Review: K2 TalkBack / Wayback Skis Continue the Tradition

Post by blogger | July 7, 2014      
WayBack, TalkBack, where's my CatBack?

WayBack, TalkBack, next the CatBack? (Click all images to enlarge).

My first pair of K2 skis, 1979 I think. Kid's length 150 cm. I was stoked!

My first pair of K2 skis, 1979 I think. Kid’s length 150 cm. I was stoked!

I remember when as a kid, watching Phil and Steve Mahre ski on television. Anytime Wide World of Sports showed those guys rip up race courses I was glued to the set. Something must have sneaked into the recesses of my cerebellum as I sat glued to the tube, because I all wanted were K2 skis just like the ones the Mahres raced on.

Whatever crept into my psyche back in ’79 was planted deep. I still tend to gravitate towards K2’s offerings. They make excellent backcountry skis; numerous pairs have found their way into my quiver over the years.

Shortly after moving to Colorado I met Lou at a book signing of his then recently released Colorado Backcountry Skiing Vol.1. (out of print) That got the wheels turning. I got into telemark skiing and learned about those magical things called skins. Free heel, skins, no lift lines…life got good.

But Lou, being the omnipotent preacher of tech bindings, set me straight. Evangelism took place and I became a convert. Lighter weight backcountry skis and tech bindings opened up a whole new world to me. And having skied a few different K2 tele skis, I naturally gravitated toward their AT backcountry line. One of my favorites was the Baker SL, which I still ski occasionally.

Independence Pass on the Talkback.

Independence Pass on the Talkback.

This past spring I spent a lot of days on two 2014-15 K2 model in their “Backside” categories : Talkback and Wayback. K2 markets the Talkback as a women’s model. It is that if K2 says so, but I could feel virtually NO difference between the two models, other than length. I skied both in similar conditions, from spring glop to late season pow, to the bliss that is corn, and even everyone’s favorite, frozen breakable crust.

I was a little hesitant to jump on the Talkback, as they sent us a 170 cm for evaluation. I’m 5’7″ and average about 165 pounds. Thus the 170’s appeared to be a bit short, especially with their significant “All Terrain Rocker.” But the proof is in the pudding, and skiing the Talkback removed any previous doubts about large desert servings for breakfast’ lunch, dinner and any time in between.

The Talkback weighed in at 1415 grams per ski for our test pair. Not the lightest, but not heavy either (below average in our weight charting). Just about right in my opinion. Dimensions, 128-96-118 millimeters. I thought 88 mm was about the perfect width for touring, but 96 mm seems even better, with no negatives.

The Talkback has proven to be a super versatile ski for me. I skied them in just about every snow condition. From fitness laps at the resort, to mellow backcountry touring, to some steep spring skiing they did everything I pushed them to do. The right amount of tip rocker and waist width make this ski excel in just about anything. Frozen breakable crust was its nemesis, but what ski likes that stuff?

I found the Talkback in the 170 cm length to be snappy and quick turning, which I like. But it will hold long radius turns at speed if you ask it to, and the tails are stiff enough that if you get in the backseat, they’ll hold. They are good in pow, but not as good as some of my wider more rockered quiver residents (okay, I have one pair of planks that are not K2’s….).

In particular, I loved the Talkback on some of the early spring morning steep stuff: strong edge-hold, quick turning, stable, but will forgive you, if for example you forget to put your boots back in ski mode before starting down a frozen couloir. Yep, did that. Another thing I look for in a ski is that it allows me to smear pretty easily, like side slipping when needed, as it does have a slight upturn in the tail. Overall the one word I would use to describe skiing the Talkback is… versatile. If you’re looking for one ski to do most things really well, then this would be an excellent choice.

What about the 14-15 K2 Wayback? We got these in a 177 cm length. They are 128-96-118mm, just like the Talkback. They share the same Paulownia / Maple core, according to our test models. They both have the All Terrain Rocker, and slight upturn in the tail. Average weight for the Waybacks is 1452 grams, per ski. In our charts Talkback and Wayback are virtually identical in weight vs surface and length.

