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2016-2017 K2 Marksman

Cy Whitling reviews the K2 Marksman for Blister GCy Whitling reviews the K2 Marksman for Blister Gear Review.ear Review.

K2 Marksman

2016-2017 K2 Marksman, 184 cm

Available Lengths (cm): 163, 170, 177, 184 cm

Blister’s Measured Length (straight tape pull): 185.0 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2144 & 2153 grams

Stated Dimensions (mm): 130-106-125

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 130-105-125 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 20 meters

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 73 mm / 73 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3 mm

Recommended Mount Point: +2 cm from “Trad” Line; 87.0 cm from tail

Test Location: Mt Bachelor, OR; Jackson Hole, WY; Porters Ski Area, NZ

Days Skied: 8

Intro

When K2 first announced the Marksman, all the buzz was about its asymmetrical sidecut and that’s not a surprise — the Marksman is a visually arresting ski.

We’ll say more about that asymmetrical sidecut below, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that the Marksman’s sidecut is the whole story here. Far from it.

While the Marksman does have one of the most pronounced asymmetrical sidecut on the market, it replaces not one, but two very good, very popular all-mountain jib skis. This season, both the Shreditor 102 and 112 were discontinued, leaving only the 106mm-wide Marksman between the 96mm-underfoot K2 Poacher, and the 120mm-wide Pettitor.

You can read our glowing review of the Shreditor 102, and my 189 cm Shreditor 112’s are still one of my favorite skis I’ve ever owned, as demonstrated by the fact that I’ve officially retired them three times, and yet they’re still sitting in my room mounted with G3 ION bindings.

All that to say, the Marksman had two big pairs of shoes to fill, regardless of any sidecut wizardry.

Flex

On a scale of 1-10, Jonathan Ellsworth summed up the Marksman’s flex pattern like this:

Tips: 6

Underfoot: 9

Tails: 6/7

JE’s notes to me were, “The ski isn’t really all that soft — it’s certainly no noodle. Rather, it has a nice flex pattern, and it actually reminds me a good bit of the ON3P Kartel 108 — it’s just stiff enough / strong enough to feel like a legit all-mountain ski. It’s not super stiff, but you can’t blow through its flex pattern. It doesn’t feel dumbed down.”

Cy Whitling reviews the K2 Marksman for Blister Gear Review.

Cy Whitling on the K2 Marksman, Jackson Hole backcountry, WY.

I’d agree with that assessment — the Marksman isn’t a burly ski, but it’s no noodle. I found that they felt a little stiffer than the Shreditor 112, but not as stout as the Shreditor 102. It also feels like it has a faster rebound, to a hand flex at least, than the Shreditor 112.

Rocker Profile

The Marksman has a pretty long and gradual rocker profile (that actually looks very similar to the ON3P Kartel 108). And given the ski’s mellow amount of traditional camber underfoot and significant amount of tip and tail splay, the Marksman was clearly designed to plane in deeper snow and make it easy to slash and throw sideways.

Shape

While several companies have made asymmetrical skis in the past, no one has done it on a ski like the Marksman that they’re marketing this aggressively to the masses, and sung its praises so loudly as K2 has.

The inside edge of each ski looks very similar to the Shreditor 112. The inside 20 meter sidecut and tapered tips look very familiar. The inside edges have much less taper, and it’s much more gradual than the outside edges.

The outside edges take cues from K2’s Pinnacle line — they’ve got a lot of taper. K2 says this makes the ski lighter, easier to turn, easier to slice through powder, and easier to spin.

In theory, the asymmetrical shape should mean that the Marksman gets stability from its more traditional inside sidecut, while its heavily tapered outside edge facilitates ease of turning, lack of hookiness in inconsistent snow, and a light weight in the air.

It all sounds pretty great in theory, but how does it all add up on snow?

Performance

I was a bit nervous on my first lift ride up with the Marksman. Its tips looked weird, and I had to double check to make sure that I put them on the right feet. As soon as I made my first groomer turns, though, I was shocked by how intuitive they felt. I’ve spent more time on the 189 cm K2 Shreditor 112 than any other ski, and the Marksman has felt like an easier version of it in just about every condition I’ve used it in.

