2nd Look: K2 Pinnacle 95

Alex Adams reviews the K2 Pinnacle 95 for Blister Gear Review
2015-2016 K2 Pinnacle 95

Ski: 2015-2016 K2 Pinnacle 95, 184cm

Available Lengths (cm): 170, 177, 184, 191

Stated Dimensions (184cm): 132-95-115mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (184cm): 133-94-116.5mm

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 185.8cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski (184cm): 1856 & 1850 grams

Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): 63mm / 29mm

Factory Recommended Line: – 11.7cm from center; 81.2cm from tail

Mount Location: from ‘0’ to +2 of the Rec. Line (see below)

Boots: K2 Pinnacle 130

Bindings: Marker Jester

Test Locations: Porters Ski Area, Crystal Valley, Craigieburn Valley Ski Area, New Zealand

Days Skied: 4

Jonathan Ellsworth posted our first review of the K2 Pinnacle 95, and I highly recommend checking it out before you get into this one. In his review, Jonathan described the Pinnacle 95 as a nimble all-mountain ski rather than some hard charger.

My review offers a perspective from a different style of skier—while he and I both weigh around 180 lbs., I come from more of a freestyle background, and I usually ski in a pretty upright, neutral stance with my bindings mounted relatively close to the center of the ski. Jonathan tends to prefer a more traditional mount that enables him to really drive the shovels and lean into the ski.

Ultimately, I agree with most of Jonathan’s conclusions. We felt very similarly about the Pinnacle 95’s performance in powder and in variable, off-piste conditions, but I’ll add a different point of view on how the Pinnacle 95 carved on groomers, and I’ll also touch on the Pinnacle’s cliff-stomping abilities, the feel of the ski in the air, its durability, and its overall playfulness.

Powder

The Pinnacle 95’s deep tip rocker line and significant splay performed as you would expect: there is a tremendous amount of flotation for a ski that is 95mm underfoot.

On a long string of turns through completely untracked snow down Bluff Face at Porters Ski Area in New Zealand, I remember seeing my bright green tips in my peripheral vision the majority of the time. These skis float.

On that same run, the fog was quite thick and the visibility was poor, so I wanted to keep my speed in control and my turns pretty tight. The significant early taper in the tips really helps to initiate quick turns in new snow. With a slight amount of pressure on the nose and small shifts in my body position, the Pinnacle 95 transitions very easily and smoothly from turn to turn.

Alex Adams reviews the K2 Pinnacle 95 for Blister Gear Review.
Alex Adams on the K2 Pinnacle 95, Porters Ski Area, NZ.

I agree with Jonathan that in both “perfect pow or less-than-perfect snow, if you prefer to make more controlled, shorter turns down big open canvases, the Pinnacle 95 is set up to do that extremely well.”

The only qualifier here is that despite the fact that the Pinnacle 95 has a very traditional mount point (11.7 cm behind center) its soft shovels don’t encourage you to lean too far forward and drive them. I found that a stance slightly forward of centered gave me the best combination of control and flotation in fresh snow.

Variable Off-Piste

My first day out on the Pinnacle 95, I overestimated the ski’s charge-ability, and kept trying to ski too aggressively with a forward stance through crud, tracked-up powder, and small moguls, and I frequently found myself out of control. My skis weren’t tracking together; one or the other was often getting deflected off route.

Alex Adams reviews the K2 Pinnacle 95 for Blister Gear Review.
Alex Adams on the K2 Pinnacle 95, Porters Ski Area, NZ.

But after slowing things down a bit, and bringing my stance back to a more centered position, I immediately felt more at home on the Pinnacle 95, and skiing felt far more predictable, intuitive, and easy.

Still, while charging through crud or any sort of variable snow is not where the Pinnacle 95 shines, I agree with Jonathan that, “if you slow things down a bit, or if you maintain a lighter, centered stance, you can still push these skis pretty hard.”

Groomers

Contrary to how the Pinnacle 95 preferred to be skied in variable snow, I found that I was able to carve these hard on groomers with a strong, forward stance, and was able to lean into them and arc out turns. The tight (17m) sidecut radius allows the Pinnacle 95 to hook up easily at low-to-moderate speeds, and once you’re carving, they want to accelerate—at higher speeds, the Pinnacle 95 really wanted me to hold a wide turn and not let go.

When commenting on groomer performance, Jonathan wrote, “I only skied end-of-the-day groomers at Porters that had built up piles of fresh snow. The Pinnacle 95 didn’t want to nuke through those soft, pushed-around piles, but it was very easy to bang out shorter-radius turns.”

I agree with Jonathan about how easy it is to make shorter-radius turns on the Pinnacle, but I found that if the Pinnacle 95 is laid on edge on a groomer and hooked into a carve (and I’m talking about nice corduroy and roughed-up groomer), I found that the skis were really accommodating of a more forward, aggressive stance. In fact, at speed, this body position was much more effective and comfortable than staying relaxed and centered.

The upshot here is that you also may find the Pinnacle 95 to be more tolerant of a more traditional stance and technique.

NEXT: Dropping Cliffs, Airtime / Spinning, Etc.

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