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K2 Crossfire Review

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
First My Stats:
5'10" 165lbs
Level 8
Primarily East Coast Skier-one 7-8 day Western trip a year.

Ski: 2006 K2 Crossfire 167, mounted flat (non-IBX) Marker Piston 1200

Other similar skis I've skied RX8, SX10

After One week of Varied use-here's a review:

I was looking for a solid, predictable everyday ski for patrolling/ day off adventure skiing here in the east that performed well in varying Eastern conditions such as ice, snow-gun whales on top of ice, rock hard corduroy, wet snow, rain soaked snow, packed powder and powder (which thru the bulk of December until a week ago is what we had in spades!). Predictability and stabilty are of Paramount importance to me--trail sweep at my mountain begins at 4:20--which is Dark right now, I'm a shady flatlight skier as it is-but a really nervous no-light skier so I wanted something that could move over 'unseen' terrain fairly effortlessly.

1. Long Radius Turns:-really, really smooth turner, anyone who skis K2s know they have that odd combination (that not everyone likes) of being very damp and yet 'light' feeling--sort of counter intuitive--I find this combination works great for high-speed, hard-knee rolling sweeper turns-the tips of these skis have been described as 'soft' elsewhere--not my experience, though-even at speed over chattery rough terrain, they feel eerily smooth.

2. Short Radius/ Medium Radius: Well, they're no slalom ski and even among the cross ski genre they aren't the quickest short turners (I also spent time on the RX8 and the SX10)-but with solid old fashioned hard-knee edging and short swings they'll come around fast enough when the occasion requires it. Medium turns, however are the ski's Forte-nicely even 16m turns feel wonderful on this ski-so much so I hardly ever feel like verging far from that rhythym while skiing them.

Again, compared to other cross skis I've tried-I'd say that the Crossfire lacks some of the short turn poppiness (due in large part to it's pointed dampness) but bests others in the medium to long turn arena-most notably by remaining incredibly stable at speed throughout the body of the turn.

3. Eastern "mixed Conditions" ability: I made up this category because it's the main reason I bought (and really like) this ski-Everyday skiers here in Southern New England (and the Cats and 'Dacks as well) know of the unique varied conditions that you not only find across a mountain, but encounter within the space of a single turn (!): Yesterday, for instance I was sweeping down the steep groomer over pockets of windblown, wet-sticky (it was warmish out) freshly man-made snow over sheets of heavy rain forged, 'groomed' ice lines. Basically the tip of my ski would be on ice the middle on fairlly deep man-made ungroomed snow and the tail on rough ice. Normally, this sort of terrain would have me in nervous fits-whereas each turn dragged my edges from stickyy/soft to hard/ ice rough and back-creating a nightmare of heavy-light edging and balance-But, in all honesty the Crossfire made easy work of these conditions--at speed on a steep pitch--I haven't been on another ski of this level of capability in these conditions (though, I'm sure many exist)--This ability to handle-smoothly and predictably these tough eastern conditions is the Crosssfires strongest attribute.

Bumps: I've only had the opportunity to turn these through late-day, post snowmaking small bumps-the crossfire soft-edges just fine through these-I see no reason why it wouldn't do the same in larger/firmer bumps--but we'll see. I'm on a 167 so I can 'fit' them through some pretty snug troughs.

Speed: Not a GS ski, of course, but they handle speed really well-I've gone fast enoough on these that my helmet started lifting off my head from wind drag--that's plenty fast for me! Again. I would like to reiterate the general smoothness and stabilty of these skis at speed--and that I noticed no tip-flap/chatter at high speeds on varied terrain.

Slow Stuff: As a Patroller-I go slow as much as I go fast--sideslipping/wedging heavy loads on all pitches is a requirement of any ski I strap on--The Crossfires transition really nicely from soft edge slipping to hard edge wedging-no complaints here.

Overall-They're solid skis-very capable, fairly easy. They're not 'poppy' or full of exciting rebound energy, not the greatest (nor anywhere near the worst) short turners-but they're fun, reliable, stable, predictable,--maybe the best word (from a decidedly eastern standard, that is) they're eminently Capable.

