K2 Coomback Backcountry Ski Review

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | August 14, 2009      
The Coombacks

The Coombacks

One of the great things about going to New Zealand was that I was able to take any ski I wanted from the stack in our storage shed, since nobody (as in DAD) else was going to be using them much this summer.

For my main plank I chose the new K2 Coomback. I needed an upgrade from my old first generation Black Diamond Verdicts, and the 174 cm Coombacks seemed like a good choice. They’re slightly longer, have a rockered tip, and are a little fatter.

I knew I better grab them when I had the chance, so I stuffed them in the ski bag when you-know-who wasn’t looking.

My first-gen Verdicts laid down the law in powder, but on hardpack they were unfun. I expected the same from the Coombacks, so I took some skinnier Mount Bakers for stuff that wasn’t soft and fluffy. It turns out, however, that I have been riding the Coombacks every day, both for backcountry skiing and in-area. They are effortless in powder, and do incredibly well in everything else.

Coombacks getting ready for fun at Temple Basin

Coombacks get ready for fun at Temple Basin

I tried the Coombacks in some breakable crust a few days ago and was amazed at how they ruled. The width and tip rocker kept the tips out from under the crust perfectly. I could carve fun large radius turns almost like it was powder, while everyone else was struggling. They also do ok on groomers and crud. However, they get thrown around a little bit if you try to bust icy crud at high speeds, probably due to their light weight and soft tip. However, if you slow down a bit (something I don’t like to do) they work great in almost anything.

The tip rocker becomes much more obvious when you squeeze the skis together (left) than when the skis are sitting at rest(right).

The tip rocker becomes much more obvious when you squeeze the skis together (left) than when the skis are sitting normaly (right).

Even with great performance, the Coombacks are still nice and light, weighing in at only a few ounces more than some of my earlier backcountry skis, but longer and of course wider. (We will publish weight when I return from NZ and can verify that they weigh the same as the full production version). They truly are specifically made for backcountry skiing. Witness the tip and tail holes; skin notch in the back; flat tails. In my opinion flat tails are it for backcountry skiing, you can cut snowpit walls easily, you can put your skis on your pack way quicker, and stabbing your skis into the snow for use as a quickie anchor is a snap instead of a stupid looking struggle.

Flat tail, well made tail holes, and a skin notch, nice!

Flat tail, well made tail holes, and a skin notch, nice!

I noticed the Coombacks top sheet material seems to be softer than some other skis I’ve used. We got in touch with K2 about this, and they assured me that what they used on the Coomback is what they used on the Coomba and all other backcountry skis for years. They said some companies use harder top skins, and some use softer. I think what got me going on this is I’ve not used many k2 skis, and the old Verdicts had really tough skin, so I noticed. Now that I’m educated, I’d say this is a non issue.

Perhaps more importantly in terms of downsides, the Coombacks might be a bit soft for some bigger/agro skiers, but they work for me. How “soft” a ski feels is of course somewhat a function of length as well, so as always, if in doubt demo first.

Yep, get ready to burn some plastic out of your wallet — Coombacks are sweet. They have the best ski performance of any ski I have owned (considering I have only owned backcountry skis my whole life), while still being pretty light. In other words, they are indeed a terrific lightweight (for their width) backcountry powder ski. Even better, they bust through bad snow in a way that belies their lack of mass. Thus, Coombacks will be my go-to ski for variable snow, as well as for getting big vertical of human powered backcountry skiing pow. I also expect them to work magic for ski mountaineering in variable conditions. Only problem is, I wonder when DAD is going to notice they’re not in the shed?

Shop for K2 skis here.


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211 Responses to “K2 Coomback Backcountry Ski Review”

  1. Matt August 14th, 2009 9:29 am

    Good review. Planning on getting touring gear this fall so I’ll definitely consider the Coombacks.

    What boots and bindings are you using with these? I can tell it’s some version of Dynafits but not sure which one.

    That picture of Temple Basin makes me wish winter was here already.

  2. Wayne Nicholson August 14th, 2009 9:33 am

    Thanks for the review. I wonder how they’d compare to my 4 year old Atomic Sugar Daddy’s, I need to get a new pair of skis sometime this year.

  3. Jonathan Shefftz August 14th, 2009 9:35 am

    Nice pics of the skis, NZ, and the combo of the skis in NZ, but I think we also really need to see a pick of that ski storage shed back home!

  4. ScottP August 14th, 2009 11:26 am

    I think I’ve sort of figured out what it is from reading about skis, but is there a standard, plain definition of a rocker tip? I have yet to see it plainly spelled out. Maybe it’s in a glossary somewhere?

  5. Ben W August 14th, 2009 11:50 am

    Have you skied the rockered Anti Pistes? Is there a difference?

  6. Matt Kinney August 14th, 2009 1:52 pm

    Thanks louie ..good review. I too am coming off a set of 1st gen Vedicts. Got 300 days out of them so looking for a replacement at Christmas time. The Verdict are now early season rock skiis in Oct-Dec. I enjoy a one ski quiver so your input on variable conditions was …WAY …. informative.

  7. CCD August 14th, 2009 4:00 pm

    Hey Louie, keep up the great work. Those sure are a far cry from the planks we skied on back in the day!!!!

  8. Louie August 14th, 2009 4:39 pm

    Matt – I am using Garmont Radiums and Dynafit Comforts on the Coombacks.

    Ben – I haven’t skied the Anitpistes, but I think the Coombacks are a bit different, I will compare them side by side when I get home.

  9. dan August 14th, 2009 5:22 pm

    Thanks for the review, I wanted to upgrade to a rocker tip for the pow season – I had my eyes on the Dynafit Mansalus, but the Coombacks are lookin very cool, and I’d imagine a little cheaper than the Mansalus too. Have you skiied the Mansalus? Any obvious differance for better or worse between the two? Thanks.

  10. Mark August 14th, 2009 5:37 pm

    Coombacks are cheaper than Manaslus, but significantly heavier, so you must decide if lighter weight is worth a thinner wallet. Nice review, Louie.

  11. Jack August 14th, 2009 10:18 pm

    Thanks for the post, Louie. Got to try some Coombacks. Last K2’s I skied were a little soft on topsheet, too. But, what does the topsheet appearance matter when it’s obscured by billowing pow!

    Anything notable on Coomback ascending performance?

  12. Mark W August 16th, 2009 9:00 pm

    Louie, can’t wait to get your take on Radiums. Jonathan, do you have a pair of Dynafit TLT 4 Race boots? Was on Sierra T Post and noticed a review by a Jonathan S from MA.

  13. Jonathan Shefftz August 17th, 2009 7:25 am

    That is indeed my review at stp. Great adaptation of the old TLT4 design. Just wish it had fit my low-volume foot better.

  14. Mark W August 18th, 2009 9:18 am

    I’m not buying sight unseen, but if they had my size, I’d head to Cheyenne.

  15. Mike Hattrup August 19th, 2009 3:43 pm

    Just weighing in on the Coomback vs. Anti-Piste question. These skis are very similar: exact same dimensions, and though we used different woods for the cores on the old Coomba and Anti Piste, the flexes and weights were within a few grams. We really liked the old Coomba, but found that the rocker of the Anti made it , easier to adjust turn shape, and therefore more versatile and predictable ON HARD SNOW as well as soft, which was an eye opener for us. (After the test, I immediately pulled my Duke’s off the Comba’s and put them on Anti’s) So we took the Coomba construction which had a slightly stiffer flex due to the burlier core and gave it rocker. Et voila, the CoomBack.

  16. Lou August 19th, 2009 3:52 pm

    Nice Hat, thanks!

  17. Craig August 19th, 2009 5:01 pm

    Does anyone know the actual length of the 181 cm Coombacks?

  18. Lou August 19th, 2009 6:25 pm

    I’ll know shortly :ninja:

  19. Henrik August 29th, 2009 11:05 pm

    Good review! I too would like to know the actual length (as opposed to the running length which K2 measures, right?) of both the 174 and 181.

  20. JB September 14th, 2009 4:32 pm

    Nice review. So… what’s your height and weight Louie? I’m NW skier looking for new skis to replace my Jak’s and need help deciding between the 167’s and 174’s. I’m 5’10” and 160, 25+ days inbounds, 10 to 15 BC, depending on the season, skier.

  21. Louie Dawson September 14th, 2009 4:52 pm

    JB, I am about the same size as you, 5’10” and 150. I would probably go for the 174s.

  22. Louie Dawson September 14th, 2009 5:25 pm

    The 175 Coombacks measure at 175.5 cm, from tip to tail (actual length, not chord length). We haven’t got our hands on the 181s yet.

  23. Chris September 15th, 2009 1:31 pm

    JB, I’d go for at least the 174’s I’m 5’8 and 180 lbs, and the 174 feels small in the Coomba, i can only imagine that with the rocker the ski will ski shorter yet. the soft snow performance will only be enhanced by the next size up to 181. I wish I had purchased that length.

  24. Matt S September 15th, 2009 3:19 pm

    For what it’s worth, K2’s general recommendations for the Anti Piste put me in a 181 length based on my 170 lbs. I can’t remember the exact range, though.

  25. Matt S September 28th, 2009 7:33 pm

    Louie (or anyone else),

    Sorry this is a little late, but I’m wondering if you have been using the K2 skins with the Coombacks, and if so what you think of them. Thanks!

  26. Chris October 22nd, 2009 6:37 pm

    Have you compared the rocker of last year’s Anti-Piste to that of the Coomback? Is it noticeably different? Any thoughts on difference in flex between the two.


  27. Matt S October 22nd, 2009 7:22 pm

    Lou/Louie, I’m wondering if I can ask the dreaded ski length question. I’m 6’1″, 170, and an intermediate conservative BC skier in Seattle. I have Baker SLs, which will become my spring ski, leaving the CoomBack as a winter all-around ski, to be driven with Zzeus boots and Vertical STs. I generally get a “middle” size in my BC skis, and ski a 174 in the Baker, which works great. My local shop has recommended a 174 in the Coomback, but last year I got some advice to go up a size (181) for the AntiPiste because of the rocker. What do you guys think? Given the CoomBack’s rocker, do I stay with my usual size or go up to a 181?


  28. Lou October 22nd, 2009 8:02 pm

    Matt, Louie has been dealing with that very issue and we’re figuring he might like the 181 better, for a bit faster/smoother modern style skiing. With my slower style, I’d probably be happy with the shorter. At your height and weight, I’d think the 181 would be excellent.

  29. gtrantow November 17th, 2009 10:55 pm

    I skied the K2 AP 181 cm for two seasons tele. I am 6 foot 170 lbs and love the 181 cm in open slopes, but the treees and bumps are painful. I just bought the 174 cm ski to enjoy Aspen Highlands on pow days.

  30. dean November 21st, 2009 10:24 pm

    louie/mike h.
    I’m thrilled to now have some anti pistes at 174 (grunge/rocker/inserts) ready to receive the dynafits off my crossbows. I see no mounting line and am not finding info on line. Excited to be ready for RMNP soon. Help?

  31. dean November 24th, 2009 9:26 pm

    anyone with a hot tip on the mounting point for the anti piste (grunge/rockered tip)? Looking to mount asap with my dynafits. help appreciated. would like a second opinion. heard from k2 that 74 cm from the tail is the line, but “most are mounting 2cm forward of that” (paraphrase). would love to hear louie/lou/mike h. comment on this, especially since louie is so happy with his coombacks performance on everything. thanks. Is there some sort of excitement in aspen to see the women world cup racers? Love to see that.

