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Would you recommend the K2 Crossfire? (returning to skiing)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I've been out of the sport for roughly eight-ten years, and the gear has changed since I was skiing frequently. I've demoed some skis, but I didn't get a chance to try the K2. (I apologize if you've beaten the Crossfire to death. I searched for, and read, a number of topics on it before posting.)

Me: male, early 40s, 5'7, 146 lbs, athletic expert (level II certified instructor (RM region), passed level III teaching portion, as well as bumps and ungroomed). Injury made me stop skiing.

I live in the west (NM) but grew up in the east so I still have a hard snow bias. I love to ski bumps, and I will generally seek them out even on a powder day. I will ski them when most people think they are "too icy," including myself. Some race background, not afraid to ski fast. I like to carve all radii on groomed snow.

What I am looking for: An all-mountain ski that I can teach, train and have fun on, both in the bumps and on groomed conditions, that is "functional" in powder. (I am convinced that good skiers can have good results on most skis in powder. We used to ski straight skis.) This ski should be fun enough on the groomed to keep my older body out of the bumps, while still being fun in the bumps. I am also looking at this as a training ski for level III. In summary: quick, edgy, powerful, equally adept at short to medium radius turns, can handle some speed, and performs well on hard snow. A ski that you can lay out on with confidence, or carve in the bumps, but not locked into one radius.

Demoed:

Volkl AC30 (153 cm): Great in slush/spring conditions, competent on hard conditions but not compelling. Slow at slow speeds. Heavy. Despite that, I liked this ski.

Salomon X-wing Tornado (154 cm): Light, quick, on rails at higher speeds, not a stable "feel" on hard snow. High speed GS turns were a blast on this, but in other areas, so-so. Tips felt too light, but the tail felt rock solid. Current/former ski is a Salomon race slalom.

Nordica (Mach 3, I believe, yellow/orange), 154 cm: Tons of edge hold on hard snow, but otherwise somewhat bland. Noisy.

Volkl Tigershark 10' (154 cm): Probably most fun ski of the group, edgy, good hold. The downside of this ski seemed to be poor spring snow performance, and the fact that it was always wanting to turn, which could get old.

Ski I am interested in: K2 Crossfire (07-08, straight sidewall, M1, length, thinking 160 cm). Is this enough ski? Is this the ski I described above? I'm not that familiar with K2, but it sounds like it could combine all the worlds I am trying to combine, without sacrificing too much in any one area.

Thanks for all comments in advance (rants and raves). K2 fans who want to expound on the virtues of K2 are equally as welcome as those who want to hate on it.
post #2 of 23
I have the 2007/2008 Crossfire and I love em. Ok in the fluff, I don't really ski moguls often, so I can't really pass along any judgement there. On hard and groomed snow, they are flawless. They are pretty good in the late day chop as well.

They are damn fast, with no chatter. I have no problem with short quick turns or more running more GS style lines.

Defiantly not locked into one radius.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RootDKJ View Post
On hard and groomed snow, they are flawless. They are pretty good in the late day chop as well. They are damn fast, with no chatter. I have no problem with short quick turns or more running more GS style lines.
Thanks for your help. What concerns me most is a recurring theme in reviews describing them as a bit "lifeless." (I'm wondering if that is a function of people skiing the wrong length? I see a lot of people on this forum advocating skis that are too long for their weight/ability.) I have seen other reviews talking about them being lively, and some referring to them having considerable "pop." I can't figure out how both can be true. How would you describe them?

Quote:
Defiantly not locked into one radius.
That's good. I wasn't concerned that the Crossfire would be a single radius ski, I was describing what I was looking for. Part of the appeal is the progressive sidecut.
post #4 of 23
K2's feel is described as damp and stable by those who like it, lifeless by those who don't. Of the skis described above, the Salomons are probably the closest feel.

It sounds like you liked the Volkls best of those you tested. Volkl, despite being the same company as K2, typically occupies the other side of the feel spectrum. In my experience, people who like Volkls typically aren't crazy about K2s, and vice versa. (The same can often be said about the other paired companies -- Rossignol (damper) and Dynastar (livelier), Salomon (damper) and Atomic (livelier)).

