2020 K2 Marksman

For a few years now, the K2 Marksman has been setting a high bar for playfulness and versatility in a fairly wide ski. This ski has all the tools necessary for superlative fun. From a twin-tip shape to asymmetric tip and tail shape, these skis are built to smear, carve, float, and slarve on any and all snow conditions and terrain aspects. With a right and left-specific ski, K2 has made the overall shape to be more like a snowboard. If you’ve ever seen a snowboard floating through powder, the Marksman’s shape makes it easy and fun to crush any and all fresh snow. At 106 mm underfoot, it’s no skinny ski by any stretch, but in softer groomers, it really carves a clean, round turn. As usual, our testers love the flexibility, playfulness, and overall fun level of the Marksman, with many skiers being surprised at the torsional stiffness for such a fun-loving ski.

James Stewart skied the 184 and loved the playfulness, with that category earning a 5 out of 5. His overall impression score, flotation, and maneuverability were all 4’s, indicating that this is a well-rounded and fun ski. James calls the Marksman a “playful all-mountain ripper. It’s hard not to grin on this one. It is a whole lot of fun.” Due to the unique shape and profile of the ski, it has a “short-ish effective edge and it definitely does not have the high-speed stability of some more directional skis, but if you’re into tight chutes and popping off every natural feature in sight, this is a must-try.” Agreed, James, this ski quite literally begs to be used as an all-mountain toy.

The Marksman is a perennial favorite of Matt McGinnis. he skied the 184 and notes that “the Marksman has been my favorite ski for three years in a row for a reason: they fit my style perfectly. They have a perfect balance of stability and playfulness as the K2 Marksman is the kind of ski you could have fun with on any given day.” In terms of a target audience, Matt says that they’re “ideal for surfy skiers, but not so ideal for those looking to push the speedometer.” Like James, Matt brings up the fact that they do have a speed limit, and are best used when seeking and searching and sniffing out hits and features all over the mountain.

Phil McGrory was a bit more succinct in his review of the 184. “Best Ski Ever!!” He also made up his own category, scoring the ski a 6 out of 5 for “Naughtiness.”

On the flip side of Phil was Harrison Gorham’s review of the 184. His scores were relatively high, and his 5’s for flotation and forgiveness fit in with K2’s intended purpose. He calls them “really weird. Loves to schralp. Kind of chatters.” Fair enough, Harrison, furthering our philosophy that there truly isn’t one perfect ski for everyone. To each their own.

Mike Aidala skied the 177 and loved it for its flotation, quickness, maneuverability, and playfulness. It’s great to hear that a 106 underfoot ski has some nimbleness to it. “The K2 Marksman skis shine in the soft snow conditions, taking the terrain park playfulness to the entire mountain.” In terms of how easy they are to ski due to their forgiving nature, “these skis enter and exit every turn with effortless fun.” These comments, combined with Mike’s high scores, are a great sign that the Marksman works really well for fun-loving skiers, just like Mike.

The interesting shape and design of the Marksman sets it apart in this ~105 mm underfoot grouping. It’s most likely the most fun-loving and playful of its competitors, and that’s a good thing. Skiers with a more freestyle/freeride oriented background will find a lot to like about the K2 Marksman, and it seems like an amazingly fun ski for pretty much all soft-snow conditions.

Testers

Mike Aidala

Age: 42Height: 5'9"Weight: 167 lbs.

Ski Style: As fast as the terrain allows

Phil McGrory

Age: 31Height: 6'0"Weight: 160 lbs.

Ski Style: Adventurous spirit in search of pow

Matt McGinnis

Age: 29Height: 5'9"Weight: 175 lbs.

Ski Style: Surfy freeride with a freestyle background

James Stewart

Age: 30Height: 6'2"Weight: 170 lbs.

Ski Style: Energetic, playful, and fun to follow

Harrison Gorham

Age: 34Height: 6'0"Weight: 170 lbs.

Ski Style: Heavily mustachioed and always watching out for the kids

36 Comments on the “2020 K2 Marksman”

  1. Hi Guys,

    I am looking for an all mountain ski that works well on the piste as well as off it. I’m looking to improve my off piste more and have a bit of fun playing around. Are they that bad on the piste? I’m not looking for something that carves amazingly but not something completely useless on groomers.

    I am also 5ft 10 76kg, any thoughts regarding 177 or 184? Thanks again, Josh

    1. Hi Josh!
      The only caveat to the carving ability of the Marksman is that it’s not great on hard snow. When the groomers are soft, they hold in and provide pretty decent snap and pop thanks to the fiberglass weave. So not useless, but much happier in softer snow. I’d go with the 184–they’re pretty maneuverable and fun, even in longer lengths. Have fun!
      SE

  2. Hi Guys,

    Thanks for that. I was also looking at the black crows camox too. I realise its a 97 as opposed to a 106 but really not a fan of the graphics. I would be 50/50 on use between groomers and off piste; not too worried about putting in perfect carving turns otherwise id go skinny but still want something that can do a bit of carving. Im a fairly aggressive skier who enjoys flat lining too. Any further thoughts on suitability of the marksman from that? Thanks again!

