K2 Gotback Ski Review

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | May 24, 2011      
Me enjoying those Gotbacks.

Me enjoying those K2 Gotbacks this past winter.

Just a quick take for you ladies out there. I’ve been using my K2 Gotbacks for almost all my backcountry skiing this winter. This women specific ski is so agile that that I have had a breakthrough year. Effortless in powder and they do incredibly well in everything else. The progressive 14/12 side cut provides versatility– from powder turns to crud. Width and tip rocker keep the tips out from under crust, so even I was able to carve thru wind slab without too many face plants (and those will not make it into the published photos, as I have power over the photographer).

My ski gurus tell me that sometimes just changing skis can help with improving ski technique, as beyond performance from the ski’s construction, your body is forced to adjust and get out of rut. I think that’s partially what happened to me. Yet in terms of this ski’s construction, I can say it all in one word, “rocker.” Tip rocker on my planks goes about 15 centimeters back from contact point. That kind of rocker is noticeable, and really helps with easy turn initiation as well as forgiving your mistakes.

Gotbacks have more nice features for backcountry skiing, such as tip and tail holes and a skin notch in the back. They’re reasonably light for a ski of that width, but don’t compromise performance for weight (it took me a while to get that, as I’d been on my superlight carbon skis for a couple of seasons and was spoiled for the uphill, but what am I uphilling for anyway?). We had terrific snow conditions this year in Colorado, and many times one lap up our favorite peak was just not enough. With the Gotbacks, I was able to fully enjoy both the up and down — every minute — of these long days in our heavenly backcountry.

One issue that always comes up with women-specific skis is are they really special for females, or just a re-badge? Said by some of my ski friends to be the “women’s version of the Coomback,” perhaps these are mostly a re-badge, but they seem to be a bit more tuned to a lower center of gravity, and perhaps the binding mount position is tweaked as well. Whatever the case, they work.

Sizes: 146, 153, 160, 167, 174
Radius: 18m@160
Construction: Torsion Box Cap
Core: BioFlex
Weight: 1690g @160 cm
14/12 Progressive Side cut, Powder tip, Tip and Tail attachment Holes, Flat /notched tail

Skis reviewed here are 2011/12 model.

K2 women’s backcountry skis available here.


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7 Responses to “K2 Gotback Ski Review”

  1. Dragos Toma May 24th, 2011 12:36 pm

    Hi Lou,

    Reading your review I wanted to ask you: what do you think about the bases of K2 skis?I skied a pair of Movement Evolution skis for this season and think they have bomb proof bases.I live in Romania and because we don’t really get that much snow(especially at lower elevations) encounters with rocks are kind of inevitable.

    I found a great deal on a pair of K2 Apache Coomba and almost bought them.But after seeing a beat up pair a friend has I’m not that convinced anymore.The bases seemed really thin and the edges were bent in 2 places after he hit some rocks-I think it’s because of the cap construction;I never had such problems with my Movement Evolutions which have abs sidewalls.
    I remember hitting some rocks and thinking my skis were going to explode in a thousand pieces and when I looked at them they only had a shallow surface scratch.I finally got a core shot along the edge last week when I hit a rock at high speed at the bottom of a steep couloir, but nothing unfixable.

    The fact is after testing some wider skis(K2 Hardside and a pair of Rossignol S5) I fell in love with wider skis and how they perform in crust, windblown snow, choped up powder, generaly uneven snow and that they don’t throw me arround all over the place like my 80mm Movements do.

    I’m now thinking about saving some more money and getting a pair of Sluffs(kind of heavy) or Jackals(seem like a fantastic ski with 105mm underfoot and 1.8kg/ski in the 185cm length) and sticking with the same brand because I love the way Movement skis are constructed and the way they seem so indestructible.I’m a quite a big guy(1.86m and 85kg) and this means all my gear takes quite a lot of abuse.

    Do you think I’m worrying too much and should just get the Coombas which are almost half the price compared to the above mentioned Movements? I’m worried because if the Coombas are in fact more fragile and I end up thrashing them there is no way I’m going to afford another pair of skis in the middle of the season as a poor college student.

  2. Lou May 24th, 2011 1:24 pm

    Dragos, do you mean the Coomba or the Coomback? As for base material, it’s almost all nearly the same stuff, sintered HDPE, and differences while perhaps exist are very small and it’s all easily repaired (or simply due to it being thicker on one ski than another). As for edge dent resistance, yes, a cap ski is going to sometimes have less durability in that area, so if you’re coming down hard on your edges on rocks, you might want a sidewall ski. If you tend to have problems with ski durability, and you’ve seen a ski prove out, you might want to just get that ski. A lot of this is psychological, if you’ve seen one ski beat up and another not, you might be subject to a self fulfilling prophecy. Not knowing you or having skied with you I can’t specifically recommend one ski over another, but above will hopefully give you more to think about.

  3. Dragos Toma May 24th, 2011 2:27 pm

    I meant the Coomba.I found it on sale for about 270E at sport-conrad.com;probably since it’s an older model.
    You’re right, I should probably stay with a sidewall constructed ski.After thinking it out and reading your reply I realize that this is where my main concerns started from.Even if it’s all just psychological, it’s one less thing to worry about.

  4. Lou May 24th, 2011 2:33 pm

    Dragos, yeah, stick with the sidewall ski in your case.

  5. Amy May 24th, 2011 6:28 pm

    I am glad Lisa fell in love with the Gotbacks — many of my girlfriends have. I fell in love with the Atomic Century. It changed my skiing too!

  6. Kevin Lowe September 26th, 2011 12:15 pm

    Hi Lou. I’d like some ski and binding advice. I thought I had given up skiing for good at age 12, when I started snowboarding. Now at 23, I’m incredibly anxious to get into AT, but I can only afford a single all mountain setup to start.

    I plan to do half lift serviced skiing, frequent hikes to the powder runs on the back side and the occasional 2 day tour. I ride fast, dropping the occasional cliff and I’m always seeking powder. Location: the Whistler/Duffy lake area so the snow is generally pretty moist. Me: 6’4″ 185lbs.

    1. I’ve been looking for a ski around a 100mm waist with an early rise @ 185 to 190cm. I’m a tall guy but at I don’t weigh a great deal; could I go shorter? How wide is too wide for an all mountain ski? My latest ideas are the K2 Coombacks or G3 Zenoxides.

    2. Bindings: I feel if I’m doing half of my skiing in-bounds I should go with a Marker style AT binding. Would you agree?

    3. Going light sounds ideal, but is it possible to go too light? I understand that a heavier ski will better handle the in-bounds cruft. Would a lightweight ski like the Zenoxides + a heavy binding be a good compromise or do i want the weight to be in the ski itself?

    I can see there are a lot of variables. I’m not sure which ones would matter most for my style of skiing. Thanks for keeping this blog up to date. It’s an amazing resource!

  7. Lou September 26th, 2011 12:27 pm

    Keven, yeah, just go with a Marker binding. Any ski with early rise or rocker is generally run a bit longer, so your length estimate is good, especially since you like going fast. I’d think either one of those skis, in the latest manufacturing incarnation, would be terrific.

    Let us know how it goes.

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