If you thought the TigerShark always wanted to turn, I'd be surprised if you preferred the Crossfire, which has a very similar radius but is a little narrower.

If I were you, I'd be more likely to assemble a quiver of used skis for the same price as a pair of new -- probably one pair with a 70-something waist and a second with a 90-something waist.

For a one-ski-quiver, I'd go with something with a waist in the high 70s -- and since you found the TigerSharks too turny, something with less sidecut. The AC30 (or AC40, for that matter) that you tried would be a good choice. Others you might want to demo on the livelier end of the spectrum would include the Dynastar Legend 8000; the Fischer AMC79, Watea 78, or Cool Heat; and the Atomic Nomad Crimson. On the damper side, the K2 Apache Recon is a perennial favorite of many.
post #5 of 23
First: Regarding length, a K2 160 is a LONG ski. It will run about equal to a 164 or so from Volkl and Salomon. IME the 154's you were skiing were too short....(OR)....the K2 160 is too long.

Second: I dont think you will get perfection in the complete package that you are looking for. There are simply too many variables and conflicting characteristics for a ski to do all those things at a high level. Compromises will have to be made/accepted somewhere.

Third: Crossfire specific. The CF is arguably the best ski that K2 has built in some time. It has less of the soft caddilac feel that makes most K2's a love it or hate it thing. This feel is less apparent than in other models like thr Recon or Stryker for example. Still, when compared to the other models you mention, the CF is not as good on hard snow and is somewhat less energetic. OTH, for a ski of this waist width, it is better than most in soft snow.

So.....the CF could well be a very good compromise work ski. Given all the different stuff you want it to do, it will be passable at all of them and sucky at none.

And....FWIW.

I have BTDT on the L-III exam thing. I have many industry friends that are still active in teaching and examining. For the most part their (and my) take is that an examiner will not require a task that is gear dependant. In fact, were I ever to approach an exam myself again ( I would probably take a rather mid-level ski.

SJ
post #6 of 23
I'm 5'11" and have been skiing on and off for the past 25 years. I ski the Crossfire in a 167. I also demo'd the 174, but felt like the 167 was the way to go. The ski is very damp. To some that might be interpted as lifeless. I compare the Crossfire to many people like this. Driving a Camaro at high speeds or driving a high end German automobile(the CF). Smooth and stable.
post #7 of 23
Afterthought..............

After my earlier post, I just started to edit my reviews for '08-'09 and it occured to me that an Atomic Blackeye might be worth a demo. It is grippy and among the most nimble of the ~~ 78mm skis. Don't know why I didn't think of it before............

And of course the Legend 8K is great, then there's the.........oh! sorry, lost my head for a sec there........

SJ
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
First: Regarding length, a K2 160 is a LONG ski. It will run about equal to a 164 or so from Volkl and Salomon. IME the 154's you were skiing were too short....(OR)....the K2 160 is too long.
Thanks. You are absolutely right. I received a similar advice regarding K2s running about 3-4cm long. 160 is the shortest they make. I think the 154s were a bit short for my ability level, but about right for my weight. Given how long I have been out of skiing they were the right length. I probably fall right between sizes, otherwise. The K2s might be about 4-5 cm long for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
Second: I dont think you will get perfection in the complete package that you are looking for. There are simply too many variables and conflicting characteristics for a ski to do all those things at a high level. Compromises will have to be made/accepted somewhere.

Third: Crossfire specific. The CF is arguably the best ski that K2 has built in some time. It has less of the soft caddilac feel that makes most K2's a love it or hate it thing.
Is this Volante damp? Because I used to describe the Volant as being a Cadillac, and I really didn't care for it too much.


Quote:
This feel is less apparent than in other models like thr Recon or Stryker for example. Still, when compared to the other models you mention, the CF is not as good on hard snow and is somewhat less energetic. OTH, for a ski of this waist width, it is better than most in soft snow.

So.....the CF could well be a very good compromise work ski. Given all the different stuff you want it to do, it will be passable at all of them and sucky at none.

And....FWIW.