  3. Hi!

    The K2 Marksman seems really nice for my demands. I mainly go off piste, do tree runs or add little jumps and tricks.
    But I was wondering if there are differences between the 2019 and 2020 model. Does their performance distinguish because the 2020 ist more light weight?
    And secondly, which length should I take, the 163 or 170? I’m 163cm tall and weigh 54kg. Does the length change the performance in deep snow?

    Thanks for the review
    Thea

    1. Hi Thea!
      My understanding is that the Marksman is unchanged except for graphics for this year. Perhaps you saw a different size weighing more/less? Either way, I’d say the 163 is the right length. You’ll get a bit more float out of the longer length, but overall I feel your experience will be better on the shorter ski. Have fun!
      SE

  4. Hi Guys,

    I’m around 193cm, weigh about 80kg and an aggressive skier. I know the longest are 184cm, will these be too short? Do I need to look at another ski as I’m pretty set on these. Thanks!

    1. Hi Craig!
      Not too short, but on the short side. You might notice a lack of stability at speed, especially on harder snow, but that’s about it. Also, there’s not a whole lot out there that compares with the Marksman as it’s a pretty unique ski. Have fun!
      SE

      1. Hi Guys,

        Thanks for getting back to me. Do you know if k2 measures of 184 are fairly generous or if they come up a bit shorter. I know the way skis are measured varies; Im just concerned that at 184 they might be too short for me at 193cm in height and may lack float. Thanks again!

      2. Craig!
        I just measured the 184 from tip to tail and it came out to almost 186, so they do measure a bit long. I’m 6’2 and it looks like the right size for me, although I’d ski a longer length in other skis. So I’d say it’s pretty darn close to what you’re looking for. Have fun!
        SE

  5. Hi guys,

    Love the reviews. Currently riding around on an old set of K2 Rictors and they do everything I need. Looking to get into another set of wider skis to handle the deeper stuff.
    Looking for a really playful big mountain ski that can handle deep snow and smash everything I throw at em. Surfy skier that loves to get off piste, and loves carving on the corduroy if its there. Having the rictors means that the second set of skis dont necessarily need to excel in this as I can switch between the two.
    Been really into these and the black crows atris the last couple of seasons and are wondering if you have any insight to help me make my decision.
    I’m about 6’2/6’3 and 80kg.
    Thanks legends.

    1. Thanks, Alex!
      The asymmetry of the Marksman makes it a unique ski in a crowded field. It’s super-smooth on anything, but the deeper the smoother. For another ski that has this, check out the Elan Ripstick 106 (also comes in a Black edition with extra carbon layer). These are also specific right/left skis with asymmetrical rocker profiles. Smooth on the uphill ski, and grippy on the downhill edge. Atris is another great choice, with that bit of a spoony shaped tip, it really hovers on snow. Great “French” feel with the wood core and nice shaping. I’d look to the mid to upper 180’s in terms of length. Have fun!
      SE

  6. Hi guys,

    I just got a pair of Marksman and decided to mount at the midsole, supposedly for better carving on the groomers. Just wondering if mounting them that far back will affect the swing weight and butter ability. If you guys know anything about this let me know. Also, did you find the marksman heavy at all when testing?
    Thanks, Evan.

    1. Hi Evan!
      It doesn’t feel heavy, especially with the playful and flexible tips and tails and the asymmetrical shape. If I were more of a park skier, I’d split the difference between center and standard, but for all-mountain skiing, I really liked it at standard. Hope that helps!
      SE

      1. Thanks for getting back to me. That does help. I will definitely go through the park every so often. Do you think it would be worth it to get the bindings moved, or will they still perform well in the park.

      2. Hi Evan!
        Still will perform well in park. I don’t think it’s worth moving until you’ve explored the way they ski in all conditions and terrain. Have fun!
        SE

  7. Hi,

    I’m looking to purchase a pair of the marksmans but having trouble deciding which size would be best for me. I’m 5’10 and about 90kg, I’m an advanced skier and looking to ski pretty much an even split between piste and backcountry. Would the 177 or 184 be better suited in your opinion?

    Thanks guys

    Dan

    1. Hi Dan!
      For what it’s worth, they do run a bit long, so if you’re in the middle, I’d look to the 177. They actually measure out to about 180, as this topic has come up before. At the same time, that 184 skis a bit long, so you’re really looking at 186/187 in terms of feel. Hope that helps!
      SE

  8. Hi guys.

    Thanks for great reviews.

    I’m about to exchange my Black Crows Nocta for something a bit newer. I have been considering the K2 Catamaran for some time, but the more I read about the Marksman, the the more I’m starting to lean towards that ski. Truth to be told, the Nocta and I have never ever really gotten along. I do believe I have the skills and the power, but I have always felt I have had to wrestle them down the mountain. I do, however, like the width of them – they do float.

