11/12 K2 Coomback Ski Review

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | October 4, 2011      

In my opinion a 100mm(ish) waist ski of average weight (vs width) is possibly the best class out there for human powered backcountry skiing. Versatile, easy on the skintrack, and still tons of fun on the down without lack of weight causing funny behavior at speed. My choice in this category for the past few years has been the K2 Coomback.

2011/2012 K2 Coombacks on some nice spring snow. I skied the new version quite extensively, since last winter.

Descended from the venerable Coomba, designed by the late Doug Coombs, the Coomback ski is quite similar, with the addition of a rockered tip and a few other tweaks. The rocker was a welcome addition, helping in variable snow and powder, while not affecting edge hold on hardpack to any significant degree.

Coombacks of any vintage are surprisingly versatile — my go-to ski for any and all conditions. For having the most fun in pow I’ll grab some bigger, more rockered sticks, and for spring days the weight savings of a skinnier pair is nice, but the Coomback is a perfect middle ground. Weight weenies and old-timers might disagree, but in my opinion 100mm is the perfect quiver of one size.

For this year, K2 added a web of carbon fiber in the tip and tail areas of the ski. This stiffens the ski a tiny bit, and adds more torsional rigidity.
In terms of how they skied, I honestly didn’t notice much of a difference with the 11/12 Coombacks vs. older versions. Some might say the earlier Coombacks are a little soft, but it’s nice to have a forgiving ski when your legs are tired after a long day. I was a little worried that the added stiffness of the carbon would compromise this, but thankfully my tired legs haven’t noticed any difference. In the end, the carbon probably just helps them ski hardpack a tiny bit better, without compromising the “easy” side of the equation. In other words, good ski engineering.

Another change from my old Coombacks, although not completely new, is the snow-phobic top sheet. I believe this is made out of a super thin layer of P-tex, so it ostensibly has the same snow shedding properties as the ski base. It’s pretty hard to tell how effective this is, since snow conditions vary so significantly even within a single day. What I can tell is that snow still does stick to the ski, at least some of the time, but slightly less than some other topsheets.

One gripe I had about the old topsheet material was the durability. It seemed unreasonably soft, and my edges removed a significant amount over the course of a few seasons. The new material has held up much better. The graphics are of course changed from last year, and I like the look much better as well.

I’d call the new sticks an incremental development of a great ski. K2 has to be careful improving the Coomback, since even the original Coomba was a stellar ski that many still rip on. Even if it is imperceptible, more torsional rigidity is always a plus, so K2 chose a great way to tweak the ski this year.

(Full disclosure: I landed a prestigious (to myself, at least) design internship at K2 in Seattle for a few months. I promise it hasn’t affected my pristine unbiased Wildsnow editorial ethics. In terms of giving you guys some insider tidbits, K2 counter-espionage has me under continuous surveillance due to my association with my sneaky journalist dad, and I signed a ream of non-disclosure agreements prepared by a crack team of lawyers, so the chance of spy photos is slim. However I can tell you exciting stuff is in the pipeline, some of which I’ve been wanting to see made for years!)


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


138 Responses to “11/12 K2 Coomback Ski Review”

  1. Pablo October 4th, 2011 8:09 am

    Congrats for that Internship!

  2. Brenda October 4th, 2011 10:27 am

    “In my opinion a 100mm(ish) waist ski of average weight (vs width) is possibly the best class out there for human powered backcountry skiing.”
    I stopped reading right there 😉 You, sir, can drag an awful lot more up a hill than I!

  3. Lou October 4th, 2011 11:07 am

    Aw Brenda, I’ll bet you’re stronger than you think! Main point being made in the review is that sometimes the weight weenie side of things is good to ignore somewhat in favor of the down, especially when so much weight can be saved with tech bindings and lighter boots.

  4. Rob October 4th, 2011 11:17 am

    I suspect K2 is also a bit reluctant to tinker too much with a design so closely associated with a skiing legend. When I leaned my Coombas up against the ski rack in front of a La Grave restaurant last spring, to have an Apres-ski beer, I felt a little bit of pride to bring those boards back to their namesakes’ town. Long may they endure!

  5. Tom October 4th, 2011 11:53 am

    Just wondering since I’m in the market for a new 100mm ski myself…Have you skiied the new Verdict, and if so how would you compare it to the Coomback?
    Thanks for the feedback, and congrats on the internship.

  6. Louie October 4th, 2011 12:33 pm

    I haven’t skied the new Verdict, I did ski the old one a bit, but that was a significantly different ski.

    Compared to the Coomback, it is a bit heavier, their catalog weight is 2050 grams for the 170cm, while the wildsnow weight for the 174 Coomback is 1844 grams. They have a metal laminate, hence the added weight. I would bet the metal makes it more stable than the Coomback. I like what BD has done with their new skis, I’m going to try to get out on a few this year.

    A more comparable ski to the Coomback might be the Black Diamond drift, although it is significantly lighter.

    The K2 Hardside (1930 grams) or Sidestash (2070 grams) might be more comparable to the Verdict. The both have metal laminates as well.

  7. Rik October 4th, 2011 1:26 pm

    Hi Louie,

    I am following your webside since some time, great articles!
    Looking to buy new all condition touring/freeride skis, my eye felt on the 2012 Coomback and 2010-11 or 2011-12 Sidestash.
    I’m comming from 178 rossi B3’s with diamirs, so i am used to a certain amount of weight and would mount my new skis with dynafits.

    Did you tried the old/new sidestashes and can you compare with Coombacks?

    With especially more rocker as the Coomback, the new sidestashes seem to have a plus in manouverablity , while stiffer as the coomback.

    On the other hand i am also considering the Coomback because they’re lighter but it’s hard for me to estimate the impact of the softer flex (mainly because of a lot of reviews on the 2010-11 Coomback).

    I’m also in the middle of ski sizes 174 and 184 i think , one is too small, and one is too big, any advice would be welcome. (me 5″10′ /158#, decent downhill oriented tourer and want to use them mostly in the Alps also for alpine).

    Thanks in advance!


  8. Richard October 4th, 2011 1:41 pm

    hi Louie,
    For what its worth I second the opinion that the Coomback is the right type of ski for all around big mountain skiing. My own territory is Jackson/Targhee/Teton Pass— basically a sidecountry & resort gig.

    Last year i decided I had to try out the latest wave, so got a pair of 4-front CRJ’s—double rockered with a little camber and side cut in the middle— pretty much state of the art. Not a bad ski, very good in powder & chop, and miserable as soon as you encounter groomed slopes. I should qualify that by saying that my inbounds ski is a 188 cm world cup FIS GS race ski or 210 SG. I like to pull gs in my turns and no ski with a 120 cm contact area is going to do that.

    I couldn’t wait to sell the 4-fronts and go back to my five year old prototype 191 cm Fishcer 101 Wateas. Dimensionally very much like the Coomback except without tip rocker, lighter than the K2, and with enough carbon fiber to give it the torsional stiffness of a race ski while remaining soft in flex. Almost as good as the double rocker 4-front in powder & crud, and still able to carve a SG race turn on soft groomers. Also they are unworldly fast on the flats– faster than my race stock SG’s.

    Different strokes for different folks, but I’d have trouble finding a ski to equal them in today’s world.