If your rounding out the bottom end of a quiver or looking for a single tool multiuse eastern ski-put it on your DEMO checklist with the RX8, 5star, sx10,--I'd even stack it up against midfats (for eastern skiers!)-

Have Fun-send us snow

Liam
post #2 of 14

Thanks for Review

Liam:

I read your review of the Crossfire the day you posted, and read it with interest. In a way, I was very surprised that there were no responses to your review.

I had narrowed down my purchase decision to the Crossfire after demo-ing many skis last year (and I mean alot.) I just returned from Breckenridge for an 8 day visit. My first goal was to demo both the 167 cm and 174 cm to determine which length would work best for me (Level 7-8; 185Lbs; 6'1" - ski mostly on piste both blue and black groomers).

I was very surprised that the 174cm length worked best for me; I had the preconceived notion that the 167 cm would be the best. Long story short, I bought the Crossfires (174 cm) and I am absolutely pleased with the capabilities of this ski.

Again, thanks for the review. I know that we will both enjoy the Crossfire.

Carl
post #3 of 14

great review

Wow, what a great review....sorry I missed it first time around.

I ski'd crossfire last year quite a bit(borrowed a set of demos) in 174 with integrated marker set up...I'm about 185lbs and your comments were all spot on with my impressions. I found them a little quicker than you - maybe cause of a bit more lift with the integrated marker rig....

Crossfire nice ski...ultimately not what I was looking for, went with 168 Allstar but a nice smooth ride that nails the k2 feel. I ski'd k2 fours, merlin v and vi and these have that feel...

Great, right on the mark review ....enjoy the k2's

BTW, "rock hard cordoroy"....our western friends would not understand would they?
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carlcg11
Liam:

I read your review of the Crossfire the day you posted, and read it with interest. In a way, I was very surprised that there were no responses to your review.

I had narrowed down my purchase decision to the Crossfire after demo-ing many skis last year (and I mean alot.) I just returned from Breckenridge for an 8 day visit. My first goal was to demo both the 167 cm and 174 cm to determine which length would work best for me (Level 7-8; 185Lbs; 6'1" - ski mostly on piste both blue and black groomers).

I was very surprised that the 174cm length worked best for me; I had the preconceived notion that the 167 cm would be the best. Long story short, I bought the Crossfires (174 cm) and I am absolutely pleased with the capabilities of this ski.

Again, thanks for the review. I know that we will both enjoy the Crossfire.

Carl

Yeah-had I been looking for more pure performance I would have gone with the 174 as well-but I really wanted an easy, no brainer everyday-workday ski so the 167 fit the bill better. Skied yesterday in rain and muck and it still felt smooth, solid and predictable--K2 really nailed it with this ski.

Though-as per hrstrat57 comments-this type of ski (higher end cross) seems to be at the height of it's evolutionary curve. The 5 Star, RX 8, sx 10, head xrc, elan s 12, and the Crossfire are all really great, dynamic skis with a huge envelope of everyday use.

Truthfully, I think if more folks gave this sort of ski a try as their everyday ski (especially in the East) they'd put the ever-popular 72-79 mm waisted midfats on the road to extinction. Though, for western season long use you'd need to add an 85mm or more waisted fat to the quiver (which is what I'm looking to do now!).

Liam
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam
Truthfully, I think if more folks gave this sort of ski a try as their everyday ski (especially in the East) they'd put the ever-popular 72-79 mm waisted midfats on the road to extinction. Though, for western season long use you'd need to add an 85mm or more waisted fat to the quiver (which is what I'm looking to do now!).

Liam
Where do you patrol in the East? I ski mostly northern VT and want a mid-fat to better handle the powder and glades that I commonly ski up there. I currently have a skicross ski with similar dimensions to the Crossfire, which I like but am looking for a little more girth for my needs.