Tip rocker is same on both.

Tip rocker is same on both.

Tip rocker is same on both.

Tails are similar too.

Skiing the Waybacks, as mentioned above, felt about the same as the Talkbacks. They did everything the Talkbacks did, and just as well. I did notice the extra 7 cm in length of the Waybacks. They were slightly more stable at higher speeds, still quick turning, but just a bit slower reacting than the Talkbacks. My guess is that someone taller and/or heavier than me could easily flick these longer skis around, or just ski faster and straighter than I normally would. Other than those minuscule differences, the Wayback and the Talkback are the same ski in my opinion. (Editor’s note: It’s probably time to relate that yes, Talkback is officially a “women’s ski.” In this case, our take is that both reviewed models are unisex.)

Both these skis also have tip and tail holes, and the tails are notched for skins. Both also have the SnoPhobic topsheet as well, which I found to sort of work, but snow still accumulated on the tops of the skis while skinning up.

However you want to look at it, Wayback as a longer version of the Talkback, or the Talkback as a shorter version of the Wayback. I found both skis to be worthy of my quiver. The Talkback was the most versatile of the two for my style of ski touring, simply because it was a bit shorter.

Fantastic skis all around. Now if K2 would just come out with some retro Comp 710 graphics, I’d be even happier. Awesome job K2!

Shop for K2 backcountry skis here.


52 Responses to “Review: K2 TalkBack / Wayback Skis Continue the Tradition”

  1. Jen Santoro July 7th, 2014 7:37 pm

    I have a pair of K2 She’sBack from probably 5 years ago. I love them so much I bought another and they await mounting when the others are finally trashed. I have other skis, but these are my everyday go-to ski. They are a backcountry model with more sidecut than what is reviewed here, and I ski them everywhere – in bounds, backcountry, hardpack, packed powder….the only time I ski something else is on a guaranteed powder day. And even then I usually wish I could trade back for the afternoon.

    I’m happy to see K2 continues to make skis that are light but know how to perform!

  2. Scott Nelson July 7th, 2014 8:37 pm

    Yeah, Jen, thanks for the comment. And nice blog . I will share the training while pregnant post with my wife…..we’re hopeful…

  3. Erik Erikson July 7th, 2014 10:05 pm

    Also still using a mount baker sl ossasionally, and I still love the graphics of the ski…
    I´d like to ask a question about length of the new wayback: K2 skis always were actually longer in a given length then the skis of other companies.( My 181 mount bakers and waybacks are more like 184 I´d say). Is this still true?

  4. Steve July 8th, 2014 9:39 am

    I want some. ‘nuf said! If K2 made the Wayback wider than last season’s 88mm one, then it seems pretty appealing. I’ve been on the Shuksans for a few years and love the way it skis but have felt “better” on a wider ski in Wasatch snow, whether it was my wider alpine skis or some Dynastar Cham 97’s I demoed. The Coomba/Coomback looked a good fit but just a bit too wide and heavy for me (~155lbs w/o pack). Thanks for the review!

  5. Scott Nelson July 8th, 2014 9:14 pm

    I skied the Baker SL ( 88mm) for quite a while. The 96 Wayback / Talkback are a BIG improvement, plus the rocker is really nice.

    Erik- I looked at lengths this morning and they look to be 2-3 cm longer than advertised, but I guess it depends on how you measure them.

  6. Erik Erikson July 8th, 2014 10:52 pm

    Thanks for the information, Scott. As the new wayback is also still built in width 88 and the same lengthes as then old one (160,167,174,181), I´ll just compare them side to side in length, as soon as the new one is available in shops here in Austria.
    The 96 wayback sounds good to me, but probably I personally would invest a 100 g more and go for the new coomback 104.