  9. Helicopter Training School October 4th, 2011 3:15 pm

    Rhaa reading your article just makes me want to ski again!
    I can’t wait…

  10. Steven October 4th, 2011 3:24 pm

    Thanks for the great review. I’ve been ogling over coombacks for some time.

  11. Craig October 4th, 2011 4:57 pm

    Richard, if you like to make gs turns on hard pack with a good performing powder ski try the DPS Wailer 112 RP. That ski can carve gs turns on the ice and rips powder. I don’t know the weight but they are very light compared to the CRJ’s. Best 1 ski quiver I have tried.

  12. Dave Bell October 4th, 2011 9:04 pm

    Hey Lou or Louie or those who may know….I am trying to put together a dirtbag setup with some old Fritschi titanal II bindings from about 2000. (Dark Blue). I am hoping to get new wider ski brakes for them and wonder whether the current brakes are going to fit my older bindings? Has anyone tried this? thanks for any help.


  13. David Aldous October 4th, 2011 10:17 pm

    Thanks for the review Louie. If I can get the money together I’ll be getting some new AT skis this season. I’m looking at the Coomback and the Hi5 as my skis. They will be replacing first generation Kilowatts. I like that they both have some early rise and a slightly wider waist. It looks like the Hi5s are a little lighter and slightly wider. I will be using them in the backcountry in northern Utah. Any input on which might be a better choice?

  14. Lou October 5th, 2011 6:57 am

    Dave, you probably came to the right place for that question (grin). I just walked over to the “wall of bindings” and grabbed both the Titanal II and a newer Diamir. The Titanal 2 has screw holes for brake that are 3 cm on center, as does the newer Diamir. So, I swapped the brake from the newer Diamir on to the Titanal II. It screwed on, but needs a small tab ground off the rear portion of the brake to fit down snug. More, you’d need to grind a bit of plastic out of the brake mounting receiver on the Titanal II, otherwise the brake tends to catch and not deploy. Easy to do and both things were pretty obvious. So I’d say yes, go for it if you’re handy with tools. Hope that helps.

    Let us know how it goes.


  15. Lou October 5th, 2011 7:05 am

    P.S., don’t do anything too crazy on that antique binding you’ve got. Plastic can weaken with age, and the blue Titanal II was never designed for huge skis and boots. As the saying goes, would you use 15-year-old tires on your car?

    To be fair, the old Titanal II does make an excellent somewhat lightweight touring binding that eliminates the “dynafiddle.” You still see a lot of them in use in Europe.

  16. Dave Bell October 5th, 2011 7:36 am

    Thanks Lou. Great to have such a great resource right their on your wall eh? That helps a lot. I do have current model Dynafit bindings on my daily drivers but I’m hoping to make a sort of dirtbag powder ski set up with some big skis. Point well taken on the big ski/antique binding combo. This has been my main concern with setting the two up together. How much more can these old bindings take? Not sure I should find out…..

    As for the mods on adapting the brakes…sounds like a breeze. Thanks for taking the time to look at that.

  17. Lou October 5th, 2011 8:51 am

    Dave, yeah, I’ll tell you this binding collection has been huge in informing my writing. Just huge. When I started it I had no idea how useful it would be. Seemed like a bit of a lark at first. Not any more. Lou

  18. Mark W October 5th, 2011 12:08 pm

    Looking forward to receiving the new Coombacks at our store soon. Weight to width ratio, plus long-standing positive reviews, has me glad this ski is still a popular model. Truly a great tribute to Doug.

  19. Bar Barrique October 5th, 2011 2:32 pm

    Dave; when the Titanal ll’s first came out, I mounted a set on a pretty big set of Stocklis. They wore out rather quickly.

  20. Bjorn Naylor October 5th, 2011 5:09 pm

    Come on up to Whistler this weekend- Summit Ski has the venerable Coomba on for $299 in monopoly money. seriously.

  21. DaveA. October 6th, 2011 8:05 am

    Hey Louie,
    While we’re talking K2, can you give us Easterners any comments about the Hardsides? Personally, I am guestimating that I will be skiing about 90% resort/sidecountry and 10% backcountry with a significant portion of the resort be Patrol work. Are the Hardsides going to be stable? How about speed in “eastern powder” (boilerplate)?


  22. Lou October 6th, 2011 8:35 am

    Bjorn, as the venerable Garrett Morris once asked Mick Jagger, “you got any phone numbers, baby?”

  23. Bjorn Naylor October 6th, 2011 8:56 am


  24. Lou October 6th, 2011 9:07 am

    Dave, according to the photos in certain magazines and guidebooks published up your way, all you guys ski is terrific powder, and usually in the telemark position. Did I get the wrong impression?

  25. DaveA. October 6th, 2011 1:23 pm

    Don’t forget the sunshine and the balmy temps!

    Actually, here in the “Live Free or Die” state, if it ain’t brown, we ski it (and, sometimes, even if it is primarily brown, we’ll try to ride it)!

    A day skiing in New England is truly an opportunity to get up close with Nature, rocks trees and solid water….

  26. George October 11th, 2011 11:17 am

    Regarding your size question, I am pretty much exactly the same dimensions (5’10”, 155lbs). I got a pair of 181 Coombacks last year (replacing old 172 BD Crossbows), and love them. Glad I went with the larger size. They’re awesome when it opens up, and I can still get them around pretty quickly, though it does take a bit more work. If you’re skiing lots of trees or tight chutes, you may want to go w/ the smaller size, otherwise I’d recommend the 181.

  27. Rik October 11th, 2011 3:56 pm

    @George, too late 🙂 the 2012 sidestashes in 174 are allready leaning to my wall…but in reality they’re 175,5cm so it will be good i hope. Major decision factor was that my former 178’s were allready a little bit long for easy kickturning the way up in steep terrain…
    Now i have to get the dynafits mounted properly…


  28. Michael Pike October 18th, 2011 9:31 am

    Do you think the Coomba 181’s would be too short for a 185lb elderly skier, who likes moderatly steep powder and tree skiing, but no longer hucks cliffs.
    I’ve been skiing Logic-x’s and Dynafit Fr 10s in 178 in the Sierra backcountry.
    I really don’t want to have to go up to a 188.

  29. Bjorn Naylor October 18th, 2011 9:59 am

    181’s would be fine. K2’s measure LONG so a 181 is probably effectively a 185-86…

  30. Michael Pike October 18th, 2011 10:45 am

    Thanks Bjorn,
    I’m trying to decide between Coombas and Stokes. I just bought a midweek season pass and will be skiing half -day mornings on good powder dumps, then
    side country afternoons. The Stokes would be lighter for the BC but I thought the Coomba’s would be better for the lifts.

  31. Jacob October 20th, 2011 11:46 pm

    Has anyone tried the K2 skins? Are they more comparable to the ascension skins or the glidelite skins, in terms of grip, weight, packability, durability, tip and tail retention?

  32. erik October 26th, 2011 1:20 pm

    Michael, did you get to try the Stoke/Coombas, any comments?

  33. Michael Pike October 26th, 2011 11:03 pm

    Not yet. My local shop has the Coomba’s in but not the Stokes.

  34. Michael December 30th, 2011 1:30 pm

    Has anyone had any glue/sticking issues with the 2012 skins? The newer green skins don’t seem to be that sticky. I just skied with a couple of folks who had issues, same trip, both new skins. Thx.