  32. Lou November 25th, 2009 10:07 am

    Dean, I’m traveling so I can’t jump into the workshop and get you that info. But I do know that on my Antipistes I mounted per K2’s instructions and they work fine.

    When we can , we go to the ski races. They are indeed amazing.

  33. Chris Sauro December 15th, 2009 5:49 pm

    Lou or Mike Hattrup,
    Do you know the three-pin line for the Coomback? Is it the center point from the tip-to-tail? I want to mount my G3’s on them.

  34. Lou December 15th, 2009 6:22 pm

    That’ll have to be Hatt, what do I know about tele bindings!?

  35. Howie December 29th, 2009 6:37 pm

    Louie, have you skied the ’09-’10 Icelantic Nomad or Nomad SFT? I’m trying to get some comparisons to the Coomback.

  36. Grant January 4th, 2010 11:56 pm

    A few comments were posted on ski lengths.
    I’m looking at Coomback in the 174cm
    Is this too short for my 155lb, 5’11” self?
    I plan to use them for deep days, tree skiing and tight couloirs and that’s pretty much all as I have a pair for touring and another for no new snow days in Whistler.
    FYI, my other skis are 175 and 178 which I find to be the perfect length for me.

  37. gtrantow January 5th, 2010 8:16 am

    I ski 174 Anti Piste as tele, but can parallel them too. I sold my 181 cm AP because they were too long in the trees and tight spots. The 174 floats my 170 lbs/6’0″ with ease. I also ski 178 Dynafit 7 Summits (AT), 175 Pocket Rockets (AT) and 181 K2 World Piste (Tele), but I find the wide waist of the AP/Coomback works better shorter. Best, George

  38. franco January 20th, 2010 6:28 am

    Hi lou, I have a pari of black Dimanad Kilowatt (2008-2009) 1,74 (I’m 1,74 and 74 kg) and I use it for free ride and with skin too, but sometimese also in on-piste. I toke them last year after reading your review, but I’m not totally satisfied. They are maybe to hard for diamir binding and feel pain on hard or iced snow, but they are not enough good on powder or crust, probably because they are hard ski. Now I’m thinking to change them with coomback. What can you tell me camparing them?
    I’m a good skier, really good in on piste and good enough off, but not a kamikaze, may be for my age (44)…. 🙂

    ciao and thanks!


  39. Howie January 20th, 2010 8:37 am

    In the end I got to try both the Coomback and the Icelantic Nomad SFT. The Coomback behaved similarly to last year’s Coomba: it gets the job done but is missing life and pop. Also, the skis kept ‘braking’ on me when the snow wasn’t of consistent density or the surface was at all uneven. It made for a rough ride. While cutting fresh lines in open powder they worked fine, but any other time I didn’t enjoy them. Because of this I went with the 181 Nomad SFT (5’10”, 150 lb]) and have been thoroughly satisfied in their performance in all conditions and slopes (although I painted them because the graphics are way too loud).

  40. SB March 1st, 2010 2:20 pm


    Did you get a chance to put your Coombacks on a scale? The published weight (8lb 1 oz) is a little less than the current Verdict (8lb 6 oz), but I’m curious if either number is correct.

  41. BFO March 21st, 2010 3:45 pm

    I have heard the Dynafit bindings can rip out of the Coombacks. In fact, i saw a pair that had been ripped out. Not sure how it happened. Has anyone else heard this?

  42. Lou March 21st, 2010 7:24 pm

    BFO, are you saying the Coomback has some sort of construction that is not compatible with Dynafits, based on one pair of bindings that ripped out? That seems a bit out there…

  43. bfo March 21st, 2010 7:48 pm

    The shop that mounts my skis for me had a pair of Coombacks with Dynafits brought in where the toe piece pulled out. Who knows what really caused this but was wondering if this is common with Coombacks or any ski that does not have metal…Iam looking at Coomback, Sidestash or Hardside for spring touring and a Euro trip in April. All of these K2’s seem like great skis. I am a pretty hard skier who likes a fair amount of ski but with a nice flex in the BC.

  44. Lou March 22nd, 2010 7:24 am

    BFO, thanks for the specific question. No, AT bindings pulling out of skis is not common, and this is not common for Dynafit nor for K2.

  45. Janek April 8th, 2010 1:53 pm

    Lou, BFO,

    I’ve got the problem of the FT12 toe piece ripped out of Coombacks (in BMW brand). I was just skiing and suddenly realised what had happened.

    I was assisting the mounting and I know that the man has mounted thousands of Dynafits, on thousands of skis. I can hardly belive he made a mistake. I sent the skis to K2, and I am waiting for answer. I keep you updated.

    BTW. Coomback skis great !

  46. TPG May 4th, 2010 5:25 pm

    Historically speaking, I haven’t got along with K2s. I don’t know why. The last pair I had was some Unlimited VOs in 1985. However, I threw caution to the wind at a ski store in Bellingham about three weeks ago and bought some Coombacks and threw some Barons on them. The very next day I tried them in 18 inches of spring fresh at Mount Baker and LOVED them. They’re light, precise and just plain fun. Tried them again in less fluffy conditions at Mt. Washington a day or so later and they performed well in crud and ice. Next day in the backcountry they performed great again in pretty much every condition possible (my K2 skins, however, not so much. Balled up like I was on peanut butter). Anyway, glad I took the leap. Looking forward to many adventures with them.

  47. Janek July 15th, 2010 7:35 am

    Regarding the FT12 ripped out of the coombacks K2 experts stated that this was neither K2(skis) nor mounting fault. Anyway I have got the skis REPLACED.
    I was advised to use Marker bindings with them, but I am still waiting for answer if K2 officially discourage from mounting Dynafits. What would be strange as their factory team riders use setups like this. I will keep you posted.

  48. Lou July 15th, 2010 8:34 am

    TPG, the K2 skins I used on Denali worked well but it was pretty obvious they did not have much in the way of DWR treatment, so I treated them myself by rubbing with wax as well as using Nikwax Ski Skin Proof on them before we left Talkeetna.

    I’m used to doing this with other skins as well, so it didn’t seem like a big deal…

  49. Lou July 15th, 2010 8:35 am

    Janek, indeed, I’d say if you rip Dynafits out of skis that’s probably not the binding for you.

  50. Janek July 15th, 2010 2:48 pm


    I hope I do not rip Dynafits out of skis, but this has once happened. I do not consider myself to be fast nor fat (as for a skier, kg 77/8) There are plenty faster skiers using Dynafits at my weight, I am sure. Anyway the skis were replaced, what I appreciate K2 very much for (THANK YOU K2). I am in a difficult love wih Coombacks now , as this is the best allround ski I have ever tried, and the FT12 seemed to be the perfect solution to have a light touring but perfectly riding, all condition, set… The bottomline, I don’t want to loose Coombacks that I am in love with. I do not want to carry Fritschi/Marker etc. Luckilly we have got a climbing season in Europe now so I can say “I can think about it tomorrow”… I will keep you posted.

  51. Lou July 15th, 2010 3:19 pm

    Janek, provided you are not big and heavy and didn’t take a forward fall with the binding toes locked, I truly do advise you to find a different person to mount the bindings, and mount them with epoxy. Thousands of people use Dynafits, many with Coombacks, and I hardly ever hear of a problem.

  52. Rich August 27th, 2010 3:28 pm

    I bought the new Coombacks w/ Dynafits from a well-respected shop back in November 2009. I am not an extreme skier. In February a toe piece popped off – in-bounds, first run of the day warming up on Whistler’s green chair. The shop remounted the bindings for me. In June I used them for a ski descent of Rainier, and again lost a toe piece shortly after starting my descent. Luckily I was able to arrest the fall without incident. The shop sent them back to K2, which just replaced them. The shop says that K2 made their new backcountry skis too light and added some extra material for this year. The shop says many folks were having problems with bindings ripping off new K2 skis, and said there was a fatality accident due to this problem. Should I believe that my replacement Coombacks are safe?

  53. Gary September 29th, 2010 12:46 pm

    Just ordered ordered NTN Garmount boots and looking for skis. Considering the K2 Coomback. I ski 50/50 lift and BC. I live in central British Columbia and we get great powder. However on a good day you may get 2000ft in the BC (in my youth I did ski more). With lift ski your vertical will be a lot more. I love ski the soft crud along the sides. A strong tele skier. 6′ – 180lbs. Any suggestions on the ski and lenght.

  54. Lou September 29th, 2010 8:19 pm

    Um, Telemarktips.com? 😀

    Or, any other WildSnow telemarkers out there who can help out? Dostie?

  55. Terry September 30th, 2010 12:50 am

    50/50 lift/BC — K2 Darkside 181 cm

    or Dynafit “The Stoke” 182 cm

  56. Matt Kinney September 30th, 2010 9:35 am

    You could try telemarktips.com but between the exciting thread on “Actuaries” and “Contrador flunks Drug test” it might be hard to get a response . 😆

    My advise would be to “think old”, get lighter gear and don’t ever stop at 2000′. wink:

  57. Kassey Griffith October 18th, 2010 1:56 pm

    Hi Louie,
    I am a student at Colorado State University and I am doing a news article about climbing skins for an assignment. I know you have a lot of experience with them and I would love to ask you a few questions. I would really love to talk to you.

  58. Mike Selby October 28th, 2010 11:28 am

    Have skied the first generation of Coomba and actually bought 2nd pair off E-Bay but am going to try the rockered version this year. As a 5’8″, 165 lbs skier who gets between 100 and 200 days in a year I LOVED the Coomba and have never skied something that seemed designed for me in particular. For the lighter skier who enjoys the stoke in all conditions, terrain, both BC and on-piste. I don’t think anything compares (at least for me). Just pulled the trigger for a rockered version of the same ski and am hoping the core foundation and flex of the original Coomba ski hasn’t changed.

    Can anyone shed some light on the new vs. older version of the Coomba/Coomback?

  59. Tim October 29th, 2010 10:18 pm

    Anyone have more info on mounting Dynafits on Coombacks?

    Would inserts help with a ski with a softer core?

  60. Lou October 30th, 2010 6:59 am

    Tim, what’s the issue? We just mount ’em and carpe skium.

  61. Tim October 30th, 2010 12:11 pm

    Lou, no issues here.

    Just read of some people having an issue with binding pullout when using this ski/binding combo, and am wondering if there is any info about K2 having made changes to the ski to prevent it from happening.

    It appears they may have added something in the binding area of the 2010-2011 skis; can you confirm this?

    The Coomback looks like a sweetspot for width/weight in a powder touring ski, and since I am a committed Dynafiddler…..

  62. Lou October 31st, 2010 1:58 pm

    Most binding pullout is a result of poor mounting procedures. Or a huge skier using RV 12. Are you in one or both of those categories? If not, I wouldn’t worry about it.

  63. Mike Selby November 1st, 2010 10:14 am

    Hey Lou,

    Can you help me out on my Oct 28th question?


  64. vanessa December 8th, 2010 7:32 pm

    If anyone is really concerned with binding pullout on any ski, you could just helicoil the holes and then insert with epoxy…just don’t screw it up:) That being said I’ve rarely seen bindings pullout unless there is an error at the shop or a knot/imperfection in the wood core right under the mounting holes…which needless to say is very rare.

  65. Lou December 8th, 2010 8:09 pm

    What Vanessa said.

  66. Lou December 8th, 2010 8:10 pm

    Mike, more rocker is the main difference.