  7. Mark Worley July 10th, 2014 7:15 am

    I have enjoyed K2 skis as well over the years, starting with the soft slalom TRC back in the early 1990’s. More recently I have been using the Mount Baker and Baker SL. Pretty fine boards for sure. I was a little surprised that the Talkback and Wayback (2015) models are essentially the same core construction. Some of their predecessors had highly different core makeups between the men’s and women’s models.

  8. Rod July 15th, 2014 1:51 pm

    I ski in the bc on 180 bonafides, metal, 98 under foot.
    They work great in all conditions, except in heavier powder in tight, steep couloirs, where i have trouble sliding the skis to finish the turn, which makes it pretty exhausting to ski.
    In the resort, I ski 184 katana s in powder, and I can ski narrow (3m) chutes without too much trouble.
    I am thinking of trying the 177 katana with dynafits

  9. Rod July 15th, 2014 1:55 pm

    Sorry, my phone thinks it knows better than me when I’m done.
    Anyway, I’m wondering if the shorter katanas (177 vs184}, wil lstill allow me to slide the end of the turn, to fully finish in powder , better than my bonafides.

  10. Ludo July 29th, 2014 8:31 am

    Seems k2 changed ski length on backcountry line, isn’t it? new 177 wayback are really longer than old 174?

  11. Brett October 2nd, 2014 10:48 pm

    G’day Scott, mate I am new to backcountry skiing and I am looking to buy some new skiis, I have been renting trab 160, dynafit bindings for the last two seasons, I mostly ski at night to blow of a little steam after a busy night in the kitchen, Gone are the days when skining up meant something else, I have been looking at K2 wayback 88 because the shortest ski starts at 160cm( I am 165cm 72kg) the problem with the wayback and coomback is that they start at 170cm, so that got me looking at the womens skiis, I like the the review of the talkback 96. My delema is, I ski mostly on groomed runs during the day and night, rarely on powder or off piste, so my question is should I go the extra 8mm on not cheers for any advive.

  12. Thomas White October 3rd, 2014 7:59 am

    Does anyone have any experience with the newer K2 skins? I recall the older skins had a reputation for high traction and modest glide?

  13. Eric Schneider October 4th, 2014 7:58 pm

    Scott and Lou-is the indicated mount position on the Wayback 96 177 correct? Thanks for the excellent work!

  14. Scott Nelson October 4th, 2014 8:30 pm

    Hey Brett- The Talkback 96 in a 170 are a great length for me ( I am 72-75kg, 170 cm ). I skied a lot of groomers and spring corn on this ski. Light enough for skinning up, plenty of snap and edge hold on the down.

    Not sure of the sidecut on the 88mm, but it might be a bit quicker turning. As far as length, I’d go head height for length. A short ski would be fine, but to me they get a little swivel-ly underfoot at speed. Plus the K2’s are rockered, so a short ski usually will feel even shorter if that makes sense.

    Hope that helps. Btw, I found the Wayback and Talkback to ski virtually identical, except for the length. I preferred the 170 over the 177’s, in all conditions.

  15. Scott Nelson October 4th, 2014 8:34 pm

    Thomas- I know Lisa was testing some K2 skins (green plush) last season, maybe she will chime in on her thoughts. She definetly climbed well with them.

  16. Scott Nelson October 4th, 2014 8:49 pm

    Eric- We checked with K2 about the mid point, 78.5 cm from the center of the tail for the 177 Wayback. Seemed to ski fine, though I preferred the 170 length, which was also mounted according to K2’s specs, and that was perfect for me.

  17. Thomas White October 4th, 2014 10:34 pm

    What was the measured weight of the 177. It appears a few places above the Wailer 99 in the weight chart but the weight seems to be about the same for a narrower ski.

  18. Scott Nelson October 5th, 2014 10:24 am

    Average of 1452 grams per ski for the 177 Wayback 96.