Groomers

I noticed the Marksman’s asymmetry the most on groomers. I have a bad habit of almost completely weighting my outside foot during turns, so almost all of my weight is on my downhill edge. When I skied like that, the Marksman just felt easy. Turn initiation was easier than on the Shreditor 112, and I was comfortable making a wide variety of turn shapes.

However, when I weighted both feet equally through turns on firm snow, I found that my uphill, inside ski had a tendency to get a bit squirrely. It didn’t want to track in the same arc as my downhill ski when I was really hauling. Again, that only happened when I was consciously pushing that inside ski at higher speeds. It wasn’t a regular occurrence at all, and I wouldn’t consider it to be the kind of issue that actually impacted how I felt on the ski. Rather, it’s the only totally negative performance characteristic I have experienced with the asymmetrical sidecut.

Otherwise, the Marksman just felt intuitive on groomers. This isn’t supposed to be a high-performance carving ski, and it doesn’t ski like one — if that’s what you’re looking for, look elsewhere.

But in its category, the Marksman is a fun groomer ski. I felt like the ON3P Kartel 108 had a slightly higher speed limit, and that the Marksman was relatively comparable to the Armada ARV 106 on smooth snow.
NEXT: Chop and Crud, Powder, Etc.

20 Comments

  1. willie November 15, 2016 Reply

    Did the core go dead after 10 days like like most K2’s?

  2. max November 16, 2016 Reply

    Bad habit? That’s how we used to ski when ski technology didn’t allow every guy named Hanspeter to haul ass down the slopes. I still ski that way.

    • I’d be curious to learn of any respected instructor or accomplished racer who would say that it’s preferable to put almost zero weight on the uphill ski.

      • stefan November 17, 2016 Reply

        I haven’t been to ski school in 30 years, but that is how we learned it in Switzerland. again, that was wayyyy before carvings skis (1977). I am fully aware that it’s totally different today and for good reasons. But back then, on really icy conditions [which were the norm in Switzerland as grooming was something the resorts would do on occasions only and the old snow groomers had no way of getting up the steeper hills (no fixed cables back then)], skis simply wouldn’t grip much when putting too much weight on the uphill ski. Maybe I just suck at skiing.

      • Bob Loblaw November 18, 2016 Reply

        Well,
        almost any respected instructor would say that it’s preferable in certain off piste circumstances.
        I’d like to think an asymmetrical sidecut edges help in tight situations. The outside ski “downhill” edge tracks a wider line than the inside “uphill” edge. Then again groomers are only for getting back to the lift for most skiers on these off piste weapons.

        I do appreciate how a half a taper is good for slashing on the outside and bludgeoning on the inside, best of both worlds.

  3. Blister Member
    tjaard December 5, 2016 Reply

    What about moguls and bumped up three runs? I.e. Slower speeds, quick direction changes?

    • Cy Whitling December 5, 2016 Reply

      tjaard, one word, Easy. Of all the skis in this waist range I’ve been on these are the easiest to change direction on. The more I ski them the more I’ve realized that what they give up in stability they more than make up in quickness. It’s incredibly easy to throw these sideways, even at very low speeds, and they’re very nimble and easy to control when picking your way through tighter terrain.

      • Blister Member
        tjaard December 6, 2016 Reply

        Thanks Cy.
        I ask because I have the previous generation (14/16) S.F.Bacon 190. They suit my use perfectly except for one thing: moguls. We ski at Winter park and my family and friends prefer the mogul runs on Mary Jane, so this aspect matters a lot. I tried my friend’s Soul 7 188 and they were way quicker turning in the bumps(we ski them slow with lots of turns).
        Any comparisons to either of those skis?

        • Cy Whitling December 6, 2016 Reply

          Unfortunately I haven’t been on the old Bacons, but I have been on the new ones, which, from what I’ve heard, are even quicker and easier to turn in bumps than the previous generation, and I’d say the Marksman is at least as easy to ski slowly with lots of turns. Add to that the fact that the Marksman is only 184 cm, and it should be much easier to move around in slow turns.

          I’ve only skied the newer Soul 7 HD, but the Marksman is definitely a touch quicker and easier to pivot.

          I skied the Marksman early this morning and had that driven home again. I skied a combination of wind buff and fresh snow in tight trees with a lot of deadfall on a moderate slope. There wasn’t much coverage and I was skiing this zone for the first time, with very tight trees killing visibility. Basically a lot of very slow speed, upright, pivoty turns just trying not to break a shin on a dead tree, and I can’t think of any other ski I’ve ever been on that was as easy to wiggle around tight, slow corners.

