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2017-2018 K2 Catamaran

Cy Whitling reviews the K2 Catamaran for Blister gear Review.

K2 Catamaran

2017-2018 K2 Catamaran, 184 cm

Available Lengths: 177, 184, 190 cm

Blister’s Measured Length (straight tape pull): 184.8 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2297 & 2317 g

Stated Dimensions: 136-120-131 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 139-120-135 mm

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 84 / 84 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 5 mm

Recommended Mount Point: -6 cm from center; 86.4 cm from tail

Intro

Last year, K2 announced some drastic changes to their Shreditor line. For the 16/17 season, the Shreditor 92, 102, and 112 would all go away, and the 102 and 112 were replaced by the asymmetric, 106mm-underfoot Marksman. The only ski in the line that came back unchanged was Sean Pettit’s pro model, the 120mm-wide Pettitor.
And now for 17/18, the Pettitor gets replaced by the Catamaran, marking the first time in a long time that K2 no longer has any cleverly named pro models (Obsethed, Fugative, Pettitor, etc.)

The big news of course is that the new Catamaran is asymetrical, just like the Marksman it complements. Jonathan Ellsworth presented some (kind of manic?) thoughts on asymmetric skis in our SIA coverage, and we’re eager to get extended time on another asymmetric ski.

I’ve already got some time on the 184 Catamaran, so become a Blister Member to check out the Flash Review.

But for now, here are some first impressions.

Flex Pattern

When I first took the Catamaran out of the box and hand flexed them, one ski came to mind immediately: the old K2 Hellbent. I happen to still have a pair of 179 cm Hellbents, and a quick comparison revealed that the Catamaran is nowhere near as noodly. But the Catamaran’s tips and tails are still exceptionally soft, especially when compared to skis like the Atomic Bent Chetler or ON3P Kartel 116.

I’d categorize the Catamaran’s flex pattern like this:

Tips: 5/6
Forebody: 7.5
Underfoot: 8
Tail: 5

The flex pattern feels similar to the K2 Marksman, but it’s a touch softer throughout, especially in the tails. This should make for a very playful ski, but I do wonder what the ski’s stability at speed will be like, particularly in variable snow.

Weight

K2’s pow skis have a history of being heavy and damp, but the Catamaran is not particularly heavy. There are certainly a number of lighter ~120mm-wide skis on the market (e.g. Salomon QST 118, DPS Lotus 124 Spoon, etc), but ~2300 grams per ski is a reasonable weight for a 120mm-underfoot pow ski. For comparison, the 186 cm ON3P Kartel 116 weights 2380 g per ski and the 185 cm Atomic Bent Chetler weighs 2402 grams. Compared to the Catamaran’s predecessor, the 189 cm Pettitor weighed ~2528 g per ski. That’s a pretty significant weight savings, especially since I found that the biggest impact the Marksman’s asymmetry had was reducing the swing weight. If the Catamaran performs similarly, it will be an impressively light-feeling ski for its size.

Shape

The Catamaran looks exactly like a 14 mm wider Marksman. The sidecut, taper, and asymmetry all seem to be the same, and this makes a lot of sense. While the Marksman is one of the easiest and most intuitive jib skis in the 105-108 mm category, it didn’t seem like it was utilizing that asymmetry to its full potential. It’s not a full-on pow ski that needs to be more nimble to offset its width, and it is narrow enough that the lower swing weight wasn’t drastically noticeable compared to skis like the Armada ARV 106. The Marksman is, however, a very surfy ski for its width, and I’d attribute a lot of that to its soft flex and asymmetry.

So, it looks like K2 has taken that very surfy formula and applied it to a wider ski. And that sounds fun.

Rocker Profile

Here again, the Catamaran is very similar to the K2 Marksman. It has K2’s symmetrical “Powder Rocker,” with camber underfoot. The Marksman planes in powder very well for its width, and we expect nothing less from the Catamaran.

Mount Point

In the past, K2 has often not designated a single “Recommended” mount point on their skis, and instead has listed a number of sidewall lines, usually every cm from “Center” to “Traditional.”
But on the Catamaran, K2 is including a recommended mount point along with their traditional sidewall marks. (We like this.) The recommended line on the Catamaran is at -6 cm from center.
Given that the Catamaran is in the category of playful, jibby skis, I’m sure plenty of people will mount it further forward though (and rumor has it that Sean Pettit is skiing his mounted dead center). I’ve started my time testing the Catamaran at -6 cm, but will definitely play with different mount points. (My suspicion is that I’m going to like the ski closer to -4 cm, given my style and the Catamaran’s very soft tails.)

Bottom Line (For Now)

The K2 Catamaran’s design appears to be a very nice complement to the incredibly intuitive K2 Marksman. The two skis look very similar out of the box, and we’re excited to see how much their performance overlaps on snow, and how the Catamaran compares to other playful pow skis.
And since it snowed yesterday morning, I was able to get the Catamaran out in fresh snow. So if you want to read my initial on-snow impressions, check out our Flash Review.

NEXT: Full Review

3 Comments

  1. Cody March 21, 2017 Reply

    Hey Cy, can you describe your height/weight and skiing ability/style? I’m about 5’8″ and 175 and am not sure if I should size up from 179 to 184 on this ski or not? I have some 178 Bent-Chetlers and some 185 Opuses so would hate to make the wrong choice (either way too long OR too short). Having a little info about your height etc may help as a reference point. I looked through the article a few times looking for that info, my apologies if it is there and I somehow missed it. These skis sound amazing! Great review!

    • Cy Whitling March 21, 2017 Reply

      Hey Cody,

      You can find my info in my bio (http://blistergearreview.com/contributor-bios/cy-whitling) I’m 6′ 180-ish lbs.

      Given that you’re skiing both 179 Bent Chetlers and 185 Opuses I think you’d probably be fine on either size Catamaran. It’s a much less chargy ski than the Bent Chetler, so you could definitely get away with upsizing, especially if you’ve been enjoying your Opus.

      Really I’d say it depends on what you want out of the ski. The longer version is not going to be as quick / manoeuvrable for you, given your height, but I’d wager it’s as easy / playful as your 185 Opus, if not more so.

      But if you want to get really jibby (and if you’re skiing tighter terrain) the 179 should be great, it just won’t be as stable.

      • Cody March 21, 2017 Reply

        Hey, thanks for the quick reply! I had looked around for a bio but only found more articles! I go through Driggs sometimes on my way to Jackson or Grand Targhee. I’m in Bozeman, so it’s good to know that this review is also based off of similar terrain and conditions that I would encounter.

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