  19. Thomas White October 5th, 2014 7:50 pm

    Interesting on the weight. I’m comparing the Wayback 96 @ 177cm to the Wailer 99 @ 176cm

    DPS Wailer 125/99/111 – 1482g
    K2 Wayback 128/96/118 – 1452g

    By the specs the two skis seem very similar but on the weight chart it looks like the Wailer is noticeably heavier for area and even heaver by length. I would have thought the Wailer to have a bigger surface area to offset the slightly higher weight but Lou must have measured a slightly smaller area than the Wayback to cause the Wailer to sit further down the chart.

    I guess a few points on the weight chart probably aren’t very noticeable underfoot.

  20. Lou Dawson 2 October 6th, 2014 4:12 am

    Anything on the weight chart within a few points of each other are in a practical sense the same. I tried to make that clear on the page about the charts, but it gets buried. Manufacturing weight variations alone can cause a ski to jump ahead or behind another ski, and the way I measure surface area is not perfect. I tested the system extensively by having skis here and playing around with ways of figuring things, and it works well for placing the skis into categories as well as showing the broad range of weights, which is essentially what the chart does. The chart also cuts quite nicely through any marketing B.S. I didn’t try to define categories on the chart because the skis at the edge of each category could go either way and it gets confusing. Better to leave that up to you guys who are viewing the chart. The weight categories are pretty obvious.

  21. Lisa Dawson October 6th, 2014 8:59 am

    Thomas White: the green skins I have are High Trail Evotec not K2. I especially like the suction skins for my 112 wide DPS skis since I can strip them off easily. They climb very well too. I used them for one season — we’ll see how they hold up for season two.

  22. Thomas White October 6th, 2014 10:22 am

    I saw the caveat on the weight chart. I made me think that a noticeable difference in weight/area would be 3-4 points. Now I’m thinking that a significant change is probably more like 7-8 points.

    I was surprised because I thought that the Wailer 99 was lower in the charts than the Wayback due to substantially more weight (DPS spec for the ski is 1600 grams). Now I see that it’s probably a combination of very slightly higher measured weight (aprox. 2%) and slightly smaller area when compared to the Wayback that gives it the higher number.

    A couple of suggestions about the weight graph. It would better express the differences between skis if the gridlines matched what you consider to be a statistically significant change in weight (7 or 8 points?) instead of the arbitrary ten lines. Also if the chart were oriented so the lines went up-and-down (like our favorite sport) and not side-to-side (like tennis or yachting) that would more properly express the idea.

    Lastly it would be great if lighter skis had bigger numbers so that their corresponding lines would be very tall (like high peaks where you might want to use a light ski). To get that result you just divide an index value like 1000 by the current number. A Vapor Nano at 60 under the current system becomes a 16 and a K2 Remdedy at 104 under the current system becomes 9.5.

    Or you could just leave well enough alone and I’ll try to stop obsessing about my new ski choice 😉

  23. Lou Dawson 2 October 6th, 2014 10:49 am

    Thomas, love it, thanks for the inspiration! I’ll keep all that in mind for some chart tweaks, but I think it does pretty much do the job I intended, which is to simply cut through most of the bull and allow people to know which are the lighter skis. I hesitate to define any sort of categories as the skis at the front and tail of the category would be misleading. Best to let shoppers draw their own conclusions. Not sure what you mean by the grid lines. Do know that the Google Charts are limited in functionality, actually quite frustrating to work with and mysterious in many ways as to how the end up embedding. Lou

  24. Jeff October 16th, 2014 9:40 am

    One of those it takes a village questions: Wayback 96 versus Coomback. I am a level III (on the low end), don’t ski particularly aggressively by advanced skier standards, more slow and smear than high speed big turns, and P-text doesn’t leave the snow much. 6’2″, 175. This would be my AT workhorse…resort fitness laps, days in the central Colorado backcountry skiing low-angle, mostly treed terrain, occasional rolling touring just to be out there. If it is a blower day, I am probably not in the backcountry; variable snow proficiency is important. It would probably also serve as my it-hasn’t-snowed-in-a-while-and-skiing-with-the-kids ski. Other skis is the quiver are Icelandic Nomad RKR and BD Element. Planning on mounting with G3 Onyx (on the theory that it is a bit more downhill friendly and less harsh feeling than Dynafits (I have the Speed Radical on my current touring skis)…I know there will be issue taken with this theory). My gut is telling me to go with the Wayback, but I am a bit concerned that in powder and typical Colorado variable I will be wishing for the extra width to compensate for my skills. Any thoughts? Thanks!

