Ski Reviews

2018 K2 Marksman Ski Review: An Ideal Choice for Surfy Skiers

2018 K2 Marksman Ski Review: An Ideal Choice for Surfy Skiers // Ski Reviews

Let's be perfectly honest: with so many brands making so many great skis every year, it can be hard to stand out. To combat this, it's not at all uncommon for ski manufacturers to "peacock" a bit- showing off unique or unusual design ideas to gain some of that coveted consumer attention. Sometimes there's legitimacy to these eye-catching innovations, while other times they fall into the realm of the gimmick and they expire within a year or two.

Pretty weird way to start a review right? Why even bother bringing all of this up? Well, because most skiers are going to notice one specific thing about the K2 Marksman before anything else: the asymmetrical tip and tail design. The first time I tried these skis, I had the benefit of demoing them directly from the local K2 sales rep, meaning I had the opportunity to ask about the intention of the design. To be totally honest, I was wearing my skeptical pants that day and I was curious to see whether this was a legitimate feature, or more of an eye catching gimmick. Here's what the rep told me, more or less:

When you're up on your edges and holding a carve, the edge of your inside foot is going to have a slightly tighter turn radius than your outside foot. This is something that's especially noticeable in powder as the added resistance from the snow can lead to your tips carving at different rates. To combat this, the K2 Marksman has asymmetrical tips that, in theory, reduce tip hooking in deep snow as the radii should be more in tune with each other.

2018 K2 Marksman Ski Review: An Ideal Choice for Surfy Skiers : Ski Specs

Now here's where you're likely expecting me to tell you that this tip design was something along the lines of, "the best ski innovation in years!" Truthfully though, it was a bit hard to test the theory on a foggy, rainy day in April. Here's what I can tell you though: these skis had one of the smoothest arcs of any ski I tested that day. It was able to hold a long, strong edge while also remaining surprisingly nimble edge to edge considering the waist width (106mm). I never experienced any kind of unexpected tip hooking, even when skiing switch. This might seem normal, but anyone who has ever skied switch on a pair of demo skis knows how easy it is to catch a tail edge. Ultimately, I can't vouch for how well the idea works in powder, but I can attest to the skis ability to rip groomers with unexpected strength and agility. Worst case scenario: the technology doesn't impact powder riding, in which case you still have an amazing all mountain ski. Best case scenario: the tip design is as advertised and you have an amazing all mountain ski that really shines on powder days. According to Webster, that's a win-win situation.

For a guy like me though, perhaps the most impressive part of the K2 Marksman has nothing to do with peacocking technologies. In fact, it's quite the opposite. The core construction of these skis is beautifully simple. It's built with strips of wood laid parallel, and a series of carbon stringers running vertically along the top and base of the ski. The simplicity of this design results in two things that I love: predictability and pop. Rather than layer metal, or carbon, or fiberglass materials into specific zones (which, I'll admit is a technique that certainly has its place in the world of skiing), the uniform paneling of wood creates a ski that has an incredibly smooth, even flex. It's something that I only realized I'd taken for granted after skiing the Marksman. Let me explain it another way: the way these skis flex led to the uncontrollable desire to butter, press, smear, and slash any chunk of snow I laid my eyes on. These skis can turn slopeside chunder into a terrain park, a benefit that I believe we can credit to Mr. Pep Fujas's involvement with the design.

Incidentally, that brings me to my next point: the pop. It's been a long time since I can remember being so impressed with the sheer pop of a ski. There were literally times when I'd look to lightly pop off a roller, only to find myself doubling my anticipated trajectory. Now, I'll admit I may be on the verge of giving false credit here, but my intuition suspects that the carbon stringers in these skis have something to do with it. Really though, it doesn't matter. I treat this situation as if I fell victim to a placebo effect: I don't care what the cause is as long as it works.

2018 K2 Marksman Ski Review: An Ideal Choice for Surfy Skiers : Mike SKiing Powder

Unlike myself, our customer service manager Mike Aidala did have a chance to ski the Markman in powder. If you'd like to hear more about their performance in deep snow, just give us a call and ask for Mike!

And man, do these skis work. As a skier, I'm the type of person who skis a blue square as if it's the steepest pitch in Alaska. I'll charge until things get too choppy to handle, at which point I'll look to turn my body sideways and push my heels into whatever pile of snow I can use to slow myself down. Then, it's game on until it's time to dig in the heels again. In moguls, it's the same. Rather than use my knees to absorb the ups and downs, I'm treating the sides of bumps like a snake run: weaving, smearing, and carving the berms to the bottom. If there's any opportunity at all to leave the ground or ski switch, I'll look to take full advantage of it.