I really like the Volkl AC4s, which most of the patrollers are on this year at Sugarbush (I'm told). I'm thinking about grabbing a pair of them.
post #6 of 14

How about off-piste, in variable snow?

Great reviews. i'm 5'9", 165lbs advanced/expert, but I haven't skiied on a lot of skis.
I have the 167 crossfires and agree with everything said above. However, off-piste, on "variable" snow-not powder, but some loose stuff and bumps, I just don't feel that stable on these at speed. I get bounced around. I feel much more confident on my 175cm Pocket Rockets. The issue is on a non-powder day, of course the Crossfires are much more responsive on the smoother harder snow. Would a longer length, like the 174 help this out? Of course I see everyone skiing these type of skis short, but are they using them all over the mountain?

What are others' experiences with the narrow "all-mountain" skis off piste? My style is to go fast and make swooping turns. Maybe the narrower skis like a tighter style. I'm thinking maybe they need a longer length to excel off the hardpack. I dunno, any feedback would be appreciated.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by squawbomber
Great reviews. i'm 5'9", 165lbs advanced/expert, but I haven't skiied on a lot of skis.
I have the 167 crossfires and agree with everything said above. However, off-piste, on "variable" snow-not powder, but some loose stuff and bumps, I just don't feel that stable on these at speed. I get bounced around. I feel much more confident on my 175cm Pocket Rockets. The issue is on a non-powder day, of course the Crossfires are much more responsive on the smoother harder snow. Would a longer length, like the 174 help this out? Of course I see everyone skiing these type of skis short, but are they using them all over the mountain?

What are others' experiences with the narrow "all-mountain" skis off piste? My style is to go fast and make swooping turns. Maybe the narrower skis like a tighter style. I'm thinking maybe they need a longer length to excel off the hardpack. I dunno, any feedback would be appreciated.
I think you're general impressions are right-I don't think that the new breed of all-mountain cross skis are the best choices for high-speed, off-piste, big turns on big mountains. The crossfire--especially for western skiers is a quiver ski--complimented with a good, strong fat ski, I'd think it'd be all you need. I'm still searching for the bigger stablemate to my crossfire (im88? Mojo 90? Outlaw/Chief? BC Scratch? Mantra-damn there are a lot of choices!)-but so far, it has held up to every condition I've found in the east this season (took it some thin-cover trees on sunday after we got 8 inches of snow on the backside of 1.5 inches of rain) and it remained as predictable and fun as on the groomed.

I think also your suspicion that these narrower skis call for a tighter turning approach is accurate as well-at least that has been my experience.

Liam
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by squawbomber
Great reviews. i'm 5'9", 165lbs advanced/expert, but I haven't skiied on a lot of skis.
I have the 167 crossfires and agree with everything said above. However, off-piste, on "variable" snow-not powder, but some loose stuff and bumps, I just don't feel that stable on these at speed. I get bounced around. I feel much more confident on my 175cm Pocket Rockets. The issue is on a non-powder day, of course the Crossfires are much more responsive on the smoother harder snow. Would a longer length, like the 174 help this out? Of course I see everyone skiing these type of skis short, but are they using them all over the mountain?

What are others' experiences with the narrow "all-mountain" skis off piste? My style is to go fast and make swooping turns. Maybe the narrower skis like a tighter style. I'm thinking maybe they need a longer length to excel off the hardpack. I dunno, any feedback would be appreciated.
For cut-up snow, it is hard to get the total performance package from a narrower ski (although I have had the best success off-piste with the S12 from Elan, but several others I have tried just weren't made for skiing in loose snow). As the line continues to blur between 67 and 76mm waisted skis, I have noticed that more and more people get good results from mid-fat type skis in everything from blue ice to crud. Many of my Eastern customers have been choosing the Head Monster 77, 72, Elan 666/Magfire 12 for a good hard-snow performance and better crud-ability. Atomic B5's, Nordica Hot Rod's, and Volkl AC3's are some other highly-recommended skis. If you can afford to start a quiver (2 pair), check out the Head Monster 82 or 88, Elan 777, Dynastar 8800, K2 Apache Outlaw ect.(there are many more)). Any of these will ski circles around the PE's in all but the most bottomless snow.