  35. Kris January 4th, 2012 3:11 pm

    I’m also interested if anyone here has used the new 2011/2012 (green?) K2 skins… and what you think of them. I’m looking for some skins for my SideStashs and I’m having a hard time deciding on what to go with… the K2’s or a pair of G3 Alpinists. I really like how the K2 mounting system works. If you’ve used them let me know what you think of them. Cheers ~ Kris

  36. KR January 4th, 2012 4:18 pm

    I have not used K2 skins but unless they are completely atrocious they will be better than G3 skins.

  37. Dimi January 5th, 2012 2:01 am

    im using the K2 system on my LaSportiva skis/skins, not the best to be honest. the plastic tabs on the back are made with hard plastic and are not flexible in the cold for adjustment. also the front pins are not the most secure either. much prefer the G3 system. having said that the skins themselves are great, i will be sticking with mohair-mix in the future.

  38. Nick January 31st, 2012 4:36 pm

    Hoping that I can get some more feedback on these Coomback’s, particularly in 188 cm length (thank you Lou for the recommendation this summer) relative to some of the other skis, primarily K2. I am a firm believer in demoing skis before purchasing, but the 188 Coomback’s are just not available as demos. So, here goes:

    I am 6’2″ and with a body-only weight of ~185 lbs. I am a Level III/III+ skier in the PNW, looking for a primarily BC/AT rig for day trips, but something that could also be used for my occasional forays to resort areas where the snow is lighter, e.g. Utah, CO. This new setup will be a quiver of one for AT (I have skis for PNW resort skiing), for at least this year. I have Titan boots and am considering the Radical bindings to lighten things up for the ascent.

    Recently demoed the 11/12 Coombacks and Sideshows in 181cm, both with Fritschi’s, at a resort Alpental when the snow was highly variable (hardpack/icy, some mashed potatoes, a bit of very skied up and heavy but thin powder). Never got to test them off-piste. I did like the 181 Coombacks, but they kind of bounced around a bit much for me, albeit on fairly irregular terrain/snow at a resort. I liked the stability and quickness of the Sideshows a bit better, but that is probably because of their width and metal and they are closer to my heavy alpine resort skis (Legend 8000). But that doesn’t mean that I would like them as much hefting them in the BC. 🙂 It would have been nice to try the 188 Coombacks and am wondering if this would be a ‘tweener but a good compromise between the stability of the 181 Sideshows and the lightness and wider utility of the 181 Coombacks. Or should I be looking at the 188 versions of either the Sideshow or the its wider brother Hardside. Like I said, its impossible to demo the 188 versions of any of these K2 skis although I could demo a heavier Verdict in 180 and 190.

    I could get any of the K2 skis for a great sale price today. So, should I just skip demoing and buy “what”?:-)


  39. Lou February 1st, 2012 6:28 am

    At your height, I’d think the longer Coombacks would be a good solution… When people are over 6 feet tall, the physics really change. High center of gravity, tons of leverage on the skis and boots, a bit longer ski can be a very wise choice.

  40. Bjorn Naylor February 1st, 2012 8:07 am

    Can’t go wrong with the Coombacks- very predictable and smooth. Perfect size for quiver of one. And $ goes to a good cause! At 6’2 188cm is way to go.

  41. erik sannebro February 1st, 2012 11:37 am

    As they say-It cant go wrong. I`m same size and weight as you and have them in 188 whith Dynafit Tlt radical and Scarpas orange mastrale,G3 skinns. Perfect combo. They do carve very nice on the pist,hold the edge in high speed and are even better backcountry. A tuch heavy if you are planning on long ( 4 hours+) flat hiking due to wide skinns, but perfect for opp and down the big mountains. Stable on crud/windpacked and snappy turns in the woods. What else can I say-GO FOR IT 188, less is for smaler guys 🙂

  42. Nick February 1st, 2012 3:19 pm

    Lou, Bjorn, and Erik – Thanks for all of the great feedback; it kind of confirms my thoughts on it all. The longer version should give me a bit more edge on hard surfaces (the slight tip rocker probably “shortens” the ski) when needed and the length more overall stability. The only thing I still was debating was the bindings – whether to go for a tried-and-true Dynafit TLT Vertical FT-110 or chance it on the Radical TLT FT-110. Erik – since you are my size, how much time have you had on the Radical Bindings on that ski and have they given you any of the reported problems? Are you using the 110 mm? Any regrets on the binding choice? It’s always a gamble on the newest models. Thanks.

  43. erik sannebro February 2nd, 2012 8:57 am

    Have used them since start des. every sat -sunday 2-5 hours trips, 110 mm yes and no problems, I desided to buy the rads because the way you change the hight on heelbinding while walking, think it is easier to flipp them opp/down whith your pole, instead of turning the hole pice as on the vert.I dont know of “the reported problems” you mentioned. 🙂

  44. Lou February 2nd, 2012 9:01 am

    Ignorance is bliss! But you could read back through the binding review posts here on WildSnow… for some folks the problems are trivial, others seem to think differently. Personally I’ve had no problems with the Radical, though I’ll probably swap out my brakes for the older FT/ST version. Lou

  45. Nick February 2nd, 2012 11:01 am

    Erik – Thanks for the info. It’s very reassuring.
    Lou – Yes, at times I wish I was more ignorant, or at least more willing to be content with a bit of ignorance 🙂 I would probably sleep better, spend less time thinking and researching purchases, and more time skiing. As for the brakes, I assume the bindings come with Radical brakes and I wouldn’t be buying them separate. If so, is the swap easy or should I insist the shop use the older version if they have them available at install? By the way, I will be using Titans so I hope the new brakes would be compatible with the vibram soles and not “catch.

  46. Brad February 7th, 2012 12:36 pm

    Lou, can you comment on the 2012 Volkl Nanuq? Have you tried this ski or do you know anyone who has? Wondering how it would compare to the Coomback.

  47. Lou February 7th, 2012 1:21 pm

    Probably good, it’s not part of our test quiver, but I’ll bet someone who comments here has been on it. Lou

  48. erik February 7th, 2012 2:02 pm

    solid,lighter, better float in pow,more a big mountain ski -it like speed, less willing to turn quick turns,would rather have the coomback in the forest, but do well on the pist

  49. erik February 7th, 2012 2:09 pm

    sorry, my comments was for the Nunataq 🙂 the Nanuq do turn quicker but has less platform under the foot so less float for the bigger guys….also a bigmountain ski, like the speed

  50. Brad February 7th, 2012 3:03 pm

    Thanks Erik,

    I’m looking for a backcountry ski that could do some double duty for occasional resort use. I was actually looking into both the Nunataq and Nanuq and trying to decide which might be the best overall fit for me so your comments on both are appreciated.

  51. Will February 15th, 2012 12:54 am

    Hi all – just wanted to say thanks for all the helpful info in this thread, and thanks Lou and Louie for answering so many questions. Just splurged on some 11/12 Coombacks on sale at MEC and I’m looking forward to getting on them. To provide one more data point for the sizing discussion, I’m 6’3″ 195+ lbs and went for the 188s. I’m in a holding pattern until I can locate some new Dynafit STs but I *think* I’ve made the right choice size-wise, though these skis sure looked big when I first hefted ’em. Ah well, time to get tougher I guess.

  52. Drew February 15th, 2012 8:00 pm

    Another sizing question on the Coombacks, I am 6′-2″ and 175lbs and trying to decide between the 181s and 188s. Plan to mount the Coomback with Radical STs and use the setup as all round winter ski (bc, side country and resort on big powder days)

    I have been skiing on 185 Atomic Snoop Daddy skis for many years and with this ski I know I wouldn’t want it longer since at times I feel like itis a hinderance when negotiating tight trees and constrictions in the backcountry.

