Wasatchman

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As someone who has an affinity toward the K2 ski brand due to its American heritage, I've been watching the brand struggle for quite some time now with share loss.

I always expected this past season to be a transitional year due to ownership change as well as management change. That said, as I look to next season, I must say that I am completely underwhelmed from what I am seeing thus far. Given their recent struggles, I believe the brand needs much bigger changes versus what I'm seeing so far.

To be fair, the new Recon boots that @Philpug previewed seem very interesting. However, K2's heritage is skis, and I just don't think they're doing enough given their recent struggles.

Let's help K2 management out and give them some ideas, because frankly I don't think the path they're on right now is anywhere close to getting it done. And feel free to say I'm wrong on this. I already anticipate @Philpug chiming in about how good their carving skis are, but unless the market decidedly starts shifting in that direction, I just don't think that is nearly enough.

For those who think the brand has been heading the wrong way for several years now, what would you change?

A) Do you disagree and K2 is in fact doing enough and just fine thank you very much?
B) Do you think the lineup is generally fine but marketing/other factors are the reason for underperformance?
C) Or it's not marketing such much as it's the actual skis/lineup? If so, what would you change, what are they missing?
D) Is being manufactured in China a huge stigma to overcome no matter how good of a ski they produce?
E) Is K2 so far gone in your eyes that it would take a miracle to revive it back to where the top selling brands/models are right now or you simply now have apathy for the brand after years of perceived mismanagement that you really don't care one way or the other at this point?
 

Bad Bob

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Most of the companies who have held K2 these past few decades did not do a good job of using and perpetuating their heritage.

If I had a large fortune and wished to turn it into a small fortune by owning K2, I would:
1/ Tie in with a high-end boutique ski company and pick the 10 best selling models of the past 50 years. Have them build those model names with reproduction top skins and modern construction and designs, in limited productions.

2/ Design a decent rental ski with higher end hard P-tex to reduce the ware and repair factor. Put deals out to the shops for rental fleets near cost to start with to get them on the hills EVERYWHERE.

3/ Recreate the K2 Demonstration Team and hit the road to every medium to large ski area you could get them to being followed by a semi and trailer full of better demo skis that could be purchased. In other words flood the visible market with K2's.

I would estimate that within 3 years following this business model I would be broke and living in a van down by the river.
 

Mike Thomas

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I see the Pinnacle series as, well, the Pinnacle of their line. The 105 is a good ski, so is the 95 but the 88 is a bit 'meh'. I would change the rocker/taper profiles so that 88 has more camber, more effective edge and less rocker than the 105 and 95 ('my skis' would be progressive from 88 >95>105) . Make it really shine on firmer snow where more people spend more of their time.
Also, it's not often I recommend building race skis, but K2 needs a race presence.

... and it sure wouldn't hurt to build some 'halo skis' (the race line?) in Vashon Washington.
 

Philpug

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As someone who has an affinity toward the K2 ski brand due to its American heritage, I've been watching the brand struggle for quite some time now with share loss.

I always expected this past season to be a transitional year due to ownership change as well as management change. That said, as I look to next season, I must say that I am completely underwhelmed from what I am seeing thus far. Given their recent struggles, I believe the brand needs much bigger changes versus what I'm seeing so far.

To be fair, the new Recon boots that @Philpug previewed seem very interesting. However, K2's heritage is skis, and I just don't think they're doing enough given their recent struggles.

Let's help K2 management out and give them some ideas, because frankly I don't think the path they're on right now is anywhere close to getting it done. And feel free to say I'm wrong on this. I already anticipate @Philpug chiming in about how good their carving skis are, but unless the market decidedly starts shifting in that direction, I just don't think that is nearly enough.

For those who think the brand has been heading the wrong way for several years now, what would you change?
As you mentioned, K2 is under new ownership starting last year. If you consider what is entailed to create a ski from scratch, design and develop it and get it to market, it takes well more than a year. So...lets give them some slack here. To qoute one Sam Clemens..'The rumor of their death is greatly exaggerated"

A) Do you disagree and K2 is in fact doing enough and just fine thank you very much?
I think they are on the right track with where they are going. The Ikonic's are much different than any Recon/Rictor that we have skied in the past. The Charger collection is stellar and skis that I would put up against any ski from Europe. The Pinnacles are good for what they were designed for, to go up against the Rossi Souls and quite frankly were better than they were. The women's system Luv's are all new for this coming season again stronger than anything they ever put a pink ribbon on.

As far as doing enough...They changed the Pinnacle 95 after the first run to add a longer contact length to make them ski stronger. They changed the iKonic 80/84 Ti after one year giving it carbon in the tip to dampen it and upgraded the binding to the X-Cell toe. How many brands change core models in such a short time after hitting the market? Very few.

B) Do you think the lineup is generally fine but marketing/other factors are the reason for underperformance?
Have you been on the new Ikonics (or any of the Chargers)? I would say you haven't because theses skis are far from "underperformers".