Skiing in such a way demands a high level versatility from a ski. It should be able to go fast with confidence, while also being able to smear sideways in a half moment's notice. The ski needs to be forceful, yet smooth. It also has to be soft, yet responsive as the added spice of popping off a roller or pressing into switch mode is what makes each run worth it. In my experience, it's surprisingly difficult to find a ski whose personality matches my own. The K2 Marksman however, does exactly that.

So, is the K2 Marksman a great choice for someone who spends most of their time laying hard carves down black diamond groomers? Probably not. Not because the Marksman is incapable of the feat, but only because there's likely a better option out there for that type of skier. It's also probably not a great ski for someone who spends most of their time exclusively in the terrain park. Again, the Marksman would be a fine choice, but there are skis built specifically for big air and double flips that would probably be a better fit.

I will tell you who the K2 Marksman is definitely for though: skiers who likely started their ski "careers" skiing in the terrain park, but have since taken their freestyle tendencies to the rest of the mountain. They're for the type of skier who may find himself skiing switch on just about every run. In all honesty, it's probably even that skier that's going to get yelled at once or twice a season by a more intermediate skier who didn't realize that they weren't actually in any danger of being hit at all (totally not speaking from experience here...).

If it's not obvious enough already, I've absolutely fallen in love with the K2 Marksman. It's the perfect width for my everyday ski at 106mm, and utilizes the holy trinity of tip rocker / camber / tail rocker. The result is an incredibly versatile, yet playful ski whose only limitations are your own. If you're the type of skier who can't help but slash, butter, and charge their way from top to bottom, then I can't recommend the K2 Marksman enough. Do yourself a favor, get a pair of Marksmans next year and prepare to have your mind blown.

2018 K2 Marksman Ski Review: An Ideal Choice for Surfy Skiers : Available Soon Now
2018 K2 Marksman Ski Review: Ski Test Image

Written by Matt McGinnis on 4/13/17

36 thoughts on “2018 K2 Marksman Ski Review: An Ideal Choice for Surfy Skiers

  1. What is the weight on the 2018 184cm?
    If you read around, the 2017 marksman had some weird weight variances. The 177 weighed over 2200g, while the 184 weighed closer to 2150g per ski.. source;Blister, evo, and newschoolers. I believe thats why some people say the 177 marksman is more stable than the older shreditor 112/102, while others say the 184 marksman is less stable than the shreditors.
    Really disapointed k2 couldnt get weights right in 2017, since the 184s are now on sale. Hopefully for 2018, the longer size comes in a littler "beefier", maybe 2350g per ski.

    1. Hi Vail!
      We have both a 177 and a 184 cm demo, but Matt (who wrote this review) still has the 184 cm in his possession. I've asked him to drop them off when he has a chance so we can examine the weights side by side.
      Could you send me the links to the information you're referencing? I checked evo and Blister and didn't see it, although I just skimmed the Blister review. Definitely a fascinating concept. We are not aware of K2 using any different construction, core thickness, etc between the 177 and 184, but we'll certainly dig a little deeper.

  2. Last year i wanted to buy them. But this year i will not miss this winter again. The only dilemma is: 170 or 177? I am 5.8 and 170. If i buy them with binding can you install binding on it? How would you compare rossignol sky 7 with k2 marksman?
    I am Advanced i termediate skier

    1. Hi Taleh!
      We can mount the bindings as long as you provide us with your boot sole length (BSL). You do still have to get your DIN set and forward pressure checked before skiing with your physical boot, but we take care of the actual mounting.
      What length skis have you been on before? The Marksman has quite a lot of rocker in both the tip and tail, so it does have a short effective edge when you're on hard pack snow. It's also very maneuverable when you're in soft snow. Because of those factors it's the type of ski where you can usually go with the longer length if you feel like you're between sizes. Chances are you'll be happy on the 177 cm, but if you're coming off much shorter skis or prefer shorter skis that could be reason to go with the 170 cm.
      The Marksman and the Sky 7 HD are somewhat similar, although the Marksman draws more from the freeride/freestyle world than the Sky 7 HD. It's more of a twin tip shape and is slightly softer flexing in the tips and tails. The Sky 7 HD is a directional ski with construction that focuses on being lightweight and responsive. The Marksman will slash and smear turns a little easier, the Sky 7 HD would feel a touch quicker. Really because of waist width the Soul 7 HD is more of a direct comparison, but that too is more of a directional ski than the Marksman.
      Hope that helps!