    Any thoughts/suggestions are much appreciated.

  53. Drew February 15th, 2012 8:04 pm

    … to add to the post above, I considering myself to be an agressive skier and push my boots/ski hard.

    Thanks again, Drew

  54. Drew February 15th, 2012 8:32 pm

    … one last note, mainly ski in WA and ski about 50/50 resort/BC … wondering if K2 Sidestash could be better option?

  55. Nick February 15th, 2012 10:02 pm

    Hi Drew,

    Still haven’t bought my 188 cm Coombacks (or should it be the 186 Watea 94’s). I’m using the excuse, actually not that outrageous, that I am reluctant to bite on the Radicals. Hence, trying to balance if this ski will be primarily my backcountry rig (lightweight Tec bindings) or a mix (non-tec bindings). Nevertheless, you should take a look at the Sidestash carefully. I can’t recall which one of them, the Sidestash or the Wayback, but one of those two ended up this year with alot more rocker on the front than any of the other comparable models or even the previous year’s incarnation. It may not be what you are looking for.

  56. Rik February 16th, 2012 9:05 am

    @Drew, I ski the new Sidestash with tech bindings and use them for touring and freeriding. These skis are very stable at high speed and they even carve quite well. The rocker is not that big, just good. Only negative is the extra weight but i’m happy to take that with the quality of ski.

  57. Greg Louie February 16th, 2012 10:05 am

    @Brad: I skied the 177 Nanuq and loved it. Super precise, excellent edgehold, and very damp for its weight. Coomback would probably have a slight edge in soft snow due to more width.

  58. Chris February 18th, 2012 12:20 pm

    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

  59. Daniel February 19th, 2012 8:52 am

    just came back from 8 days of powder glory in the austrian alps on my new 174 coombacks. packed powder, bottomless cold pow (had a meter of fresh the one day) crusty pow down low, warming affected heavier pow, tracked out junk, the coombacks did all that with ease. not bad on the few groomers, either. i could use the added stability of a metal laminate ski like the sideshow/backlash here and there, but the overall impression is that of a super variable ski for backcountry conditions.

    in terms of uphill, i liked their trail breaking capabilities in the deep stuff, and the nicely balanced feel fro kick turns. very nice overall.

    riding the 174 at 175lbs, 6’2, which many will consider small, but that’s what works best for me. boots are zzero4 pebax, which i think is about what is necessary for the ski.

  60. Nick February 19th, 2012 10:22 am

    Hi Daniel,

    Glad to hear they worked for you. I noted that at times you might have liked a bit of metal. I can understand that, its a tough call – weight vs. stability. OTOH, you might have found the added stability with the 181 cm, although you may have lost some maneuverability. I have found that a longer ski really stabilizes in all types of conditions. Not trying to second guess you; but I am the same height and only about 10 lbs heavier, and I would never have gone below the 181 cm. I am even looking at the 188’s. Just for the hell of it, if you haven’t done so yet, demo the 181’s some time. It is always an interesting idea, for skis of equal width and shape, are you better off going with a ski with a metal laminate or a slightly longer ski without to get the stability you might want.

  61. Daniel February 19th, 2012 10:43 am

    hi nick

    i demoed hardsides and sideshows in 174 vs. 181 this fall, and used to have 174 bakers and 181 backlashes.

    in all cases, i found the 181s too long exceot for the better stablity, respectively under-booted given my zzero4 px boots. might also be my shortish legs. my skiing style is more finesse than charging and the focus is AT, therefore the shortish length.

    anyway, the coombacks did a perfect job in the snow they belong in this week!

  62. Chris February 19th, 2012 1:03 pm

    does this mean i should go with the 174?
    i’m 5′ 9″ 142lbs

    where should i mount the fritschis??

  63. Chris February 23rd, 2012 3:01 pm

    Hi Lou,
    I’m a 5’8 1/2 and 140 pounds, and am trying to decide between a new 167 Gotback and a used 174 Coomback (good condition). Would the 167 be too short? I’m planning to use the ski as a spring CO b/c rig.

    Thanks for any info!

  64. Daniel February 27th, 2012 11:28 am

    hi lou and all,

    so i have this pair of coombacks with vertical STs.

    my shop mouted them with ordinary binding screw glue, not epoxy. two srcews of the one toe piece already came slightly out, the shop mounted brass inserts in the place.

    should i remove toe pieces and re-mount with epoxy? how is the procedure? do i have to heat the screws when unscrewing?

    there is some boot heel to heel piece lateral offset anyway, which i could try to cure then, as well.

    is is worth the hassle?

  65. Daniel February 27th, 2012 11:29 am

    the ski with the worse offset looks almost as off as this. tolerable or not?


  66. Daniel February 29th, 2012 2:19 am

    so should i re-mount with epoxy or leave it as is?

  67. Janek March 7th, 2012 4:08 am

    Hallo Lou, and other Commback fans 🙂

    are there any official remarks if K2 accepts using Dynafit bindings with the new Coombacks ?

    I had issues with that with the previous model , and k2 just recommended Duke/Baron, avoiding the simple answer if I can use Dynafits or not.

    I need to choose the touring ski again, and if K2 recommends Dynafit FT12, Commback would be a must.

  68. Lou March 7th, 2012 10:02 am

    Hmm, last time I looked K2 was not writing me a paycheck for customer service. I’d call them if I were you. BUT, I can say that I know lots of people using Dynafits on later model Coombacks and have not heard of any unusual problems. ‘best, Lou

  69. JCoates March 8th, 2012 4:26 am


    Not sure how big you are, but I would be careful with the dynafit/coomback combo.

    I posted this on the stream for last years Coombacks a couple of weeks ago:

    “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…:)”

    I know this is conjecture, but the rumors seem too common to ignore. I would have contacted K2 about a new pair of skis, but the blow-out happened 1 year and 5 days after I purchased them (it figures). I’m skiing my old Shucksans now and thinking about some Voiles in a little narrower size. and with a heftier topsheet/mounting plate.

    The blow-out makes sense really. Engineering can only provide strong skis down to a certain weight/width before something has to give.

    If you decide to go w/ dynafit, I would try to find the toepiece with the widest base possible. Not sure which one that would be but the STs seem to be the cockroaches of the tech binding world…hard to kill.

    Good luck.

  70. Bjorn Naylor March 8th, 2012 8:03 am

    Here is the view from the tech shop: The older toe pieces on the FT and ST bindings have the narrower 5 bolt pattern- Dyna has gone with a wider 4 bolt pattern now to accomaodate phat skis- those Austrains are smart! This tighter pattern causes greater stress the fatter the width of the ski gets but the real kicker is the type of screw Dynafit was providing. They had a really FLAT head and are very hard to initiate into the hole so they get over torqued during mounting thus partially STRIPPING the threads and resulting in a poor interface/hold. Dynafit changed there screws this year- hint hint. So the fact that this is happening with Coombacks is probably because there are on average probably more Coomb/dynafit set ups out there than anything else- testament to an awesome all rounder ski. The new screws provide a far smoother initiation INTO the ski and greater purchase.
    If u pulled the toes out just heli coil the holes and keep going.
    Buy some Onyx. wicked binding. WAY better retention for BIG guys.
    Hope this dispels some of the digital mob theory on Coombacks etc..The ski is not the culprit- usually it is something that occurs during the mount procedure.

