2016 K2 Pinnacle 95 Ski Review: Because Skiing Should Be Fun // Ski Reviews
K2 made some big changes to their lineup for 2015/16 and the Pinnacle 95 has perhaps gained more attention than any other of their new skis and for a good reason. Boasting progressive technology in its construction and an innovative design the Pinnacle 95 has positioned itself as a strong competitor in an all mountain category that’s filled with some fantastic skis this season. Among the abundance of mid-fat all mountain skis on the market, however, the Pinnacle 95 stands out as perhaps the most versatile both in terms of appropriate conditions and skier ability. We wanted to take some time to chat more about what makes this a pretty special ski.
The unique feel of the K2 Pinnacle 95 comes predominantly from its unique construction. K2’s new “Konic” technology uses a lightweight composite “Nanolite” center core with an Aspen wood core and metal laminate that runs just along the perimeter of the ski. This helps keep the overall weight of the skis down while retaining power, strength, and stability where you need it: on the edge of the ski. Combine this with K2’s All-Terrain rocker (low rising tip and tail rocker) and an early tapered tip and you’ve got a very versatile all mountain ski that performs equally well on and off-piste.
We had a chance to put the K2 Pinnacle 95 to the test at the Copper Mountain ski test in February of 2015 and were immediately impressed by its capabilities and versatility. After skiing multiple mid-fat all mountain skis with 1 or 2 full sheets of metal (i.e. Blizzard Bonafide, Nordica Enforcer, Kastle FX 95 HP) the Pinnacle 95 managed to stand out. The first thing our testers noticed was the low swing weight. When you’re carrying the Pinnacle 95 through the parking lot, it doesn’t feel exceptionally lightweight. When you have them on your feet, however, the low swing weight is very prevalent, especially when you’re coming off of skis that use full sheets of metal.
Right away the skis feel very playful due to having such reduced swing weight. This playfulness is further enhanced by the shape of the ski. In variable conditions, softer snow, and tight terrain the Pinnacle 95 dances around with ease. We were impressed by the ski’s ability to release its edges in variable snow while staying quiet, damp, and stable. Our testers all agreed that out of all the mid-fat all mountain skis we tested, due to the rocker/taper profiles and light weight, the Pinnacle 95 was one of the easiest to ski. Off piste it will do exactly what you want it to especially at more reserved speeds.
Some of our testers, however, did notice that the Pinnacle 95 can become slightly unstable at really high speeds. If you’re the straight-lining, hard charging type, chances are you’ll prefer an all mountain ski with more metal, but for us mere mortals, the Pinnacle 95 performs admirably. The majority of our feedback was that the ski does in fact bust through crud and variable snow quite well. It’s very quiet and very stable and promotes confidence through chopped up conditions in intermediate to advanced skiers. A great word to describe how the Pinnacle 95 feels is simply: “fun!” No, it’s not the burliest all mountain ski on the market, and we’re glad. K2 has focused on achieving a playful, yet stable, platform that skiers of all ability levels can enjoy. We aren’t all Freeride World Tour competitors, so let’s stop pretending we all need the heaviest, strongest, most powerful skis possible. Skiing’s supposed to be fun, remember?
Of course we can’t talk about an all mountain ski without talking about its performance on groomers, and here we were once again pleasantly surprised by the Pinnacle 95’s abilities. The Konic construction is an awesome improvement to the K2 line. Similar to their performance off-piste, the Pinnacle 95 feels quiet, stable, and playful all at the same time when cruising groomers. Going back to not having a full sheet of metal, the skis aren’t quite as powerful as some of the burlier all mountain skis on the market right now, but again, that’s not what K2 was going for. Didn’t bring your A-game today? No problem, the Pinnacle 95 gained high praise from all our testers for its forgiving nature. A great way to think of the Pinnacle 95 is that it’s ready to ski however you want to ski that given day. Want to take it easy and cruise around? The lightweight platform and forgiving nature will keep you smiling all day. Want to turn it up a notch? The skis will react and pack plenty of performance in whatever conditions you’re ready to shred.
Overall we were very impressed by the Pinnacle 95. It’s a great all mountain ski for a wide variety of skiers and easily one of the most versatile skis on the market right now. Because they are so forgiving and have a noticeably low swing weight, don’t be scared to size up, especially for more aggressive expert skiers. We also think the Pinnacle 95 would make a great touring ski. Sure it’s not super light, sure it’s not super wide, but its ability in variable snow and relative light weight in regards to performance makes us confident we’d have a blast with an AT binding on them. In terms of what length to choose, most of our testers found they were gravitating towards slightly longer lengths than they would typically go choose for a ski that has metal in its construction, which is a testament to the forgiving nature of the Pinnacle 95. Now get out there, grab a pair of Pinnacle 95s, and have some gosh darn fun for crying out loud!