The Wayback Skis have been in the K2 line up for the better part of a decade and for the 2018/19 ski season they’ve been completely redesigned. I got my hands on a pair next years Wayback 106’s this season and have been putting them to the test on the skin track and at the resort for the better part of two months. Continue to read the rest of this review and especially the verdict, to see what we thought of them.
The K2 Wayback 106 Skis are made for ripping pow.
While I am not familiar with previous version of the Wayback Skis, for this new version K2 has reduced the weight of significantly, and as K2 says ‘without sacrificing the downhill performance’. The Wayback is available in widths of 80, 88, 96, and 106mm, while the woman’s version, the ‘Talkback’ is available in fewer widths and not as fat at 84, 88, and 96mm.
At 106mm underfoot and just over three kilos for the pair, the K2 Wayback 106’s are obviously designed for ski touring and that’s exactly where they shine. With a Paulownia wood core sandwiched between carbon glass reinforced layers and Ti-Spyne Titanal touring technology (basically a layer of titanal) the Wayback 106’s are packed with technology to help it remain light yet ski hard. Dampening strips are also placed at the sidewalls to enable it to negotiate chop when conditions are less than ideal.
The built in All-Terrain Rocker means that there is not only a little camber underfoot but early rise in the tips that starts just in front of the binding mounts and subtly increases as it nears the tips to ensure that float is maximized while chatter is reduced. In the tails, the rise is much more subtle so that the skis can easily kick turn on steep up tracks and finish aggressive carving turns. The Wayback 106’s profile is very similar to that of the Volkl V-Werk BMT 109’s, the only difference is that the Wayback’s have camber underfoot where as the BMT 109 is a full rocker ski.
The Wayback’s Snophobic Topsheet comes in handy if you are lucky enough to ski in deep pow. When the temps rise and the snow gets sticky then this helps prevent snow from icing up on the ski’s top sheet.
The tip and tails feature an integrated Skin Grommet that accepts K2’s custom cut skins and ensures that they come lose. This hole in the tip also facilitates the creation of a make-shift rescue sled should it be required.
Tips and tails.
I was fortunate enough to ski the Wayback 106’s on several backcountry pow days where the snow was over 30cm deep. With a 106mm waist, the float that the Wayback’s provided was effortless, they were simply made to ski pow. Given that the tips are softer than what I am used to, I almost went head over heels on a few turns that were abrupt or when I hit small compressions. Overall, the Wayback 106’s are very easy to pilot in deep snow. On the up track they were efficient hill climbers, given that they weighed just over three kilos. Even with heavier Marker Kingpin bindings mounted on them they still raced up the skin track easily for lap after lap of pow-goodness.
On hard pack groomers, the light weight of the Wayback 106’s comes into play. While turns are easy to initiate and link, at speed I did find that the tips are skittish in nature rather than arcing through the snow in a long GS turn. This was the same behaviour I found in the Blizzard Zero G 95 Skis when l tested those. Both of these skis are light on the up, solid in the pow but more challenging on hardpack. Perhaps a slightly fatter tip or more camber underfoot would help the Waybacks rail long sweeping turns more effortlessly and allow the skis to rail. Conversely, the Wayback 106’s were very competent in the chop and broken pow. They seemed to drive through this kind of snow with relative ease.
It’s not uncommon for lighter skis to excel out of bounds and be more challenged in bounds, this is where the quest for that elusive one-quiver ski was born. If you are looking for a light ski that’s made to climb and super fun on the down then the K2 Wayback 106 skis will keep you smiling.
Lengths: 172,179, 186
Weight: 1550g / lb (179 length, per ski)
Turn Radius: 22m
|Powder Performance 2/2
Groomer Performance 1/2
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