I have BTDT on the L-III exam thing. I have many industry friends that are still active in teaching and examining. For the most part their (and my) take is that an examiner will not require a task that is gear dependant.
When I took the exam, it was at the height of the straight-ski to shaped-ski transition. They had just changed formats, and the exam was distinctly gear-biased. They even warned us about it at the time, but I didn't have the money for new skis, and didn't think it would keep me from passing. It did. Afterwards, I decided I probably could have passed on demo skis. The psychology would have been perfect: nothing to lose. (The same bias would exist today to anyone not on a modern ski.)


Quote:
In fact, were I ever to approach an exam myself again ( I would probably take a rather mid-level ski.
My ideal exam ski: something that gives me confidence. A ski that I trust and get on early, despite the nerves. My usual exam anxiety was compounded by feeling like I was on the wrong skis.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RootDKJ View Post
I'm 5'11" and have been skiing on and off for the past 25 years. I ski the Crossfire in a 167. I also demo'd the 174, but felt like the 167 was the way to go.

If you don't mind my asking, what weight and ability level are you? I am trying to figure out if the 160 is going to be okay (or too long).
post #10 of 23

k2 crossfire

I'm 5'7" and 180lbs. I demoed the 2006/2007 xfire in a 167cm
length a few weeks ago. I would probably buy a 174cm myself.
Good hardpacked snow ski. Very quick. More of a sportscar than my Dynastar 8000 178cm ski. The 8000 not as quick but much, much better at medium speed, tight railed GS turns. The 2007/2008 xfire is 2mm wider throughout. The 2005/2006 xfire 167cm measured about 3cm shorter that the 2006/2007 xfire with dims of 115-68-99.

Tom
post #11 of 23
The 2008-09 Crossfire is another 2mm wider throughout its length.

I ski the 2007-08 in a 167 as my primary ride unless the snow is really hard (Michigan "powder"), for which I'll break out a shorter, stiffer Moto. I also have a Recon, which used to be my choice for softer or deeper conditions until K2 widened and added the vertical sidewall to the Crossfire. My new skis next season will be the 08-09 Crossfire (K2 gives me a new set each year).

All that said, you might like the Tigershark 10 with the switch. I have many friends skiing that setup in all kinds of conditions both in the midwest and Rockies.

BTW, I'm 5'6"/215, a LIII and old.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
The 2008-09 Crossfire is another 2mm wider throughout its length.

I ski the 2007-08 in a 167 as my primary ride unless the snow is really hard (Michigan "powder"), for which I'll break out a shorter, stiffer Moto. I also have a Recon, which used to be my choice for softer or deeper conditions until K2 widened and added the vertical sidewall to the Crossfire. My new skis next season will be the 08-09 Crossfire (K2 gives me a new set each year).

All that said, you might like the Tigershark 10 with the switch. I have many friends skiing that setup in all kinds of conditions both in the midwest and Rockies.

BTW, I'm 5'6"/215, a LIII and old.
Thanks.

I skied the tigershark 10' and liked it, but felt that it was little soft (non-switch version), and turny. In contrast, the AC30 seemed at times plodding under foot so I think I do like a narrower-waisted ski. I'm leery that the switch is prone to failure.

It seems to me that so many of the newer skis have limitations that the older skis never had. They market skis as more versatile but design them to be more limited. Does anyone else get that feeling from the industry, that it is a shell game? Volkl was the case in point: that AC30 to be an "all mountain ski" needs far better piste performance.

The problem could be that I am looking for more of that race ski energy than the all-mountain category is providing. I probably should be looking at detuned race skis.

Any experience with the Kastle RX or Head Supershape?
post #13 of 23
Why do you think the switch is subject to failure? It's really a simple device that extends or contracts two metal rods that compress or uncompress two springs. When the springs are compressed, the ski is more stiff. Everyone I know on that ski says the switch is very effective. I'd think the switch is as durable as rail bindings.
post #14 of 23
Whatever one thinks of K2's, "edgy and powerful," and "race ski energy" are probably not the first phrases that leap to mind.