Also, the construction of the Apache Crossfire may have something to do with it. It isn't the stiffest ski torsionally, and may be contributing to getting bounced around.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching
If you can afford to start a quiver (2 pair), check out the Head Monster 82 or 88, Elan 777, Dynastar 8800, K2 Apache Outlaw ect.(there are many more)). Any of these will ski circles around the PE's in all but the most bottomless snow.
By PE's, did you mean PR's (Pocket Rockets)?
My thinking with the Crossfire was precisely to have a wide-range 2 ski quiver, with my PR's.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by squawbomber
By PE's, did you mean PR's (Pocket Rockets)?
My thinking with the Crossfire was precisely to have a wide-range 2 ski quiver, with my PR's.
Yes, I meant PR's. While I like the PR's in deep snow, I find them less than ideal in the cut-up crud that I mostly ski. It wouldn't be in my 2-ski quiver (that would be more of a cross/carver and 80-88mm crudbuster), but if I had a 3-ski quiver, a deep-snow ski such as the PR would be a great addition. But, that is just me. We have alot of skiers and not that big of a mountain: the uncut snow lasts about 2 runs.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam
Though-as per hrstrat57 comments-this type of ski (higher end cross) seems to be at the height of it's evolutionary curve. The 5 Star, RX 8, sx 10, head xrc, elan s 12, and the Crossfire are all really great, dynamic skis with a huge envelope of everyday use.

Truthfully, I think if more folks gave this sort of ski a try as their everyday ski (especially in the East) they'd put the ever-popular 72-79 mm waisted midfats on the road to extinction. Though, for western season long use you'd need to add an 85mm or more waisted fat to the quiver (which is what I'm looking to do now!).
Liam
Agreed. I frequently ski in such skis for a few seasons and am really pleased with them. I've recently buyed a '05 Skicross 10, and it copes perfectly with everything I've skied so far. I happily trade some 'deep' snow performance for a better performance on ice and rough surfaces.
post #12 of 14
[quote=dawgcatching]Yes, I meant PR's. While I like the PR's in deep snow, I find them less than ideal in the cut-up crud that I mostly ski. It wouldn't be in my 2-ski quiver (that would be more of a cross/carver and 80-88mm crudbuster), but if I had a 3-ski quiver, a deep-snow ski such as the PR would be a great addition. But, that is just me. QUOTE]

I've heard this sentiment repeated many times. I really my PR's in all snow conditions, especially powder(!), crud, loose snowy bumps etc, but, like I've said, I haven't tried a lot of other skis. The problem is I'm canted to perfection on my skis and demoing is tricky, but I guess I should try it just to get the feel of the skis.
A question: the newer midfats-do they hook up and pull you across the hill like a Crossfire does? I do love that instantaneous, quick snap of the narrow all-mountain carver, but if a wider one is close, I think I'd probably jetison the narrower ski for the midfat. Like I said, after a groomer or two, I'm off on KT, etc. My last midfat, the original Bandit XX, was incapable of carving a turn, but I know they've evolved considerably.
Thanks
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrstrat57
Crossfire nice ski...ultimately not what I was looking for, went with 168 Allstar but a nice smooth ride that nails the k2 feel. I ski'd k2 fours, merlin v and vi and these have that feel...
hrstrat I'd really like to know why you ended up choosing the allstars. I'm looking for some new boards right now and both of those skiis are on my list. Please describe what brought you to your decision.. Thanks!!
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dewdman42
hrstrat I'd really like to know why you ended up choosing the allstars. I'm looking for some new boards right now and both of those skiis are on my list. Please describe what brought you to your decision.. Thanks!!
Dewdman,

See my "volkl allstar first impressions" thread....I think I have talked a bit too much about em already!!!

Any questions you have, post em there.....I'll come back. No need to poach this guys thread....
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