K2. The ARC Collection. Made in the USA

fatbob

Not responding
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
3,537
^ sounds very weird. K2 skis of the mid term recent past have been better than we thought because a secret cabal of insiders kept all the data on best mount points to themselves? Or maybe corporate overruled because they needed to stay conservative for the market?

Either way not a good look. I could believe the mount point thing because it might explain why all K2s i tested at consumer demos in that era from Kung Fujas to various Pinnacles were kinda meh.
 

Jack skis

Ex 207cm VR17 Skier
Skier
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Posts
484
Location
Fidalgo Island, WA
I don't understand the ARC acronym...especially since that is synonymous with Atomic. I would seen them tie in one of their own iconic acronyms like VO or KVC.
[/QUOTE

When I saw the thread title I thought Alois Rohrmoser was making a comeback. Got me excited thinking about my long ago Arc Red Sleds.
 

Ecimmortal

Getting off the lift
Skier
Joined
Dec 20, 2015
Posts
335
Location
PDX
^ sounds very weird. K2 skis of the mid term recent past have been better than we thought because a secret cabal of insiders kept all the data on best mount points to themselves? Or maybe corporate overruled because they needed to stay conservative for the market?

Either way not a good look. I could believe the mount point thing because it might explain why all K2s i tested at consumer demos in that era from Kung Fujas to various Pinnacles were kinda meh.

I don't think it's that the mount points are "secret", it's that there a great many skiers who can't/won't accept a more progressive mount point thinking that even if a ski is a more progressive shape. Their preference to a more rear mounted ski will translate to a traditional feel. Often times it does not. Leading to poor perception of a ski that might be great, but the choice of mount ruins it.
 

ski otter 2

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Nov 20, 2015
Posts
1,495
Location
Front Range, Colorado
I think @Ecimmortal is on to something here: I just think some of these K2 guys felt rejected a bit by the traditional market, cumulatively, and the at the time normal pool of great skiers, and ex racers. They kind of felt they got "run out of market" at the time, I'd guess (paraphrased from a conversation recently).

So at times they just let their skiing do the talking for them, I'd imagine.

(Something similar happened with Atomic's top freeride athletes, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and Dana Flahr. They found themselves posting videos, repeatedly trying to get out the word that the Atomic Automatic, their 118 ski for extreme competitions and powder videos, was actually easily accessible IF: the best mount point was forward, sometimes as much as +2 or +3 forward, depending. And still most people and shops just mounted this ski on the line, routinely. Another loss, but less, since the Automatic was still fairly good on the line, not as inaccessible.
 

fatbob

Not responding
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
3,537
And still most people and shops just mounted this ski on the line, routinely. Another loss, but less, since the Automatic was still fairly good on the line, not as inaccessible.
Well it's hard to pin that on shops or customers given presumably shops have less problem with "you didn't mount on the line" complaints if customers haven't specifically asked. But it might be reasonable to expect the manufacturer to put stickers on the plastic or send advisory memos to dealers that alternate mount points might be considered.
 

BMC

Getting on the lift
Skier
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Posts
285
I typically assume the manufacturer mount point was recommended because it was the optimal mount pontiff most skiers. I’ve never contemplated otherwise.
 

ski otter 2

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Nov 20, 2015
Posts
1,495
Location
Front Range, Colorado
^ sounds very weird. K2 skis of the mid term recent past have been better than we thought because a secret cabal of insiders kept all the data on best mount points to themselves? Or maybe corporate overruled because they needed to stay conservative for the market?

Either way not a good look. I could believe the mount point thing because it might explain why all K2s i tested at consumer demos in that era from Kung Fujas to various Pinnacles were kinda meh.
To me this reaction is sort of warped, twisted just a bit - I hope, @fatbob. Bear with me, please.

And what I'm describing is for the most part not their general release of narrower skis: just the fat skis, and maybe more performance skis also, that they loved most, mostly used by the competition and video extreme skiing or freestyle pros, Seth, Sean and maybe Pep, not sure; maybe a few others - and guys since then, with a relatively small segment of their overall ski lineup, which to me, at the time, was a bit uneven, or spotty. The real secret is how readily accessible and easy/fun to ski these seemingly fat fringe skis really were (If I could love them, trust me, accessible.) - IF mounted forward in a range of real but commonly unknown mount points. And at bottom, danged if I really know just why so unknown, and unused. So thanks, @Ecimmortal.

But just look to the Blistergear reaction to the Rossi OG Black Ops 118, (and now in the past few weeks to the Black Ops Sender Squad 192/112 moved forward also): their top crud busting, "favorite ski of all time", annual prize winning powder/crud ski, now called the Gamer. Actually, both these skis turn out to be Pettitor knock offs to me, having skied, owned and really liked both the 118 Rossis and the Pettitors 120/189 (and just missed out on the K2 OG 116 Obsethed 190(?), etc). I've demoed the Sender Squad repeatedly, and reviewed it more than once on this website, to little or no reaction. This stuff has never been on Epic or Pugski/SkiTalk radar, seems like. Not much of a market for fat skis, anymore, I guess. Understandable.

The steps I have no info on are the management decision steps - and just who was reacting to whom. Not a "cabal of insiders," though. Just a natural outgrowth of what was going on. K2 front line folks, because of the fun and excellence of their skiing and designing/planning with it's pros and designer/pros, had and maybe still have, a real culture going on. Fun. Natural. Fun to watch them ski. Above board. A good thing. Truly fun skiing and great to be around on almost any level, seems like (though I can pass on all the parties). Fun to watch most of the Seth or Pep or Sean videos, and both the excellence and the excitement are obvious: a good thing. For me, especially the Seth Morrison videos. OMG.
(And both guys ski at Loveland and in Summit, once at least had houses here.)

I've met and talked to a lot of these rep guys, and heard stories and adventures about it. A good thing. But these guys were mostly expert and elite skiers and techs, not management intrinsically. They probably got hoarse telling people about mount points for years, at that level. No holding back - but you sort of had to ask, after a while. After a bunch of years of sharing the minute details, that must have gotten old for them. Too much talking, let's go ski. Or board. Like kids having fun.

So there must have been a bit of a disconnect between them and the folks who set the recommended mount lines and did the sales literature. Not sure why that happened. Maybe that disconnect encouraged a kind of clubbiness at some point that kept going. And maybe something about competitive edge, with the top pros whose names were on the skis, since at the time they were competitive, involved in freeride competitions and videos of their on-the-edge lines. Maybe it was just because these guys are intrinsically doers - athletes, not talkers or sales people. But You had to ask to get the info, is what I experienced, by the time I got into K2 fat skis. And somehow know to ask. Thank God I knew folks who clued me in, delighted that an old guy like me responded so well to their skis, when so few did. And indeed, that was all kind of strange, overall. Who would just guess that the real, actual or best mount points were different? I'd have never guessed.
 

ski otter 2

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Nov 20, 2015
Posts
1,495
Location
Front Range, Colorado
Well it's hard to pin that on shops or customers given presumably shops have less problem with "you didn't mount on the line" complaints if customers haven't specifically asked. But it might be reasonable to expect the manufacturer to put stickers on the plastic or send advisory memos to dealers that alternate mount points might be considered.
Yes, to the second part of that. From the point of view of the athletes also, stickers, advisory memos, more useful mount point markings all would probably have solved the problem, for them, I'd guess, but not done. Dunno why, or what was actually going on. But the part about "shops or customers" to blame, are you thinking that is what I've implied or said? Not so. It's just that from the point of view of the athletes, seems like, getting across their actual mount points on their own ski models (to popularize those skis - and ultimately, keep them employed?) was an uphill battle they kind of lost. How could shops or customers know anything about it (and other, possible mount points), since it seemed to have been an internal K2 process/problem, as we've experienced it, that kind of was like K2 shooting itself in the foot, in terms of the success or lack of it with those skis? (But with such processes/disconnect from customers, the current announced custom ski lab might help a bit, actually.)

K2 management/decision makers other than the athletes and reps, must have decided on those printed mount points, I can only surmise. For whatever reason, there was a direction or tide working against the skiers who tested and prototyped the skis back then (not so much now?) since the athletes and most reps were using different mount points, etc. So that's not on shops or customers, that those athletes couldn't get stuff across to very many in spite of their videos specifically about that (in the case of the Atomic athletes) or obvious willingness to share their mount points, etc. with others (in the case of the K2 athletes - they openly shared with folks I know).

Bottom line, key info did not get effectively circulated widely enough to improve the use or popularity of those skis. A great example of this is that Blistergear had no idea where to mount the 189 Pettitor 120, and did their one short, late review of that ski mounted at +5 only. Just so odd. (In our experience, depending on a skier's size and style, the 189 Pettitor becomes unstable moved forward more than +4.5 for small to medium sized folk, and for larger folk, somewhere north of +4. It's pretty much a mess at +5.)
My friends and I on that ski are using between +2 and +4.5. Apparently Seth used +4.5, as he did also with the Obsethed 116, I was told.
 
Last edited:

fatbob

Not responding
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
3,537
No I don't think you said customers or shops are to blame. If there was an information void out there that's on K2 corporate and doubly so if corporate were ignoring what the people who had designed, refined and tested the skis were saying.

I tend to ski skis that for the general population here are quite wide so yeh I probably demoed a number of skis in the 95-112ish bracket over the time I thought they were all meh. I guess if I'd been seriously interested I could have made the demo rep move the mount around via the demo bindings, but frankly with so many good skis out there and if the company wasn't willing to ensure I had the knowledge to ask for it why the hell should I?

I know from experience of a few of us skiing a production prototype over a week with one of the owners of a ski co that I ended up with a mount close to what the designer had preferred while my friend ended up with something much more traditional (which we called the SAGA mount in honour of old people who take cruises).

So I am aware of how much it matters and that's why I am a fan of demo bindings on my skis.
 

dan ross

Putting on skis
Skier
Joined
Dec 27, 2016
Posts
65
My guess is that K2 has a reservoir of goodwill among some Baby Boomers and Gen-X skiers. If you remember the Mojo K2 had in the 70’s and ‘80s with the original Comps, 244’s,255’s and the VO series, you likely want to see them succeed and reclaim some of that Vashon Island glory. I suspect however, that’s a heavy lift and the segment of the market that recalls those skis and their deserved great reputation is small and getting smaller . That said, there are fans of thier more recent product but those didn’t dominate the imagination of the skiing public the way the 70’s-80’s lines did when they were at the forefront of innovation...and marketing.
The advantage they have is that they have something to build on , how successful they are at (re)capturing
ta segment of the high end market remains to be seen but I’m glad they are trying.
 

BMC

Getting on the lift
Skier
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Posts
285
My guess is that K2 has a reservoir of goodwill among some Baby Boomers and Gen-X skiers. If you remember the Mojo K2 had in the 70’s and ‘80s with the original Comps, 244’s,255’s and the VO series, you likely want to see them succeed and reclaim some of that Vashon Island glory. I suspect however, that’s a heavy lift and the segment of the market that recalls those skis and their deserved great reputation is small and getting smaller . That said, there are fans of thier more recent product but those didn’t dominate the imagination of the skiing public the way the 70’s-80’s lines did when they were at the forefront of innovation...and marketing.
The advantage they have is that they have something to build on , how successful they are at (re)capturing
ta segment of the high end market remains to be seen but I’m glad they are trying.
That all predates my skiing.

However, the K2 Extreme was ubiquitous in the dying days of the straight ski era, the K2 Four was groundbreaking and extremely popular (and I owned and loved it), the K2 Mod X was very popular, ane at least the early days of the K2 Recon saw K2 very popular. Not to mention the Public Enemy, the Seth, etc.

They just totally dropped the ball. Whether it coincided with the offshoring to China I can’t say, but it feels that way.

K2 should leverage its competitive advantage and re-establish manufacturing in the US. Imho. And not make bland skis (dying days of the Axis, the Pinnacle series, etc).
 

dan ross

Putting on skis
Skier
Joined
Dec 27, 2016
Posts
65
That all predates my skiing.

However, the K2 Extreme was ubiquitous in the dying days of the straight ski era, the K2 Four was groundbreaking and extremely popular (and I owned and loved it), the K2 Mod X was very popular, ane at least the early days of the K2 Recon saw K2 very popular. Not to mention the Public Enemy, the Seth, etc.

They just totally dropped the ball. Whether it coincided with the offshoring to China I can’t say, but it feels that way.