I'm no instructor, but I took about 20 lessons this year, and I pay attention to what the level 3's I take lessons from ski. Back here (northeast), seems like a fair number of what I'd consider very stable cross designs: Head XCR's, Atomic SLX's, Volkl 6* or Allstar's, a few well-worn race trainers, especially Fischer RC's, and then the more GS cheater/all mountain designs like Fischer Progressors (everyone seems to speak very highly of this ski) and Contact 11's. When the conditions are softer, quite a number of AC40's (lot of interest in the new AC50, ziltch in the Grizzly), and a surprising number of Bridges. Haven't seen a single instructor on Tigersharks, FWIW. Obviously that doesn't cover the list, just what stands out. Several instructors I talked to spoke about it mentioned the need to do a lot of skiing on a comfortable platform that facilitated all kinds of turn shapes and styles. (Unclear how this fits with the race trainers.)

So if you want energy and edge grip in an all day long all mountain, why not a Progressor or the new Contact 4x4, or an Atomic Blackeye?
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
Why do you think the switch is subject to failure?
It's an additional part. One that moves. It might not be the most likely thing to break on the ski, but it's an additional potential point of complexity, and therefore, failure.
post #16 of 23
Calling Uncle Louie. You make your Cross Fires do just about anything in any condition. What's your take?
post #17 of 23
Thanks for the segway Roundturns. I like this discription by Sierra Jim.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

Third: Crossfire specific. The CF is arguably the best ski that K2 has built in some time. It has less of the soft caddilac feel that makes most K2's a love it or hate it thing. This feel is less apparent than in other models like thr Recon or Stryker for example. Still, when compared to the other models you mention, the CF is not as good on hard snow and is somewhat less energetic. OTH, for a ski of this waist width, it is better than most in soft snow.
My Crossfires are the season before they made them wider which improved them. The only place I found them a bit lacking is above 50 mph or so. They get a bit squirly, but if you stand in the right spot they still perform.
It is a truely versatile ski and would be an excellent exam ski.

I just got a pair of the Tigershark 10's with the Power switch. The Crossfire skis a bit like the TS 10 with the switch in the off position, holds a bit better but has a lot more weight.

I guess if I had the choice (and money was no option) I would pick the Crossfire as a ski to teach on and take a certification exam on over the Tigershark 10's (almost the same radius by the way). The Crossfire seems to me to be the best fit as to what you discribed in the "what you are looking for" catagory.

BUT.....skiing wise the big difference between the two is the speed capability, holding power and quickness of the T-Shark. That ski EATS crud compared to the Crossfires.

One other to consider. I haven't skied it, but people (in the know) told me that the Tiger 10 (same ski w/o the switch) skis something like the Tigershark 10 skis if you could turn the swith half way. I bet the Tiger 10 would ski quite close to the Crossfire.....but has to be much heavier.

Best of luck with your choice.

uL
post #18 of 23
My 1st Posting; I'll try to be brief. This may be a little late.
Wt:155# Ht:5'11" Age: 58 Level:8-9 I like technical and speed.
I am also very opinionated.

I have found that with the new skis, skier size and strength have become even more important than they have been in the past.
As a light weight skier (like paralleldimension), I find that many of the new skis have what I'll call too much "energy" or "kickback" for lighter weight skiers.

Currently own and like very much: '08 Volkl 168 Tigershark 10 w/o Switch(rad 14M); '08 174 K2 Crossfire(flat)(rad 16M); '07 178 Nordica Modified(rad 18M); '08 170 Stockli Stormrider XXL(rad17)(my favorites)

I obviously love skis and am always searching for the "perfect" ski.
I have also found that "as I get older, all I can do is buy better equipment." (Skis are my fetish and I am an "addict." )

I feel the Tigershark 10s are more suitable (compared to AC3s,4s,40s,50s) for "light"skiers, in that they will provide the energy to accelerate when you want them to but won't beat you to death on rough snow. They are also surprisingly good in the crud and powder. The 10s without the switch have a non-metal top skin,which I feel, makes ski a little quieter. They are slightly stiffer than a switched 10 with the switch off. Turning radius is 14M.