  25. Tom December 9th, 2014 4:55 pm

    Looking to replace my Work Stinks – love the Work Stinks – how’s the Wayback as a replacement?

  26. Scott Nelson December 9th, 2014 5:34 pm

    Tom- I skied the Super Stynx a lot in my more tele days. The new Wayback is way better in my opinion. Wider width, lighter weight, tip rocker, solid underfoot, much more fun all around. Maybe not as much sidecut, but the Waybacks turn super well, short, medium or long radius turns. Super versatile.

  27. Chris December 10th, 2014 1:07 pm

    Good shorter?

    Looking to get another touring kit, for old snow day trips, and dawn patrol resort cardio laps before work. My other skis are long and fat, but thinking of getting these in 177. I’m 6’3″, 185#. Too short?

    Folks seem to like these shorter, and the tail is pretty flat, and K2 does tend to run a bit longer than the stated size. Or maybe Wayback 88 in 181? Thanks, Chris.

  28. Erik Erikson December 10th, 2014 5:05 pm

    @Chris: I´d recommend NOT go to short. I am almost 2 feet shorter than you are and have the 13/14 wayback (88mm) in 181. Would not want it any shorter, though in fact it is more like 183. Now the 14/15 model has a little more Rocker they say, what means you could even ride a longer one.
    So, at your height i´d definitely go with the 88 in 181 (narrower will be better when skinning on harder snow / resort) or the 96 in 184 (the 96 has even more rocker).
    Though I have to say, I generally like longer skis and doing faster, longer turns.

    By the way: Does anyone know, if K2-skis are still actually longer than they say (so a 181 is more like 183?) ?! Maybe someone could compare a 14/15 181 to an older model that length..

  29. Will Sater December 10th, 2014 6:45 pm

    If you go with the Wayback 88, definitely get the 181. I am 6 ft and 170 lbs and have the 174s. They are great for steep spring skiing, very forgiving, but for anything else they feel short.

  30. Scott Nelson December 10th, 2014 6:54 pm

    The 14/15 177cm Wayback 96 I have seem to measure out at 179cm.

    I still think 88mm is pretty versatile, definitely more than plenty for resort laps, and fine on ski tours. Heck even 78mm would work for both of those environments, but now I’m starting to give away my age so I won’t go any further than that….

  31. Erik Erikson December 10th, 2014 8:51 pm

    Scott, thanks for measuring the length of the wayback. So it seems K2-planks still are longer in a given length than skis of other brands.Good thing concerning the new coomback (104 and 114), cause they only come in a max length of 184 (till 13/14 it was 188) – at least they are still like 2 cm longer than said. Still I do not understand why K2 did not stick with the 188 length (which is more like 190). I like my old 102 coomback at little longer than body height (I am almost 6.2), this would be even more true for the new 114, all the more it has more amount of rocker. I think most people over 6 feet tall who really want to ride a 114 ski as it is meant to be would like it at least in body height length.

  32. Scott Berry January 30th, 2015 8:33 pm

    Scott, your remarks about the Super stinx caught my attention. That has been my “quiver of one” ski last 10 years, have two pair still, but looking for something backcountry lite and for in area powder days,laps in Mirkood. Bought the Hardside in the 181 and it was great in knee deep stuff but real work anywhere else. To long to heavy?? I’m 5’11” and 145. I looking for better float and control in the backcountry stuff. Will always ski the stinx on hard days. Do you think the Wayback can be my Stinx for everything else? I’m thinking the 170, love short quick tele turns plus I’m gun shy now about longer lengths. The first Stinx I got was 181, down sizing to the 174 made all the difference. Patrolled on 203 VO Slaloms back in the day, I am getting old!!!!

