Length Tested: 186cm
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 125-72-99 /19m
Camber : Traditional ("Speed Rocker" tip..but it is really not significant)
Mount point: Suggested
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Dartmouth Skiway, NH
Number of Runs: 5
Snow Conditions: Hardpack, packed powder, boilerplate
Demo or Own: Demo
Height/Weight: 5' 11" / 183lbs
Ski Days/Season: varies
Years Skiing: 50
Current Quiver: IDone TR-TTM, IDone TR-TTR, Edewiser Speed, Palmer P02, Anton Dynamics UFOriaXA, Edewiser Firnis, Praxis Concepts, DPS RP-112 Hybrid, various demos of lots of other brands
Home Area: Vermont
Preferred Terrain: Trees w/ pow and Groomers
The K2 Amp Bolt is a woodcore, metal laminate "all mountain", "hard snow design" with a significant set of structural enhancements molded into the topsheet. K2 says "This Is No Powder Ski". It received an ISPO 2012 award for the "Piste Skis" category. Note that this award is given for criteria besides performance:
K2 Sports A.M.P. BOLT
High Performance Hard Snow Ski.
1) new ski construction
2) innovative torsional concept
3) high performance hard snow speed rocker ski
1) visible technology
2) sportive colours
3) high value look and feel
1) unmatched edge hold
2) high speed stability
3) ultimate accuracy
“The AMP bolt combines speed rocker technology with special reinforcements which allow the skis to have an excellent grip and outstanding performance especially on hard terrain. Torsion stability and the focus on control at high speed are the basis for superior performance. The radical shape hasn’t been present in the K2 company for years and it is a perfect on piste ski race carver.”
Thomas Kurdziel, Magazyn NTN Snow & More, Poland
The Amp Bolt feels sturdy, tight and dense. It has a moderately stiff hand-flex, but not remarkably burly, and is torsionally strong. The fit and finish is excellent, especially considering the complex 3D molding and appliqué doo-dads in and on the top layers of the ski. It has a very high-tech-looking perforated metal layer revealed through transparent layer windows, and the big "X" reinforcement moldings in the forebody and tail. It looks like it's been beefed-up at a 4X4 accessory shop.
The first turns revealed the Amp Bolt is not a short-turn ski, nor does it want to be. The 186cm length feels somewhat longer than it is until you get it up to speed. If you cruise along, get yourself up to moderate 18m radius speed and roll the skis up on edge...they engage and the ski kind of cruises along on its edges...sort of changing direction until you get the ski to flex....THEN it carves and turns significantly. This is not a casual cruiser, but a ski that wants to be flexed into its arc, not just rolled over into a turn. Change your mental attitude from "cruiser" to "athlete", and the Amp Bolt does its thing pretty well. If you command the ski, it will set into a medium-to-large radius turn securely, and very quietly. Security underfoot at speed is a big trait of this ski. It feels like a GS ski slightly detuned for 18m radius (or larger). Vibration dampening was excellent, with no high or low frequency hums or warbles underfoot on boilerplate, even when improper turn technique generates sideslip or tail wash or over-turned arcs. I could not shake the feeling the ski was somewhat reluctant to finish the last part of the turn, even at speed. I really had to think about finishing the turns, when I expected a modern race-carver to naturally want to finish the turn itself. The Bolt Amp had some degree of imbalance to it, with a bias toward wanting the mid body and tail to be the predominant center of attention, rather than the entire length of the ski. You can get the forebody to hold and lead the charge, but the ski really wanted to get the pressure distrubuted along the midbody and tail to get the great ride. Make no mistake, the Bolt Amp can generate some excellent, high-pressure, high-speed arcs locked right into the snow with the quiet demeanor of a race ski with about 25% less effort. I think citizen racers might like this ski for wide-open, GS-like courses since it tracks across frozen ruts very well, never deflecting off-line. I think K2 has reasserted their ability to make a race-carver without any question, and this model will probably sell pretty well to the hardpack carving crowd who are strong. There is a definite sense of "muscle car" in this ski rather than Euro sports car feel (if that make sense to anyone). While the Amp Bolt held a line across boilerplate pretty darn well, it was not an outstandingly sharp grip, and quick edge changes on cueball surfaces could produce a bit of slip if you did not have the ski flexed into the turn. It's not a problem, just not the infallible edge grip I expected in this type of ski with all the torsional strength enhancements. It's possible K2 may have lost some compliant behavior in the Amp Bolt by making it so torsionally strong fore and aft, creating a detuned GS ski instead of an all-mountain racecarver. Anyway...it's a ski to take out first thing in the morning on the fresh groomers before anyone else is on the hill...you'll need the room to let this ski run, and that's where it's happiest.
A powerful frontside carver with a preference for medium to long-radius turns and a desire to be driven instead of ridden. Some tendency to resist the final segment of a turn, with a desire to continue in mid-arc trajectory unless you maintain command and pressure it to finish the turn (some GS genes in this design, I think). K2 markets it as an "all mountain" design, but I think it really prefers groomed surfaces because it it somewhat stiff for a true "all mountain" design. Good choice for heavier or stronger skiers. Capable of some really good high-pressure, high-speed carving with a quiet personality. A little balky at short turns. Prefers to get up to speed to hit its sweet spot combination of optimal speed and radius.
Strong, steady, quiet and holds a line securely. Powerful and not easily deflected off-line. Excellent vibration control. Kinda cool looking mix of "Batman-meets-Xmen-meets-Transformers" 3D topsheet(s) and black-orange-silver color scheme. Speed machine for athletic ex-racers or enthusiasts.
Somewhat balky until it gets up to speed. Not happy doing short turns. Tendency to resist the final turn finish unless the skier maintains command and pressure. Feels slightly wider than it measures.