K2 should leverage its competitive advantage and re-establish manufacturing in the US. Imho. And not make bland skis (dying days of the Axis, the Pinnacle series, etc).
Agreed, and the four and recon were very good but there was a time (in the last century!) when they were consistently putting out interesting , forward thinking products . I suppose if you are under 50, it’s hard to imagine how big an influence they had in the Industry then from early freestyle to the Marhe developed racing skis. . Nothing lasts forever but they are still around and thus it would be nice to see this marquee become a leader again instead of the follower they have become.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BMC

ski otter 2

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Nov 20, 2015
Posts
1,495
Location
Front Range, Colorado
I appreciate hearing the history, but I didn't follow K2 skis much after the Mahre brothers, until I met a ski rep/associate in a shop who talked at length about the skis of Seth Morrison he liked (Seth Vicious, SideSeth, Obsethed, etc.). He said I'd like some of them too, maybe.

I told him I'd demoed the Rictor, and it was blah to me.

He agreed, and said it was only the fat K2 skis that had survived mediocrity.

The next year the Obsethed 116 had been discontinued. And the Pettitor 120 came out. I got both lengths, and found the longer 189 one was, and is, my favorite ski of all time, including over various race skis through the years. I'm still a fan boy of that one ski. (My best day of the year was last week in 16" of late resort powder - on the Petitors. I was steadily keeping up with a group of young, elite and expert skiers, with a couple of powder/chop steeper runs to ourselves. The Pettitors, not me.)

I know a few folks who are still big on the Hellbent as well.

(And that K2 rep/associate has become a good friend and ski buddy.)

At this point, I like the Pinnacle 105 with increased base bevel ahead of the front contact points - IF the pair is long enough. Some of the Mindbenders are good but not tops, to me (though I ski the MB 99 in soft snow fairly often). I still wish I could have gotten a pair of MB 108s that were as stiff as the rep pair I demoed instead of the softer pair I bought (which gets tossed too much in crud).

To me, the whole softer flex, freestyle ski thing, that happened right after the Pettitor, was pretty blah also, and still is. Noodles. The Marksman. The Park skis.
And the current MB 116 just gets tossed too much after the first few runs at a resort, though it's fun in powder.

And Seth? He retired from the rat race to do his own thing - no more videos, no more competitions, no "deadlines or commitments." Just skiing when, where and how he wanted, he told a friend of mine.

(His last ski for K2 was maybe the Annex 118: a ski that SG charged groomers and some pow/crud well, but for me was pretty intimidating in tight situations - steep moguls and trees - that required lots of turns. Too much ski for me then; more for out in the open skiing, in my case, where I never left the ground.) (I think he may have had a hand in the first, fattest version of the Pinnacle, the 118, the partial replacement of the Annex.)
 

BMC

Getting on the lift
Skier
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Posts
285
If it was me, I’d have K2 back manufacturing in the USA. If they’re not sure how to do that profitably maybe they can check in with Blizzard how they turn a profit manufacturing in Europe.

I don’t think the future of the brand turns on bro models, but for some customers it will create sales and also a halo effect. So do pro/bro models but don’t make that the strategy of itself.

There should be a house feel. I know to some degree what a Blizzard or Head or Völkl (partner brand of K2) will ski like. Not so much for K2 now, but I think there once was a more consistent brand “feel”. For me, K2’s feel for higher end skiers should be wood core and metal laminate, but a touch more relaxed than the brands I mentioned. Not a consumer noodle - maybe just 5% less demanding, and 3% less precise*.

I frankly think the thought processes behind the Mindbender are pretty much where K2 should be. I think they screwed up with the original black graphics - K2 is supposed to be fun. I know some folk like that and i dont mind it, but if you’re looking to differentiate yourself in the market going black like everyone else won’t cut it. Anyway in terms of house “feel” if there could add 5% more metal** in the tip and just a touch more in the tail to add a touch more precision I think they’d have nailed it. Of course that’s not how you’d go for youth and intermediate skis but, as they’re doing, removing metal or playing with carbon is the right direction.

Sorry, I’m going to edit to expand on this. In terms of brand positioning does K2 want Salomon to have a more burly ski in the same category? Salomon make great skis, full stop, but they’re not renowned for making strong skis. I’d have thought K2 would want to be pitching itself as more burly than Salomon, but more fun than Head or Blizzard. So the Stance 90, for instance, shouldn’t be (a touch) more burly than the Mindbender 90. It should be the other way around.

Without giving it deep thought, it strikes me Nordica is currently occupying the space, or near enough, K2 should cover. Plus pro/bro models. And the more fun kids skis.

* numbers totally invented
** another invented number
 
Last edited:
Top