Sam Shaheen and I both spent time on the Pinnacle 95 Ti this past season, in conditions ranging from firm morning groomers, to wide-open, bumped-up, and variable terrain later in the spring.
Variable Spring Snow
Luke Koppa (5’8”, 155 lbs): I spent a lot of my time on the Pinnacle 95 Ti skiing at A-Basin later in the spring when the “groomers” were baked by the sun and torn up by hundreds of skiers each day. By around noon, that meant that “off-piste” and “on-piste” were pretty much indistinguishable.
And now that I think about it, this might be one of my all-time favorite types of snow, apart from deep pow and corn. Because this sort of spring snow is soft and forgiving, but all those patches of pushed-around snow also create plenty of opportunities to get in the air. My favorite skis for variable spring snow are usually around 100-110mm underfoot, have deep tip rocker lines, fairly strong flex patterns, pretty heavy weights, and not a lot of sidecut.
While the Pinnacle 95 Ti doesn’t match all of my personal criteria for this kind of snow, it was a lot of fun on those spring days at A-Basin. The Pinnacle 95 Ti’s tapered tips (plus deep tip rocker line) never felt hooky, they planed above the deeper slush, and the ski was super easy to release out of a turn when I needed to check my speed. The Pinnacle 95 Ti also felt a bit damper than some other skis of similar weights, which, combined with its supportive tail, gave me the dangerous confidence to ski faster than I probably should’ve. Definitely not the ski’s fault, but this led to me completing one of my most spectacular tomahawks of the season while launching into a deceptively deep and unsupportive patch of slush on the Pinnacle 95 Ti.
So for how I ski (pretty aggressively, but with an active, light-on-my-feet style), the Pinnacle 95 Ti was a ton of fun in soft variable snow. I couldn’t ski it as fast or recklessly as heavier, stiffer options, and skiers that like to really get all over their shovels and charge through patches of snow will probably want something with stiffer and / or less-tapered tips. But for a ski that’s under 2000 grams, the Pinnacle 95 Ti felt pretty stable.
Luke: While it doesn’t produce the most engaging or dynamic experience on groomers, the Pinnacle 95 Ti does feel predictable and very intuitive, you just have to initiate turns a bit differently. You won’t get much from the Pinnacle 95 Ti by simply pressing into its shovels and expected them to pull you into a turn (like you often can on skis with less tip taper). Instead, I found that I could just lean the Pinnacle 95 Ti over on edge and crank out carved turns at pretty high edge angles (on the soft groomers I got it on). Once on edge, the Pinnacle 95 Ti’s tail felt very supportive and it tracked pretty well, though the ski also felt a bit short due to its generous rocker profile and tapered shape.
If you want your ~95mm all-mountain ski to feel as engaging and strong as your dedicated carving skis, the Pinnacle 95 Ti is not for you. The Pinnacle 95 Ti has a ton of tip taper, and a very deep tip rocker line. The result on groomers is a ski that feels a bit vague when trying to initiate a carved turn.
So there are better options in this class if you prioritize groomer performance, but if you want a true all-mountain ski that performs well outside of groomed snow, then the Pinnacle 95 should still be in play.
Sam Shaheen (5’10”, 140lbs): I concur with Luke, and I’d emphasize that I thought the Pinnacle 95 Ti felt distinctly short while on edge. It has lots of tip and tail taper and that results in a short running length. Unlike dedicated carving skis, the Pinnacle 95 requires a bit of effort to carve deep trenches.
However, few skis that are as easy and intuitive as the Pinnacle 95 Ti also have as solid a platform underfoot as the Pinnacle 95 Ti. The Pinnacle 95 Ti feels more responsive and stiffer underfoot than a few other similarly forgiving, ~95mm all-mountain skis.
Luke: While the Pinnacle 95 Ti didn’t blow me away with its groomer performance, those same design characteristics that made it feel a bit bland on corduroy made it a lot of fun (for me) in moguls. Because the Pinnacle 95 Ti’s combo of lots of tip rocker + lots of tip taper made it extremely easy to slide around, and it’s near the top of the list for the surfiest ~95 mm ski I’ve ever used.
And for my mogul-skiing style, that’s a trait I love. Swerving and pivoting through bumps felt extremely easy on the Pinnacle 95 Ti, and its supportive tail always eased me forward when I got knocked backseat (without feeling harsh or punishing). I doubt that really aggressive mogul skiers will love the Pinnacle 95 Ti’s soft, tapered tips, but if you want a ski that’s both easy to turn in tight spots but with a tail that’ll help you out of the backseat, I think the Pinnacle 95 Ti could be a great fit.
And this reminds me of Jonathan Ellsworth’s review of the old K2 Annex 98 (which was a precursor to the Pinnacle 95 Ti). The Annex 98 also had a very forgiving tip and a stronger tail, but Jonathan found that the Annex 98 felt a bit odd, like it was trying to be two different skis at once. Its stiff, flat tail seemed to want to charge down the fall line and stay on edge, but its soft shovels didn’t hold up well at high speeds.