  4. Myashkov December 5, 2016 Reply

    Hi, thanks for the review! Can someone here give ideas what about mounting point? Did someone experimented (except the +2 reviewed)? Will be interesting for me-I’m going to mount Magker KingPin on these babes, skied them only in recommended by K2 “0” line…thank you!

    • Cy Whitling December 5, 2016 Reply

      Myashkov, I actually just threw Kingpins on these two days ago, but I left that mount at +2. I’m skiing the demo Kingpins though, so I’ll try to experiment with mount points in the next few weeks. Even though I usually like more centered skis I haven’t been tempted to bump the mount up at all. They’re so easy to turn that I haven’t ever felt like I had too much ski in front of me, and I’ve actually been tempted to move them back for hopefully a little added stability and float.

      • yj December 13, 2016 Reply

        Hi there, have you had a chance to try different mount points? Some other reviewers have said -2cm from true have worked very well. Wondering if you had a chance to bump up from +2cm to say, +3 or +4cm from the Traditional line.

  5. Myashkov December 5, 2016 Reply

    Thanks, Cy! My KingPins aren’t demo, so I’ll try +2 from recommended line ( or even +1, maybe). And for the skis-when I tested them a month ago, I decide to replace my Punisher 95 as every day driver with these, I’m impressed and love the way they blast through everything on their way! And last, but not at least-They have excellent torsional stiffness -this is as important, as the their shape, I think

  6. Blister Member
    tjaard December 14, 2016 Reply

    What are your thoughts on size?
    Obviously for jibbing, shorter is better, but for all mountain use how do the lengths stack up? They seem short compared to the available lengths for most other rockered, 100mm+ wide skis.
    If you’ve skied this ski, how much do you weigh and how tall are you?
    I am 6’5″(195cm) and 180lbs.

  7. Blister Member
    Brad January 25, 2017 Reply

    As far as I have understood, the sidecut on this ski is not asymmetrical, only the tips are. The sidecut radius is the same on both sides, but the outside edge just starts the taper further from the tip.

  8. thanh February 1, 2017 Reply

    How do you think these would do with telemark setup (75mm 22designs vice/axel)?

  9. Simon Mikkelsen March 5, 2017 Reply

    Hi. You said they are stiffer than shreditor 112 and softer than shreditor 102. Is this correct? As I understood the 112 is stiffer than 102? A bit confused. Which do you prefer, the 102 or marksman?
    Thanks for the review :)

  10. Ben March 12, 2017 Reply

    Hi, Looking at Marksman and the Soul 7’s for skiing in both NZ and Japan. Wanting versatile for off and on piste, I’m advanced 50 year old wanting something fun that will handle deep pow, bumps, hard pack or crud. I have a pair of Pep Fugas Pro which I love but I’ve been told the Soul 7’s might be a better ski for me. Any comments?

    • Blister Member
      tjaard September 12, 2017 Reply

      Ben,

      I have never skied the Fujas, so take that for what it’s worth. I have the Marksman and my wife and my ski buddy have the old Soul 7.

      Looking at the Fujas specs though, it’s narrower, with less rocker and less taper, so both the Soul and the Markasman should do much better in powder. Neither of them are designed for DEEP powder as you ask, but then again, we are looking at alround skis here, not dedicated 115mm powder guns.

      For bumps, if you are talking slower speed, quick pivot turns, both are great, probably better than the Fujas. Especially the nearly flat base of the Marksman makes base flat pivot turns / releasing the edge to side slip, very easy.
      If you are looking at high speed mogul bashing ask someone else.
      Every ski will ski smooth hardpack, if you are asking about roughed up stuff at speed, look elsewhere. If you want to bomb steep hardpack at high speed with wide turns, look elsewhere.

      In short both of those skis are aimed at the ‘lighter touch’ moderate speed, slarve and drift kind of skiing, rather than hard carving, busting crud or high speed, big mountain style powder ripping.
      Of the two, the Marksman is the loosest,and it has a true twin tail and more center mount, so it’s the better choice if you want to do some freestyle moves and ski/land switch.
      If you prefer a more set back mount point and don’t need true twin tips, you might like the Soul 7 more.

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