41 years old, 5'11", 158 pounds
35 years skiing experience, confident accross the whole mountain but do not ski the parks nor do I go out of bounds backside. My typical day skiing will mix it up with fast carves on the groomed, as well as hitting the bumps, steeps and picking my way through the trees. I grew up on a variety of volkl RS and SL skis, though once I took the step into shaped skis the volkls were no longer my pick, and I settled into the Apache Recons as my all-round ski. I did keep trying all sorts, but found myself going back to the Recons - my only bad experience was seeing one come apart after a day on the bumps, this however was not repeated by successive Recons.
Now the Recon is dead. Long live the Rictor... or so K2 tell us. I had three weeks to ski these in 167cm and 174cm, alongside a pair of Volkl AC30 in 170cm.
So - I had some concerns, for one thing this 'All-Terrain Rocker'. Did I need this rocker, after all I can ski well enough? Would this affect grip on ice, cause more chatter at speed, and be generally an evil gimmick? I hate gimmicks. The Rictor is also 80mm under the boot - the Recon was 78mm. Were those 2mm going to make the ski feel slower edge to edge on short turns - after all, I was raised on the notion that skis that were quick edge to edge on short rad turns had to have a narrow waist. Would these be as good as or better than the Recons, or a disappointment?
During my three weeks I had the opportunity to ski a very wide range of conditions, as we do in Australia. Sheet ice, slush, crud, 14" fresh snow, hard-pack, and pockets of dry windblown drift (the closest we get to 'powder'). And I got to compare them to the AC30.
Firstly - me and the AC30s did not get on well at all. I found them to be unresponsive and heavy, resembling the battleship Bismark on my feet. Surprisingly on the ice - where I expected them to shine - I got disappointing grip. A shame, as I have always held a soft spot for Volkls.
Now the Rictors; Superb.
On the ice - excellent grip, better than the Recons. These skis love to go fast and are steady and stable at speed on the groomed, great carving implements. Switch gears into quick short turns, and these skis respond with energy absolutely superior to the Recons. Clearly the 167s were better in this than the 174s - but only just. The 174s were however better at speed. The rocker certainly seems to actually achieve a better experience without sacrificing stability or grip - a nice surprise.
Through the bumps, these skis at 167 or 174 are lithe and wonderfully balanced. I had a ball - I could not help popping off the top of the bumps like I was in my 20s, only more so now! By comparison the Recons are dead.
Crud and slush - no issue. Deeper fresh snow a blast, on any pitch. Probably these would not be your pick for proper backside powder, but that's not a criteria for me.
I have no hesitation to say that these are absolutely a better ski than the Recons. For me, they were outstanding and energetic. I had a blast on them, and will now pick up a pair of my own in 174cm while the memories of the Recons I loved in the past fade away....
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