      1. Hi there. Thanks for helping me to sort out this puzzle :). Some input from me:
        I now have two skies one is Volkl racetiger SL 160 cm and the other arossignol sky 7 hd 172 cm.
        So bearing all this in mind which size of marksman would you recommend me? 170 or 177? I am stuck.
        My boot sole size is 316 mm.
        When can i order this marksman ski? I wanna order it with bindings mounted

        1. Hi Taleh!
          What did you think of your Sky 7 HD in the 172 cm length? Have you ever felt it was too long? The Marksman has more tail rocker so I think you could bump up to 177 cm and it will be similarly manageable to your 172 cm Sky 7 HD. Going with the 177 cm will also boost the float and performance in powder, which I'm guessing is one of your intended uses for these skis.
          We're still waiting on our shipment of 2018 Marksman skis from K2. We're going to contact K2 as soon as they open today to see if we can get an update on the shipment. If you'd like to reserve one you should call and talk to our customer service team at 877-812-6710. I let them know you may be calling to reserve a pair.

  3. Hi Matt
    Thanks for clarifications. I will give a call this week to ensure reservation of marksman skis. My only anxiety is the sizing 170 or 177!
    For on piste skiing i use my lovely volkl racetiger sl at size 160. Now bearing this in mind would not marksman 177 feel too much long for me?

    1. Hi Taleh!
      It's hard to compare lengths from a ski like the Racetiger to a ski like the Marksman. I would refer back to my last response where I ask about the 172 cm Sky 7 HD. If you found that length manageable I think you'll find the 177 cm Marksman similarly manageable and it's going to give you more float and stability in powder and off-piste terrain. If you ever found the 172 cm felt too long that would be reason to go with the 170 cm Marksman.

      1. Hi again. Very glad to see that new k2 marksmans arrived to ur stock. Gonna order them now. Now i need advice about bindings. My boot is 316 or 319 mm sole. I do not need touring. I weigh 170 lb. Which binding do u recommend me to grab?

        1. Hi Taleh!
          I would go with one of the lower profile, low stand height all mountain bindings like the Marker Griffon or Tyrolia Attack 13. Both of those have a great feel and a nice low center of gravity and would work great on the Marksman. They should be plenty of binding for you unless you need an exceptionally high DIN setting. Let us know if you have any more questions!

          1. Thanks for feed backing very promptly. i have to more questions needing response:
            1) i am going to order marksman at 177 cm. but in your website i could not figure out how to order binding and ski simulataneusly so that it could get mounted together.
            2) how many types of mounting is there in this k2 marksman skis in general? center? + or - 2 cm or whatsever...?? i am mostly gonna use it in all mountain mode.

          2. Hey Taleh!
            1. You can put the ski and a binding in your cart separately and as long as you include your Boot Sole Length when you order the ski and put a note on the order that you would like them mounted we will know for sure to mount the bindings on your skis!
            2. There's a big range of mounting options on the Marksman. On the side of the ski there is a "core center" mark as well as a "traditional" point that's 7.5 cm back from true center. K2 marks each cm increment between these two points, as some people will mount somewhere in between core center and traditional. Even though you're using them predominantly as all mountain skis, do you have any kind of freestyle or freeride background? That could be reason to move the bindings a little forward from that traditional mark.

          3. i will use it mostly for all mountain purposes. i do not have freestyle or freeride background at all.

          4. Hi Taleh!
            If you're going to be using it as a directional all mountain ski I would recommend mounting on the traditional line. Ski manufacturers do a lot of testing to determine the recommended mount point, and judging by your description of yourself as a skier I don't think there's any reason to move the mount point forward.

          5. i just about to order. when doing so in bindings (marker griffon 13) it asks me to input brake width. what should i enter?

          6. Hi SE.
            Thanks for sorting this out for me. Yesterday i was almost about to order but yet again stuck on defining the points of binding mounting.
            1) Now correct me if i am wrong. If i am going to use it as directional all mountain ski and get it mounted on traditional line would not it make choosing a shorter size, i.e. 170 instead of 177?
            2) If i get this mounted on traditional line does it mean that jumping on small bumps would be pain and a difficult task? I am not a freestyle guy. but yet again i would love to jump a little bit off piste on a minor "road bumps"
            3) which mounting point is mostly preferred and mostly mounted?
            4) Is traditional line is equal 0 (zero) ? and the further to the middle you go (meaning the more it gets with plus+) the more it is convenient for park and etc...?

          7. Hey Taleh!
            1. For most skiers it comes down to how much tail there is, or how much ski is behind you. When you center mount a long ski, you end up with a lot of ski behind you, which makes it challenging to wash turns around (moguls, trees, etc.). Because you're mounting on a traditional line I would not worry about the amount of ski behind you, so I wouldn't downsize length.
            2. No, not necessarily. Mounting on the traditional line will not greatly hinder your ability to jump. Freestyle skiers mount their skis more center so the ski is more evenly balanced for spinning, but it doesn't have a big effect on straight-airs.
            3. That's a tough one to answer. This is a versatile ski and different skiers will use it differently. I can't really say that in our experience one mount point has proved more popular than another. Some people go true center, some go traditional, some go in between.
            4. I had to go double check the ski, but K2 has it marked opposite of that. The "core center" line is marked "0" and the traditional line is marked "-7.5"
            Does that answer all your questions?

