2018-2019 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
Days Skied: 8
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 16/17 Marksman, which was not changed for 17/18 or 18/19, apart from graphics.]
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.
On a scale of 1-10, Jonathan Ellsworth summed up the Marksman’s flex pattern like this:
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.