  33. Scott Nelson January 31st, 2015 8:03 am

    Hey Scott- I’d ski the 177 Wayback if I were 5’11”. It has plenty of tip rocker, so it skis a bit shorter. The 96mm waist is really versatile as well. Great all around ski for BC skiing, and a bit of resort if necessary….

    I really like the 170 Talkback/Wayback 96mm. Ski it a lot, but I’m all of 5’6″. The 177’s give me a touch more stability at speed, but don’t respond as quick as the 170’s. The 170’s might be a bit too swivel-ly underfoot for you at speed, but if you don’t ski really fast, they’ll love short, snappy turns.

    I’m not sure I could handle a 203 anymore, step turns and all that, LOL…Still have a pair of Super Stinx mounted with BD 01’s in my garage though.

  34. Remus C March 19th, 2015 10:37 am


    Trying to decide between Waybacks 88 and 96 if anyone cares to wager in?
    Aim is to use for touring but get equal pleasure from going up as from going down, with the rare use in a resort?


  35. Lou Dawson 2 March 19th, 2015 10:49 am

    Go Euro, try the 88, trend now is to go narrower. Skimo racers are having an influence.

    But, if you are indeed just pow touring the 96 is pretty sweet.


  36. Remus C March 19th, 2015 11:04 am

    Hi Lou,

    Probably should have mentioned I live in Europe.
    Besides the 96 floating better, what would be best over the 88 if you don’t mind me asking?


  37. Lou Dawson 2 March 19th, 2015 11:20 am

    Float can be mythology. To ride a ski that actually noticeably “floats” more than an 88 mm ski you need something more like a 110 at the waist. What somewhat wider skis give you is more stability and platform in varied conditions, especially things like low-density rain soaked mank, stuff like that. Personally, for much of our skiing I do like skis up to about 100 mm waist, but for worldwide ski touring I usually fall back to something narrower. I have sympathy, it’s a tough call. Mainly, you gotta run what you brung and the amazing quality of most of today’s skis make that possible. Lou

  38. Thomas White March 19th, 2015 11:22 am


    I’ve got the Wayback 96 and have skied about 25 days so far this season in a variety of conditions. I’m happy with that width here in Colorado but for an Alpine snow climate the 88 is probably a better choice.

    I got the K2 branded Pomoca skins with my Waybacks. I like the fixation system. The skins glide noticeably better than my Black Diamond Mohar/Nylon blend skins but also seem to be a bit less durable. I’ve also had to start using wax or liquid coatings to keep them from getting soaked in our early spring warm-up so I don’t think these skins had the better coatings that Pomoca offers on some lines.

    I’d like to add a ski to my quiver in the narrower width to use for long tours and spring use (or trips to the Alps). The Wayback 88 doesn’t seem sufficiently lighter or narrower than it’s 96 sibling. I’m thinking about the Dynafit Cho Oyo as a good partner for my Wayback 96.

  39. Lou Dawson 2 March 19th, 2015 11:27 am

    Thumbs up on Cho Oyo, now a classic, I hope they don’t quit making it, I love recommending it. Lou

  40. Remus C March 19th, 2015 11:47 am

    Much appreciated gents, 88 it is and I’ll throw some Dynafit Radical TFT’s on them.
    Thanks for the heads up on the skins too, I will keep a lookout for other options as well.

  41. Thomas White March 19th, 2015 11:56 am

    I wanted to put out my experience of the Wayback 96. I’ve skied it on everything from 24-inch deep light backcountry powder to wind blasted resort hardpack.

    It’s a very well balanced ski that seems to handle everything that I throw at it without ever letting me down. I like the flat tail and rocker tip that K2 uses on it’s back country line. I’m 52y/o 5’10” 155lbs and a very strong moderately aggressive skier. I ski the 177cm, a bit shorter would be nice in tight spots but not enough to step down to the 170cm size.