  67. Paul Cullen December 11th, 2010 12:05 pm

    Yet another ski length question. I think i found the right fit of ski for me, the Coombacks. I am new to the BC and have recently skied 170 Bandits I. I am 5′ 7″ and 170 lbs. also which binding would be best I’m thinking Dynafit…TLT or FT 12’s with a Scarpa Mansaulat boot??? back to ski length 167 or 176???? ps i love trees and cutes. tks. pc

  68. Tom Birdseye December 28th, 2010 11:46 am

    Louie. This is an old thread, but I’m wondering how you are feeling about your Coombacks now after extensive use. Still giving two thumbs up? Or have they been demoted to the corner? And if so, what are you riding these days? I ask because I’m suffering from a severe case of ski lust (specifically rockered) and am considering springing for a pair.

  69. Louie December 28th, 2010 12:15 pm

    I currently have a 3 ski quiver, k2 Waybacks for spring skiing, Black Diamond Megawatts for inbounds and backcountry powder where I’m not worried about weight, and the Coombacks. I use the Coombacks for winter ski mountaineering, long backcountry powder days where weight is a concern, and as more of an all around backcountry ski. The Coombacks are still my go to ski for most days in the backcountry, especially when the snow conditions are variable.

  70. Paul Cullen December 28th, 2010 12:24 pm

    I haven’t yet road the Coombacks I picked up the 174s and think this is the way to go for ht wt etc. will get them mounted this or next weekend depending on when my boots come in..

  71. Ryan January 12th, 2011 4:05 pm


    I noticed you advised using epoxy over wood glue for mounting dynafits on Coombacks. I have the 2010/11 model….just drilled my holes and I’m on the fence as what glue to use, talked with K2 and they recommended wood glue. Any advice or comments would be appreciated.

  72. Kerri January 18th, 2011 2:12 pm

    I just bought a pair of Coomback’s for my husband -question, is there a right and left ski or are they interchangeable?


  73. Lou January 18th, 2011 2:14 pm

    Interchangeable. Why would you think there is a right and left ski? The graphics or something?

  74. Kerri January 18th, 2011 2:50 pm

    Because I’m a snowboarder … I don’t know anything about skis. Thanks for answering my question!

  75. Thom Mackris January 18th, 2011 3:45 pm

    And then, there’s the asymmetric G3 Rapid Transit 🙂


  76. Toby January 18th, 2011 5:02 pm

    Yeah, there are more and more asymetric skis out there, so it’s a good question. I try to keep my Coombacks on the same feet even though they’re not asymetric. Great choice, Kerri. It took some time for me to warm up to my Coombacks but the final verdict is they rock!
    TG. :mrgreen:

  77. Kerri January 18th, 2011 5:38 pm

    Thank you for the very thorough review of the Coombacks. I hope you get a kick-back from K2. I wouldn’t have bought them based on K2’s description online. You review convinced me they were the right choice.


  78. Lou January 18th, 2011 11:39 pm

    Kerri, glad we can help.

  79. Rob January 19th, 2011 1:58 pm

    Lou – I’m on my second season with a pair of the original Coombas in a 181, mounted with Marker Barons. I’m a 6′, 180 lb skier just getting into touring. My question is, does the Coomback offer enough improved performance to justify an upgrade? I’m considering dropping down to the 174 to have a more manageable ski for kick turns (at age 51, I’m not as flexible as I once was…) Thoughts?

  80. Matt S January 24th, 2011 4:09 am


    I seem to recall a little bird mentioning that you are skiing the Maestrale this year. Is that true, and if so, are you using them with your Coombacks? My feet are currently locked in a duel to the death with my Zzeus boots (which I am losing in a route), and I am wondering if the Maestrale would work as a replacement to drive a similarly shaped ski (G3 Tonics) in PNW “snow”. They are my shorter tour, beefier setup, so I’d rather not be underbooted, but I’d also prefer to keep all my toes. I would describe myself as an intensely mediocre skier, if that helps. Any thoughts you have on the subject would be most appreciated.



  81. Paul Cullen January 24th, 2011 3:03 pm

    I have the 174s with dynafit slt and Mastrale boots, love the setup so far but have not yet had them in the backcountry…two hard all day long rides at resort skiing the steeper terrain. the skis felt great but could use a little more power from the boot for all day skiing. The reason i bought these boots was to tour and get into the backcountry. with weight savings and the comfort considering i will be hiking/tourning longer than a ski run will last i think the compromise will be well worth it especially when it is untracked snow. I don’t have any other experiences with other tourning boots only my alpine boots which are bomber tough. I do like the range of motion in walk mode of the Mastrales and look foward to the bc.

  82. Louie January 24th, 2011 6:13 pm

    Rob– I really liked the slightly rockered tip (basically the only difference between them), I don’t know if it’s worth the upgrade, depends on how worn out your Coombas are.

    Matt– I am using the Maestrales, and have skied the Coombacks a few times with them. I love the Maestrales, and they are plenty of boot for ski touring for me (I also have some Radiums for shorter tours). The amazing weight and tourability of them are worth the compromise with ski performance. They are definitely a lightweight boot, and some might consider them wimpy. I’ve actually never skied the Zzues, but I’m fairly sure the Maestrales are softer.

  83. Matt S January 25th, 2011 4:55 pm

    Thanks, Louie!

    Just to really try your patience, any further thoughts on the Radium/Maestrale divide (I haven’t skied the Radiums, but I assume they’re in roughly the same performance ballpark as the Zzeus)? Big performance drop off? Minimal? Big, but only in certain conditions? Do you find yourself taking the Maestrales out more and more, or do you find yourself longing for the control of the Radiums when you’re on the Maestrales and the CoomBacks? Or do you just wish that people would make their own ski boot decisions without pestering you with the same freaking question every five minutes?

    Lou, I take full responsibility for any decline in Louie’s GPA this term. My apologies.


  84. tony accurso January 29th, 2011 5:51 pm

    I am an east cost skier, primarily Vt., looking to purchase a ski for slack country touring, particularly in Mt Mansfield. I have Marker Dukes that I intend on using, and was wondering if the Coombacks are a good choice for someone who is 6’5″, 215 lbs, and if the Coomback isnt the ski for me/ here, what you would recommend.

  85. Brian Hessling January 30th, 2011 9:56 am

    Tony, I have a buddy that skis on Coombacks and likes ’em. He’s not your size, though. He’s more likeley to be b.c. skiing and not one to ski at the resort much where those boards would be a little too big on all but the big snow days. If your thinking of k2 they make the Hardside which is like 98 underfoot.

  86. Tony Accurso January 30th, 2011 11:18 am

    Thanks for responding, Brian. I am considering the hardside too. I am looking for a ski just for skinning and side/slack country, as I have skis for the frontside and resort. I will also look at the kiloiwatts. I don’t want to get something that isn’t good in soft snows and trees, as that will be the primary function.

  87. olaf richter January 30th, 2011 1:27 pm

    Another Dynafit/Coomback combo bites the dust:
    A few weeks ago I purchased a demo set-up from a shop in Colorado. and on day four, on a blue groomer no less, my Dynafit front ripped out of my Coomback upon coming to a high-speed halt. Nothing crazy. I’m 175 lbs, an advanced skier, but would not classify me by any means as “extreme.” The shop ensure me that they had used 3.5mm holes, and I have absolutely no reason to assume it was a faulty installation. Skis will be shipped to K2 tomorrow – I’ll keep y’all posted.

  88. Rich Draves January 30th, 2011 1:31 pm

    Hi Olaf, do you know if you were skiing 2009/2010 or 2010/2011 Coombacks?

  89. olaf richter January 30th, 2011 1:46 pm

    Hi Rich.
    They were this year’s demo skis, so I assume that they are 2010/11s.

  90. Rich Draves January 30th, 2011 1:54 pm

    I was really hoping that K2 had fixed this problem for 2010/11. If it’s not too much trouble, could you check with the shop that sold them to you?

  91. olaf richter January 30th, 2011 2:14 pm

    Will do for sure. Stay tuned.

  92. Lou January 30th, 2011 4:39 pm

    Olaf, the bindings rip out and you have no reason to believe the install was faulty? Huh?

  93. olaf richter January 30th, 2011 5:00 pm

    Lou –
    I had nothing but great experiences with this shop so far, and many people in Colorado trust these guys. They have installed thousands of Dynafits over the years – hence I had no reason to believe that the install was the problem. Let’s see what K2 comes back with.

    – olaf

  94. Lou January 30th, 2011 5:36 pm

    Olaf, if a mount rips, then the first thing I’d suspect is the mount, no matter how expert the mounter is. If one of my mounts ripped, I’d take full responsibility until I knew there was some other reason (such as a severe knee fall with the toe locked). Any number of things can be wrong with a mount, and if they were demos pre-mounted, who knows. Heck, perhaps they mounted using wood glue and never checked the screw tightness, or something like that. As for K2, perhaps they’ll give you new skis, but they probably won’t be able to crystal ball into the past and tell us why the screws pulled.

    As for early Coombacks perhaps being weaker in the binding mount area than some other skis, that could be so, but plenty of Coombacks are out there getting well used, including my son’s, and they’re doing fine. Thus, this mythology surrounding the supposed weakness of Dynafits on Coombacks should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Lesson here is that if you buy used skis, it’s not a bad idea to re-mount the bindings using epoxy etc.

  95. Toby January 31st, 2011 10:54 am

    Hi Tony,
    I’m 6’4″ and 205 pounds, experienced skier. I purchased some Coombacks last April with Marker Barons. Took a few times out to get used to them but once dialled in I found they are an awesome go-anywhere ski. I’ve toured on them, skied all conditions in the BC and have resort skied on them several times. My choice for almost any day except deep pow when I prefer my Head Jimis.
    Hope that helps.

  96. tony accurso February 2nd, 2011 6:57 am

    Thanks, TG, I am demoing the hardside today, we are getting 18″ of fresh as we speak. I will let you know what I think.

  97. Tom February 5th, 2011 10:49 pm

    Just back from an in-bounds demo day on Coombacks. I was hoping for soft snow, but got served up hardpack and broken refrozen crud — not the Coomback’s forte. Or so I’d read. So I left them in the car and started out skiing my old G3 Rapid Transits. Which, despite their stiffness, chattered a lot. At lunch I figured, oh well, might as well try the Coombacks, and made the switch. Wow! If they can rail hard snow like that — and I’m talking boilerplate in places — I can’t wait to see what they do on soft. Bottom line: fantastic ski. Now I just gotta figure out what length, 174 or 181? I’m 6’0, 166 lbs. Any suggestions from those who’ve been on them a while?

  98. Toby February 6th, 2011 7:40 pm

    Hi Tom,
    Good choice with the Coombacks. I like mine more everytime I ski them. Great in all conditions … they really shine in variable snow in the BC here on Vancouver Island. To give you an idea, I’m 6’4″, 205 and ski hard all day in all terrain, including tight trees. I ski the 181. There was only one time I wish I had the 188s and I was really cooking some GS turns out in a wide open bowl with six inches of fresh. Hope that helps.

  99. tony accurso February 11th, 2011 7:14 am

    So I wound up buying the 2009 Coomba 188’s, and I couldn’t be happier! Nice and turny, great in the trees, and fairly light . Each ski weighs 7.76 lbs with large Marker Dukes. I skied them on hard snow, and they were great. I also skinned them the day before in 7″ of fresh.Very surprising.
    I was able to demo the Sidestash at a BMW event at Killington, and it confirmed my decision, the Coomba is the right ski fro me.
    Thanks for all of your help!

  100. Lou February 11th, 2011 7:46 am

    That’s great Tony!

