Expert Review: K2 Poacher Skis · 2022Published on 09/23/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
Left Lead Blunt 5 at Timberline, Mt. Hood, OR. Photo of Jake Renner courtesy of Jake Renner
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
The K2 Poachers are ideal for intermediate to advanced skiers looking to get into the terrain park, trees, and bumps and hold up well at high speeds on groomers and hardpack. A true twin-tip design with a full tip/tail rocker and camber underfoot provides a responsive edge-to-edge transition while remaining extremely easy to pivot in the bumps or trees. It’s more of a freestyle ski with the ability to go all-mountain.
About the gear
- Model: 2022 K2 Poacher
- Size: 184cm
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 165lbs
- Experience: 26 years in snowboarding/skiing
- When I bought these: December 2021
- Days tested: 60+ Days
- Mount position: True Center
- Boots: 2020 Full Tilt Drop Kick Pro
- Boot Size: 27.5
- Bindings: 2022 Look Pivot 12
- Where I’ve used it: Colorado, Oregon, Utah, California
- Terrain: Terrain Park, Light Powder (Less than 1ft), Trees, Moguls, Groomers
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was testing two skis head-to-head when I first put on a pair of Poachers. I have more of a freestyle background and was looking for a ski that could spin easily in the air and hold up well at higher speeds. Also, I was looking for my next park ski that would be just right for the Rockies to rip laps in the park without sacrificing its ability to perform in variable ungroomed terrain if we got some fresh snow during our park sesh.
Why I chose this gear
I was initially testing a handful of freestyle skis within the same size range as the Poachers (95-100mm underfoot and 180-185cm in length) in search of something that could handle a bit of snow easier than my narrower park skis. I chose the Poachers because of how maneuverable they were. Whether carving tight turns or pivoting a zipper line in the bumps, I was very impressed with how nimble they were! They also felt the most balanced and easier to get my tips/tails around when spinning onto rails or off jumps! The Poachers have a really well-balanced flex pattern throughout the ski—not too stiff, not too soft, and a good bit of pop underfoot, which provides a solid ride for me no matter how large my jumps I line up.
What I love about it
- Edge hold: Great edge hold straight from the manufacturer. This ski can carve and really hold its edge, allowing me to put my weight into my turns confidently.
- Turns: The Poachers have a medium tight turn radius of 19 meters at the 184cm length, allowing me to have a smooth and fairly quick edge-to-edge transition when carving on hardpack. Easy to maneuver at high and low speeds, combined with a light swing weight, keep the Poachers feeling rather nimble.
- Moguls: This ski is fairly easy to pivot due to the symmetrical build and full tail rocker. The responsive core build allows me to rip zipper lines with ease on the days when I get a little bit of snow or have a bit of mush to work with.
- Park: The full tip and tail rocker allows this ski to ride backward easily. The camber underfoot provides plenty of pop, and the symmetrical build and light swing weight keeps this ski spinning. I really like the Poachers in the park. It's one of my favorites at the moment.
- Durability: The full edge wrap in the tip and tail and flex on the medium-firm side stabilizes this ski riding. It holds up to the test of time even if I'm beating the skis in the park.
- Weight: The Poachers are relatively light with no metal in the core and super light tips and tails, allowing this ski to spin or initiate/exit carves with ease.
- Switch riding: The Poachers have more of a symmetrical build shape, providing a stable and naturally comfortable ride if I'm riding switch.
- Stability: The Poachers offers a medium-firm flex that allows for buttering, but I expect a bit of pop if I lean into my butters to flex tips or tails while spinning! Due to their flex being on the firm side and a heavy camber underfoot, the Poachers hold up really well at high speeds with no chatter in the nose, underfoot, or tail when I get going fast.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Powder: Poachers will keep up fine in powder of 8-12” or less. They’ll struggle to keep on top of fresh snow any deeper than this. The K2 Poacher’s have a 96mm waist width which allows them to get up on edge and carve with ease while on hardpack, but not the most float for fresh snow or those deeper powder days.
Favorite moment with this gear
I currently mounted only one of these skis to go with one of my last pairs of K2 Poachers. I call it "The Spare Tire Technique"! I started with the limited edition 2022 Mr. Stash x K2 Poacher topsheet design, but after damaging the sidewall due to a blunt impact to the front of a rail, I bought the 2022 standard edition of the K2 Poacher and mounted one ski from the new pair with my old bindings. I’ve been rocking this mismatched pair now for about 20 ski days, and so far, I’m digging it. So stoked it’s working out, but one thing to note is that I do have a slightly sharper edge on the newer ski than the old one.
Value for the money vs. other options
The K2 Poachers are definitely worth the small chunk of change needed to get them on your feet. As far as freestyle skis go, the Poachers are very well built and have been holding up through the rigors of aggressive freestyle skiing extremely well. I’d say that they are a better deal than other skis because of how well the edges keep intact (relative to other park skis when hitting rails).
The K2 Poacher is the perfect all-mountain terrain freestyle ski, geared to crush it in the park while holding up well at high speeds on hardpack, keeping afloat in fresh snow less than a foot deep, and super quick/easy to spin. In addition, the ski helps me get that extra 180 around and unlock my next trick.