Expert Review: 2023 K2 Alchemist [with Video]
Snowboard Expert Mike Leighton tested the 2023 K2 Alchemist snowboard on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Snowboard Expert Mike Leighton got his hands on the 2023 K2 Alchemist 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 Alchemist 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 the Alchemist is a board designed for advanced to expert riders. Predominantly all-mountain, but this board will be awesome in powder or any kind of steep technical terrain as well. With a directional shape, it is camber (predominantly underfoot) with a little bit of rocker in the nose that really helps with float. There's also carbon stringers in the tail, so you can really load up into that next turn. This board really wants to just spring right edge to edge.
How does it turn? It's designed to be really nimble edge to edge. The one thing I will say on this board, is that they do run narrow. So, if you have a bit of a bigger foot, you might want to look into the wide size, but other than that, this board is incredibly nimble edge to edge.
How about edge hold? It holds an edge really well at all different angles. It's good on bigger radius turns, shorter radius. It really, really wants to get up and hold an edge.
Is it stable? Once this board's on edge, it's locked in. There's not a ton of chatter. It's really, really stable. So, if you're someone that really values holding that edge and being able to hold a longer carve, this is a great board for that.
How does it perform at speed? This board wants to go fast. So I would say it really starts to come alive once you start to pick up speed. It is okay at slower speeds, but because of the design and how directional it is, and that carbon in the tail, the faster you're going and the more energy you're putting into your turn, it'll help propel you into that next turn and really just hold a much tighter line.
Could you speak about playfulness and pop? I tried to play on it. It's not that playful. I will say it's playful in terms of ollying, popping off things, slashing anything, more of those high energy freestyle maneuvers. This board is really fun. But if you were trying to do a lot of slower speed presses and butters, this is actually a really hard board to do a lot of that on.
What about riding switch? Well, there's not a whole lot of tail, but I will say this board does perform quite well riding switch. I wouldn't want to take it into a lot of uneven snow, but if you're on groomer, you can pop it around switch and it'll carve just fine, but it is a very directional board. It is mostly designed for you to be riding with that front foot forward.
What kind of terrain does it perform well on? This board is great in pretty much anything freeride related. I've ridden it in everything from a bank slalom in slush to really hard packed groomers to fresh snow. This thing in fresh snow is just a joy to ride. It's so fast. It floats. It kind of feels like you're almost being towed behind a boat or big wave surfing, because it cuts through that fresh snow really well. It's also awesome on groomers. It's comfortable getting pointed straight. It's comfortable on a high edge.
Who would you recommend this board to? This board is definitely for the advanced to expert freerider. I'd really say this is a board for someone that maybe doesn't do a ton of freestyle. You might want to pop off some side hits and stuff, but for the most part what it does great at is really attacking everywhere on the mountain, especially when it gets steep.
Who should avoid this board, there are better options for them out there? I would not put a lower level intermediate or beginner on this. You have to be on top of your riding when you're riding this board, just because it's so nimble edge to edge that it really requires the rider to be engaged at all times.
Different snowboards work differently for different riders. If you want help finding the right snowboard for you, reach out to Mike or another Snowboard Expert on Curated, and they’ll help you get unstuck with free, personalized recommendations.