Expert Review: 2023 K2 Cold Shoulder [with Video]
Snowboard Expert Sydney Johnson tested the 2023 K2 Cold Shoulder snowboard on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Snowboard Expert Sydney Johnson got her hands on the 2023 K2 Cold Shoulder this spring and put it to the test at Powder Mountain, Utah. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but don’t forget, every rider is unique; if you have any questions about the questions on the K2 Cold Shoulder or would like recommendations on what snowboard would be ideal for your needs, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated.
Before we jump in, a quick note 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 a one board quiver, meaning that you can take this board anywhere.
What's your overall impression of the board?
The K2 Cold Shoulder is a good transitional board for someone that's a beginner moving into that intermediate phase. Advanced riders will want something a little more responsive, but what's great about this board is it's stable. So if you feel like you've passed that beginning learning curve, this board will give you stability at speed and help you feel really grounded and build confidence in your carving and your turns.
How is its edge hold?
This board has great edge hold. I never caught any edges riding in spring, because there were kind of chunky conditions, but the edge hold is fantastic and really stable.
How is stability in turns?
This board is very stable. So if you like softer boards, this is a 5 out of 10 flex. It still has that medium stiffness, but the K2 Cold Shoulder is more stable than other boards–I would say about a five for stiffness. While it's really nice, I wouldn't say it's very playful. However, it is very stable, great at high speed, and holds an edge well. You can carve and build confidence on this board.
How is it in terms of speed?
It went fast. It’s not the fastest charging board, but if you're an intermediate rider, it might help you control your speed a little bit. You can still send it, but you won't feel out of control on this board. I would say this board is a directional profile, which typically is a really charging and really driving type of board. I didn't feel like this board was as aggressive and driving in propelling me forward as other directional boards.
Is it easy to control at speed?
Although it's not aggressively responsive, it is responsive, and it will listen. It's controllable at any speeds, so you can turn and it listens to you. It's got good edge hold, good stability.
How is its pop?
This board has got enough pop for an intermediate rider. But, I would say if you want to be really playful and have lots of spring out of a board, this is not the board for you. It's not as responsive as I would like as an expert rider, but for an intermediate rider–or someone who's going from beginning to intermediate–this is a good board to feel stable and secure on.
How is it riding switch?
The K2 Cold Shoulder is directional, but I felt really comfortable riding the switch. The tail on it is still scooped and has a regular shape, so I didn't feel uneasy about riding switch.
How is it for buttering?
I wasn't jibbing or buttering much on this board. I tried to butter it, even though it's a five flex, but I didn't feel like it had enough bend. It was really hard to get it to butter.
How is the board on jumps and how is its stability on landings?
I did hit a few big natural kickers off of some trees, and felt really stable on the landing. It was really stable on take off, and even through those trees I navigated well and was able to maneuver without any problems.
How is its dampness/underfoot chatter?
I didn't experience any underfoot chatter on this board. I was also impressed with the shock absorption that it had. On uneven terrain I felt really stable and there wasn’t much chatter then either.
How it would it be in powder?
In powder, this board would perform well because of the directional shape. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to test it in powder at Powder Mountain today because of the spring conditions. I would not buy it as a powder-specific board, though. There are other boards for that.
How is it riding in the trees? How is its maneuverability?
Maneuverability in the trees was great. It listens and it's very stable. If you are an aggressive rider you'll want more, but as an intermediate rider wanting to progress to more advanced terrain, this is a very stable board. This will meet your specs if you are a taller woman, as this is a women's board. I will say it is a little narrow on the waist width so if you have bigger feet it might not be the best board for you.
To sum up, what terrain is this board ideal for? What terrain should riders avoid?
You can hit a little backcountry, but not so much if you are intermediate. So I would say greens, blues, and blacks, but maybe not the doubles. I would not take this board in the park. It’s just not playful enough for park riding.
Any location in the world that it might be good for?
I think riders on the East Coast would enjoy this board because it's very stable. It held an edge on ice here, and with more firm snow, so I was happy with that. East Coast intermediate riders, I think, would really love this.
Who would you recommend this board to?
I would recommend this board to an intermediate rider that wants to feel more confident in their turns and in their carves, and is looking for a good introduction to a directional board profile.
Who would you not recommend this board to?
Beginners or advanced riders, do not get this. As an advanced rider, it won't be enough for you and as a beginner, it will be too much for you.
Snowboards work differently for different types of riders. If you want help finding the right board for you, reach out to Sydney or any other Snowboard Expert here on Curated.