  101. Jodie February 13th, 2011 5:16 pm

    Hi Lou, I am an aggressive Vermont female skier looking at the Gotback. I think it will meet my desires of performing well in the trees post tour, or side stash in variable terrain. I am about 135 and 5’4. With the rocker I am wondering if I should ski the 160 or 153? I plan on putting an AT set up on them and taking them skinning whenever I get the opportunity. Any thoughts?

  102. Lou February 13th, 2011 6:09 pm

    160, they will rock you.

  103. Darrell Finlayson February 15th, 2011 12:59 am

    Adding to the Coomback binding pull out thread.

    Mounted a set of 22 Design AXL telemark bindings this season (these have 6 mounting screws as opposed to the standard 4 hole pattern.) One of the bindings ripped out. I had about 25 days on these skis. I remounted the set with heli-coils in each hole. (I used a kit that I bought on line from Tognar Toolworks and followed the instructions precisely). The same binding began to pull out after two days of skiing. In both cases I was very lucky and did not crash or get hurt.
    I haven’t mounted a huge amount of bindings but was taught by a reliable and experienced shop guy. I used plenty of wood glue to seal the screws. I have other skis with these bindings that have 200 plus days with no problems, and none of my other mounts have had any issues. I initially thought that my first mount was poor due to some unknown mistake I made. I find it hard to believe that a binding remounted with 6 helicoils would pull out.
    K2 is replacing my skis when they have stock available, for which I am very thankful as this is my favorite ski of all time.
    So… I’m not sure what is going on here, but I lost a bunch of sleep thinking about what might have happened had that binding pulled out while I was skiing instead of at the bottom of the lift as I was putting them on.

  104. Brian February 17th, 2011 12:43 pm

    Lou/Louie, another sizing question. I’m hoping maybe you have a definitive answer (unlike the shop folks I’ve talked to) based on skiing on the Coombacks for a couple seasons. I’m 6’0″ 170 lbs and plan on using the Coomback mostly in the backcountry as my only ski and plan on encountering all types of conditions. I’m relatively new to skiing (snowboarded for years), but would say that I’m fairly aggressive speed wise when I can be. I’m trying to decide between the 174 and 181. I was leaning toward the 181, but my only concern is its maneuverability in tight, steep terrain. It seems like the 181 is more like 185 in actual tip-to-tail-length. Thanks for the help.

  105. Lou February 17th, 2011 12:59 pm

    Brian, hard choice. The 181 is going to rip much better, but if you’re doing true ski mountaineering the 174 would be a good tool as well.

    We just got a new pair of 174 Coomback here for Louie and I, but specifically for ski mountaineering.

    How old are you, and where do you ski mostly?

  106. Brian February 17th, 2011 1:03 pm

    Lou. I’m 25 and in Seattle, so 95% of the time I’ll be using these in northwest snow conditions.

  107. Toby February 17th, 2011 1:13 pm

    If I can offer a suggestion … 181s hands down. I’m 6’3″ and a strong but not super-aggressive BC skier and I ski mashed potatoes here on Vancouver Island. I own a pair of 181s and wouldn’t go a centimetre shorter. I love them in wide open bowls at speed and tight trees. Better to grow into them than out of them. Hope that helps.

  108. Chris February 17th, 2011 3:56 pm

    I’m with Brian. I’m 5’10” and 145 pounds and my 174 coombacks are great for steep, powder bumps, but not good for fast turns in variable fresh snow. They’re heavier, but you may want to consider the hardsides if you ski fast.

  109. Louie February 17th, 2011 11:07 pm

    I’d suggest the 181 as well.

  110. Lou February 18th, 2011 7:31 am

    At 25 years old, 170 lbs, yes, the 181. Carpe skium

  111. Xav February 23rd, 2011 8:00 am

    Hi! I’ve another dreaded sizing question. I’m 6′ 5″ and with all the gear onboard I easily reach the 220lbs mark. What I lack in technique is made up in brute force approach. I will be doing mainly one-day trips and some slackcountry. I don’t expect to be riding very high speed I just want to make sure I’ll have enough float in the powder and edge on hard snow. The question is 181 or 188 Coombacks?


  112. Lou February 23rd, 2011 8:59 am

    188! You are at the outer edge of the design envelope (grin)!

  113. Xav February 23rd, 2011 10:08 am

    That’s what my mountain bike parts used to tell me when they broke (grin). For that very reason I’m rather not convinced by tech bindings in my case. Thanks Lou!

  114. Robin Schiller February 23rd, 2011 9:54 pm

    I’ve skied K2 Hardsides and love them – great on Highlands Bowl steeps and crud, and in the trees. Much better than expected cruising down the mountain on hardpack and bumps. Before I buy, I wonder if I should look at Coombacks for more flotation, or Gotbacks to suit my size and weight (I’m 58 yrs old, 5′-4″., 135 lbs and skied the Hardsides in 174 cm) but I can’t fine either of those to demo. Anyone have thoughts?

  115. Janek February 24th, 2011 4:45 am

    K2 Hardsides vs Coomback

    After I had destroyed Coombacks I went for Hardsides in the same length for touring. Coomback is much better, nicer, more forgiving, versatile and better floating. I regret not beeing able to trust Coomback again, as it skis great. Anyway I am in great love with the Darksides so maybe Sidestash (which is in between the Hard and Dark) would do the job…

  116. Kevan February 27th, 2011 10:21 pm

    Another Dynafit/Coomback toe piece pull out …

    While riding inbounds in UT on hard/icy conditions made a hard turn and pulled the toe piece out. I had the piece heli-coiled back in and proceded to pull it out again several days later. I ski this setup inbounds a lot as it’s my only alpine ski, so it received plenty of abuse on hard conditions.

    Complete setup is BD method boots, Dynafit FT12’s, and 09/10 Coomback 188’s. Bindings were mounted at Bent Gate, so I trust their work.

    I am 190# and ski fairly aggressively. This combo has been my favorite alpine setup by far (skis amazingly in all conditions, light weight, and i thought solid). I hope to have the skis replaced by K2, but thought I’d add to the list of failures with this combo …

    For those considering this combo, it seems pull outs are rare but can happen. I’m looking into quiver killers or an aftermarket mounting plate to help with the strength as I remount my Dynafits (hopefully to some new K2’s). It’s just such a great skiing combination that I want to go right back to it …

    thanks to wildsnow for all the great info & reviews!

  117. honkey February 27th, 2011 11:10 pm

    K2 builds skis for the very average skier. 5’10”, strong intermediate, & certainly not getting out there 50+ days a year. For any bigger guy looking at these, strongly consider something else. Look beyond the 2 page ad spreads in the big ski magazines before buying and don’t be a slave to hype!

  118. Frame February 28th, 2011 8:29 am

    Only half tongue in cheek, but who builds ski’s for the 6′ 4” and up crowd, 220 lbs and up? Tall is the new Black… though plenty of my mates still use the term ‘freak’ around me.

  119. Alex Laudon March 7th, 2011 10:09 pm

    Hi Lou, Louie: many thanks to Wildsnow for all the great information and discussion. Coomback ski length question… 140lbs, expert skier, 100% human powered, always carrying at least 20lbs (more on multi-days/technical tours) for total weight of at least 160lbs on average. Ski all my K2s in 167 (Baker SL, Baker regular, Backup). Would probably ski original Coomba in 167 but have trouble deciding on Coomback length, 167/174(?) because of rocker and softer flex (than Coomba). Looking for stable, predictable ski for variable conditions often encountered on glaciers in the Cascades (wind affected, sun crusts, powder, firm). Should I be looking at Backlash instead to replace my regular Bakers? Thanks.

  120. Ian March 12th, 2011 8:01 am

    Lou/Louie, another sizing question. I am 5′ 8″ and 155 lbs and looking at the Coombacks as my all round ski, mainly backcountry and day tours. My local shop only has 181’s in stock and I am heading to the Canadian Rockies in two weeks and need new skis as my old ones are bust. Would the 181’s be too much of a compromise? I am fairly agressive, but no cliffs…

  121. Ed May 28th, 2011 9:21 pm

    G’day Lou and Louie

    Thanks for this thread on the K2 Coomba’s. I am choosing between the Volkl Mantra’s and the K2 Coomba’s. I have not got the chance to demo before I buy (bit of a bugger). I will use my Fritschi Freeride Plus as the binding.

    I am currently on Salomon Exscreams (timeless planks!). I am ski-ing 50% back country and 50% on fields down here in New Zealand. I am 6ft and 90kgs and not as aggressive as I was in my younger days. As you may know, the snow in NZ is generally wind blown, hard pack on and off piste. With a bit of powder when I head South.

    Keen on your views on the merits of the Volkl Mantra or K2 Coomba’s. Also a little concerned about the comments about toe pieces riping out of the Coomba’s.

    Thanks mate.

  122. Pancho July 14th, 2011 7:50 pm

    I just bought a pair of K2 Wayback and I wish to mount tele bindings (22designe Axl) on them. Where does sameone recommend me to place them in relation to the chord line???

    Pancho, Patagonia, Argentina

  123. Lou July 15th, 2011 6:52 am

    Pancho, someone here might have the answer but you’d do better to contact K2 customer service.

  124. Thomas August 26th, 2011 6:54 am

    What is the exact weight and measure in length of these skis: 188cm Hardside / versus 188 Comback?

  125. Lou August 26th, 2011 8:35 am

    Thomas, neither are designed to be particularly light, just to ski super well.

    They’re also different widths so a weight comparison is somewhat meaningless, Coomback is 135/102/121, while Hardside is 131/98/119.

    I don’t have exact weights for the lengths you request, I’d suggest simply calling or emailing K2.

    We only real-world weight the skis we receive and review. We do have a pair of Coomback 2011/12 model in 174cm, which weigh in at 65 ounces per ski. Not particularly light but that’s ok at their width, and they ski super well.

    See our weight chart:


  126. Daniel September 27th, 2011 3:10 pm

    the dreaded sizing question again.

    wtb apache coomba or coomback for resort/sidecountry.

    6’2 180lbs, short legs for the size. liked 174 bakers, 181 backlashes (the earlier ones w/o rocker) feel long.

    coomba in 174 or 181? different for coomback?


  127. Mike Selby September 28th, 2011 4:04 pm

    I have owned 4 pairs of Comba’s over as many years and will undoubtedly buy another pair this year after putting 252 days on my last purchase tele. Yeah, it was a hell of a season in the Carson Range East of Lake Tahoe and we were skiing into August plus the bonus rounds on Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta. I can’t more highly recommend any ski produced. Doug knew what he was doing with his input on these boards. They are light but produce great turns in mash potato’s, frozen muck and breakable crust. For their weight, you can’t beat their performance all around. I am 5’8″ 165 lbs and I ski the 181 version. I would recommend moving up a little in length due to the rocker effect of the current models. A small percentage of your purchase also goes to Doug’s widow and family which is a bonus!

  128. Lou September 28th, 2011 5:29 pm

    Thanks for chiming in Mike! Lou

  129. Mike Selby September 28th, 2011 6:39 pm

    You are very welcome Lou. After reading about all the binding problems etc. I wanted to post just what a great ski they are for at least lighter and smaller folks that like to ski hard both on and off piste! Thanks for your blog. It is a good one!

  130. Janek September 29th, 2011 1:37 am

    “coomba in 174 or 181? different for coomback”

    I’ve skied as both of them 181cm , at 170 lbs, 5″10,5 and never felt to long. I would rather go for 181/188 at your “sizing”. Due to the rocker the Coomback filling is like skiing a shorter ski. Of these two the “back” is nicer, but this is probably obvious for you.