  71. Spiros March 8th, 2012 10:19 am

    Hi Lou and other Coomback fans!
    In few days i am waiting these babys to come to my door and i have ready to fit Dynafit TLT Vertical ST bindings.
    Suppose that i can swap the excisting 82mm ski stop with a wider 110 mm one!!

    So will the vertical ST will take the abuse with the Coomback skis??
    (it was fitted to dynafit seven summit skis)

    Also any recommedantions for skins?Can i go for BD or G3 and which is the most appropriate
    Will they fit the tail or do ihave to modify them!!
    What about the K2 skins??

    Any advice welcome

    P.S. I am 6.2 tall 195 pounds advance skier!


  72. Spiros March 8th, 2012 10:23 am

    Hi Lou and other Coomback fans!
    In few days i am waiting these babys to come to my door and i have ready to fit Dynafit TLT Vertical ST bindings.
    Suppose that i can swap the excisting 82mm ski stop with a wider 110 mm one!!

    So will the vertical ST will take the abuse with the Coomback skis or should go with another binding??

    Also any recommedantions for skins?Can i go for BD or G3 and which is the most appropriate
    Will they fit the tail or do ihave to modify them!!
    What about the K2 skins??

    Any advice welcome

    P.S. I am 6.2 tall 195 pounds advance skier!


  73. Chris March 8th, 2012 12:39 pm

    g3 skins oi kaluteres!!
    k2 will fit best of them all but g3 is the best quality
    contact me if you want
    maybe i can help


  74. Rob Stephenson March 11th, 2012 12:53 pm

    I’ve been looking at the Coombacks for a couple of years now and just waiting for enough time to pass to justify buying “another” pair of skis. I’ve settled on the 181s – thanks in part to this blog. Now another dilemma. The Coomback or the Hardside? I’ve been told by a couple of ski shop folks that the Coomback is a great do everything ski, but the Hardside is a “better” and “more fun” ski. It is a bit stiffer, a tiny bit heavier, and 4mm narrower. Also solved is the Dynafit toe piece pull-out given the steel in the Hardside. Maybe they have a point. I’ll ride them 80% in the BC, and for the resort I have a 190 Gotama that absolutely rocks and loves to go fast. Anyone else have thoughts on this ski? There isn’t much posted about the Hardside, and the Coombacks sell like hotcakes!

  75. Daniel March 11th, 2012 1:01 pm

    i demoed hardsides and did not like them, kinda sluggish. later i bought coombacks, a super fogiving, fun ski that is great in the backcountry.
    people say hardside is better for groomers, maybe, but i didn’t think so.
    to be honest, i had pull out issues with dyna/coomback and went for a backlash instead. when i A/B-ed hardside vs. sideshow (new backlash) the latter was the winner, regardless the lesser float. hardsides were more work and less suited for short turns, which i like to do. coomback does most any turn radius with ease. there is no perfect coomback substitute.

  76. Dave March 14th, 2012 8:45 pm

    Lou and Louie,

    Been following the Ultimate Quiver. While the Coomback’s don’t seem to be included, after reading Louie’s and the ALpin tests it sure looks like they should be in the running.

    The sales are a starting and its time to find a deal, so my question is Coomback’s vs Waybacks? Different skis, I know. This would be for backcountry, powder days at the area and week long hut trips to the Selkirks. What do you think?

    And yes I’, also interested in your recommendations for length just like half the free world. I’m 5’11”, 170lbs, have been skiing 178 Little Big Fats and Manaslu’s forever. So 174 vs 181? I imagine this could differ by ski. And of yeah, I’m 60 and like to make turns not GS. AT setup with Dynafits.

    Many thanks.

  77. Daniel March 15th, 2012 1:31 am

    coombacks, from what you say, unless it is all about weight. they feel alot more substantial. i see you on a 174 for ease of touring and short turns. the 174 is nearly 176cms so longer than other manufacturers 178s…

    waybacks are shorter and have mor rocker.

  78. Forest April 19th, 2012 5:04 am

    OK, this is a “new skis” year for me and I have it narrowed down to either the 181 Coombacks or the 180 Voile Vectors. I live and ski in the northeast with our hugely variable conditions and terrain and ski primarily backcountry, using the resorts for practice when there isn’t enough snow to go elsewhere. They will be mounted with tech bindings, probably Onyx but maybe Vertical FT.

    I would love to hear from anyone who has skiied both skis on the relative differences between the two. Thanks for your input!

  79. Forest April 19th, 2012 5:05 am

    …and I LOVE that the Vectors are made in the USA!!

  80. Jim Knight April 19th, 2012 10:16 am

    Ya Forest, both are great choices. The Vector is def faster on the up and handles everything well like Coombacks, but more nimble yet less stable at high speed. If your skills and mileages are high get Vectors w/ Dynafit. (esp BC’s) If you’re not in a hurry, get Coombacks w/ Onyx. Like comparing an Alaskan Husky & Golden Lab, they’re likeable, loyal and hardworking. They get it done, but do it differently.

  81. stevenjo April 19th, 2012 4:18 pm

    Have not skied the Coombacks but took a lap on my friends Volie BC’s this year. Great on the up, and in soft snow (tho ski very short) but less inspiring when the cond moved to crud, then ice. To be fair I only took one lap and was coming from a much beefer ski (Volkl Mantra). Even so, I’d have to think the Coombacks would be better in those variable cond. but at a weight penalty. I’d second the importance of your overall mileage/touring range for consideration. Good luck.

  82. stevenjo April 19th, 2012 4:19 pm

    To clarify that’s the Volie *Vector* BC

  83. Forest April 20th, 2012 4:24 am

    Thanks for the great input, guys! I definitely put on plenty of miles so am leaning slightly towards the Vectors but love to go fast so will have a lot of fun vacillating between the two before the actual buy. I’m 6′, a lean 190 lbs, 53 and an ex-bodybuilder/powerlifter so I tend to use leg strength to compensate for technique weaknesses (working hard on skills though!). I tend to over-edge my jump turns, hence I am a little concerned on the pre-release possibility of the Vertical FTs.

    Just got a great deal on some TLT5 Mountains at a local shop so I’m working on the weight reduction issue. Currently I am skiing Alpina X-Terrain 160 with Silvretta 500s so I will be elated with any of the above combinations of ski/binding. 🙂

    Love the fact that some of the proceeds from the Coombacks go to Doug’s family, too. If only they came with a white topsheet…

  84. JCoates April 20th, 2012 5:24 am


    I had Coombacks last year, but unfortunately, I was one of the unlucky guys who pulled out my toepiece with the Coomback/Dynafit FT 12 combo. This was after what I would consider regular use after a little less than one season of skiing (maybe 40 days??).

    I just bought a pair of Vectors to replace and have been pretty happy with the way they ski so far. They are definitely lighter and get thrown around a bit more than the Coombacks, so you have to concentrate more on your technique and keep the speeds a bit lower. I have Dynafit Low-tech races mounted on them now so that might be a part of it. We’ll see how they do durability wise. I am a heavy guy (240 lbs w/o pack), but so far so good after about 6 days of pretty hard off-piste skiing on them (Swiss backcountry). I’m hoping the slightly narrower profile prevents another toepiece/ski failure. I wish they had a tail slot for a skin tailpiece, but so far they seem to be staying on fine.