C) Or it's not marketing such much as it's the actual skis/lineup? If so, what would you change, what are they missing?
K2 was a great marketing company with some of the best and campaigns ever conceived in the ski industry. I see a replacement for the Pinnacle, which was the last of the old regime, coming down the road. I am not sure they need a race ski but they need a halo collection...bring back the Pro Staff skis...a modern day VO Slalom..a ski that will scare the shit out of all be the best skiers on the mountain.

D) Is being manufactured in China a huge stigma to overcome no matter how good of a ski they produce?
IMHO this isn't as important as it used to be. How many Chevrolets, Fords and Chryslers are built out side of the good ole U.S. of A? If you want a German BMW or Benz, better check the VIN, because if that BMW or Benz starts with a 1, 4 or 5 it is U.S. built. We are in a global market.

E) Is K2 so far gone in your eyes that it would take a miracle to revive it back to where the top selling brands/models are right now or you simply now have apathy for the brand after years of perceived mismanagement that you really don't care one way or the other at this point?
I am not sure how familiar you are with who is designing their products right now, the two head ski designers were top collegiate racers and one was also in G.N.A.R.. The boot boot designer is not even 30 years old yet. There is as much it not more young blood at K2 as any major company out there. But I think your perception of what is going on at K2 is dated.

Most of the companies who have held K2 these past few decades did not do a good job of using and perpetuating their heritage.
If I had a large fortune and wished to turn it into a small fortune by owning K2, I would:
1/ Tie in with a high-end boutique ski company and pick the 10 best selling models of the past 50 years. Have them build those model names with reproduction top skins and modern construction and designs, in limited productions.
Again, I go back to the Chargers...Don't take just my word, @ScotsSkier is pretty respected in these parts especially when it comes to race skis. He begrudgingly got on the Superchargers and among other things, he said it was not the ski he expected from K2. So, I am confident that their designers could build a ski that compares to anything that would come out of high end boutique company.
 

RickyG

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I was just thinking about this the other day...one I miss bill-board graphics...simple clean. Also I'm put off by some of the model names out there...OK I'm 66 years old and remember when "Comp" carried the day. But the Dynastar MV2 (or Mass x Velocity (squared)) was a great name for a GS ski.
 

RickyG

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I was just thinking about this the other day...one I miss bill-board graphics...simple clean. Also I'm put off by some of the model names out there...OK I'm 66 years old and remember when "Comp" carried the day. But the Dynastar MV2 (or Mass x Velocity (squared)) was a great name for a GS ski.
7d33c9eef5fc5ca64adaed6cbf958dfd.jpg
 

ScotsSkier

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To Phil's previous post. I skied the 175 supercharger at the tahoe gathering last week and I freely admit I was absolutely shocked at how well it performed! :micdrop: I will try to get a short test report out this week. And as many of you will know I am the polar opposite of a K2 fanboy! The supercharger is a radical (and welcome! ) departure from previous k2 skis...
 

Tricia

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To Phil's previous post. I skied the 175 supercharger at the tahoe gathering last week and I freely admit I was absolutely shocked at how well it performed! :micdrop: I will try to get a short test report out this week. And as many of you will know I am the polar opposite of a K2 fanboy! The supercharger is a radical (and welcome! ) departure from previous k2 skis...
Here's a short video clip.
 

Tricia

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E1A0A544-1AA9-4672-883B-53BBF0D77689.jpeg

This year we've had the good fortune of skiing on some of K2's offerings for the front side.
The ski I'm most excited about is the K2 Luv Machine 72 Ti.
Holy cow this thing is incredibly fun and quick on early morning groomers.
I'll let @Philpug and @Andy Mink tell you about the K2's they skied today.
 
Thread Starter
TS
Wasatchman

Wasatchman

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FWIW, I spend quite a bit of time skiing on Pinnacles that are part of my quiver. So my post is not coming from a place where I hate K2 or anything. I'm rooting for them. I also realize K2 is a sponsor of PugSki. I'm coming from a good place, I want K2 to succeed, but I feel like they need some input as I fear what they're going to keep losing share on the current trajectory.

My personal experience is that when I walk into a shop, K2 is not even remotely near the top of suggestions I am given. Most of my friends at this point do not have a K2 in their quiver. This is my personal experience, and this might not be indicative of broader trends and hence the question to the community. Is K2 missing something and if so what? As I said in the original post, feel free to say I am wrong and K2 is doing just fine, thanks. Given their trajectory over the last 10-plus years, my personal feeling is they better start making some changes - sooner than later. Others may disagree, that's why I ask the question.

One theory I have is that a lot of serious skiers I know do not think K2 skis are burly enough. So I like your idea of a super burly ski that will scare the shit out of just about any skier on the mountain. Even if that ski is just a halo ski and is not their top seller, it might really help the brands perception although I'd like to see that halo ski made in USA as well. Again, my personal opinion. I'm interested in what the community thinks.
 