    If you were to compare the two models, the Marksman and the Catamaran, what would be the pros and cons of the two?

    I’m 178cm weighing just under 80kgs – whatever that comes out to in feet and pounds. I try to spend as much time as possible outside the groomers, and most ski trips go to the Austrian, Italian or French alps.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas

    1. Hi Thomas!
      It’s important to build a relationship with skis! The Marksman is very friendly, and is capable of all-mountain skiing while the Catamaran I’d reserve for powder-specific days exclusively. I love the asymmetry of the Marksman, as it makes that uphill ski track along very nicely–no fighting or reservations. You won’t get quite the same float out of the Marksman as the Catamaran or the Nocta, but for anything up to a half-meter or so will be fine. It’s really only those bottomless days that you’ll appreciate the Catamaran more than the Marksman. Hope that helps!
      SE

  9. Hi Guys,

    Just a quick question on mounting. I’m 6ft 3 looking for an all mountain ski. Want something playful in and around the mountain but not something majorly park based. Is factory recommended or traditional my best option for mounting? Thanks again!

    1. Hi John!
      I think traditional is the way to go for the best all-around performance. They’ll be playful no matter where you mount them. I wouldn’t go past the midsole mark. Have fun!
      SE

  10. Looking to get a pair of these skis. I’m 173cm and 58kg. Usually skiing double blacks, moguls, and little off-piste tree skiing. Looking to get more into off-piste powder skiing and was wondering if I should go for the 177cm. Let me know! Thanks!

    1. Hi Nicolas!
      I’ve actually found the Marksman to ski a bit long–they even measure about 1.5 cm longer than stated, and that’s kind of a theme I’ve found with K2. I’d say you’re more of a 170 skier unless you know that you like longer skis and that you’re fairly aggressive. But yes, you’re in between sizes, and I don’t think either will be a problem, but it’s certainly worth noting that they are on the long side for their size. Hope that helps!
      SE

  11. Hey guys, Im considering buying the Marksman but have one worry. I ski out east at sugarloaf and ski groomers probably 1/3 days. On those really hard/icy days how much trouble will I have keeping an edge on hard pack groomers? Got offered a great deal on a used pair so that is also coming into play with my decision. Thanks for making these reviews!

    1. Hi Ben!
      Short answer is yes, you will have trouble keeping an edge on hardpack in the east–definitely not a merit of that ski. Is it worth the tradeoff? That’s up to you. That said, if the groomers are soft, the skis are a ton of fun–it’s just in those firmer times that they’re going to be on the chatty side. Have fun!
      SE

  12. Hi,

    I am looking for a second opinion. I had to leave my touring set up in Austria (Corona Amirite) so I am in the market for some new skis. I have a pair of 2019 marksman with alpine bindings and I really enjoy them. I was thinking of buying a new pair of the 2020 marksman and matching them with a pair of Salomon shift bindings. Obviously a pretty heavy package but I figure most tours in the east are relatively short and I would also want to use them as my resort powder ski (I would ride park skis most other days). At the moment it looks like I will only be skiing the east coast next year; do you guys think that setup would be good for tours in NH and Quebec? Also, the top sheet on the 2019 was garbage did they beef it up in the 2020 version?

    Thanks,

    Noah

    1. HI Noah!
      If you don’t mind the weight, I think you’re going to love it as a setup. Definitely in the east when it’s more of an up/down, that’s more applicable than more of a rolling tour when you do want lighter stuff. Unfortunately, the topsheet is the same material but a different graphic–maybe it won’t look so bad when it chips? Take care!
      SE

  13. Hi guys,

    This is an awesome review! I had a question regarding speed. I’m not planning on entering a race or anything like that, but when I get a chance to bomb a hill I definitely like to tuck and burn straight down. Is this a serious limitation of the Marksman skis, or is there only a little decrease in control when skiing fast?

    Another thing (I’m 5’10” and weigh 165 lbs btw) how noticeable is the weight of these skis, specifically when in the air?

    1. Hi Ferdinand!
      Definitely not built or shaped for straight-line speed. Sure you can, but you’ll get some wobble in the tips and tails for sure. Better suited for being on edge and ripping through softer snow. The width and the fiberglass braiding make it a bit bulky, but when you’re in the air, it’s not that noticeable–very sturdy and stable! Take care!
      SE

    1. Hi Timothy!
      For me, Marksman. I am 220 pounds and I fold the Vision in half. Depends on your weight and ski style, but I also really like the asymmetry of the K2–very smooth! I do wish the K2 came in the 191, but they do run a bit long, so the 184 is okay for me. Have fun!
      SE

  14. i am looking to buy these skis but i don know what length to get i am a intermediate to advanced skier and i am 6,0” and 200 pounds what size would you recommend

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *