EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Ski Gear Discussion › New designs with "rockers": differences between i.e. K2 Xplorer and K2 Aftershock
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New designs with "rockers": differences between i.e. K2 Xplorer and K2 Aftershock

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I am a newbie member here, so apologies in advance for any protocol violations.  I have looked around for this information on-line but cannot find any helpful / non-marketing advice.

 

I am:

- 52 years

- 100 kg / 220 lb and trying to aim lower

- advanced/expert level, with about 75 weeks experience (instructor training 20 years ago) but I now ski for pleasure about 12 to 15 days a year primarily in the Alps

- take off-piste/backcountry whenever the opportunity presents, but inevitably end up 50:50 on/off piste

- usually a one-quiver skier: current skis -- Head super-cross Ti circa 2001/2 (109-71-99 by my ruler) -- or rather the Marker M1 Titanium bindings suddenly developed a problem last season and need dramatic work or replacement, and the newer toys are rather interesting (have hired a few all-mountain skis on short trips)...

 

I've therefore been searching for a replacement all-mountain ski, something good on groomed trails and able to cope well with speed but not relient on a lot of hard work to get the ski responding. At the same time, I want the ski to be able to give me sufficient float off-piste (more than my current 71 under foot, for sure).  Usual story, I would like the lot in one package!

 

I had been considering the K2 Xplorer, but couldn't find anyone in resort with a pair (to demo or buy) when the problems emerged with my current skis/binding.  Now I find that K2 have now replaced the Xplorer with the Aftershock, which features an all-terrain rocker in the design.  I hear that several manufacturers are going down this track as the rocker design gives easier turn initiation, but I am not sure how this affects those of us who have learnt to cope with thinner skis off-piste...

 

I would be very grateful to hear from anyone who has tried both the Xplorer and Aftershock, and whether this new design is better/worse, different (advantages/disadvantages, less stable, more stable or no difference), improvement or not etc?

 

Aside from these K2 offerings, what other skis are a "must try"?  I know that different skis suit different folks, and don't know yet if the K2's are good or bad for me.  But there is so much choice now, it looks difficult to test or consider every possibility when there are only so many test days available.

 

I am very interested to hear members thoughts -- thanks in advance.

post #2 of 8

First, it sounds like you are dead set on a K2, is that correct? If not there are some fantastic deals to be had on other leftovers like Nordicas and such. 

 

Second, while the Aftershock is the replacement in the line for the Xplorer, they are completely different skis, even before we even start discussing the rocker. The Explorer was one of the easiest skiing 80some waisted skis out there for the past two season, some feel almost too easy, while it wasn't dead ski, it gave very little feedback. The Aftershock with its "marketing" rocker is a different animal, much more demanding and a much more responsive ski but w/o being overpowering. The rocker, as I referred to as "Marketing Rocker" (coined by SierraJim) is subtle and if you didn't know it was there, you wouldn't know it was there. 

post #3 of 8

In the width range that you are looking at (~~86mm) there are not a lot of skis with "rocker" there are only a few. I have skied all of them and there is not a huge effect either positive or negative because the amplitude of the "rocker" is very minimal. Re: the Aftershock specifically, it is a better ski than the Explorer was due a better build using full length sidewalls and minimizing the use of cap construction.

 

Some of the vague feeling of older K2's (Explorer & Recon espcially) has been improved. The overall "feel" (subjective of course) of the new generation of K2's is still very damp and easygoing however they do have more grip and energy than the older ones. I liken the skiing experience on this family of K2's to driving a Caddilac. If that's the kind of ride that you like, then I'd say you'll lke the Aftershock. If you are looking for a sportier ride then possibly the Dynastar Sultan 85 or the Blizzard Mag 8.7 would be a better call. The Kastle MX88 offers much of the energy and grip of the Sultan and the Mag 8.7 but is still quite damp and smooth. As a bonus, it is quite light for a ski with it's performance level. The Kastle is possibly the only ski that accomplishes this blend so well.