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Tricia

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@Wasatchman I understand where you're coming from with your line of thought. I've seen significant evidence that K2 is putting a lot of thought and effort into improving the image with the new direction in focus in a lot of ways.

Funny, 13 years ago I recall people on Epic searching diligently for an Apache Recon or Pontoon.
 

Philpug

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FWIW, I spend quite a bit of time skiing on Pinnacles that are part of my quiver. So my post is not coming from a place where I hate K2 or anything. I'm rooting for them. I also realize K2 is a sponsor of PugSki.

But K2 has lost share in recent years and I'd like to see them regain some momentum. My personal experience is that when I walk into a shop, K2 is not even remotely near the top of suggestions I am given. Most of my friends at this point do not have a K2 in their quiver. This is my personal experience, and this might not be indicative of broader trends and hence the question to the community. Is K2 missing something and if so what? As I said in the original post, feel free to say I am wrong and K2 is doing just fine, thanks. Given their trajectory over the last 10-plus years, my personal feeling is they better start making some changes - sooner than later. Others may disagree, that's why I ask the question.

One theory I have is that a lot of serious skiers I know do not think K2 skis are burly enough. So I like your idea of a super burly ski that will scare the shit out of just about any skier on the mountain. Even if that ski is just a halo ski and is not their top seller, it might really help the brands perception although I'd like to see that halo ski made in USA as well. Again, my personal opinion. I'm interested in what the community thinks.
Yes, they are a sponsor. But if you also recall I took a similar stand when I defended Kastle and Salomon when their quality and position was also questioned.

Every brand goes through product eb and flows. We can take a look at industry wide trends who is on the way up and who is flat and who is rebuilding...or reloading. Has the perception of K2 dropped in the past decade, I cannot disagree with you and quite frankly, neither do the powers to be at K2 which is why we are seeing a new direction with new product. I have had a glimps into the future and from what I have seen, it is a good direction.

The analogy that I was recently using was K2 was like that guy who took 6 years to graduate college because he didn't want to leave the frat house. Once he did graduate, he still went back to hang out to drink (think Rob Lowe in St. Elmo's Fire)..simply he wanted to hold on to his youth and didn't want to grow up. With the current generation of K2 skis..and what is coming down the road...that frat guy now has a real job and is taking the ski industry seriously.
 

Sibhusky

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I'm a K2 fan girl, never really left them. Will be looking to replace my Rictors soon... Okay, end of next season maybe. But love the current ones so much I may be looking for old stock and just do a set of twins. One of these days, I hope to test ski the Pinnacle 105's. I'd buy them blind, but unsure if I can handle the width (my 'fat" skis have become "skinny" over the last few years).
 

Eric267

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I'm a huge fan of k2 with what they've done with their boot line. I'm on my second pair of spyne 130s in the past 3 years. I feel like they are trying to build brand loyalty by over delivering and a little underpricing. I heard they moved production (to Italy?) and the newest models are even better quality.

As far as skis go I'm mostly an "indie" guy but the 2017 marksman cought my eye last season. Looked like a fun shape with solid graphics and specs for a good Tahoe daily driver. Maybe the ski changed to much as it got longer but 184 for a freeride ski is super short. Pretty much the only reason I never gave them a real look or tried to demo.
 

fatbob

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I spent 5 days in St Anton over Easter and 8 days in Val Thorens last week and can't say I saw a single pair if K2s.

Time was when K2 piste skis would have a certain cahet in Europe and then the Factory skis like the Seths and Public Enemys used to kill it and Coombas were popular in the big mtn touring crowd. IMV their lunch has been eaten and a somewhat prosaic range of ski names and graphics won't buy that back.
 

markojp

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In WA, you still see a fair number of K2's on the hill. The women's skis test well and are popular. The pinnacles are easily equal to the Rossi 7 series skis, but yes, this being WA, many won't consider the brand so long as production is in China. There are still a lot of hard feelings. There's no going back to Vashon Island, but if they could move production to say Wanatchee (power and land are still cheap and no state income tax nor Seattle/King Co tax stuff to deal with) make a modern 710/810 big boy pants ski like Phil mentioned, and get back into working with a special few key athletes. Or imagine Plake and bus on a nationwide talent search for a new team on domestically produced sticks. Fun, no?
 
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Tricia

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I'm a K2 fan girl, never really left them. Will be looking to replace my Rictors soon... Okay, end of next season maybe. But love the current ones so much I may be looking for old stock and just do a set of twins. One of these days, I hope to test ski the Pinnacle 105's. I'd buy them blind, but unsure if I can handle the width (my 'fat" skis have become "skinny" over the last few years).
If you're concerned about the Pinnacle 105 being too wide, try the 95.
I've skied a fair bit of powder days on the Pinnacle 95. The tip shape lends itself to float while the turn shape gives you the edge you need when you want to make a turn.
 

Philpug

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I really enjoy threads like this and trust me they do get read by the manufacturers...I know because I send them links. Your voice is being heard.
 
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