With the new Pinnacle series of skis K2 has somewhat redeemed itself for me. The last few years I haven’t really loved a whole lot of what they have done, but I was always a huge fan in the past. K2 has gotten back to its roots a bit with the Pinnacle series, and have created some great all-mountain skis that will cater to a lot of skiers. I had the chance to test out the 2016 K2 Pinnacle 95 and Pinnacle 105, and will say that these are two of the best all-mountain skis I have been on in a while. I may get some crap for saying that, but they truly were extremely fun to ski. And for me, that’s what it’s all about.
Conditions: Soft Groomers, Soft Chop, Hard Packed Groomers, Icy Steeps
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Marker Griffon
On the Snow Feel: The K2 Pinnacle 95 is a super versatile ski that feels stable on the groomers and hard-pack, but was also very playful and a ton of fun on softer and deeper snow. It very maneuverable, easy to turn, and can charge pretty hard.
Powder: The K2 Pinnacle 95 has an all-terrain rocker profile that is actually quite long and deep (Insert joke here). When combined with a softer flex and wide shovel, the K2 Pinnacle 95 floats pretty darn well. Best of all, and maybe most surprising is how playful this ski was in softer snow. It has a pretty significant amount of rocker in the tail, and it keeps the ski very loose and surfy. Of course at 95mm underfoot it’s not going to have a ton of float, but it was still capable and quite fun when conditions were soft. Those who want a little better float could look into the versatile and capable Pinnacle 105, or the more powder oriented K2 Pinnacle 118 (Seth Morrison Pro Model).
Turn Initiation and Carving: K2 designed the Pinnacle series with what they call Konic technology. This distributes the construction materials of the ski so that you have denser materials underfoot and near the edges, but lighter material in the tip and tail. This isn’t an entirely new concept in the ski world (tons of manufacturers do this), but it does make a huge difference in this year’s Pinnacle skis. Swing weight has been significantly reduced from that of the Annex (the ski the Pinnacle is replacing). Yet the Pinnacle 95 still retains a strong, powerful construction underfoot. It allows the ski to be very maneuverable and easy to pivot, while still having great edge hold and power through turns. It’s a ski that seems to have a huge sweet spot, and it was quite easy to get the ski on edge. It’s very quick from edge to edge, and was lively and energetic. The biggest surprise for me though was that for a ski that was so nimble, it was still very stable and predictable. The ride felt smooth and stable, yet I was able to vary turn shape with ease, and carve or slarve any turn I wanted. The K2 Pinnacle 95 has a 17m turn radius, but it was so easy to break free at any time. I was a little worried that because of this, it wouldn’t feel very locked in, but it was stable throughout the entire turn. I was amazed at how easy it was to go from carving up groomers to slashing the deeper snow on the edges of the trail.
Speed: The K2 Pinnacle 95 has a light-weight design with a really low swing weight, but it’s definitely not light and flimsy. It skis so much damper than you might expect, and it was fun to just let them run. Even with a significant amount of rocker in the tip and tail, the ski felt stable and never had any issues with tip flap or vibrations. I was a little worried that it would get a little loose at speed since it was so maneuverable and nimble, but it was stable when maching down the groomers.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: The K2 Pinnacle 95 is a relatively light ski, but it does a surprisingly good job at eating up crud and chop. The large shovel and significant rocker profile really help to smooth out terrain and its construction is very damp. I did find that it wasn’t so much a crud buster as much as it was like a knife cutting through the snow. In soft chop this ski was so much fun. It’s easy to play around in the soft snow and yet stable enough to power through when you need to. As things firmed up, the K2 Pinnacle 95 didn’t feel quite at home, but again it has a pretty damp and stable ride that I never felt unstable, even at speed. I often ski with a bit more finesse, and this ski was very fun and capable. But It’s also powerful enough for those who like to charge a bit more.
Edge Hold: The K2 Pinnacle 95 has decent edge hold on firm hard pack snow. I had the chance to take a few runs on some icy steeps, and never felt worried my ski would lose an edge. It probably wouldn’t my go-to if all I skied was ice, but it’s such a versatile and capable ski for a lot of different snow conditions.
I was very pleasantly surprised with the K2 Pinnacle 95. It’s just a super versatile ski that seemed to ski well all over the mountain. There are very few all-mountain skis that do everything well, but the K2 was that ski for me. It was playful, surfy, and very fun in the soft snow and powder. At the same time it was very smooth, predictable, and stable everywhere else. It’s a ski that is capable of ripping the groomers, speeding across open terrain, or playing all over the mountain. It offers such a great balance of skills that it will cater to a huge audience. Some advanced or expert skiers will criticize its power, while others will praise it’s playfulness and stability. Bottom line is that if you’re looking for a great all-mountain “quiver of one” type ski, the K2 Pinnacle 95 won’t disappoint.