Serve up some tasty alpine turns.
If skiing was food, riding lifts would be frozen pizza and ski mountaineering would be a perfect souffle: both are delicious, but one can be done by anyone while the other takes time, effort, and dedication. In this scenario, the K2 Wayback 96 Ski is the fine tool of a top chef, designed to slice and dice whatever conditions the backcountry offers up, from firm windblown to spring corn to funky alpine hardpack to powder. K2's All-Terrain rocker boasts underfoot camber to make short work of hard and crusty snow, while the moderate tip rocker and slight tail rocker let the Wayback float over powder and cruise through variable conditions. The slight tail rocker also makes it easy to plunge the Wayback into the snow for use as an anchor or just to keep it from taking off down the hill.
The Wayback's lighter than a souffle, too, at under seven pounds per pair, so the skin track or bootpack won't be a huge chore. It's constructed with a lightweight paulownia core with strategically placed maple for stiffness, and it has a Carbon Web laminate that gives it some backbone without tacking on extra ounces. The torsion box construction keeps it nice and stiff through the turn, while the Hybritech sidewalls combine a smooth-turning and lightweight cap construction with partial sidewalls for hardcore edge grip when things firm up on you. Even the topsheet is designed to be light, with a Snowphobic treatment that prevents snow from building up. Last but not least, the Wayback comes fully kitted out with K2's Z-Clip tip and tail skin grommets, so you can slap on a pair of K2 skins and be hitting the skinner before your buddies have their boots on.
- Alpine touring ski slices and dices whatever's in the backcountry
- Narrow 96mm waist stays light for the ascent
- All-terrain rocker cuts the crusty snow and floats over soft snow
- Tapered tip and tail reduce deflection and ease turn release
- Light paulownia core with strategically placed maple for stiffness
- Carbon Web enhances torsional rigidity without the weight
- Hybritech construction combines light cap with durable sidewalls
- Z-Clip tip and tail grommets accommodate K2 skins
- Item #K2S00BB
- Q & A
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
These are by far the lightest ski that I have! They seem to be the most versatile, too!
The nose rocker helps keep you afloat when the snow is fresh, and just the right amount of camber underfoot mixed with the lightness of the skis gives you a snappy and sporty ride quality.
Martin Volken and K2 nailed it on this one- the flex pattern is not too soft-just right, fun and playful. However, it is stiff enough to plow through chop on your way to the side country.
I have only done a little bit of touring on them, but they fly up hill! I'm constantly amazed at how big of a difference shaving weight off your feet makes on long climbs!
A Great All-Around Ski
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Just finished getting some great days in with the waybacks, so here are my thoughts.
The skis are light. I don't mean "oh, hey, this saves me a few grams" light, I mean "jeez, these weigh nothing! There must be some space age voodoo witchcraft going down here." I am going from a 185cm to a 167cm (though the length looks more like 170), so perhaps I am biased, but even then, the skis are really light on the feet. You can really push them around and be nimble with them, and I look forward to seeing how much more comfortable they are skinning up than my other skis. These definitely handle alright in the moguls, with my bindings giving me more trouble than the skis by far.
At the length I have them (167cm for 5'-10" and 165lbs), they have a bit of chatter. It is a wee bit difficult to get them to stay stable at higher speeds, but for how short these skis are, they are handling incredibly well. If you really want to get some high-speed carving in on those smooth groomers or long glades, pulling a few extra turns and bending the knee a bit more at higher speeds will easily compensate. I would say the chatter is par with the level of ski in question, so don't worry too much about it.
The rocker at the front isn't huge, but it is enough. It produces enough float to not disappoint. The camber is great on (Colorado) groomers, with not too much stiffness and a decent level of pop. I never have issues setting my edge with these skis, so long as I do my part. In general, the combination of mild rocker and mild camber makes this a "goldilocks" ski, perfect for any conditions you may find on or off piste. They float, they carve, they bounce, and they flow. Basically, I'm not sure if there is a trick these skis don't do well (though I still haven't gotten them to fetch the paper in the morning).
The width under foot is a bit disappointing (about 88 on my pair), but if you aren't going into 3'-0"deep powder, you will get enough float to keep you decently above the surface. Don't expect miracles, though. If you end up wallowing in a creek bed up to your head in goose feathers, that's your own darn fault.
Overall, these skis are really great. I got my pair for about $350 (last year's edition with the topo map graphics), and I would readily spend that again if I had it to do over. Being a poor ski bum, I probably wouldn't spend the $700 MSRP on them, but if you get them on sale (or make actual money, unlike me), these are a great pair of skis that you can take on the slopes and into the backcountry and have great performance all the while. I would recommend these to beginners as a versatile ski that they can continue to use as they get better, to advanced skiers looking to upgrade from a beginner set of skis, and to backcountry skiers and ski mountaineers looking for something that will be versatile and dependable.
A personal favorite touring ski.
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
This has been my go to touring ski the past two spring/summer seasons her in the PNW! I've skied several of K2's skis in their backside line and this 96 wasted version of the Wayback quickly became a favorite within my quiver. It's not a super stiff board but instead has a very round/smooth flex that is fairly quick edge to edge and likes to make nice complete medium length turns. It excelled in corn conditions, soft snow, and firm wind-buffed snow and managed to handle icy and crust conditions pretty amicably. In terms of weight this ski is not the lightest in the 96 waist category, but it is still fairly light and provides a really consistent ride that I enjoy year round. IMO this is a great option for a very reasonable price. Sure, you can spend more and go lighter, but I think most skiers would find this to be a really great option wether you're a beginner or an expert. Lastly, this thing is tough, top sheets and ski flex have held up over extended use and I've yet to experience any durability issues.
I spend a majority of my days on these touring in the PNW. I'm 5-10 x 165 and ski the 177 length with the top sheet from last season. They're mounted with Dynafit Speed Radicals and driven by Scarpa Maestrale's or Atomic Backlands.