2011 K2 Aftershock Ski
|Lengths||167, 174, 181|
|Turn Radius||17m @ 174|
|Construction||Metal-Laminate Hybritech sidewall|
|Binding System||Marker K2/MX 14.0|
|Recommended Binding||Marker K2/MX 14.0|
|Sidecut||130 / 86 / 114mm|
K2 Aftershock, New design for 2011. It features the new all-terrain rocker. I am not sure about the construction and if it differs from the Xplorer. 86mm underfoot, and tested in 181cm. Normally, I wouldn't be on a 181cm midfat, but this ski begs to be skied long. I tried the 174cm, and suffice to say, it felt like a kid's ski. 181cm is it.
These were tested over several days: conditions included lots of manmade snow, firm and rock-hard bumps, fast groomers, a few inches of new snow, steeps, icy chutes, some heavy new snow, and a fair amount of crud. Since I only got a couple of runs on these skis, for the most part, I didn't do the 1-10 scale for these skis.
5 foot 9, 155lbs, competent all-mountain skier, and could zipper-line double-black bumps for the first time in my life by early spring. Probably ski 40-50 days per year. I tend to enjoy big open, high speed bowls, bumps, trees, fast groomers. My skiing speed is fast to full-on. Overall fitness is high, as I am on my road bike 15+ hours a week 9 months of the year, and race pro-level races as a Cat1.
First off, this ski was different than most any other ski I tried. Even in 181cm, it felt short on-piste, as if someone had taken this ski and made it a 170cm. There are good and bad points here. It was radically quick: this turned like it could have been a wide Head Supershape, and was extremely sporty. As it isn't the stiffest design, it didn't have the pop and motor that a Supershape would have, but still, it was fun, as long as I kept it in the fall line. When running in big arcs at speed, I was wishing for more ski, as that rockered tip, which makes the ski feel so short, isn't doing me any favors. It was only marginally stable; this ski likes to be a fall line carver more than the old Xplorer, which was more of a low-energy, bigger turn cruiser. Once in crud, I had the advantage of again having a longer ski, as the tip was now mostly in contact with the snow, and stability was on par with an “average” ski in the 180cm, but a bit below the most stable skis on this list. Forgiveness, as usual for K2, was as good as it gets. The ski was again, quiet, refined, but lacking much energy. It felt like a “capable cruiser” in the crud, as it released easily with the rockered tip, and was moderately stable, but as noted above, probably 20% less stable than the unshakable Blizzard Magnum 8.1, and the tip could be overpowered. I would rate it more than adequate for many skiers, though. Probably only a few % of skiers on the hill are going to out-ski this ski. In bumps, this was also a rock star. The super soft tip is ingenious for absorbing the backside of the bumps.
My take on the all-terrain rocker? 1) you have to ski it long to get the stability you are used to 2) there is a trade-off of loss in stability on groomers and packed snow, and also in crud. How much of this (in crud) is attributed to the tip, and how much is attributed to the softer construction in general of K2's, is hard to say, but I would say it wasn't quite as stable as the old Xplorer in crud 3) a skier will get the benefit of a rockered tip and longer stable platform in off-piste conditions, making skiing crud easy for those who may otherwise struggle 4) bump performance is very, very good 5) the ski feels super quick and almost turns on it's own. Whether that is a + or – depends on the skier. It changes the normal dynamic of a ski and it's interaction with various types of terrain.
Pros: ease of turn initiation, great in bumps, fun “short” feel as a carver
Cons: not a great high-speed crud ski, a little soft and light in the loafers, rocker does nothing to enhance stability for fast skiers.