I never skied the Annex 98, but I can say that the Pinnacle 95 Ti feels very cohesive, and I think it’s forgiving front-half is blended well with its more supportive back-half. Overall, nothing about the Pinnacle 95 Ti’s design felt particular odd on snow. It just felt intuitive and predictable.
Sam: I have a slightly less delicate style in bumps than Luke does [editor-in-chief’s note: Sam skis moguls like he’s furious and he’s trying to kill them all], but I quite liked the Pinnacle 95 Ti in fall-line moguls. As Luke said, this ski’s shovel and tail feel surprisingly cohesive. There is enough strength in the tail and midsection to keep me in an aggressive, forward stance. But the taper in the tips and tails allows the ski to pivot extremely fast (the swing weight feels very low), which makes working the skis quickly through bumps feel pretty intuitive.
The Pinnacle 95 Ti wouldn’t be my first choice for steeper, oddly shaped bumps in more variable snow (the ski doesn’t have quite enough mass to stay on course in variable snow at high speeds). But for an intermediate to advanced skier who likes to ski fall-line bumps and tight trees, the Pinnacle 95 Ti seems like an easy ski to recommend.
Luke: We haven’t yet gotten the Pinnacle 95 Ti into any really deep snow, so this is more of a prediction / PSA while we wait for the snow to start falling again. But based on how the Pinnacle 95 Ti has performed in deep slush, and looking at its rocker profile and flex pattern, I would be willing to bet that it’ll out-float and out-surf the vast majority of ~95mm skis out there. We’ll update this review if we’re able to get the Pinnacle 95 Ti in some deep snow next season.
Sam: I agree with Luke here. I think the Pinnacle 95 Ti will be a lot of fun on a powder day. I think it would excel in tight trees over big, open bowls and would fall towards the more playful end of the spectrum. I doubt the Pinnacle 95 Ti will be able to hold up to skiing fast through chop late in the day, but for a ~95 mm underfoot ski, I think we’ll get noticeably more float out of the Pinnacle 95 Ti than other skis in the class.
Who’s It For?
Luke: Because of how easy it is to turn and how forgiving it feels, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Pinnacle 95 Ti to even low-intermediate skiers. But because it’s tail is also pretty supportive and it offers good stability for its weight, I think advanced skiers who like light skis could also get along well with the Pinnacle 95 Ti. Its soft tips and generous amount of tip taper and rocker wouldn’t make it my top recommendation for very strong, aggressive, or large skiers, or those that prioritize groomer performance.
But if you like the sound of a 95 mm ski that’s forgiving and fairly light, but that won’t fall apart at higher speeds and has a tail that’s stronger than other similarly easy skis, the Pinnacle 95 Ti is worth a look.
In terms of how it might fit into a quiver, I think the Pinnacle 95 Ti could work well as the wider ski in a 2-ski quiver in an area that doesn’t get too many 10”+ pow days, particularly if your narrower ski is under ~85 mm underfoot. The Pinnacle 95 Ti could also be a good 1-ski quiver for low-snow areas, just keep in mind that it doesn’t carve turns quite as well as skis with less taper and rocker.
Sam: I really like skis with lots of taper and rocker in the backcountry, where the snow is often punchy and funky. So I think Pinnacle 95 Ti would make a good 50/50 ski for intermediate or advanced skiers in lower-snow areas.
As a dedicated inbounds ski, I think the Pinnacle 95 will work best for low-intermediate skiers looking for an easy ride that they can use to get to know more of the mountain, as well as lighter advanced skiers who ski with a bit of finesse and prioritize maneuverability over a high-speed stability.
I personally think the Pinnacle 95 Ti makes more sense as a 1-ski quiver than an addition to a 2- or 3-ski quiver. The Pinnacle 95 Ti is pretty narrow, but it doesn’t have the carving chops for me to want to take it out on a groomer day (when, in a 2- or 3-ski quiver, I’d want a dedicated carver). Rather than shine solely on groomers, the Pinnacle 95 Ti is easy to maneuver at moderate speeds in a variety of snow conditions — exactly what I want out of my 1-ski quiver.
While its design might seem pretty radical for a ski of its width, the Pinnacle 95 Ti doesn’t feel like a gimmick or the result of some weird science experiment with taper and rocker. Instead, it feels like a cohesive, intuitive ski that performs pretty well across a wide range of conditions. It’s loose and easy to pivot while maintaining decent groomer performance, and it’s fairly light while providing pretty good stability compared to other skis of similar weights. And that’s a combination that we think a lot of intermediate to advanced skiers may like.
Deep Dive Comparisons: K2 Pinnacle 95 Ti
Become a Blister Member or Deep Dive subscriber to check out our Deep Dive of the Pinnacle 95 Ti to see how it stacks up against the Blizzard Rustler 9, Elan Ripstick 96, J Skis Masterblaster, ON3P Wrenegade 96, and Liberty Origin 96.
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