    K2 sizing chart should help you a lot.

    (I would just change the sentence “in doubts go shorter” to “in doubts go as long as you can” 🙂

  131. Jake October 27th, 2011 11:56 pm

    Yet another dreaded sizing question…Coming off of BD Verdicts and AXLs but looking to go AT with a more playful and fun ski. I’m 5’10 180 leaning towards the 181’s. I’m an intermediate skier, should I stick with that size, or go down to the 174’s. As much as I would like to get in the BC I have to be realistic with my family and school situation so these would probably be something like 70/30 BC/resort, what binding do you guys recommend? I’m currently living in WA and would like to use them to ski Hood, St. Helens, Adams, Baker, and maybe the lower parts of Rainier since I found out this year that walking all the way down them after going up isn’t all that fun. Thanks for the help, sounds like a great ski.

  132. JCoates October 28th, 2011 12:27 am


    My $0.02….
    I got the ski-touring bug on the above mentioned Cascade volcanoes. I found (and still find) that the less weight I carried up the hill, the more enjoyable my day was. Since the volcanoes are mostly hard-pack and corn skiing, I would go as light as possible and I wouldn’t go with a ski wider than 90-95 mm in the waist. This size will still rip on the groomers, and if you can’t ski powder so well, than your money would be better spent with a day or two of lessons and more time practicing.

    Good luck and have fun.

  133. Lou October 28th, 2011 6:42 am

    Jake, what JCoats said is good advice. But if you’re set on a ski of the wider type, for length you’d want to evaluate your style at the resort, and your body weight and height. If you’re planning on losing any body weight, you could probably go with the 174 if you ski at the resort in a fairly mellow style, and as you say, are an intermediate skier. On the other hand, if you’re out in natural soft snow or ski with more speed, the 181s might be better, though at your height I’d consider a 181 to be a fairly “big” ski. Can you demo some stuff at the resort for a few weeks? Really, demo experience is how to answer these questions.

  134. Jake October 28th, 2011 8:36 am

    Thanks for the advice all. I’m only going to be in WA for one more year, have climbed all said peaks, loved it, but unfortunately due to school will be moving next year. Good thing is I’ll be moving to E. Idaho where I hope to get some more (have done a fair amount) days in the Teton BC. I think that is one of the reasons that I was leaning towards the Coombacks, but am open to any ski knowing that it won’t always be a blower powder day. Anybody care to steer me in the direction of a few skis/binding setup recommendations? Thanks.

  135. TL October 29th, 2011 2:09 pm

    I am planning to build a ski touring pack including Maestrales, Dynafits FT12’s and skis I have not yet chosen. First I considered Dynafits Stoke or Manaslu but heard and read lots of cases where toe piece has ripped of. Now I would like to go for Coombacks but read these comments and problems with toe pieces ripping of and I not so sure anymore.
    Does this problem still exist with 10/11 and 11/12 versions or should I start looking for other skis? I am about 6’4” and 210 lbs without gear and as said, looking for a ski touring skis with FT12’s. Would you recommend Coombacks or if not, which skis would be the next best choice? Sidestash or hardside? Or is there some similar skis from BD or any other manufacturer that someone would recommend?

  136. Dimitri October 29th, 2011 3:04 pm

    loads of choices, I am facing a similar decision for my new rig with the PLUM Guides as a binding, personally I’ll be opting for a La Sportiva HI5.

    other choices are Prior Husume, Movement jackal, Trab Evo Volare, DB Drift & Aspect, G3 ZenOxide, Rossi S3, Surface Live Free, Völkl Nanuq, Völkl Nunataq, la la la, you get the idea, there are plenty of good skis 🙂 good hunting

  137. mt November 14th, 2011 7:46 pm

    Lou and Louie,

    Greetings from the North Cascades where winter is due to arrive in 36 hours. I’m a Clydesdale at 6’4″ and 220lbs and 54 years young and recovering from 43 years of tele skiing, with a low volume size 28 foot.

    I got the rockered bug because last March I was skiing Tahoe and got 24 feet in 2 weeks, and found I had to ski from the back seat. So the question is, what to buy, from reading all the comments I was looking at some 188 Coombacks with some Dynafit TLT Radical ST for touring. Unsure on the boots.

    I am open to ANY and ALL suggestions for a rando set-up.

    Best to All in the 2011-12 season,


  138. Lou November 14th, 2011 7:55 pm

    mt, I don’t see any inherent problem with the ski/binding setup, but be ready for a learning curve with the Dynafits if you’re coming directly from tele, especially at your size as you’ll probably be able to eject pretty easily in touring mode.

    As for boots, it’s more about what fits your foot. Can you go to a shop where a good boot fitter works, and they have a brand selection? At your size you’ll want one of the beefier boots, but exactly which one will depend on your feet.

    Randonnee, what say you? Jordan? We need to get some words here from the larger guys.


  139. Toby November 14th, 2011 10:00 pm

    Hi MT,
    Best of the ski season to you too. I’m on Vancouver Island and ski your stomping grounds often. I’m six-foot-four, 210 lbs. Ride a 188 Coomback with Garmont Radiums (size 28) and skied on the Marker Barons last year, but am selling them due to weight. I researched the crap out of the Radical ST versus the new Radical FT and am convinced I need the FT, as much for ascents as descents. Saw a lot of friends eject in sketchy places going up last year with the ST. I like the FT’s higher DIN. Just my two cents.


  140. JCoates November 15th, 2011 3:07 am


    I am not sure how agressive a skier you are, but If you are a clydesdale, I am a bowling ball (6’1″ and 245lbs). I skied the Coombacks last year w/ Dynafit FT 12s and Garmont Radiums. I did not have any retention problems even though the FT 12s are going on their 3rd year. I just remounted them on the same Coombacks to fit my new dynafit TLT 5Ps and skied last weekend. Still no problems and I couldn’t appreciate any loss of stiffness or control with this set-up even with the tongues out.

    I like having the lighter weight boots and bindings to make up for the increased weight a wider board gives, and even with my weight I haven’t had any problems popping out of Dynafits or driving my Coombacks.

    Have fun!

  141. Randonnee November 15th, 2011 7:18 am

    “Randonnee, what say you?” This big guy says FT12 on Manaslu and on Stoke are A-OK, no issues, with Zzero3C or Zzero4C boots. I think improved engineering over the older models of Dynafit bindings, I can press the ball of my foot down and release the older Dynafit bindings. Older Dynafits forced me to ski very smoothly with finesse since an exertional twitch would lose a ski from my foot..

    I am not ready to jump on the new Radical binding yet, since my ST and FT bndings are- A-OK. As well, I am staying with my Zzero3C (or4C) mainly because of the metatarsal flex in the TLT5. I ski a lot from my feet and believe that I would flex that TLT5 boot while turning. Also I am very fond of my Zzero3C- taller boots rub my large calf.

    Manaslu remains my touring favorite over Stoke, although Stoke is fun-review here-

    I have upgraded to the new stiffer Manaslu 178cm. but not skied them yet. . I continue to prefer touring ski length of the Euro standard length below my nose when standing. On those short skis I go as fast as needed and enjoy the touring on steep forested mountain slopes with the shorter ski- easier getting around.

  142. mt November 15th, 2011 9:03 am

    Dear Lou, TG, and JCoats, and Rando,

    Thanks kindly for all your input. In my day (when dinosaurs still roamed the earth) I was a very aggressive skier who had the pleasure of sharing the same slope with Lou in Tahoe after he delivered his talk on his book Wild Snow. Due to my size and strength, I was always able to totally destroy equipment, so my wallet decided that I needed learn to try to ski like a petite blonde rather than an 800 lb. gorilla. Although the gorilla comes out once things get frozen and hard.

    My first descent into rando was prompted by a move to the North Cascades, where spring touring between the treeline and the road brought home the difficulty of steering two meter tele board between the pecker pole forest spaced about the width of my shoulders, without engaging in the ugly sport of health care.

    So I bought some 185 Atomic Kongurs, mounted a pair of Diamir Explores and drove them with some Garmont Dynamites. I loved the set-up, but am now searching for a rando touring set-up for an attempt on the Ptarmigan Traverse. I’ve been on Atomics since the advent of the Beta cap design and found them consistently to be the lightest stiffest skis I could find.

    I had the opportunity to ski the Coombas a couple years back during a trip into the Selkirks and loved them. I think Doug would be (is?) happy to know that we are still talking about his design after his passing into the next realm. He was poetry on snow, and for all I know, still is, in the realm of the beyond.

    So it looks like I should look at the FT for the higher DIN, that the 188 Coomback is the right size, and my walllet said that I will be using my existing Dynamites to steer ’em. Any tips on mounting these puppies? Any skin recommendations for this?

    One last issue, I’m sure you have heard of the passing of Jamie Pierre skiing Alta pre-opening. Doing some investigation, it appears that the continental mountains make be plague by some depth hoar due to some rotten October snow.




    So, Take Care, Take a Risk.

    Thank you kindly all for your time and attention. Should you ever find yourself ensconced on the dry side of the North Cascades, gimme a shout, and we shall get out. Have an awesome season All.

    Wax Em’ Up, Point Em’ Down!


  143. Mike December 3rd, 2011 3:30 pm

    The toe piece of my Dynafit FT12 bindings ripped out of my K2 Coombacks twice last season. I’m about 200 lbs but not a very agressive skier. Both times were during an easy turn on a hard pack groomer. After contacting both K2 and a K2 dealer they assured me this was rare and couldn’t be the fault of the ski. So I had given up any chance of getting a replacement set of skis until I stumbled across this and a couple other threads on the subject. After reading these posts it does seem to be more than a ‘rare’ occurence. I think I’ll be pursuing this a bit further.

  144. mt December 3rd, 2011 6:37 pm


    I wish I had a dollar for every time a manufacturer told me that a failure of their product was rare, with Black Diamond leading the pack. If such a failure was rare, then why are all these posts about failure.

    My experience is that there is a lot of equipment that works for the smaller skier, that once strapped on a Clydesdale such a myself, fail. My only response is that Clydesdale need to ski carefully while carving.

    Happy Winter,


  145. dmr December 4th, 2011 7:54 am

    I have neither the technical measuring tools nor the equipment testing experience (not even a workbench) of Lou, but I do have a question, could the wider skis + Clydesdale-ness of some be a potential cause of ripping the bindings out of skis?

    From what I’ve read and heard, the front piece of the Dynafit was not designed for such a wide ski, so the levering + heavy individual might be the cause (I’m sure that y’all have thought of that). My understanding is that the FT Z12 binding series is supposed to take care of that (as well as tighter springs on some front piece models).

    15 years ago I ripped a Marker MRR toe piece out of a Dynamic slalom ski. Had the remount done with heli-coils (sp?) and never had a problem after.

    Should the Clydesdales among us who choose a wide ski + Dynafit binding setup go the heli-coil route?

    Just a suggestion / question (I’m not a materials nor physics expert, I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV).


  146. dmr December 4th, 2011 7:57 am

    P.S. I’ve never had hard goods fail, so never had to deal with a brand claiming that failure was not their fault. However, I have had good luck with clothing and backpack manufacturers replacing zippers, repairing seams, and reinforcing cordura in the lower pant legs of ski pants.