I feel the Crossfires perform very well, much like the TS 10s. Lighter (when non-integrated);not quite as quick a carve(length/radius?) but quicker edge to edge; slightly better at high speed cruising;slightly better on steeper terrain. Comparable edge grip but more along the entire length of the ski(length/radius?) Maybe better for instruction, although 4 of our top instructors ski on the Tigersharks.

From what you have described, I would think both the 161cm TS 10 N/S and the '08 or earlier(spelled cheaper) 160cm Crossfires would serve you well. I would suggest K2s that are "flat" (non-integrated bindings) as they are much lighter and ski very well.

I would also suggest trying the '08 158cm Dynastar Contact Limited or '09 Dynastar Contact 4X4. Both are great skis; Limited is more forgiving but still skis very well. Both are very versatile.

If you are inclined to go more "all mountain," that opens another discussion.
Newer boots should probably be a part of your consideration as they are integral in design for use with newer skis.
post #19 of 23
I was in a similar dilemma this year as well. 5'11" 175#, Level 7 - 8 skiier with 20+ years experience when, for a variety of reasons, I got separated from the sport about 7 years ago.

I spent a lot of time demoing this year after resolving to get back into the sport. I tried three K2s over the course of the winter:

K2 5-com 167
K2 Recon 174
K2 Crossfire 174

The 5-com was a nice introduction to the new-fangled ski geometry since I last was on boards, but wasn't nearly enough ski for me once I got my legs back under me and figured out how you were supposed to turn 'em. But, based on those, I expected that the Crossfire would be something that I really liked. I was suprised at how little I liked the Crossfire. It was certainly stable, but to me it seemed really dead underfoot. Instead of storing energy that could be used on the rebound, it just seemed to absorb it. The Recon struck me as just a wider version of the same, probably more suited to deep powder, but less versatile all-around. It was a big disapointment, because I have an affection for K2s since K2 244-Mids were my first skis [never you mind how long ago ye gol-durned whippersnappers!]

After trying lots of other skis,i including the Volkl Tigershark 10 that you liked @ 167. I was very impressed with it, and seriously considered buying it. I ended up buying Dynastar Ltd @ 178. Love 'em in lots of different conditions, they don't lock you into any particular turn radius, and they respond well to a variety of techniques. Never tried them in powder, but they're every bit as wide as the Crossfire, and have a wider shovel, so I expect you could make them float just fine.
post #20 of 23
RE: K2 Apache Crossfire: definitely the worst ski I've been on in recent memory. It felt like it had a serrated edge - like the ski was simultaneously being deflected in 100 different random directions all along the edge, and dragging rather than slicing. It only took one turn to know I hated this ski; I pulled up immediately and then dreaded skiing down the rest of the way down. (how do you make a 450' vertical hill seem like it goes on forever? Ski it on Crossfires - I thought that run would never be over)

At the bottom I took them off to look at the bases. I was sure that there would be something obviously visibly wrong, but there wasn't. The demo guys said they were fine.

I was favorable impressed by the K2 Apache xPlorer though. Granted it's a different ski, for different applications.

I wound up buying a pair of Mantras and a pair of Tigershark 10' (non switch). Neither are for everybody.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Louie View Post
I haven't skied it, but people (in the know) told me that the Tiger 10 (same ski w/o the switch) skis something like the Tigershark 10 skis if you could turn the swith half way.
The Tiger 10 is a different ski than the Tigershark 10 Foot (with or without switch). It's much more of an intermediate ski.

Tigersharks come in switch and non-switch configurations. Even without the switch it's still called the Tigershark.

The non-switch version is supposed to have a characteristic in-between switch-on and switch-off of the switch version. That seems to be the case, since I can't tell the difference between the switch-on, switch-off, or no switch at all.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by para||el dimension View Post
If you don't mind my asking, what weight and ability level are you? I am trying to figure out if the 160 is going to be okay (or too long).
5'11 220 lbs. I'm not really in to the whole "level" thing. I like to think I'm pretty competent.

Sorry I didn't see your post sooner, I've been a little busy.
post #23 of 23
NO,NO NO! I just returned mine.
Not enough ski: get something 78mm or more for all mountain skiing.
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