  4. I am looking for a wide ski, something between 105 and 115. I want something poppy and able to butter but stable enough to rip lifeline really fast as well as floaty enough to take out west. This ski seams great but are there any other wider options that are as poppy and stable as the marksman?

    1. Hi Danny!
      K2 makes a ski that's essentially a wider version of the Marksman called the Catamaran. That ski is 120 mm underfoot, however, so maybe a little wide for what you're looking for. The Nordica Enforcer 110 comes to mind. It's different construction than the Marksman as it uses metal, but it can do everything you just described pretty darn well.

  5. Hi Chris!
    I think the Marksman would be a fun soft snow touring ski. Because it uses so much tip and tail rocker and early taper it doesn't have very long edge contact when you're on firm snow. If you were touring on firmer snow conditions it might wander a little or not have the best edge grip, but as a powder touring ski it would be sweet!
    Hope that helps

  6. Hi guys !
    Question, is there a differnce in the construction between the Marksman 2016/2017 and the 2017/2018 ?
    I tried the last one and bought the 2016/2017 but I feel a bit of difference in the ski.
    Can you help me ?

    1. Hey Joey!
      There wasn't any change to the construction of the Marksman. My best guess would be the difference in the tune on the two different pairs you skied. How do they feel different? Maybe you need a different edge base bevel? That can go a long way on a ski like the Marksman. For example, sharp edges and an aggressive edge angle will take away some of its smeary, pivoting characteristics. Just a thought. Let me know what you're feeling and we'll go from there.

  7. Hey, I just bought a pair of Marksman skis and I was hoping for some input on where to mount bindings. I mostly ski steeper runs preferably with fresh snow, however I often find myself in the park sliding boxes and rails, and spinning the occasional jump. Any info would be great!
    Thanks, Konner

    1. Hey Konnor!
      I would go 2-3 cm back from true center. If you go too far back you're really going to lose some performance on rails and when spinning jumps, but if you center mount them you'll likely find the tips want to dive a little bit, and the amount of tail behind you makes them less maneuverable. I would probably go 3 cm back if it was me, although if you're on one of the shorter lengths I might just do 2 cm.
      Hope that helps!

  8. Has anyone tried to put regular skins on them? And how did that work out with the off centre tip and tail?

    1. Hey Matthew!
      No one on our staff has toured on the Marksman yet, but I definitely think you could use normal skins. The tail attachment might not look like it's perfectly centered when it's on the ski, but I think there's enough of a flat-ish spot on the tail that it would work just fine.

  9. Hey, I just bought a pair of these and I'm looking on where to mount them. Previously I skied 186 volkl ones on the rearward line and loved them.
    Did these have a recommended Mount point? Last time I remember getting K2 s, I don't believe it came with a recommended Mount point. I guess I think I like them a little further back than most new school people. I like to butter but I don't really spin much
    6' 180# on the 184

    1. Hi Mark!
      I don't actually have one to reference because we recently sold out, but I believe there are mount points marked on the sidewall of the ski if I remember correctly. I would say since you enjoyed your Ones at the rearward line you should do the same on the Marksman. I believe they mark true center and then the rearward line is about 7 cm back from that (again, if I'm remembering correctly... I've definitely looked at this before). If anything you could do something like 2 cm forward from the further back line so you're a little more balanced for butters, but I wouldn't go much closer to center than that.
      Hope that helps!

  10. Hi!
    I´ve wanted to buy this ski for a long time now but haven´t really been able to, but now i think it is time :). I ski the whole mountain, but i often find myself thinking: "would be nice to tour to that line". And since Salomon realesed their new binding shift i was wondering if this would be an appropriate ski to mount it on? Or if the shift binding is more suitable for fatter powder skis?

    1. Hi Jonathan!
      I think that would be an awesome setup. The Marksman will definitely prefer touring in softer snow conditions due to its pronounced rocker profile, but I think that's a perfectly reasonable combination. Such a fun, playful ski overall and putting a Shift binding on it would definitely allow you to ski some terrain that you couldn't get to otherwise. I like it, go for it!

  11. Hello, I just bought my marksman 184 and marker jester pro bindings, just wandering where the best to mount them, I ski most on a slopes will try powder, want to learn butters, ski switch some jumps but never in a park I’m to old for that:)

    1. Hi Aurimas!
      There should be two lines on the ski, one for traditional and one for all-mountain. Whichever one is further back is the one you want. The forward mark is definitely more freestyle and park-oriented. Take care!

        1. Aurimas,
          For trail skiing with aspirations of powder versus park, I'd err on the further back point. If you're hesitant, you could always split the difference between the two lines. I also see nothing wrong with a re-mount if you don't like your initial choice. Take care!

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