  147. mt December 4th, 2011 5:35 pm


    I think you are correct. Although it depends on what type of Clydesdale you are, at 2 m tall and 100 kg heavy, I have an inseam of 38 inches and a wingspan of 7 feet. All the limb length adds a lot of leverage ( longer moment arms), making it easier stress the mount. Additionally I use a lot of angulation, which adds to the problem.

    In my brief 43 years of mounting boards, I’ve always gone the heli-coil route simply because it seemed like cheap insurance and a better alternative to ripping the mount out, and then hoping the ski manufacturer can see it’s way to replacing the ski.

    One thing I will note is that while mounting a NTN binding to a pair of Line skis, it does appear that as skis morph into snowboards their vertical profile appears to shrinking, leaving less bearing surface for the screws, which would increase the chance of ripping out the binding mount. One might be served by using a higher thread count per inch of screw.

    FWIIW, I’m a M.E. P.E. with 30 years of professional experience in addition to a PhD in destroying recreational equipment of all types.

    Damn Clydedales!

    Ciao Bene


  148. leo January 21st, 2012 9:24 am

    Hi Lou,

    Did the 2011-12 model changed much from the 2010-11 model?

  149. coastranger February 10th, 2012 2:35 pm

    pulled the FT 12 toepeice out of my 181 coombacks the other day. Second time for this, this time they had been heli coiled. Blown my confidence in this setup. Back to touring in my fritschi rig. Will the wider radical mounting pattern be better for wider waisted skis? This wreck was on the apron run out of a steep line and if it would have blown near the top it would not have been good. Calky, firm, snow conditions.

  150. mt February 10th, 2012 3:05 pm

    Dear Coastranger,

    Sorry to hear about your blowout. Do have recs for skis to mount the FT 12’s on?



  151. Starkicker February 10th, 2012 3:16 pm

    Been out a few times now on my Coomback/FT Radical setup. After a shaky first two times out – prerelease in touring mode mostly in sloppy deep snow – we became good friends at Mt. Baker recently. Skied the Blueberry Chutes in choppy, windblown snow with 100 per cent confidence. Highly recommend this set-up. Required pin replacement for bindings is also easy as pie.

  152. Chris February 19th, 2012 2:38 am

    hey there
    i am 5? 9? and 142 lbs
    i want a touring ski and am looking at the coomback or sidestash with a pair of fritschis or a baron
    my question is..what should i get??
    the 174 or 181??
    i am leaning towards the 174 but on the other hand i think my tips are going to sink in the deep stuff..
    and if i get any of them where should i mount the fritschis so that i don’t sink???

    my other skis are atomic bent chetlers 183 if this helps
    any ideas??please help..i have to decide soon

  153. Mike Selby February 19th, 2012 11:22 pm

    Greetings Chris,

    I would say personal preference and skiing style will make your decision. If you like to bust through stuff and ski fast, avoid bumps and slalom turns and enjoy the GS, go for the Side Stashes. They have a stiffer tail which makes for more stable longer radius turns. However, if you enjoy slowing it down, skiing everything fairly well and ruling in the bumps, transitions and changeable conditions go for the Coombas. After all, they were designed by Doug Coombs himself and are made to go anywhere and ski anything. I can vouch for them times my fourth pair. As for length, the longer ski will give you more floatation but at your weight you could go either way. I am 5’8″ 165 and ski the 181’s without an issue. If I was really into the bumps, I would go with the 174cm. Hope that helps!

  154. Lou February 20th, 2012 12:54 am

    I’d concur that ski length is something to consider as to desired style of skiing. Now with rocker, I’ve come to like some of my skis a bit longer so I can make more relaxed, wider turns, in terrain that’s open enough for such. But I still enjoy shorter skis for their weight, ease of carrying on backpack, ease of carrying during train travel in Europe (grin), and stuff like that. But the shorter skis definitely require an adjustment of technique and you need to have different expectations on what they’ll do. Main thing with it all is to “run what you brung…”

  155. Daniel February 20th, 2012 2:17 am

    as said, i rode the 174s in a meter of fresh in fairly low angle terrain (read: safe terrain that day), without any floatation issues. the majority of skiers was struggling and getting stuck that day. my preference is short turns, anyway.

  156. Mike Selby February 20th, 2012 4:07 pm


    Sounds like your set on the 174’s then. Good choice. Enjoy.

  157. Mike Selby February 20th, 2012 4:12 pm

    Lou, (or anyone else with some experience)

    Speaking of Europe… have a few non-tech financial questions for you. Going to Chamonix, La Grave and Zermatt end of March for 3 weeks. Will be based mostly in Cham (16 days) with sidetrips to La Grave and Zermatt. What is the most economical (legal) way of accessing the lifts for that long a time without spending a fortune? Taking my 10 year old so skinning up is really not an option.

    Any advice, esp. for the Chamonix area will be much appreciated.


  158. Rob February 20th, 2012 11:53 pm

    Mike – I live in Germany, and just visited Cham and La Grave last month. Chamonix offers multi-day tickets that are pretty economical once you get to seven or eight days duration, so I’d try to do your skiing at Cham in a block if you want to get the best deal. The “Mont Blanc” pass is more expensive, and you only need it if: 1) you want the option to ski Courmayeur in Italy, 2) you want to take the upper tram at Les Grand Montets (which you make want to do to access some of the off-piste there) 3) you want to take the cable car to Aiguille di Midi to ski the Vallee Blanche (and you can always buy a one-day pass to do that) or 4) you want to ski Les Houches at the end of the valley (a good lower elevation option if the vis is crappy and you want to stay in the trees.

    Lift tickets at La Grave are cheap…only about 37 euro, if I recall. There are a number of good touring options nearby, so you might not need a ticket every day.

    As for Zermatt…I love the place, but it sure ain’t cheap. If you are in the market for a $30K watch, it’s the place to go! It is a pretty long way from Cham though….a long way for a day trip. You may want to plan an overnight there to make the most of it.

    Would be happy to share more info on any of those places if you need it.

  159. Rob February 20th, 2012 11:55 pm

    Mike – one more thing…if you are staying that long in Cham, plan a day-trip to Verbier. It’s only about a 90 min drive if the pass is open, and it is a freeride paradise.

  160. JCoates February 21st, 2012 6:10 am

    I posted here earlier about how much I loved my FT 12/Coomback set-up but looks like I spoke too soon.

    I ripped out my toe-piece this weekend skiing (coincidentally) in Chamonix back-country. It was on ice but otherwise I wasn’t skiing aggressively and not in an exposed location. I talked to an American guide in town and she says she knows of several guys in town skiing this set-up that this has happened too.

    Purely speculation but I think it was a combo of things:
    1) My fat butt.
    2) Narrow wasted FT 12 toe-piece
    3) Wider ski widths act as a longer fulcrum and create greater force on the toe-pieces.
    4) Possibly (and purely speculation) something with the Coombacks core (foam??) which predisposes them to this.

    Again, I like to think of myself as a technical skier–not a huckster–so I never bothered getting the FT 12 “power plates.” I would if given another chance, as I loved my Coombacks and now they are unrepairable. Oh well, fat skis are a crutch for poor technique anyway…:)

    Mike, I highly encourage you renting some touring skis for your kiddo while there. You can rent them in Chamonix or Argentiere (as I did this weekend after my equipment fiasco). There are some easy tours around there fit for a kid if you ask around. I have an extra touring map I’ll send you for free if you want it. Also, the Breithorn near Zermatt is probably the easiest 4000m peak in Europe and would be a cool experience for a kid.

    Have fun.

  161. Daniel February 21st, 2012 6:55 am

    don’t blame your arse or bindings too much. i am rather akinny and tore the toe piece of my ST slightly out of my coombacks as well, as i realized today. my skilled shop will put metal inserts in the place. sad thng is they refused to use epoxy ithe first place…don’t know whether epoxy would have prevented or aggravated the incident…

    to all the big guys, have a look at nordica skis. they are more solid and stiff that a light, finesse skier like my could handle. selling the steadfast for that reason. most solid feeling ski ever had in my hand. too stiff for me, sadly.

  162. Mike Selby February 21st, 2012 11:38 am

    Hey Rob,

    Thanks for the great info. I will take all the info you can get to us. Keep it coming! I think we will have to opt for the Mt. Blanc Pass. We are planning a couple or 3 Vallee Blanche trips inserting some possible hut stays and touring in that area and definitely want to hit the upper Grand Montet lift as well. Also want to hit some couloirs off of Aiquille de Midi. Is that included in the Mt. Blanc pass do they do their own thing and if so, can you buy a multi-pass? As for La Grave…. seems like our kind of spot, lots of wild stuff and relatively cheap so we thought we’de spend 3 days over there. Thought 2 days in Zermatt as my son really wants to see the Matterhorn. I will do some research on Verbier, didn’t know it was a freeride type of haven. Both Noa and I are tele skiers with skins, beacons etc and are planning on bringing rope, crampons and axes to access the non-touristy side of things in Euroland. Now that you know what we are into what is your recommendation? When you were in La Grave did you ski Deux Alpes also or just stay on the La Grave side? Your recommendation?


  163. Mike Selby February 21st, 2012 11:42 am

    Thanks JCoates for the info. Would love to see a map so we can start working on some interesting routes. Will send it back when done. We are both on tele gear with skins, avy gear, rope, crampons and axe and hoping to access some terrain off the tourist route and get a couple of hut stays in. Any recommendations?


  164. Kristen February 26th, 2012 4:19 pm

    Sizing question here. I’m 5’4 and 130lbs, aggressive female pacific northwest telemark skier. love the steep and deep, as well as trees and narrow chutes, and don’t mind the bumps and other in-area terrain when its in good shape. my current skis are some old K2 AK Launchers in 165. I want to mount some Gotbacks for tele but am stuck deciding which length would be best since they don’t have any mounted in tele for demo around here. Any suggestions/advice between opting for the 160 or 167??

  165. mt February 27th, 2012 12:38 pm

    Dear Kristen,

    Greeting from the dry side of the Cascades. FWIIW, if you can, try to demo both lengths, as only you will know what length is “right” for your body.

    I have sized downward from 2 meter boards due to the spring rite of trying to snake them through the pecker pole forest spaced shoulder width apart on manky snow.

    Focus on the “footprint” of the entire board, not just the length.

    Happy Spring Touring to You,


  166. Mike Selby February 28th, 2012 6:35 pm

    Greetings Kristen,

    My wife skis the 167 Got Backs which is the woman’s Coomback btw. She is your size and was really glad she got the longer length because the rocker takes a certain portion off the snow at times and the ski actually skis shorter than it is. She also said the ski just slices through the windback and other marginal snow conditions and believes the length helps here there too. Hope that helps!


  167. Thomas March 13th, 2012 2:38 pm

    Skis Coomback-have good soft flex. This skis ( G3 105mm) is good for all- mountains terrain inkl. hardpack:

  168. Mike Selby March 13th, 2012 2:47 pm

    Just returned from the Reno, NV ski show and was able to take a look at the new Coomback on steroids. Its about 10mm wider underfoot and reportedly skis firmly between the Coomback and the Darkside.

    Gotta say, it looked very very cool and the rep was sweet on them as well The big question is…. “Would Doug have skiied’em?”


  169. Mike July 13th, 2012 9:37 am

    I pulled my Dynafit Vertical ST toe piece out of my 2011 Coomback after two seasons of about 30+ days. The screw holes that failed definitely had water intrusion. Thankfully I was able to replace them with a pair of 2012 Coombacks. Now I am trying to figure out how to mount these to avoid a future problem. This is the first time I have pulled a binding out of a ski in more than twenty years of skiing, including twelve years of telemarking. I am a Clydesdale at 6’4″ and 225 lbs. My skiing style is not terribly aggressive. I ski almost entirely in the backcountry and like to do a couple overnight tours a year. I only have one ski setup and have no reason to not have a permanent installation of the bindings. I do want this setup to be entirely dependable.

