KRS is real. Its effects have been felt on ski walls everywhere. What is KRS? K2 Recon Syndrome. It is when a model is so easy to ski that better skiers don’t take it seriously. It is a ski that anyone from a competent intermediate to top expert can get on and have a great day. I used the Recon because it checks all the boxes: easy to ski, huge sweet spot, fun, and unappreciated on some levels. It was a global sales success and a ski that defined a brand for years to come.

The idea for this article has been simmering in the back of my mind for a while, but it actually came to a boil because of a conversation on another forum. I was talking with a member there about the attributes of the Dynastar Legend, and I used this issue and the Recon as a point of reference. The Legend 96 and 106 were really good skis that didn’t get the respect they should have because they were so easy to ski -- ie, they suffered from KRS.

Another example of a ski with KRS is the Stöckli Laser AX, although its reputation with better skiers has not suffered yet. From my first turn on the Laser AX, I thought it had a familiar feel. Then I thought, “This is the best K2 Recon I ever skied.” I said that because it reminded me of the Recon, a ski that offered a full range of performance for a multitude of skier levels and could hold the hand of an intermediate with a good skill set and still reward a high-end skier … very much like the AX. But the difference is the Stöckli is built with the best materials (bean counters be damned), and priced accordingly. The Laser AX is the K2 Recon if the K2 designers had been allowed to throw production costs aside and build the best Recon they could. The K2 Recon was the ultimate Toyota Camry; the Laser AX is the Lexus ES350, a Camry built with the best materials. I tried to explain this to the Stöckli rep, but he didn’t really understand the analogy I was trying to make -- to the point he was almost offended. The more I tried to explain that it was a compliment, he more it got lost in translation.

As a powder ski, the DPS Wailer 112 was another ski with KRS. DPS had built its reputation for making premium boutique skis, and the Wailer 112 was its calling card, a ski that was completely recognizable because it looked like a big banana. The Wailer 112 (and even its evolutionary replacement, the Wailer 112 RP) opened up powder skiing to more people than any other ski except maybe the Rossignol Soul 7. Like the Recon, the Wailer 112 had a huge sweet spot, and the five-point sidecut and high-rise tip and tail made it the weapon of choice for any intermediate to expert on the hill.

We were racking our heads for a women’s ski and thought about the original K2 Burnin’ Luv, but that was a little redundant of the Recon. Then we thought of the Blizzard Black Pearl, very well the most successful women’s ski ever produced. The Black Pearl’s reputation over the years has been tarnished only by its immense popularity; Yogi Berra would say, “No one buys the Black Pearl any more because it’s always sold out.” But yes, the Black Pearl displays many of the symptoms of KRS.

A ski with reverse KRS was the first-generation Völkl Yumi. I say reverse in that the Yumi was an intermediate ski that actually skied well above its weight class to the point that a lighter expert women skier could go out and rip on it. So the Yumi never had the panache, but it was a little secret of a ski that built a solid virtual following, especially with the awareness that we created here on Pugski.com and Tricia sharing her love of that value-priced treasure.

Elan released a series of skis last season that are carrying over this year and check many of the symptom boxes: the Wingman CTIs and the new women’s versions, the Wildcat CXs. Elan’s Amphibio design that adds a bit of additional rocker to the outside edges makes for a ski that is exceptionally easy to ski, yet the extended edge control from the inside edge allows a stronger skier to get the most out of Elan’s top-level construction. The Amphibio concept is very subtle -- until you get back on another ski that doesn’t have it and think, “Boy, that Elan was just easier to ski; I wonder why?” Then it hits you.

These are just a few examples skis that have been very good but might not have received all the accolades they deserved or perhaps were victims of their own success. There are many others; please feel free to share skis that you think were better than what the masses perceived, about which you could say with confidence, “You are really missing out if you don’t try this ski” or "Even though that ski skied easy, I never found its limit.”