance when the snow isn’t too crazy. It’s easy and intuitive to ride and is catered more toward people who favor intermediate missions on consistent terrain.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Wayback 106:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • All-Mountain Rocker
  • "TI Spyne" gives the ski more edge stability
  • Carbon fiber construction saves on weight
  • Hydrophobic Topsheet
  • 172cm, 179cm, 186cm variations
What we like:
  • A lightweight touring ski that can still make fun powder turns
  • Dependable downhill performance despite the weight
What we don’t like:
  • Other touring skis will be better when conditions aren't soft and deep
  • Can't charge downhill like a heavier ski could

Despite its low weight, it still has a fair amount of stiffness in the tail. You can tip it on edge and get a reliable result in pretty much any conditions. That being said, the Wayback doesn’t handle chopped up or blocky snow very well. If you find yourself in a debris field or switching rapidly from slab to drift, it can feel pretty sketchy. 

The Wayback is for someone who’s not exactly sure what they’re looking for in a backcountry setup. It’s lightweight and does just about everything well enough to justify taking it out for a spin, regardless of the weather. There are several other versions of the Wayback with a little less width for those who are more prone to skiing corn than powder.

As any seasoned backcountry skier will begrudgingly admit, you spend far more time going uphill on your skis than you do going down. Ski-Mo racers, peak baggers, uphill enthusiasts rejoice. The Wayback is in an uncommon weight class and holds up reasonably well despite the trappings of its style. In terms of uphill performance and stacking up vert, few skis can keep up with the Wayback 80.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Wayback 80:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Balsa Wood Core
  • "TI Spyne" for edge to edge stability
  • Carbon fiber construction to keep the ski super light
  • Hydrophobic Topsheet
  • 163cm, 170cm, 177cm variations
What we like:
  • Unmatched uphill performance
  • Performs reasonably well given its weight on the descent
What we don’t like:
  • Downhill performance is limited by its weight; very much rides like a skimo model

They have an ultralight balsa wood touring core, reinforced with titanal. The result is a feather-weight K2 ski that has some rigidity and dampening where it counts. They also have a hydrophobic topsheet to keep snow and ice from building up and adding grams to your ultralight set up. These are extremely specialized skis. As such, they will have their nuances and particularities when it comes to going downhill. 

As a rule, they ski in a somewhat similar way to the 106 version of the Wayback. They perform as expected on hard surfaces and perform reasonably well in powder. You have to look out for the kind of snow that you wouldn’t want to ski anyway.

K2 nailed the design with the Poacher around 5 years ago, and they’ve kept true to form since. They’re a twin tip, made to be trashed and absorb all of the most creative abuse that you can throw at it. Comparisons have been made to the Honey Badger from Line in terms of durability. But they still have the pop and stomping power that you’d expect out of something designed for the park.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Poacher:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Gradual "All-Mountain" Rocker
  • Blended fir and aspen core
  • Carbon stringer reinforcement for pop and rebound
  • Twintech sidewall
  • 163cm, 170cm, 177cm, 184cm variations
What we like:
  • Durable, practical, and versatile park ski
  • Stiffer option than a lot of comparable models
  • Super affordable for a high-quality ski
What we don’t like:
  • Heavier swing weight than most of the competition

They have an aspen core and are much stiffer than your typical freestyle ski. They’re center-mounted and have symmetrical twin tip rocker, so you can ski them in any direction besides uphill. They have a bit more heft than you’d expect, and you can definitely feel it when you take them off the ground. This is a great feature if you plan on doing a lot of alpine skiing in them and for heavier park skiers who don’t mind putting in a little muscle to bend their ski.

They’re hearty and affordable, and the design has been this popular for so long for good reason. If you’re narrowing down your selection for park skis, make sure that you don’t discount the Poacher as an option.

Not every day on the mountain is about charging or going as big as you possibly can. The K2 Fatty Ski Blades are a great way to spend a casual spring afternoon or to get some attention in the base area. They also offer a pretty unique perspective on your home mountain. Those jibby runs will feel a lot different with so little underfoot. 

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Fatty Ski Blades:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • "Duracap" fused core and topsheet
  • Included binding system compatible with almost any boot
What we like:
  • Pure, unadulterated fun
  • Bindings allow you to swap them out with your friends quickly
What we don’t like:
  • This product is beyond reproach

Ski blades are definitely a gimmick, but they’re a good one. The influence of Line’s early “skiboards” is undeniable. If you’ve never had the gratifying experience of ripping around sunny slopes on a pair, you’re definitely missing out. K2’s ski blades are great for two reasons. The first is K2’s reputation as a manufacturer of performance inline skates, in addition to their ski catalog. The second is the Fatty’s compatibility with pretty much any alpine toe binding.

The Fatty’s aren’t going to be your only pair of skis or even your second pair of skis. But if you want something fun that you can easily trade with your friends on an easy-riding day, then you’d be missing out not to give these a try. 

Note that these are ski blades, not conventional skis. But they provide unconventional fun too. Check out this 80s themed montage:

The Quick History of K2 Skis

Two brothers with a last name that started with “K” disrupted the ski market and changed skiing forever. When skis were made of metal or wood, Bill and Don Kirshner built fiberglass splints and made cages for animals in Washington state. 

Skis were dominated by European brands at the time. Still, within a decade, K2’s revolutionary fiberglass skis were being worn by giant slalom medalists and recreational skiers alike. 

Today, K2 is a large American company that makes snowboards, snowshoes, nordic skis, in-line skates and clothing. Redubbed K2 Sports in 2003 to reflect its portfolio of brands and products outside of skiing, the Seattle-based firm has been as steadfast with its sustainability values as it has with its innovation.

 

About K2 Ski Technology

The spectral braid technology is a patent-pending method that uses a specific weaving of carbon fibers from tip to tail to make certain parts of the ski flexible while keeping others stiffer in order to change the profile. The variable interweaving or braiding makes the ski specialized to both conditions and ski style.

Found on the Mindbender and Rechoner series of K2 skis, spectral braid technology will make holding edges and pivoting into turns and out again feel more lightweight, empowering the skier. 

Check out this video by K2 explaining how it works:

 

Titanal Y-Beam

K2’s proprietary Titanial Y Beam technology gives their skis a solid freeriding experience. Increased maneuverability comes because of more power underfoot, a flexible tip area with a very stable tail for charging.

Here is the earlier video explaining the Titanal Y-Beam build and how it works:

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about K2 Skis

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    Are K2 Skis any good?

    To put it bluntly- yes, K2 skis are great. K2 is known for their competition winning, boundary pushing innovations throughout since their inception in the early 60’s. From being the first fiberglass ski, to bringing shaped and twin-tip skis into the mainstream of the ski industry, K2 isn’t afraid to take chances to the benefit of skiers everywhere. To this day their skis top best of lists across the industry.

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    Who owns K2 Skis?

    K2 has traded hands many times since the Kishner brothers sold it just before the start of the 70’s. Currently K2 is owned by the Kohlberg & Company private equity group. But the company itself is still based out of and managed in the Seattle Industrial District, only a stone’s throw from its founding place on Vashon Island.

    They continue to improve and produce ski blade skis, slalom skis, alpine skis, racer skis, backcountry skis, etc. Read a curated list of the best new K2 skis here.

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    Where are K2 Skis made?

    K2 skis were manufactured on Vashon Island until the turn of the century. In 2001 their offices moved to the Industrial District of Seattle and their manufacturing went overseas to China.

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    What are the best K2 Skis?

    K2 makes a number of great skis across different disciplines, as well as a few pretty killer snowboards too. For more on the best K2 has to offer, check out our best of the brand article here. Here are a few of our favorite models from their most recent lineup:

    Best K2 Skis

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    What are the best ski brands?

    It’s hard to tell you exactly what the best brands are because the kinds of skis being produced change so much from season to season. To see what our favorites are across the industry, be sure to check out our top ten all mountain skis list. Otherwise, here are some brands that have built a name for themselves in the modern ski industry.

    Best Ski Brands

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    How much are K2 skis?

    The price of your K2 skis is going to vary depending on the model that you choose and the materials that go into making it. For example, the carbon-reinforced Mindbender 90C is a full $150 USD cheaper than the similarly shaped Mindbender 90TI.

    That being said, K2 skis as a whole are very much in the middle of the pack when it comes to general price when compared to the rest of the industry. For more on K2 skis specifically, be sure to check out our K2 brand best-of. To see How K2 stacks up against the rest of the competition take a look at our 10 best all-mountain skis from this year.

If you already have an a K2 ski or you just bought one, leave a comment in the comment section below and share your experience with it.

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