    You don’t see a lot of Voile skis here in Europe. Probably more vanity than ski patriotism on my part, but its kind of fun show up at the hut with something a little different too. Sort of like how my Dodge truck turns more heads in Germany than a Porsche or Audi R8.

    Take care,

  85. Nick April 20th, 2012 8:34 am


    I know that you had said you narrowed it down to the 181 Coombacks or the 180 Vectors. If you are still open to suggestions, one other ski which might give you the best of both is the 181 K2 Sideshow. I know it is only 90 in width, but that might be even better back east for those “hard snow” days. I have skied the 181 Coombacks and the 181 Sideshows back to back and found the latter quite a bit more stable in varied condition. The metal layering really helps. In those two lengths, the Sideshow is actually lighter too, so that would be good for the going up. What I can’t tell is how much you sacrifice in deep snow surfability with the Sideshows – I’m on the injured list right now, so haven’t been able to demo them in the deep stuff. Good luck.

  86. Forest April 20th, 2012 1:30 pm

    Well Nick, nothing is ruled out yet but I would like to be able to take advantage of a good powder dump when it does happen. I actually hit some amazing fluff on Katahdin this winter but didn’t have enough ski to fully enjoy it. Hope you get healed up!

    Josh, you’ve made me cautious with the pulled out toepiece story. BTW, my pickup with the Thule mounted over the bed gets some looks even here in Maine.

    I’m wondering how the Onyx would match with the Vector. Even though the binding is a little heavier, I’d still have the advantage of lighter boots and skis. Wonder if it would be more resistant to tearout on the Coombacks?

  87. Jack June 18th, 2012 4:15 pm

    Ok, I’m a backcountry near virgin: 57, expert downhill skier, Eastern 90% of the time. At fighting weight I am 5’7″, 175 pounds. Cycling my ass off now to get to that weight. I want to pick up a pair of 188 Coombacks at backcountry.com, plan to mount dynafit and get a pretty light boot as my first backcountry outfit. My preference for many years in resort skiing has been a long, GS ski. I think the 188’s are maybe marginally too long, but I generally drive a strong leg and like to put some energy into the ski. Is the 102mm waist going to kill me in Eastern conditions? I’ve skied Wayback rentals and they were fine, a little light on the down. This is a new adventure for me. A buddy of mine and I have staked out a 2014 Haute Route trip as a goal. Comments?

  88. Bjorn Naylor June 18th, 2012 9:32 pm

    don’t forget 188 K2’s measure LONGER so it is effectively just over a 190…. but they are an easy to adapt to ski- versatile and predictable….the only concern for a novice would be tight steep switchbacks at that length…but by the sounds of your ability u will have fun on the Eastern slopes with this length.

  89. daniel June 19th, 2012 12:43 am

    188 sound long if you want to use them for AT, especially euro style hut to hut in spring, which involves thousands of kick turns and traverses.

    i skied a 174 being 6’2 180lbs, which was enough to keep me afloat in pow, and handled nicely uphill/switchback.

    i would say 181 maximum.

    however, for spring ski touring i would much prefer something narrower, shorter. read backlash respectively sideshow.

  90. Lou June 19th, 2012 7:24 am

    Jack, you’re in the classic dilemma where you’re used to a certain style and gear for your resort skiing, and need to figure out how you’ll not be too uncomfortable when you get shocked with AT gear. Even so, the 188 is HUGE and very inappropriate for things like the Haute Route. Daniel’s advice is good. Remember that if you want your AT gear to ski like your resort gear, you’ll need to use your resort gear for AT. Otherwise, nearly any change in gear will be a least a bit of an adjustment. Much of this is psychological. Keep an open mind and don’t try to force AT gear into being GS gear. Or rock huge AT skis with Marker Duke bindings and beef boots. But that’s no fun on the up… Lou

  91. daniel June 19th, 2012 8:24 am

    in the end, it is quite simple. the more AT you do, the more you will be willing to compromise the downhill performance in favor of the climb. and you get used to it! i am just returning from a trip to stilfser joch glacier in italy, where i tried out my new light rig, voile vector bc, speed radical, scarpa f1. very light rig. skied with the right style and expectations, this is a very nice rig and skies just fine.

    a couple of years ago, i thought the ultimate goal was a stiff AT boot, sturdy binders and a very solid ski. but that is just oepossible rig, out o many.

    if you have things like the haute route in mind, i suggest either something in the 90mm range and not too long, which would be 174k2 at max, or building a quiver.

    even 90mm can feel wide on a hardpack traverse, but seem to be a reasonable compromise. if i still had coombacks, i would feel tempted to add ie backups as spring mountaineering skis. my backlashes do it all reasonably well. i have in fact used them for euro high altidude spring touring, powd skiing in norway, horrible breakable crust and of course resort, with good results in every discipline.

    ie a sideshow can double as a resort ski quite nicely.

  92. Jack June 19th, 2012 8:34 am

    Wow! I’m really glad that I wrote. Thanks to all. It sounds like Coombacks are a good choice for me, but I should look for 174 or 181. Those 188’s at backcountry.com are still there for a reason: too long for most. I’m thinking a pretty high-end boot, TLT5’s or maybe even (shudder) Vulcans. Lou’s comment on the psychology of switching disciplines was right on point. I”ve been skiing 50 years and loved every minute of it. Scott Lee of Synnott’s guide service recommended buying boots first, which is an interesting take, as they are the most personal and finicky part of the system. –Jack

  93. Jack June 19th, 2012 9:10 am

    Daniel, et al., Thanks! I just pulled the trigger on a pair of Coombacks in 181. If I do evolve in the direction of lighter is better I may just have to buy another pair of skis! I think this will serve me well in the East and perhaps a lighter, shorter, 90 mm waist ski will be the next addition. –Jack

  94. Bjorn Naylor June 19th, 2012 9:19 am

    good call.

  95. Lou June 19th, 2012 9:23 am

    If you can avoid owning a quiver, I’ll eat my ski poles (grin). Yeah, the 181 will do you fine, lots of ski. Be willing to play around with some lighter stuff. It’s fun. Takes lots of skill. Lou

  96. Forest June 20th, 2012 7:00 am

    Since there doesn’t appear to be a pair of Vector 180s left in the country, I just ordered a pair from my local dealer for delivery around September. Voile says that the graphics will be different this year but the same ski. Can’t wait to see the new design! Plenty of time to decide on which bindings to use.

  97. Dave H. November 20th, 2012 12:05 pm

    This was a very useful thread. Thanks for the original review, Lou. And everyone’s questions and comments on ski size were helpful as well. I just ordered last year’s Coombacks in a 181 (on sale at Mtn Gear.com, and I like the graphics better than this year’s). At 6’3″, 180 lb, I was torn between the 181 and 188. But I have a pair of Sidestashs with Dynafit classics in 181, and those ski great, so went with the same in the Coombacks. I wanted something a bit lighter weight than Sidestashs, though, and while that weight savings will be squandered when I mount them with BD O1 tele bindings, I’m looking forward to trying them out in the accumulating Mt. Baker snow pack soon.

    I’m also curious if folks have any recommendations for a superlight AT ski for spring ski mountaineering – i.e., something that holds a good edge in all conditions, and where float is less of an issue.