  42. Erik Erikson March 19th, 2015 12:00 pm

    Remus, just a word concerning the K2 skins: They are pretty good (fixation, glide and grip), I sure do like them. Only one little drawback: They always come a tiny bit to narrow for the ski they are shaped for imo, so under the foot they do not cover as much of the base as I´d like. But that´s only personal preference of course, for I like my skins shaped so that really only the steeledges of the ski are not covered.
    But then, You´ll never notice a little narrower skins most of the times, probably only on steep traverses on very hard / icy snow.

  43. bob hughes June 3rd, 2015 9:07 am

    I have narrowed down to the Wayback or the Fischer Hannibal 94. Will go with K2 skins or Fischer skis. Any suggestions to help me decide would be great!

  44. Scott Nelson June 4th, 2015 8:28 am

    Bob- The Waybacks are great skis. Really versatile at 96mm width. Good tip rocker. Nice round flex, but still really good edge hold on firmer snow. Fairly lightweight too. Good balance between soft and hard snow conditions, but a little biased toward the soft.

    Lou has skied the Hannibals extensively, seemed to really like them. I’ve been on the Transalp 88 a lot this spring. They are a bit lighter than the Waybacks, a bit more edge hold, very stable, a little stiffer, great on firm snow…I like them a lot in steeper, firmer conditions, but not so much in softer conditions.

  45. Paul September 7th, 2015 4:07 am

    Just ordered a pair of 13/14 Talk Backs for my girlfriend, any suggestion on mounting position ?

    Is the mfg suggested mounting point ok or is it better to move back 1cm to compensate for smaller feet (in other words: is the mounting point the same as for the mens model ?)

    thks 4 your help guys + girls :-)


  46. Erik Erikson September 7th, 2015 6:23 am

    Hi Paul,

    in fact, at least concerning the K2 coomback the mounting point for the female model (= Gotback) is more FORWARD ( one or two cm I think) and not backward.

    Don´t know if this true for the Coomback / wayback too. They say that mounting more forward in female models is for two reasons: 1) The center of gravity is more backwards when you´re a women (no idea if this is a joke…) 2.) Women tend to have less strength and a ski turns easyer when mounted more forward

  47. paul September 9th, 2015 5:41 am

    thks eric,

    just got the skis today,

    main problem is to identify the boot center mark at all…. found no info online, i suspect it is the k2 triangle logo, but question is:

    is it

    a.) the tip of the logo pointing towards the tip of the ski
    b.) the base of the triangle (pointing towards the tail of the ski)
    c.) the middle of the logo


    thks for your help guys / gals


  48. paul September 9th, 2015 6:23 am

    finally found the info i needed more or less by chance….. the %&$&# at k2 have no hint on their webpage, but google found it for me using the keywords 2015 k2 tech manual …..

    For the women skis it seems the logos have NOTHING to do with teh suggested boot center mark, the boot center is measured from the tail forward in a straight line (see page 55 in the pdf / 107 printed on the page)

    looking at the numbers (page 63 in the pdf) and comparing the 170 wayback 96 with the 170 talkback 96 one can see that the womens mid sole mark is indeed (as eric said) 2cm fwd of the mens model midsole mark.

    if one substracts 2cm from the suggested mid sole mark on the 163 talkback 96 model you end up on the tip of the k2 logo … so the TRUE midsole mark seems to be the tip of the k2 triangle logo which in turn matches the narrowest part of the skis sidecut (which indicates that this will be the most likely the true midsole mark)

    mounting fwd for my athletic girlfriends size 24 feet makes no sense for a ski that is used 90 offpiste in variable snow, would only make sense for use on groomed pistes.

    so it seems K2 is just trying to make their skis feel better for couch untrained women skiiers, but good skiiers wont be happy with the suggested midsole mounting point for offpiste use (especially with a tip rockered ski)

    so my question remains:

    anybody has experience with mounting positions on the 96 talkbacks for size 24 feet / 50 kilo /160 cm Women skiiers ?