 

SJ 

post #4 of 8

Sierra Jim,

I too am really looking at K2, likely used demo...in your opinion were the changes really that great from the Recon to the Shockwave to make it worth waiting or going for new ski this year vice a demo? Demos are now about $399 in CO, lower maybe during Labor day clear out sales.  Thanks. JFB

post #5 of 8

The replacement for the Recon is the Rictor not the Shockwave. The changes are the same ones as outlined above and if you like the old ones, then you'll like the new ones. As mentioned above, the changes are not earth shattering but they are noticable. I don't particularly care for either version, but I think the new is better than the old. A demo with some miles on it would be even more "dead" feeling than an unused Recon. If that's what you want, go for it. OTH, you could get a brand new ski from our Nordica offering that would ski rings around anything that K2 makes for similar money or slightly less.

 

SJ

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks PhilPug and Sierra Jim,

 

I am certainly not dead set on K2's.  I was intrigued by the comments of the Xplorer being an "easy ski" for off-piste, since with only so many days on the mountain I do want a ski that is forgiving and isn't hard nosed about being driven the whole time.  At the same time, I do like feedback and rebound from skis, at least on piste...

 

I had picked up a new pair of K2 interceptors for $200 including bindings on eBay after the season, but when I received these I found they were rated by K2 as intermediate to advanced, which was at odds with the on-line reports saying they were lively etc.  I appreciate these are the same dimensions as the Xplorer but without the metal top plates, and may see what they are like or sell them on.  At least they are a low cost option...

 

JFB -- I have seen new Xplorers with bindings going for about $450 upwards on eBay, depending on length, so maybe worth a look compared to ex-demos/rentals.

 

However, I will check out the Dynastar Sultan 85, Blizzard Mag 8.7 and Kastle MX88.  What about Volkl and Movement?  Are there any good models there to consider?

 

And were the Noridca's you mentioned just an alternative to the Recons or is there a good all-mountain model as well?

 

Thanks again for your suggestions.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by deetee View Post

Thanks PhilPug and Sierra Jim,

 

I am certainly not dead set on K2's.  I was intrigued by the comments of the Xplorer being an "easy ski" for off-piste, since with only so many days on the mountain I do want a ski that is forgiving and isn't hard nosed about being driven the whole time.  At the same time, I do like feedback and rebound from skis, at least on piste...

 

I had picked up a new pair of K2 interceptors for $200 including bindings on eBay after the season, but when I received these I found they were rated by K2 as intermediate to advanced, which was at odds with the on-line reports saying they were lively etc.  I appreciate these are the same dimensions as the Xplorer but without the metal top plates, and may see what they are like or sell them on.  At least they are a low cost option...

 

JFB -- I have seen new Xplorers with bindings going for about $450 upwards on eBay, depending on length, so maybe worth a look compared to ex-demos/rentals.

 

However, I will check out the Dynastar Sultan 85, Blizzard Mag 8.7 and Kastle MX88.  What about Volkl and Movement?  Are there any good models there to consider?

 

And were the Noridca's you mentioned just an alternative to the Recons or is there a good all-mountain model as well?

 

Thanks again for your suggestions.


I special ordered a few pair of Interceptors last season for some real light weight older guys, (EvenSilver here for one), IMHO a great value of a ski for a timid skier.

 

As far as the Nordies, The HR Pro and Top Fuel CA are the first two that come to mind, both are 84 underfoot and nice all mountain skis. The HR Pro is flat and can mount your choice of binding, think of this ski as a Head Monster 82 with a playful personality and the Top Fuel CA is a system ski, the little brother to the acclaimed Jet Fuel Ti. While I am a huge fan of both the Blizzard 8.7 and Kastle MX88, it is tough to pass the value of either of Nordies. The Volkls (AC50) are going to be a much more demanding ski and I am not THAT familiar with the Movements. 

 

post #8 of 8

Phil covered it very well. The Jet Fuel CA and HR Pro are the two that come to mind for me as well. Both of these skis are "better" (IMFHO) than anything K2 makes in this category, simply because K2 has taken the easygoing part of it a fair bit too far for my tastes. There are tons of other skis in this width range from a dozen manufacturers and most are pretty good for somebody and not horrible for anybody. I have skied the Volkl AC-50 quite a bit and it is a great ski for a heavy, aggressive, groomer zoomer but it has limited utility in mixed conditions.

 

I generally try to sample most everything on the market from the major suppliers. Movement has not been relevant enough in the market so far for me to get to them. Also, they often don't participate in many of the industry demo events. I'm sure they are fine but with great choices from the major manufacturers already mentioned you have enough skis to think about......why bother with more?

 

SJ

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