Nov 14 2011

Review: K2 Wayback Skis

The main reason K2′s Wayback ski didn’t become my go to ski last year had nothing to do with the skis performance. For starters, one of the goals for last season was to test a small group of old school fatties. Translation, skis with a waist width somewhere around 90mm; skinny by current standards, but plenty fat enough if you learned on leather and real skinny skis. And better for going way back, instead of just line of site from the trailhead.

K2's Wayback. 124-88-108 mm profile. MSRP: $600 Weight: 1425g/ski, 6 lbs., 4½ oz./pair

The other reason was that I mounted ‘em with the TTS binding. My expectation was that I was going to spend a lot of time on the TTS binding, which I did, but not as much as I would have liked to. Duty required I check out other skis and binding systems, but more to the point, the TX-Pro boots are inferior to a T2-Eco or its predecessor the T2X (my boot of choice) for skinning. So they didn’t become my go to ski. Not yet.

My base interest was rooted in the svelte profile of the Wayback. I like earning my turns but I don’t need to be lugging extra weight around, especially when I’m used to much less. At only 1425 grams per ski (6 lbs., 4½ oz./pr) these are light, especially considering their size. Besides, the basic profile for the Wayback sounded like a fat World Piste, the version with the Hendrix graphics (that K2 abandoned when the Hendrix Foundation demanded royalties). That ski had a silky smooth flex for sweet tele turns but wasn’t so noodly that it couldn’t hold an edge on hardpack.

If you weigh more than 190 lbs. I’ll bet the Wayback is a bit small, maybe even skitish on hard pack like the World Piste was for bigger guys. But with a powerful binding like the TTS, they just held the hardpack like they were riding rails for this skier. For comparison I tip the scales around 170 lbs. with a daypack on.

Plenty of rocker, but thankfully, not a dramatic amount of early rise to the shovel.

Being used to skis in the 80mm to 85mm range the 88mm waist of the Backside was an easy step up in flotation and quite enjoyable too. It porpoised in the champagne, and didn’t get pushed around in mank and crud. The early rise tip and 130mm of width at the shovel helped in both those cases. Thankfully it isn’t a dramatic early rise tip, just enough to help it rise to the surface when breaking trail, but not so much that when you want to engage the tip of the ski for carving it doesn’t pretend to be absent, it digs right in.

On hard pack the Backsides performed much better than expected. Since they were so smooth in the soft snow I expected them to give way and chatter sideways but they held. It probably didn’t hurt having a super active binding either. Either way, when I was on steep and firm any hesitation was not rooted in a lack of confidence in the skis, it could only be blamed on the driver – me. That wasn’t the case very often. Usually when I found myself skiing firm snow it was under the lifts where speed was the typical m.o. and still they carved solid grooves in the slope they were pointed down.

Like the rest of their backside series of skis, the Waybacks come with holes at the tip and tail drilled and sealed with a metal ring, either for using the skis to construct a rescue sled, or more likely, to use with K2′s climbing skins that come with tip and tail hooks that require these holes to hook on to the ski.

Many of you are thinking, yeah, but it’s only 88mm at the waist. Ah, the better to go further and faster with, eh? If you recognize that skis are part of a system and you want to keep the weight down, 88mm underfoot is more than enough to enjoy edge hold and phat flotation without any excess waist.

MSRP: $600
Weight: 1425g/ski, 6 lbs., 4½ oz./pair
Dimensions: 124-88-108 mm

© 2011


  • hdiddy

    The last year of the WorkStinx is a better comparison than the WPs. Same girth, smaller shovel, no rocker. The WSs were good skis, damp, softish flex, good all-round ski. I would expect the Wayback to keep the same characteristics, rockered tips or not.

  • http://www.earnyourturns.com Dostie

    No doubt if I had spent more time on the WorkStinx I’d agree. World Piste is my point of reference, but there is definitely a similarity among K2 skis and this shines through with the Wayback. The same folks who weren’t impressed with the Work or World probably won’t like the Way either. Their loss.

  • DavidN

    What length ski is this review for? I am guessing 174?

    Thanks much.

  • PQ

    Craig, did you mount your TTS bindings boot center – aligned with ski center on the Waybacks?  

    I ask because I’ve been skiing some 174 2011-12 Waybacks with BD O1 bindings (mounted centered) and they just seem very skittish/wander-y on hardpack. The ski center mark on the Waybacks is 2-4 cm further back than on other skis I’ve compared with (as best one can between different skis). My sense is that they shifted the mount point back too far for the relatively small tip rocker. Of course… everyone else seems to love the ski but me so… so the problem is likely with me or my pair of skis. I’ve just never noticed anything like it before. 

    I’m going to mount my TTSs on those skis this season and I’m looking for input before I start drilling! The TTS will give me more tip pressure which will help that problem I think.  I’m curious how other people have mounted them (with success or not).

  • Dostie

    It appears I mounted them ~1cm forward of the mid-boot mark. The mid-boot mark probably looks too far back because the WayBacks have an early rise tip, which shifts the optimal foot position back. 4cm sounds excessive, but 2cm is probably about right…and thus 1-2cm forward is in the zone. YMMV.