Expert Review: 2023 K2 Reckoner 102 [with Video]
Ski Experts Daryl Morrison and Theo G. tested the 2023 K2 Reckoner 102 skis on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Ski Experts Daryl Morrison and Theo G. tested the 2023 K2 Reckoner 102 at Powder Mountain in Utah. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and free-ride categories and who Daryl and Theo would and would not recommend the skis to. Remember that every skier is different. What may work for one, may not work for all. Any questions you have on the K2 Reckoner or any other ski can be answered by reaching out to a Ski Expert here on Curated. And just so you know, we’re not sponsored by any brands, so all these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does K2 claim about the ski? [Daryl] So, this is the K2 Reckoners in a 102 waist width. They're really fun, very soft, very poppy. They're marketed as like an all-mountain park ski, and definitely, that is what they are. They will reward you for having a nice loose, centered stance and are going to ski better forward mounted or true center. So just keep that in mind. K2 claims that this is going to be a super poppy, really fun, snappy ski, really fun in the park. A freestyle-oriented ski, that is absolutely what this ski rides like.
[Theo] K2 claims that these are the perfect skis for side hits, the park, and skiing in a playful, freestyle manner, all around the mountain. They're pretty standard in their construction. There's not a whole lot going on in terms of technology. It's a classic wood core, there's some spectral braiding, and a little carbon according to K2, but doesn't vary a ton from what you might see out of other manufacturers for their park/freestyle options.
What is your overall impression of the ski? [Daryl] These are super fun skis. This is something that I would definitely ski all over as a daily driver out here in Utah, where I live. It’s very fun in the air, very balanced. I didn't feel like I was going to get over my tips too much or on my tails at any point. These would be great spring skis. They're wicked snappy and pretty soft but I had a great time on them. I like how quick they are edge to edge and turn to turn. I skied them in a 177, but I had no problem ripping short radius turns on them.
[Theo] True to K2's description, these are fun skis across the mountain. They don't have a significant weak point, not in terms of the construction, but in terms of the way they ski.
They're great popping off rollers, and side hits. I'm sure they'd be great in the park. Although there isn't a park here at Powder Mountain today, I did get to take them off a few jumps, and they were stable on landings. There's significant camber underfoot, which provides that stability. Some other park/freestyle options might be rockered out, washed out in the tails and the tips if you land switch or too far back on your tails. That's not true with these. There's not significant enough rocker and flex in the tips and the tails to wash out. So if you're looking for something stable that has a bit more width than, say, the K2 Poacher, which is a narrower, more competition-focused park ski, or some of the other skis in that class, I would go with this.
It's similar to the ON3P Magnus, which is a ski I love, and I ski a lot, although there are significant durability concerns with the Reckoner. I've heard from myself, in my experience, I own a pair of the 112s, for a lot of colleagues and other people I know, these skis don't hold up as long as some others in the class. So be aware of that. If you're going to ski them hard on rails in a park, I would be prepared for getting a couple of seasons out of them and not five or six, like you could from other manufacturers like Armada or ON3P that are a bit more... They have a bit more longevity.
What is the profile of the ski? [Daryl] So these are a fairly cambered ski underfoot, and they have a bit of a rocker tip and tail on them. They are very versatile skis because of the way that they're shaped. They can do a little bit of everything. They're not going to feel uncomfortable on groomers, or they're just meant for pow.
What is the flex like on the ski? [Daryl] I think that anytime you're going to get into heavier snow, wetter snow, they're going to get pushed around a bit because they are a lighter ski and they don't have a whole lot of stiffness underfoot. That being said, if you like something that's jumpy and you want to hop off of chunder in the spring, take them through moguls, they'll have a lot of energy in that. If you're super balanced and right over the center of the ski, you'll have fun in it and they'll be able to do it pretty well.
[Theo] These skis are not as soft as I thought they'd be. The tips and the tails do have some flex to them, but overall, they weren't bending like crazy on groomed, firm runs. When I was landing, they weren't flexing too much. That said, they do have more play in the tips and the tails than a competition-focused ski like the Poacher or something that is focused completely on landing and not washing out, landing with stability.
How are they for turning? [Daryl] I'm 5'4, so 177 for me generally is going to ski in a little bit of a longer radius, but these came around real quick and snappy. They carved well in the soft snow that we have here at Powder today. I don't think I'd love them in really hard-pack conditions.
How is the stability in turns?
[Daryl] They were pretty stable. I skied these a couple of years ago when they first came out and remembered being a little bit concerned about them. But I think I was in a shorter length on them. I skied them in a 177 this time and felt that they held up pretty well. That being said, if I were on the ice, if I were in hardpack conditions, really pinning it, I think I might have gotten to the top end of the ski.
[Theo] These are fairly standard freestyle skis in terms of turning. You're not going to get great carving performance in terms of mixing in a lot of really short radius turns. I think their listed radius by K2 is around 19 meters. They are flexible enough to get around variable turn sizes and shapes in the woods, in glades, and across all snow conditions. But this is not the ski if you're trying to keep edge hold with big GS turns or rip slalom turns from edge to edge down icy groomed runs.
How is the underfoot chatter? [Daryl] I didn't feel a lot of chatter, but again, the snow was soft and I was whipping them back and forth. I wasn't going too fast. I think that at high speeds and on ice, in particular, these would get a little chatty. So yeah, if you want something that's going to perform well on ice and be hard-charging, I would go for something stiffer than this.