    I have been told that as skis are built lighter the materials are not as burly where the binding is mounted. To counter act this maybe an insert with increased thread surface area will have enough bite to keep a big boy like me connected to my skis. Regardless of the truth of these statements I want to mount my bindings so they will not pull out again.

    My local shop is recommending a standard mount with epoxy. I am nervous to do this because that is how my skis that just failed had been mounted. They said Quiver Killers would be stronger but did not recommend it if I did not need to swap bindings. I was not sure why they did not recommend this. The Quiver Killer website claims their inserts have a significant increase in pull out strength.

    My other thought was installing helicoils. My local shop did not recommend this for a new mount. Again I am not sure why this is. I do not know how the pull out strength would compare between a helicoil and a Quiver Killer. It sounds like the helicoil drill hole diameter would be smaller.

    I was thinking that I would only need to use an insert of some sort to reinforce the toe pieces since they receive the vast majority of the force touring up and skiing down. It seems to me if the heel pieces are receiving a lot of pull out force that I would have a forward release before pulling the heel piece out.

    Regardless of which route I take I was thinking I would use long set epoxy because my understanding is that it is more flexible than quick set epoxy. I was hoping this would help maintain the seal to keep water out of the ski.

    I would love to have some insight about the pros and cons of using inserts on a new mount. If using an insert is the way to go I would love to hear whether a Quiver Killer or helicoil type insert makes the most sense. Thanks for all of the info that has helped me develop these options. I just need to figure out how to find the right option for me.

  170. mt July 13th, 2012 11:48 am


    Greetings Fellow Clydesdale.

    I have routinely helicoiled my ski since Atomic came out with their beta design. At 2m tall and 100kg wide our “moment” arms overcome the holding power of the standard screw mount and “out pops the weasel.”

    Also be careful to place your skis upside down after mounting, ensuring that the glue seals the screw/helicoil interface to preclude the intrusion of water and the subsequent freeze/thaw process that will destroy any mount.

    Anybody got a pro form for some 2012 Coombacks?

    Happy High Summer All!


  171. Lou Dawson July 13th, 2012 12:16 pm

    Mike, if you had water intrusion, you didn’t have an epoxy mount that was done correctly. And yes, inserts have more holding power if they’re done correctly, though they don’t have as much more holding power than an epoxied screw than mythology would dictate. If you want the ultimate, put the inserts in per normal practice, then after everything is aligned and working, remove the fasteners and epoxy the fasteners into the inserts with one-hour hardware store epoxy, with some extra epoxy in the hole through binding above insert to form a “plug” that’ll stabilize the fastener and add even more strength. When doing this, torque the fasteners firmly, since once the epoxy hardens you won’t be able to re-torque. Remove fasteners by heating with electric soldering iron.

    But again, that said, if the only binding you ever pulled out was from a water damaged mount, and you’ve been doing all that other skiing and never pulled out a binding, why are you blaming the skis instead of the mounting? With Coomback, do a bomber epoxy mount and I doubt you’d have any problem. But stick some inserts in there if you need the confidence, either brand works. No need for helicoils, they require a HUGE hole in the ski, inserts are better.

  172. Mike July 13th, 2012 1:56 pm

    I appreciate the input. It is logical that this was just a failed mount and I am overreacting. I think I will go without the inserts but try to insure the epoxy makes a good seal regardless if the the shop does the work or I do. Although I do like the idea of allowing the epoxy to dry upside down, thanks mt.

    Lou, this actually happened on Adams the day after the Wild Snow crew was there. We saw your truck on the way to Cold Springs. It was tough to be standing on top of the SW Chutes in prime condition and have to limp back to the car. It was great reading your trip reports from the Pacific Northwest.

  173. Lou Dawson July 13th, 2012 2:38 pm

    Mike, sorry to hear about your pulled binder. When you do the mount, rough up the area under the binding toe and puddle some epoxy there, so you get a bit of extra bridging under the binding plate to prevent micro-movement and provide a bit more adhesion to the ski. Be liberal with the epoxy, use one-hour, clean the screws off well so they have not manufacturing grease or remnants from previous mount, don’t over-torque, and so on. Flipping upside down isn’t all that important unless you hit a void while you’re drilling, but it doesn’t hurt. Also remember that any time you stress the binding while locked, especially while touring, something might have to give. It’s not like everything in the system is made of an anchor chain. So inspect carefully and often. Lou

  174. Daniel July 14th, 2012 5:26 am

    I finally gave up and went for backlashes with the metal shets in them. very capable ski but not quite the same.

    i may give coombacks/dynafit another try in the future, maybe with the wider platform radicals.

    the way the coomback skis is unparalleled, but i decided in favor of reliablity. in terms of mounting, i rely in a shop to do it, they are good but it is more or less out of my hands…

    are there actually any other skis out there with frequent dynafit pullout reports?

  175. Lou Dawson July 14th, 2012 11:04 am

    Hi Daniel, skis with metal are sometimes the best choice indeed.

    But this Coomback binding pullout issue has me curious. What data exists to prove that Coomback is prone to binding pullout? More, if such data exists, does it take into consideration the different manufacturing years, and is it controlled for how the mounts are done? Yes, a few posters above had the problem, but that really doesn’t prove anything.

    I’ve mounted a number of Coombacks, it’s true that early versions sometimes had the binding mount reinforcement plate located in such a way that a few of the Dynafit screws missed it, with longer boot soles and such screws required extra care with epoxy and insertion torque, but newer versions changed this. I also know numerous hard charging skiers who ski Coombacks with Dynafits and have not have problems. In fact, I personally do not know one skier who’s had a problem with Dynafit pullout on Coombacks.

    More, I’ve personally witnessed Dynafit bindings pulling out of other brands and models of skis (as far as I could tell, always the result of poor mount or prior damage due to things like falling in touring mode with toe locked).

    Is this perhaps the result of a sort of internet pile-on syndrome? Or paranoia? If you demo Coombacks and like them, my advice it to make sure the mount is done properly (as with any ski), then enjoy. And I would advise using the Power Plates with the FT12 Dynafit binding, due to its strangely shaped toe unit that hangs over the sides of the base plate.

  176. DRem August 7th, 2012 6:37 pm

    Hi All

    A mounting Q? After agonising over length I have purchased a 2011/12 pair of Coombacks in a 188. I am mounting them with an old pair of Fritschi Titanal II…..I know not ideal but I’m living in Oz and getting to Japan is big bickie$.

    So my Q…. never skied rockered tips I am 6’ and 200lbs will be 70% backcountry 30% resort should I go standard mid sole or move them forward a bit?

    There seemed to be a flurry of posts a few years back about moving forward with rocker, just wondering what everyone is saying now?

  177. Lou Dawson August 7th, 2012 6:45 pm

    D, just go with the recommended mount, it takes all the ski geometry into consideration. Be careful of over-thinking this stuff. Carpe skium. Lou

  178. Jack July 26th, 2013 8:59 am

    Hey, this thread is old, but I have a question.

    I’m going to home-mount Dynafit Radical ST bindings on a pair of 182 cm Coombacks for TLT5 boots.

    I’m a little confused about mount point on the ski. Just behind a white triangle shaped logo (about an inch) is a small line of text that looks like the mount point.
    Does anyone have an authoritative answer to this, or should I go to K2?

    My plan is to use Binding Freedom inserts and have my friend the amateur machinist help me noodle over every detail, so it is all going to go smoothly.

    Thanks for being here, Lou and Wild Snow….I think about skiing every day of the year.

  179. Lou Dawson July 26th, 2013 9:16 am

    Hi Jack, I think Louie can answer that question as he might even still have those skis kicking around. K2 does have the info, but it’s sometimes hard to get to the right place for it.

    Thanks for being here in the summer! Indeed, we shifted a few years ago to being backcountry skiing focused even in the “summer” months, though we do mix in some warm weather blog posts just for fun — along with some carpentry and plumbing (grin).

  180. Jack July 31st, 2013 7:44 am

    Aha! I found the mark. Examining the skis in bright light, there is a mark labelled “Mid-sole Mark” that is pressed or engraved in the top sheet. Hard to see on the dark top sheet.

  181. Daryn November 6th, 2013 9:23 am

    Superb thread. My thoughts on these, and the sizing question: I’ve had a set of 181 Coombacks fitted with Dukes for the past two seasons, and am changing down to the 174s. I’m 43, 5’9 and ski well, but I find that the 181s too unwieldy for ‘just skiing around. I’ve acquired a garage full of skis over the years and wanted to rationalise so rather than have to choose between twintips (when skiing with my kids) GS skis (when hooning about on the piste) and touring skis (well…obviously…) I’ve tried to rationalise and the 174s sit fairly well in the sweetspot of adaptability. I also like bumps, and let’s be clear here, the 181’s are brutal in moguls.

  182. Jack November 6th, 2013 11:36 am

    Daryn, I’m going to be in a similar position by the end of this season. Lou warned me that the 181 Coombacks were big skis, but I, being stubborn, went ahead anyway. I think that I’ll be searching for a second set of AT skis by spring.
    Maybe I’ll convert the 181’s to zoom and boom only. BTW, I’m 59, 5’7″, and ski all right.

  183. Daniel November 6th, 2013 11:55 am

    6’2″ and found 174 coombacks to be plenty of ski for touring and some sidecountry. They measured 177 straight pull anyway.

  184. Tom November 6th, 2013 11:55 am

    I debated the 181s, but ended up going with the 174s, especially after seeing that what K2 calls 174 is actually closer to 178. I LOVE the length, and its versatility. Powder, crud, hardback, you name it, these skis inspire confidence.

  185. Lou Dawson November 6th, 2013 8:14 pm

    Good you guys are enjoying the K2 confident ride. For sure. Lou

  186. Aric J January 27th, 2014 10:02 pm

    So I picked up a set of 2014 181 Coombacks and they have met every expectation I had. The skis are light and tour great but are already showing serious damage to the top-sheets. As mentioned in the original article in 2009, the top-sheet is soft- soft enough to drag your fingernail on. In less than ten days of skiing, the top edges of the skis have been severely damaged by the metal edges of the opposite ski. This has occurred on both inside tops and has allowed the top-sheet to peel back in several places on both skis clear to the inside of the ski- I can see the laminated surface and carbon X pattern that lies under the top-sheet. Not sure if K2 is going to deal with it. Has anyone else this experience? One of my ski patrol peers has had the same problem with another pair of 2014 backcountry skis. My old Mt Bakers held up for more than six hard seasons with only surface scratches.

  187. Erik Erikson January 27th, 2014 11:04 pm

    @Aric: I own 2012 188 coombacks, they have about 50 days out. No severe damage to the topsheet, at least not more than on my old mount bakers or my 2011 waybacks.
    There is another review of the coomback on wildsnow, this one about the 2011 model: In this blogpost Louie says, that the new top-sheet-material would hold up much better than the one of the 2009. Maybe they changed it again?
    Basically I also have to say: Coomback is still a really great ski, though not the lightest out there.

  188. Jacob February 9th, 2014 7:33 pm

    Aric, I have also noted the lack of durability with my K2 Backdrops. Great skis but they definitely lack the durability of older k2s. I think part of it may be from their new”hydrophobic” top sheet, snow still seems to stick to it….