    By the way, Lou, I’m in Biology. If you ever get a chance, walk across the quad to say hello sometime.

  98. Forest December 28th, 2012 12:02 pm

    Agree that this is a very useful thread, Dave. After 1 day of liftserved and a couple low-angle outings on some unbreakable crust, this morning was my first tour on real powder on the 180 Vector/Onyx/TLT5 combination. Couldn’t possibly be happier! The tip & tail rocker makes such a huge difference – really effortless turns. I appreciate everyone’s input; that is what makes this such a great forum.

  99. Catherine January 7th, 2013 1:39 pm

    So, after reading all these posts, I see there is not a single woman (besides Brenda at the very beginning) who’s commented. I’m wondering…I am an experienced, strong and aggressive skier 5’7 138 lbs. (normally ski Voelkl Aurora Attiva 163) and recently found some barely-used 167 Coombacks from last year at the REI attic with Dynafit bindings for $750 and the hubby said to go for it. I’m new to ski-touring but am totally excited about it and just want to be sure I’ll be able to ski these. Any thoughts?

  100. Lou Dawson January 7th, 2013 1:47 pm

    Catherine, I could always login with a sex change, but I’ll be honest (grin). You’ll be fine with those skis, they’re essentially the same thing as a Gotback, perhaps even exactly the same. Lou

  101. Catherine January 7th, 2013 6:07 pm

    Hey cool Lou, thanks for the feedback!!!

  102. Erik Erikson January 8th, 2013 6:42 am

    Hi there, some post here says that the 181 coomback would actually run longer than the 181 wayback – anyone who can confirm that ?

  103. Rob S January 8th, 2013 7:43 am

    Erik – I ski both the original Coomba (181) and the Wayback (174). I wanted a slightly shorter ski for ski touring/mountaineering. My Coombas were “pre-rocker”, but K2 advertises the newer Coombacks as “All Terrain Rocker”, same as the Wayback. However, I looked at a pair of Coombacks just the other day, and they seem to have significantly less rocker than my Waybacks. That would seem to imply the the Coombacks would “run longer”, as you say above.

  104. Erik Erikson January 8th, 2013 7:57 am

    Thanks a lot, Rob ! I think I did not put my words correct, as my English is very bad (hopefully my skiing is better 😉 : What i meant is, that the Coomback actually measures longer than the wayback: So that a 181 Coomback is in reality LONGER (has more length) than a 181 wayback;
    Can I ask your height and weight? I am around 6.2 and 170 pounds, can´t decide if I should get coombacks in 181 or 188..

  105. Rob S January 8th, 2013 8:04 am

    Erik – I’m about 6′, 175 lbs. I just measured my skis side by side, and the 181 Coombas are about 3″ longer (7-8cm) than the 174 Waybacks, so it would appear that the measurement standard is the same for both skis. I had heard once that K2 measured their skis from point-of-contact to point-of-contact, but if that was ever the case, I suspect they would have to abandon that practice in the age of rocker.

    BL, unless you are a very, very aggressive skier who likes a longer ski, I would go with the 181. Part of the reason I went with a shorter ski for touring was being caught in some sketchy places on steep terrain where I really wished I had a shorter ski to sideslip between rock outcroppings.

  106. Erik Erikson January 8th, 2013 8:15 am

    Thanx, i really appreciate your help! In fact, I do like skiing fast and making big turns where its possible; but than, in back country skiing most times you have quite a high percentage of narrow terrain / bushes and stuff like this;
    I never owned a ski wider than 90 mm under foot and my guess was, that at my relatively light weight (170 lbs at 6.2) the added width of the coomback would give me enough flotation so that the tips would stay out of the snow even in deeper snow.
    But your 181 Coomba never felt too short for you, did it?

  107. Rob S January 8th, 2013 8:20 am

    No, the 181 Coombas never felt short to me, and I find them to hold an edge pretty well on hard pack. And they certainly float pretty well in powder. I do wish they had a bit more rocker, though…having skied more dramatically rockered skis like the DPS Wailer 112, I found that extra rocker really gave me more confidence in deep snow.

  108. Erik Erikson January 8th, 2013 8:25 am

    Yes, you are right. Rocker is a great invention, i wonder why constructors did not realize that way earlier… could mean, that the coomback is quite a perfect ski as it is a coomba, but with a rocker as i understand…?!

  109. Erik Erikson January 8th, 2013 8:28 am

    Anyone else out there who would mind to give me some advice regarding the right length of the coomback? (at height 6.2, 170 lbs) ?

  110. Rob S January 8th, 2013 8:28 am

    Well, as Louie points out in the review above, there’s a tradeoff with rocker between floatation and edge hold. The DPS are powder killers, but they are no fun on ice! Until we develop a ski that can reconfigure itself on the fly, I think the “One Ski Quiver” will remain elusive.

  111. Dave H January 8th, 2013 10:51 am

    Hi Erik,
    I’m 6’3″, 175 lb naked and dry, and I just got the Coombacks in 181 with BD O1 tele bindings. I’m quite happy with them so far. I also have a pair of SideStashs with AT bindings, also in 181 and those feel great as well – good blend of float, edge-hold and maneuverability. I’m a moderately aggressive skier both inbounds and out. I know people bigger than me on 181’s, and some on 188’s. I’d recommend the 181’s for your body size and skiing. And if you want a more aggressive ski and don’t mind some extra weight, think about the SideStash as well.

  112. Erik Erikson January 9th, 2013 3:28 am

    Dave, Thanx for your advice! Picking up your words “naked and dry”: I´m not sure if the recommondations that are given referring to body weight / ski length take into account, that in backcountry skiing you always have to add to your bodyweight like 20 pounds for pack, avalanche gear, drinking…..

  113. Dave H January 9th, 2013 9:47 pm

    Hi Erik,
    Yeah, I’m not sure either. That’s why I was specific. I could have added “…and empty” to cover all the bases. Anyway, my guess is you’d be happy with the 181’s.

    Good luck!

  114. Patrick January 9th, 2013 10:38 pm

    Still, the concept of skiing naked and wet, whether on tele or AT — well that would be a sight! Personally, I’ll put in my nude/wet time in the sauna after skiing. (grin, grin)

  115. Dave H January 9th, 2013 10:54 pm

    Per your suggestion, I googled “naked skiing”. Try it. You may find more (or less) than you were expecting…

    But I think we’re digressing from the original topic.

  116. Erik Erikson January 10th, 2013 12:37 am

    The closest i ever got towards “skiing naked” where a few times uphill wearing only shorts in springtime… 😉 but that where not exactly the conditions i wished to have a rather big plank like a coomback 188 anyway… 😉

    But I´d have another serious question concernig “big planks”:
    – Given I would ski a coomback 188 (me 6.2, 170 lbs (plus gear)): would I have to use a stiffer boot then e.g. the maestrale to feel the advantages of that ski (-lengt)?
    – AND: Is it necessary to have a lot of leg-ower to ride a plank like this ? For me I can say: I really do a lot of backcountry-skitouring (lets say 70 times a year), earnig my turns going uphill first; but usually I don´t do more than like 5 days a year using a ski-lift. So I don´t have much actual skiing time compared to the time I´m outdoors and my legs a rather “endurance-strong” than having maximal power;

  117. ralph January 16th, 2013 1:07 am

    URGENT question regarding mounting point K2 coomback, would really appreciate if someone could help me out: I purchased a K2 coomback in 188; When I compare the midsole mark to the one of my 181 wayback, the 188 coomback would be only like 1.5 cm longer than the wayback in front of the binding, but around 5.5 behind it. That means, the recommended mounting point of the coomback would be about 2 cm forward compared to the mounting point of the wayback.
    Is this due to a failure or the way K2 really recommends? I´d be really glad about some comments!