[Theo] Though the tails and the tips are pretty loose, there weren't as many chatters I might have expected, even less so than the Line Blade Optic 96 that I tested this morning, which is surprising because that's marketed more as an all-mountain groom snow ski.
Are they freestyle-friendly? [Daryl] So, these are freestyle skis. They're going to do well in the park. They're going to handle the rest of the mountain reasonably well, if you like a soft ski, these are great skis for you. If you like to have a little bit more stiffness underfoot, I'd say maybe opt for something else. I was skiing these in the 177 today and was pushing it and making some pretty tight turns.
[Theo] Like most skis in the class, they're great in all freestyle respects, good pop, very playful, and the shape is catered to being used in the park, although they are on the wider edge of the park.
They are on the lighter end of park skis. Modern freestyle ski width has evolved, I'd say in the last three, or four years, you're getting a lot of skis that are over a hundred millimeters in width that people are skiing in the park primarily. I'm one of them, it used to be the middle of the range in the high eighties, low nineties, but that's changed. These are not too wide to take in the park, and they function well in all respects in freestyle skiing and the park.
How would they do in powder? [Daryl] These would do reasonably well in probably up to about a foot of powder. I think if you get over that, or if you get into really heavy snow that you get in the Pacific Northwest, or sometimes back in New England, they aren't going to excel as much. But if you're in lighter snow up, so I'd say 14 inches or so, they're going to do well.
[Theo] This would be a great powder ski on the East Coast. If you're skiing over 12 inches of fresh in Utah, Colorado out west, and you have something wider, I'd opt for that. I know I've skied 102mm skis on deep days, and they don't provide a ton of float, but you're not going to be sinking like you would on a carving ski. If this is your only option for a quiver, it's a good one. As a Western ski, I would recommend this for a freestyle skier who spends time in the park and wants something they can ski in powder without needing another, wider option. On a really deep day, it doesn't have the float that you would need per se. If you have the option for another ski at your disposal for deeper days, I would go with that. On the East Coast, this is all you need for powder.
How would they do in trees? [Daryl] These would be awesome in the trees. I would ride these in the trees. I think they would be a fun East Coast ski for less icy conditions, tight stuff, I would love to ride them in tight trees for sure.
[Theo] At 102 millimeters underfoot, this is a really good option in the trees and fresh powder, especially on the East Coast.
Where would you take these skis? [Theo] The profile along with the 102mm waist width means these will function well in powder. I would ski them on all but the deepest days here in Utah, Colorado, California, Pacific Northwest. In the East, you need nothing wider. If you're freestyle skiing, you need a powder ski. This will serve you well in the East, in almost all conditions. You might find it a bit wide on icy days. It depends on if you're keeping your edges sharp, or if they're detuned if you're skiing a lot of parks. If they are detuned, you might want another ski to rip groomers with, carve on ice, et cetera. But I'd say this is a perfect quiver of one for the East Coast and any skier who mixes in some park but is skiing in fresh snow regularly when it exists.
Is there any terrain that you would avoid? [Daryl] No. I think that these can pretty much go anywhere. I would maybe avoid big mountain lines on these, not take them up into really intense couloirs or anything like that. But there are wider models of this that would be more appropriate for those kinds of conditions. These are going to be great all-mountain skis for anything in the resort, however.
Who would you recommend the skis to? [Daryl] I’d recommend these to someone who's looking for something playful and agile, that's a free ride-oriented ski that they can dip into the park or use solely as a park ski. But also, that's going to do well on the rest of the mountain. That's what I like about these, is they're going to be great park skiing.
[Theo] The Reckoner is a great ski for someone who enjoys playing across the whole mountain, spends a little time in the park, but isn't hiking there every day, isn't attending competitions, or filming parks in the street at your mountains park. That's just because of the durability concerns that I have with it. However, if you ski in the trees, mainly, across the mountain, hitting jumps, this is such a good ski. It's really fun in soft snow. It's great on groomed terrain. And it's excellent when applying pressure to the tips and tails, and looking to pull off those sorts of nollie butter tricks.
So overall, this is a freestyle ski that's most suited for someone who's mixing in park laps several times a day and is skiing fresh snow at least five or ten times a year. In the Midwest, you could go with something narrower, but on the East Coast and as a western, all-mountain everyday ski, this is a good option.
Who should avoid these skis? [Daryl] I would not necessarily go for this particular ski if you're a beginner. I would opt for something that's a little bit more beginner-friendly and has a little bit less waste width underneath, but yeah, this is a ski that will please a lot of people.
[Theo] If you're someone who finds themselves almost entirely on groomed terrain, this is not your best option. You should get a carving ski that doesn't have a twin tip. If you live in the Midwest, you can go for something narrower underfoot. You don't need the 102-millimeter waist width. If you live in the Midwest, that might be a bit too wide. However, if you're on the East Coast and you get fresh snow, you ski the park and you find yourself looking for something that can spin and jib across the mountain, this is a great option. Same for the west, but you might want to add a powder ski to your quiver as well.
Beginner skiers need not choose the Reckoner 102 unless you're a beginner freestyle park skier. It's more ski than you need for green runs, groomed runs, and moguls in terms of its freestyle capabilities, but it can function in all of that terrain. It's an all-mountain ski.
Different skis work differently for different types of skiers. If you'd like help finding the right pair of skis for you, reach out to Daryl, Theo, or another Ski Expert here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations on the best setup for you.