Expert Review: 2023 K2 Passport [with Video]
Snowboard Expert Matthew Kaminski tested the 2023 K2 Passport snowboard on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Snowboard Expert Matthew Kaminski got his hands on the 2023 K2 Passport 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 note that each and every rider is different. If you have any questions about the 2023 K2 Party Platter 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 that this is the perfect board for any intermediate rider looking to step into the freeride world.
What is your overall impression of this board? This board was super fun. I had a great time riding it on the mountain. It's more designed for that intermediate rider looking to take on some more intense skills. You can definitely notice the carbon inserts in this board. That's one thing that drew my attention right away — it’s super snappy and super responsive. It is slightly on the softer end, but overall, I thought it was a really playful and fun option. Especially as an advanced rider, going to an intermediate board, this board can really flex and bend around.
How does it turn? Turning the board is definitely an easier action to perform. It's not that difficult to go edge-to-edge. You can really get this thing through moguls and tighter terrain. For me, I prefer a wider board. This is a 157. It's a little on the narrow side, but I was able to carve it here and there.
How about edge hold? Did it feel stable? As far as edge hold goes, this board held up great! You could really lay in some carves. If you have the right size boot and binding on this board, you're going to be able to carve it like any other amazing directional board. I noticed a bit of chatter in my turns. This board does have a bigger nose since it's directional. It's going to want to ride in one direction. That being said, with the bigger nose, you will feel a bit of that chatter underneath if you are riding over bumpy terrain, but not enough to the point where it's going to throw you off course.
What about dampness? This board definitely has some dampness to it. You can feel the flex and the bend, but it won't want to twist as much as some softer, damp boards. This thing is more solid with the true camber in the middle. It has a softer rocker up in the nose. With the slight transition to the super-thin nose and tail, it makes this board super playful and easy to go edge-to-edge with it.
How is it in terms of speed? This board maxes out at about 50 miles an hour. I wouldn't want to be riding this thing much faster. You'll start to notice that nose chatter, and the softness and playfulness of the board really come out. If you're looking to go especially fast, there are better options, but this board sits right at home at about 30–40 miles per hour.
How about control? At slower speeds, this board is super easy to control. Navigating through the trees, getting through moguls, finding little side hits, it's perfect for that. If you're looking to charge bigger lines and ride high Alpine terrain, that might require some technical skills, and this might not be the right board for that.
Could you speak about playfulness and pop? This board features a few different carbon inserts. You've got a section under the binding and this rod that runs up through the center of the board. That really helps with pop and snap going into the ollies — you can feel every inch of this board. The energy that transfers from the binding to the board is incredible. I was able to throw a couple of 180s and 360s that, on a traditional freeride board, I might not have been as comfortable doing. With the amount of snap and pop this thing had, I was able to actually get up and spin around.
What about buttering? For buttering, it's going to take a lot to lay into this board. With it being camber, you're going to really have to work for those presses. That being said, I was able to get on the nose and press around. It's got a pretty flexible rocker transition up here that allows you to press into it if you want to. It wouldn't be my top choice for buttering, but it can definitely handle some butters if you're an experienced rider.
How about riding it switch? This board can handle riding switch. It wouldn't be my top choice, but it can definitely do it. It's directional. So, it's going to want to ride with the nose in the front. I was able to get it around and ride on my heel side here and there, a couple of little back-to-back 180s, and the landing felt perfect riding switch. But it's not my top choice if you are a big switch rider.
And jumps and stability on landing? I did notice some flex when I was jumping on this board. When you land, the board almost wants to give in a little bit and spoon out, and that's more my riding style. It depends on how big of the air you're taking. On smaller airs, anywhere between 5 to 10-foot cliff drops, this thing would be perfect. If you're doing anything bigger than that, you're going to want something slightly stiffer.
How well do you imagine it would perform in powder? I didn't get the chance to ride any powder here this weekend, but hopefully, I'll get to ride this thing in some powder soon. In my opinion, this would be a perfect powder machine for anything up to six inches. The big shovel nose is going to give you any float that you want. But if you're in some deep snow, you're going to want slightly different options, like options that are wider.
How does it fare in uneven terrain and chunder? Going back to this big nose on the board, any chunder or uneven terrain, you're going to feel it coming up. It almost springs to you. So I did run into a few soft and chunky pieces on the mountain, and I could feel the nose almost wanting to flex up and catch that piece of snow. But it's not to the point where I wouldn't want to ride this board.
And then riding in trees, how is its maneuverability? This board is great in the trees. It's a perfect board for trying to navigate tight areas. I wouldn't want to bring this thing in the tightest area, such as particularly dense east coast woods. But any open aspen grove or open birch field would work.
Finally, who would you recommend this board to? This is my number one pick for any intermediate rider looking to step into freeriding. If you're looking for something that's not too aggressive, that you can ride all-mountain, and that will allow you to pretty much hit anything except for the big stuff, this is going to be the perfect board for you.
Who would you not recommend this board to? If you're looking for a full park option, you should probably skip this board. Like I said, this is a great freeride entry-level to intermediate-level board for a rider who wants to start jumping off a cliff and finding little ollies to rip through. You could also find a chute to go down with it. If you're trying to hit the park, we've got way better options.
Snowboards ride differently for different people. If you want help with your next setup, feel free to reach out to Matthew or another Snowboard Expert here on Curated, and they can help you get set up for your next adventure.