  118. Lou Dawson January 16th, 2013 2:30 am

    Erik, Maestrale would probably work but yes something stiffer might be more enjoyable when you get into that kind of ski length combined with your height. Lou

  119. erik January 16th, 2013 2:38 am

    Lou, thanx a lot ! I guess Dynafit ZZero 4 Pebax ain´t stiffer than the Maestrale, right?

    Ralph: Would be strange, if the mounting point of the coomback would really be that much forward compared to the wayback… I guess than you´d loose mach of the advantages of that longer ski, am I right? Kick-turns would be mach harder and flotation not better… but I am really no expert in this issue, any other inpurts here?

  120. Lou Dawson January 16th, 2013 2:49 am

    Erik, Maestrale RS is probably what you want to be looking at if you’re fitting Scarpa well and still want something that tours. Lou

  121. ralph January 16th, 2013 2:56 am

    Sorry for beeing that impatient, but I am quite in a hurry regarding this issue: Does anyone know if the mounting point / midsole of the K2 coomback is really that much more forward than the one of the K2 wayback?
    Or, even better: Is there any owner of a K2 coomback in 188 or 181 who would be so kind and measure the exact distance from the end of the ski to the midsole-mark and share that information with me? Would be really helpfull.

  122. erik erikson January 16th, 2013 3:11 am

    Thanx Lou. But I don´t have “Scarpafeet”, unfortunately (tried the Maestrale regular, (not Rs)). Could get Dynafit Zzero 4 Pebax for little money.. any experiences regarding their stiffness compared to the Maestrale?

  123. Lou Dawson January 16th, 2013 3:19 am

    Erik, it would be similar. Very nice boots, I skied Zzero quite a bit for several years.

  124. Lou Dawson January 16th, 2013 3:23 am

    Ralph, you’re probably over thinking this. Just use the mounting point that’s on the ski, rockered skis always look funny since the mounting point sometimes has to shift due to running/contact surface being much different. If you find out later that the Coomback has a defective mounting point marked, then remount. I doubt the printed mounting point is defective, otherwise we all would have heard about it by now?

  125. erik erikson January 16th, 2013 3:30 am

    Thanx. Think I will settle for the BIG coomback (188),but for the boots it will maybe be a Zzeus.. Fear to be “underbooted” with the Zzero, if its not stiffer than the maestrale.

  126. Ralph January 16th, 2013 3:38 am

    Thank you for your advise, Lou! Guess you are right. Just thought the mounting point of rockered skis should be more BACKWARD not FORWARD, due to the reduced running length. And regarding the assumption, that the printer mounting point could be defective: I just thought, that maybe a few skis of the Coomback production line could be affected by that, not all of them.
    But I´ll listen to you, stop thinking, mount the Dynafits and hit the slopes…

  127. Charlie January 16th, 2013 11:19 am

    The ZZero4 PX is noticeably softer than newer boots, which might imagine would include the Maestrale. The ONE PX is significantly stiffer.

    To indirectly answer your earlier question, I’m 6′, 180 lb, and am quite happy on 177 El Hombres. I only notice the short length at very high speed on firm snow in open terrain. Short skis are great in tight terrain, trees, and on the up.

  128. Daniel January 16th, 2013 11:25 am

    the zzero4 px is imho a great boot with very even flex, more so that the more. abruot flex of the C version. i skied both 174 coombacks and 181 backlashes with them and never felt underbooted, the softer the boot, the more precise the fore aft balance should be, though. i think the px shoud be enough boot for any length coomback for touring. freeride use, maybe different story. the maestrale is stiffer but not by very much. it is higher though, which might make a difference. still, fit is crucial, in a badly fitting boot you will lack control sooner than in something softer that fits very snug…

  129. Tom February 4th, 2013 10:45 am

    I’m on Coombacks for the second winter and love the ski. The bases have taken a few shots, so I took them in to have them stone ground and tuned. They came back with the edges sharpened up front in the rockered part of the ski. Should I detune the rockered part, or does it matter?

  130. Dave Eckert February 13th, 2013 3:07 pm

    Compare the Coombacks to the SideStashes
    I have been skiing on the Sidestashes for the last couple of year mounted with NTN Freedoms. I’m finding the Sidestashes are too wearing on my knees and want to back off a bit to a narrower ski. The Sidestashes are 108 under foot–would the Coombacks make enough difference, or should I go narrower yet? Is the impact on my knees from the width of the ski or from its stiffness? If not the Coomback, what other ski would you consider. I mostly ski lift feed backcountry, generally at high speeds on steep slopes.

  131. Lou Dawson February 13th, 2013 3:16 pm

    Dave, sorry, this is an AT website not tele. Though there are a few telemarkers around here that might address your question. Me, I don’t understand how ski width would equate to knee stress, other than wider skis actually making skiing easier. Perhaps try a binding change rather than a ski change. Latch down your heels, then just tilt and enjoy that amazing modern parallel slice.

  132. Dave Eckert February 13th, 2013 3:25 pm

    Thanks Lou–done the “latch down” many years and got bored with it…stout tele gear today has allowed me to do everything on teles that I used to do on downhills, I just may have bit off a little more ski under foot than I comfortable with. Are there any tele blogs that you might recommend that might be more appropriate for my question?
    thanks again.

  133. Lou Dawson February 13th, 2013 3:54 pm

    “Used to do” is the operative term. I don’t see how anyone can be bored with what can be done on alpine gear these days.

    As for tele places, telemarktips.com is the place


  134. Erik Erikson February 14th, 2013 12:01 am

    Just a short comment concerning “wider skies – more stress for the knees”: I feel that my wider planks (over 100 mm under foot) do put more stress on my knees than my narrower (under 90). But that is only due to skinning uphill. Especially long traverses on hard snow create more impact on the knee with wider skies.
    But as you do your uphills mostly by lift as I understand that is no issue for you, Dave.

  135. Dave Eckert February 14th, 2013 8:18 am

    thanks Erik. your correct my issue is more about downhill than going up. I think it has more to do with the combination of Sidestashes and NTN bindings. Getting the Sidestash up on edge takes a bit more effort and that combined with the stoutness of the NTN binding is weorking my knees more than previous gear. I like the NTN bindings but may have to rethink the combination with those skis. It also may require that I take a higher stance in my turns. appreciate the feedback.

  136. Bruno April 7th, 2013 10:29 am

    Dave, for sure wider planks put more stress on your knees. You don’t have to be an engineer to visualize the force vectors (but I am). 96 – 102 widths don’t bother my knees alpine skiing nearly as much as something over 110. Spent a week on Nordica Patrons on the Powder Highway (not so powdery when I was there), and though I love that ski, it hammers my knees. Got back home and been skiing K2 Kung Fujas @ 102 ever since with much happier knees.

  137. Waldemar November 25th, 2013 5:48 am

    Question regarding mounting bindings on Coomback: Does anyone know what is the recommended drill bit size for K2 Coomback skis ? Waldemar

  138. Bjorn Naylor November 25th, 2013 7:38 am

    3.5mm x 9.0

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