The K2 Annex 98 is a solid all mountain ski that brings a lot more versatility to the table than it’s wider counterparts. Like most all mountain skis in this category, the K2 Annex 98 doesn’t excel in any one area, but rather does everything pretty darn well. It wasn’t our favorite in the category, but we could definitely see it becoming a favorite of a lot of people.
Conditions: Soft snow, hard pack, groomers, crud
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Marker Griffon
On the Snow Feel: The K2 Annex 98 is in the middle of the road as far as stability goes. It has a rocker/camber profile with quite a bit of early rise. The tip is relatively light and flexible, but the tail is a lot more stable. Combined, with significant camber underneath it makes the ski a lot less playful. When you get the ski on edge, the tip will engage, making the ski even more stable through turns.
Powder: It has 98mm underfoot, which is pretty normal for an all mountain ski. It also has a pretty decent amount of rocker in the tip helping to increase the float in the deep snow. In the light snow I didn’t have too much trouble staying in a forward position, but I am a relatively light skier (155lbs). Those who are a bit heavier, or those who ride in heavier pow, may find the tips are light and flexible, and may ride a bit more centered, making the tails grab a bit more. If you’re looking for better float you will want to look at the K2 Annex 108, or 118, but if you’re willing to give up a little floatation for more all-around versatility, this ski is a good option.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The K2 Annex 98 comes with K2’s All-Terrain Rocker. This puts rocker in the tip, but traditional camber underfoot. Rocker up front helps make turns easier to initiate. The ski is pretty quick, but with a 22m radius, it’s happiest making long arcing turns. The camber underfoot puts most of the ski in contact with the snow, and the tapered tip brings the contact point closer to your feet when on edge, giving you a little more power and stability, and also making the ski faster and easier to initiate. The tapered tail helps to give you more control when exiting the turn. Once on edge, the ski is pretty stable. It does have some pop when transitioning from turn to turn, but it’s not as snappy as a frontside oriented ski.
Speed: The K2 Annex 98 is pretty well rounded ski, performing decent in most areas, but not exceptional in any one. Speed is no exception. The core is aspen, paulownia, and maple making it lightweight and durable. Then K2 puts a metal and fiberglass laminate above and below the core, making it quite damp. This all sounds great, and overall the performance is pretty good. The only short fall here is that the tip is actually pretty flexible, and can get a bit of chatter at high speeds. The ski is happy making large radius turns, and if speed is your thing, this isn’t a bad option. The ski is pretty forgiving, and it does turn pretty quick, allowing you to scrub speed if necessary.
Uneven Terrain: The K2 Annex 98 is a very light ski, built for backcountry travel, but the ski is also quite stiff, keeping it pretty damp. With a 98mm width and early rise tip the ski is able to plane on top of the crud. It’s also a very quick ski allowing you to turn around obstacles quickly or scrub speed in those, “oh Sh&%” Moments. Some skiers may feel the ski is a bit too light to crush the choppy snow, but it’s stiff flex and wider nose help to make riding in the crud a little easier.
Edge Hold: The edge hold on the K2 Annex 98 is decent, but nothing that will blow your mind. It has hybritech sidewalls that combine cap construction with sidewalls, giving you the lightweight character of cap construction, but the edge grip of a sidewall. The ski is quite quick side to side, and very forgiving, allowing you to skid through turns pretty easy. Get it all the way on edge however, and the ski will track pretty well. It does take a bit of effort to keep it there however, and less aggressive skiers may not get it to perform as well.
Flex: Overall the ski is pretty stiff. The tip may be a bit soft, especially for heavy skiers, but it can also make the ski a bit more playful in certain terrain.
Switch: The Annex is a directional twin that is happier going forward.
Park: The K2 Annex 98 is capable in the park, but I wouldn’t use it as my go to park ski.
Overall the K2 Annex 98 is a great all-around versatile ski that you can ride in powder, on piste, or in the backcountry. Like many all-mountain skis you will sacrifice performance in any given area for overall versatility. It’s a decent powder ski that is quick, and playful. On the groomers it has quick, easy turn initiation, and decent edge hold, although it takes a bit of effort to keep it there. It’s not as snappy coming out of the turns, but more advanced skiers will find it pretty responsive. In the backcountry its light weight will be welcome when skinning up, and many will be happy with its balanced performance. I really liked this ski for its versatility, but those seeking a ski that excels in powder, or on piste, may want to look elsewhere. This ski is pretty forgiving, but to truly appreciate the way it rides, you need to be a little more experienced. We could see the K2 Annex 98 becoming somebody’s daily driver.