  189. Cassy March 7th, 2014 12:03 pm

    Any woman skiing on the Coombacks?
    I’m trying to find some to demo. Not sure what size to try. I’m 5’5″
    140 lb. I’m currently skiing 177 fisher Vision Zeal which I love all mountain and 179 Watea which I’m I only like in powder. The reviews for the Coombacks sound like a ski I would love. What would you recommend 167 or a 174?

  190. Mike Selby March 7th, 2014 12:33 pm

    Greetings Cassy,

    Have been a fan of the Coombacks since they first came out and have owned every generation. Asked the K2 rep about a woman’s version and he sent me to the Got Backs which he said were identical in every aspect with the exception of the graphics so you might want to check those out too. As far as size, with the rocker up front once the ski is weighted I would recommend the 174’s

  191. xav March 18th, 2014 8:24 am

    It seems that after the Coomback / Dynafit pullout streak, there is a general K2 Backside bending / breakage problem. I have seen 2 pairs of bent Waybacks, 1 pair of bent Hardsides (my own) and have heard of several more. So please be wary and inspect your skis regularly for the presence of an extra rocker in the back!

  192. Andy M. March 18th, 2014 9:03 am

    Late to respond to Aric / Erik / Jacob, but I’ve also noticed a lack of durability on my Backdrops (aka fat Coombacks). Like Jacob said, the “hydrophobic” top sheet is anything but (it actually tends to really build up snow/ice quickly), and the material is soft enough that it’s pretty severely munched up along the sides (including down to the wood in a spot or two) after only ~13 days.

  193. toby April 6th, 2014 8:44 pm

    I was ignoring the thread about ripping Dynafit FT 12 toe pieces out of Coombacks until it happened to me today. Damn near killed me. Almost like the wood rotted away around the screws. Not happy.

  194. Lou Dawson April 7th, 2014 5:17 pm

    Toby, sorry to hear that, are you doing sheet time or just had a close call?

    I’ve mentioned over and over again that those screws in Coombacks need to be installed with care and copious epoxy. Who mounted the bindings, and how old was the mount, and what kind of glue was used?

    This is one of these things that could be blamed on a lot of factors, not just the skis.

    ‘best, Lou

  195. Mike Selby April 7th, 2014 8:53 pm

    Just pulled some 7tm bindings out of my red, white and blue Coombacks for the 4th time and this time lost the ski (all screws were epoxied and helicoiled). Mounted up a new pair with the Doug Coombs Alaskan graphic and was pleasantly surprised with how lively the new skis were compared to my old Coombacks with the 500 days on them. Spoke with the K2 engineer of the Coombacks and they are very aware of the problem which is why they have designed a mounting place for the screws to go into which includes maple for the 2014/15 edition. The new skis are also slightly wider underfoot (104mm) and will also have a Coomback bigger brother that is 114 underfoot. Should be interesting. Hope that works better for Toby, me and everyone else that has pulled the bindings out of the old Coombacks!

  196. Lou Dawson April 8th, 2014 6:38 am

    Good to know all that Mike, thanks for posting. To summarize, main thing for folks to know is that the vintage Coombacks need care with mounting bindings, and don’t have a binding mount reinforcement area for tech toes that’s as strong as other skis (and may not have the beef required for _any_ telemark binding). I’d also offer that any ski with 500 or more days on it might be past its service life (grin)!! On the other hand, I know aggressive skiers who’ve been fine with the early Coombacks mounted with tech bindings, so I have to conclude that while this “screw pull” issue is definitely an attention grabbing thing, I’m wondering if there are any mitigating or exacerbating factors you guys could share. I mean, pulling an epoxied and helicoiled screw out of ski isn’t exactly child’s play. What boots and bindings were you using? What’s your style of skiing? Who mounted the bindings? Any chance you took a forward “knee fall” while touring with locked binding or tow-truck tight tele binding and stressed the screws? Ever had screws pull out of any other skis? Are you using riser plates? How thick?

    Further, I’ll offer this as some general info for the record: Telemark bindings place immense forces on the toe unit screws. I’d offer that mounting tele binding on an early Coomback would seem a bit unwise, considering how many ski choices there are out there as well as years of stuff you can find on the web about screw pullouts. Since we continue to get telemark traffic here, I’ll come out and say it: If you choose to telemark ski, please realize that an inherent flaw of the telemark binding system is that it places phenomenal forces on the toe of the binding when you drive your heel up against the “active” nature of the binding. The history of telemark bindings pulling out of skis began more than a hundred years ago, and never stopped. If you want to telemark, buy and mount skis based on the strength of the ski, mount bindings with long epoxied screws (mount using inserts or heli-coils if in any doubt). If riser plates are used, know that this places even more leverage and micro-movement on the screws, increasing chance of failure. Consider your height and weight as well. For example, a 220 lb. 6-foot-2-inch on highly active telemark bindings is generating forces that could probably remove a tractor tire from its wheel rim, while a small person skiing in mellow style might generate a fraction of such forces.

    And to be fair to K2, to the best of my knowledge all Coombacks made since the early ones pictured in this review have a binding mount reinforcement just as good as any other ski.


  197. toby April 8th, 2014 10:38 am

    Hi Lou,
    Thanks for your concern. No sheet time fortunately. The toe piece came off on a steepish (about 40 degrees), icy pitch just as I was getting into my rhythm, about five turns in. It’s amazing how quick you can pick up speed while sliding. I managed to flip on to my stomach and use my fingertips/top of pole grips/ boot toes to self arrest before I plunged into a grove of trees. Figure I slid about 50 metres.
    Anyway, 2010 Coombacks were mounted by my very capable local shop before last year (had Barons on them prior) and had about 30 days on the new setup. Shop owner was stunned yesterday to see they pulled out. I know he mounted them well, but not sure exactly what type of epoxy. I use a size 28 Garmont Radium boot. I ski fairly aggressive, and spent the morning skiing steep icy pitches laden with frozen beaver balls so the ride was pretty rough, but nothing unusual for April in British Columbia.

  198. Lou Dawson April 8th, 2014 11:16 am

    Toby, well, you never know for sure unless you mount yourself… if you were not skiing particularly aggressive I’d say you probably reached the culmination of some kind of gradual deterioration in the mount, or else unseen damage from a fall or other kind of stress on the binding mount. Since the skis in question are known to not have a particularly strong mount area, prior damage is definitely a possibility. Lou

  199. toby April 8th, 2014 12:03 pm

    The worst part is my Coombacks are toast. Definitely my go-to skis for the past four years. Guess I’ll just have to buy another pair. 🙂

  200. Tom April 8th, 2014 12:14 pm

    I just bought a new pair of boots that will require my Dynafits to be remounted on my Coombacks. (The new boots are 28.5, old ones 27.5.) Any suggestions when talking to the shop tech, so as to avoid catastrophe miles from the car? Spring is here, and it’s time to ski the NW volcanoes.

  201. Lou Dawson April 8th, 2014 12:44 pm

    Tom, a couple of suggestions:

    1. If you are confident about the mount you have, then perhaps you can just move the heel unit rearward and still be in a good enough boot position on ski.

    2. All mounts should be done with epoxy, long screws as possible, great care taken with even slightly stripping the screw as tightened.

    3. No risers.

    4. Not appropriate for aggressive or larger skiers. In that case, replace your skis with newer model Coomback or another brand/model.


  202. Lou Dawson April 8th, 2014 12:46 pm

    Well, good news is that the Coombacks we have here in our test stable, La Grave model with red/black graphics, are lighter weight and have the binding reinforcements in correct places. Lou

  203. Mike Selby April 9th, 2014 2:22 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Getting back to you on my old Coombacks. They were the same red, white and blue model pictured in the top of this thread and were mounted and remounted four times, the last time using helicoils with copious amounts of epoxy with the 7tm Tele releasable bindings. I am a buck 65 and am fairly gentle on my skis. Have never pulled any bindings out before, ever in my 40 years of skiing. However, I did notice what appeared to be rotten wood in the holes in my investigation and I think some water may have gotten in there from the old sealed holes. The K2 engineer did assure me that the 2015 model will sport a much more heavy duty mounting area and will be much less likely to pull out. Hope that helps! I do so love the ski, will pro deal them in the fall!


  204. Lou Dawson April 9th, 2014 5:02 pm

    Mike, if you saw anything weird at all in the holes, that’s the culprit. Ocam’s razor and all that. ‘best, Lou

  205. Mike Selby April 10th, 2014 1:26 am

    Agreed Lou.

    Have a new climbing skin product I am distributing in the US from Switzerland and would like to send you a pair for review. Can you please email me and I will provide the details.


  206. toby May 19th, 2014 3:37 pm

    Hi Lou,
    You mentioned a couple months ago you have some La Graves in your test stable. Are you selling any demos? Did a lot of research since I toasted my Coombacks in April and have decided on getting another pair.

  207. Lou Dawson May 19th, 2014 5:08 pm

    Toby, where are you located? Thanks, Lou

  208. toby May 20th, 2014 10:12 am

    Thanks, Lou,
    Nanaimo, British Columbia. But I’ve got friends in Seattle if you need a U.S. address.


  209. Lou Dawson May 20th, 2014 12:27 pm

    Hi Toby, I was hoping you might be local and help with testing. Most demos either get returned, or we keep them in the stable and do a few binding remounts and stuff that makes them non-returnable and pretty much give-aways. Skis we like we sometimes arrange for long-term loan and sometimes end up keeping them at permission of the company that makes them. We really don’t end up with many permanent skis in the end, we try to use them all up through wear-tear-mounts etc, and again, most get returned. Shipping the skis around is super expensive. Sometimes the companies pay, sometimes we do. It can get pretty disorganized but out of it all we usually figure out what the highlights are for the Ultimate Quiver. Lately we’re working more and more with Cripple Creek Backcountry so we can share demos with them. Perhaps more than you wanted to know, but thought I’d explain. Lou

  210. toby May 21st, 2014 9:56 am

    Thanks for the info Lou. i would certainly have been happy to do some testing if the geography worked out.

  211. Louise February 18th, 2016 9:40 am

    Hello Lou!

    Your review was super helpful as well as your thread responses (you have the patience of a Saint! So I shall continue testing it with a sizing question 🙂

    I’m a 5’4″ 135 pound female looking for a new touring set up. My current bc ski is the first generation BD verdict in a 170 mounted with fritschis. I demo’d some Coombacks yesterday (170 length, 104 waist) with Dynafits. Mind blown! It’s time to drop some serious cash…

    My question is: Do I stick with the 170 Coomback or maybe downsize to a 167 K2 Gotback, which seems to be similar, if not identical construction to the Coomback, just shorter length options and different top sheet..

    My only concern about length is that I’m getting more into ski mountaineering and am wondering if in some of those steep icy couloir entrances, I wouldn’t be wishing that I had just slightly shorter sticks underfoot to swing around and make tight turns with? But more length is so nice to have in the deep….Have you heard any feedback about Coomback vs. Gotback from lady friends with similar build/skiing ability/adventure interests? Or any input about the responsiveness of the Coombacks? We spent most of yesterday going uphill and skiing wide open stuff so didn’t get to test them in tighter squeezes….

    About my skiing ability/interest: I don’t have a racing background nor am I super aggressive (compared to the incredibly rad ladies out here) and really learned to ski when I moved out to Jackson,WY 10 years ago. So I’m happiest in the steep and deep. I’ll be skiing this set up in a wide variety of terrain, from trees and big open bowls to the occasional no fall zone.

    Thanks for any input you can offer up!!


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