Expert Review: 2023 K2 Manifest [with Video]
Snowboard Expert Matthew Kaminski tested the 2023 K2 Manifest snowboard on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Snowboard Expert Matthew Kaminski got his hands on the K2 Manifest this spring and put it to the test at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but consider the fact that each and every rider is different. If you have any questions about the 2023 K2 Manifest or need recommendations on which board would be best for you, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated.
Before we get started, it's worth noting that Curated Experts are not sponsored by any brands. All of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does K2 claim about this board? K2 claims this is the board for any advanced freerider looking for a stiffer, cambered option that can handle anything you throw at it.
What is your overall impression of this board? When I first got on this board, the first thing that stood out to me was the speed. This thing wants to go fast and ride hard.
How does it turn? With this being a cambered board, you're really going to have to lay into those turns. It's going to be a very carve-y board, but once you initiate that turn, it's going to carve really well.
How is its edge hold? The edge hold is great. I noticed that I could come to a stop on a dime if needed. There was no need to really worry about it chattering once I was beginning to stop. It was definitely a bigger board. It took a lot to get into those turns, but once you're in the turn and comfortable with riding on it, it was super fun to actually carve and get on the edges. This board would be perfect for an advanced rider looking for a heavy carver. It's not the biggest carving machine because it's not the widest board, but it can really do everything from carving the groomers to going off of big cliff drops.
Does it feel stable? This is a really stable board. I was able to find a couple of cliffs to send it off of, and it handled it well. Just coming off of the landing, being able to not flip over and feel like you're going to have that drag or that hold… It's an ideal option for anyone looking to go big and wanting to be able to stomp something without that fear of losing the board underneath your feet.
How is it in terms of speed? This board really wants to go fast. It's a great board for traveling at high speeds. When you’re going at slower speeds, it might honestly be a little bit too difficult to turn. You're going to want to almost sit flat when you're going at slow speeds and just wash left and right to control, but once you're going quick, you can really engage the edges and ride the true camber profile. I'm not sure why, but this board really wanted to go fast. It could have been the wax. It could have been the style, but it was really charging hard. It made me feel like I wanted to get down the mountain as fast as I could. Typically, when I ride, I like to find all side hits and different features to go off of. But this thing, for some reason, when I got on it, I wanted to get to the bottom of the run. It's a charger.
How about control? At slower speeds, this board's going to be a little bit more difficult to control. You're going to really notice it riding flat at slower speeds. At higher speeds, you’re going to want to get on its edges.
How is its pop? It's not the most poppy board. You’re going to really have to work for that pop and playfulness feel. I had the chance to take it over a couple of rollers, and I honestly didn't think that it was going to go as big as I wanted it to. It's a really fast board. I liked that I could get the speed for all the hits, but when it comes down to it, I wasn't able to actually pop and go off after any of the transitions. Not nearly as much as some of the softer boards we ride.
How is it for buttering? This board is definitely on the harder side to press. If you're trying to lift up the nose or tail, you're really going to have to lay into those turns. Personally, I had a little bit of difficulty getting it to press, and that could have been because of my height or my weight on the board. But if you're on a smaller one of these, I could see it being fun to throw around. For this specific ride, I'm on a 159cm, and I thought it was a little difficult to press.
How is it riding switch? This board can really handle some switch riding. I was able to get on my back edge. You can see there's plenty of tail there to mess with. If you ride mostly in the park and need to be able to land and stomp tricks, it's not my top choice. If you are a big switch rider, but you're just kind of cruising around doing some back 180s here and there, this is going to be the perfect board for riding switch.
How would it be in powder? I didn't get the chance to ride this board in powder, but I know it would do well. It's a freeride board. It’s meant to handle big lines, steepness, and deep snow. With its bigger nose and more directional shape, it's going to be able to float in any powder you find. I would be a little curious to see how it would do in some really deep snow, but I know anything up to a foot, it would be able to handle it.
How does it fare in uneven terrain and chunder? This board is going to be able to handle any uneven terrain and chunder like a champion. It's really a stiffer board, 8 out of 10 on the flex scale. It's going to power through any of the steeper and uneven surfaces that you encounter. I actually got it through some bumpy terrain — a little bit of chunder from a snowcat — and it just plowed right through the top of that stuff. I expected to feel some chatter here and there, but really, it feels solid over any bumpy or uneven terrain.
And then riding in trees, how is its maneuverability? This board is not going to be my top choice for tight and maneuverable areas. If I was taking this thing in the trees, I'd be pretty cautious. I’d really only want to be in some open trees. I wouldn't want to be in the tightest or more narrow trees. You can rip it down some of those steeper little chutes, but you're going to want to get this thing in a big, open groomed run where you can lay into some bigger turns. With tighter areas, like I said, it's going to be really washy.
To sum up, what terrain is this board ideal for? This board is ideal for that open terrain area — anywhere that you don't have to worry about running into trees, other skiers, or snowboarders. You should find a big open back bowl or some steeper high Alpine chutes that have a lot of open area.
What terrain should riders avoid with it? I wouldn't want to ride this thing through anything tight. I wouldn't want to be next to some rocks riding this. I'd want to have a nice open field in front of me where I can make some big turns.
Is there any location you'd pack this board for? I think this board would be perfect at my home mountain — Breckenridge Ski Area up on the top of Peak Six. Up in the high Alpine, this would definitely be a board in its territory, being able to ride some big open lines after a fresh snowstorm. I can imagine this board ripping up the upper peaks. This thing would be great up there in a fresh snowstorm, where you'd have nothing to worry about and no rocks to hit. You are able to drop in and take some open powder lines.
Who would you recommend this board to? I'd recommend this board for any experienced freerider looking for a stiffer option. If you like a super playful board, there might be some other, better options, but for any advanced rider looking for a pretty aggressive and stiff board, this is going to be the right choice for you.
Who should avoid this board; there are better options for them out there? This board is not designed for the beginner rider. It will be too stiff or too aggressive for you to actually figure out how to initiate turns and lay into your butters. For a beginner, they will need a softer, less aggressive board.
Snowboards work differently for different types of riders. If you want help finding the right board for you, reach out to Matthew or another Snowboard Expert here on Curated.