    I am still not sure if its better to go for the true midsole center line or 1cm back (which would give her more lift (obvious) / + easier sliding turns in pow / slush / crud)

    thks for your help everyone !

  49. Lou Dawson 2 September 9th, 2015 6:47 am

    Hi Paul, it is indeed frustrating when companies don’t put obvious mount marks on skis. We hate that. On the other hand, mount marks tend to get messed up at the factory, so measurement is better if you can get the information. In any case, for an athletic women who is a good skier I’d recommend just putting her feet so boot center is on sidecut center, as with the men’s model. With a rockered ski, going farther back can result in not feeling like you don’t have enough ski tail, especially for a woman who has a lower and farther back center of gravity than a man (this is true of most women vs men, but it can be a generalization).

    Our tester Scott has our K2 skis right now and used them extensively last season, perhaps he can chime in.

    If the gal skier is an intermediate learner, and average women’s weight for her height, I’d tend to recommend using what the ski company suggests for a mount point. They do test their skis to evaluate mount points, or at least most companies do.

    The main thing about mount position is don’t obsess on it or over-think it. Since it’s one of the few things that can easily be tweaked with skis, DIY and technically minded folks tend to over-think it. Quite seriously, you can do a huge amount of tweaking by how you do things such as de-tuning ski tips and tails, and changing boot and binding ramp/delta angles. The latter is especially important and relates directly to mounting position, but is much easier to change. Even the size and fit of a backpack changes how skis perform….


  50. Scott Nelson September 9th, 2015 11:19 am

    So on the Talkback 170 96mm we have as testers, the mounting point is 77cm from the tail. I mounted the bindings based on that mark. They ski perfect for me, 5’6″, 165, 26.5 mondo.

    Lou said it way better than I ever could, I’d stick with K2’s mounting point, as that set me up right on the sweet spot on the Talkback. Though as Lou said, you can always remount, as the binding mount area seems pretty bomber on K2’s skis, so no big deal, and Lou usually has multiple mounting points on the tester skis, as we all have different size feet.

    Hope this helps.

  51. paul September 9th, 2015 11:35 am

    thks guys !

    Lou you are spot on, anything can be over engineered, I just hate to redrill ,-)

    My (now my “gravel” skis) mt baker SL’s (the yellow unrockered model) were perfect after i went 1cm back from boot center, did not like them on boot center.

    In my experience 2cm plus or minus does make quite a difference (all other parameters left unchanged) on how – especially rockered – skis ski on variable snow, usually going a tad too much fwd tends to make the ski too reactive / too easy turning / more reactive on sunbaked crust – especially with the womens models with their sometimes softer skitips.

    Thats why I asked, as said I hate to redrill ,-)

    So good to hear that the k2 boot center marks are spot on for the mens models.

    As she is a very comptetent skiier I will go with the measured narrowest part of the sidecut for boot center which matches up with the comparable mens boot center measurement (recalculated for the 163 model)

    That should do.

    Thks again 4 your help guys !

  52. John October 21st, 2015 6:33 am

    Reading this thread after doing some research on the Wayback, wondering if possible to get a thought or two.

    I currently have the K2 Coomba 184 circa ’09, I live on the east coast so only use out west 1-2 times a year out west, so in good condition. Normally o one touring day, so weight not hug concern. I have never had an issue with Coomba in terms of float from deep Utah powder or deep PNW snow. Only time I find the Coomba’s come up short is hard pack or cruddy conditions, thicker waist just can be catchy and awkward.

    Joining a group to Lofoten Norway in Feb. for 4 days of touring from what I have read conditions run the gammit and wondering if the Wayback would be a better all around tool for that trip and time for an upgrade :)., how much do you think Wayback would lose with narrow waist in terms of float and is the gain on all around conditions?

    Thanks for any thoughts or feedback.

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