2011-2012 K2 Happy Hour

K2 Happy Hour, Blister Gear ReviewBoard: 2011-2012 K2 Happy Hour, 157cm

Features:

  • Ollie Bar
  • Flatline Technology
  • Carbon Web
  • Hybridtaper
  • Carbon Web
  • WH3 Core
  • Triaxial Glass

Rider: 6’3”, 175 pounds

Nose and Tail Width: 299mm

Waist Width: 251mm

Effective Edge: 120.3cm

Sidecut: 8.2m

Boots / Bindings: Salomon Faction/Flow The Five

Stance: Regular

Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, Crested Butte, NM backcountry

Days Ridden: 15+

K2 let their snowboarding team design every aspect of this punk-rocker board themselves, and it shows: The K2 Happy Hour looks New School.

It has a pointy nose and tail with bright and scribbled graphics that make for a strange-looking board that garners some sidelong glances in the lift line.

I’m the opposite of punk rock. I like classic rock. My clothes fit. I’d rather drop powder stashes than hit boxes. At first glance, the Happy Hour and I didn’t seem like a great match. But despite my Old-School leanings, I was intrigued. So when I had an opportunity to get my hands on one, I didn’t walk away.

My first thought about the board was how ugly it was: hunter orange with juvenile-looking doodles all over the top sheet. I’m talking fish-heads with antlers, people barfing into each other’s mouths, and tattooed devils with beer bellies. The base is a creepy monster hand with a bowie knife forearm that the team calls the “Grabby-Stabby.” I felt kind of ridiculous even holding it.

A day after I got the board, one of my buddies called to see if I wanted to ride some Santa Fe backcountry. We schwacked our way up through windblown powder stashes in tight aspens, and I noticed that the board felt light, both in my hand and later when I stashed it in my pack.

About forty-five minutes before dark, it started snowing hard, so we gave up on bagging the peak and strapped in.

The board floated nicely through the foot or so of powder, a happy medium between putting me too far on my back foot and nose-diving. It felt natural. I whipped the board back and forth through the small, tight trees, surprised at its responsiveness. I was stoked to be on a new board, but to be fully honest, I kind of forgot about it as I rode. It was just doing what I wanted (despite the 157-centimeter board really being on the short side for me). By the time we finished riding, I couldn’t wait to unleash this thing at Taos.

I had to wait a few days before I got up there, but my desire to ride was so strong, I’d often walk into my gear room just to size up the board. The tip and tail felt oddly thin and light, a result of the Hybridtaper construction K2 uses to feather out the core in those places, in the interest of reducing swing weight. The thickness goes from normal board width to alarmingly thin quite fast. I was concerned with how this would affect the board in powder and on the steeps.

2 Comments

  1. Dan March 29, 2012 Reply

    I’m in a 10.5 32 TM-2 boot, and I can’t even imagine riding something with a 251 waist; how do you not boot out?

    I run 12 and -12 for my stance, starting with reference and adjusting if I feel the need depending on the board. What angles do you run and where abouts do you put your bindings?

  2. Will Taylor March 29, 2012 Reply

    Hey Dan,

    Good questions. I wear the Salomon Faction 10.5 boot. I am REALLY careful when mounting to make sure I’m not going to have any overhang. With my stance centered and set at 18 and 3 I haven’t had any problems with booting out. I’ve had my front angle as low as 12 and didn’t boot out then, either. That should work for you.

    As I said in the review, the board is a little small for someone my size so I have to watch it. When I’m riding powder, I set my front binding back from center one row so I have a little more support up front (the Happy Hour has zero setback). It’s not ideal, but if you’re paying attention when mounting and are willing to switch it up a little, it makes for a really playful and responsive board. That said, if I was to get another Happy Hour, I’d size up to 159 or 161 for the extra length and the width. (That’s what she said?)

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