Expert Review: 2023 K2 Excavator Snowboard [with Video]
Snowboard Experts Arielle Busch and Spencer Storck tested the 2023 K2 Excavator snowboard on carving, freestyle, and freeride at Powder Mountain in Utah.
Curated Snowboard Experts Arielle Busch and Spencer Storck tested the 2023 K2 Excavator at Powder Mountain in Utah this past spring. Check out how it performed in the carving, freestyle, and freeride categories, but don’t forget, every snowboarder is different and what works for one may not work for all. If you have any questions on the Excavator or would like recommendations on what snowboards would be ideal for your needs, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated.
A quick note that we're not sponsored by any brands, so all of these reviews are completely unbiased.
What does the K2 claim about the board? [Arielle] K2 claims this to be a freeriding snowboard meant for intermediate to advanced riders who are confident making deep turns on groomed terrain.
[Spencer] K2 claims this is a great directional all-mountain board and good for surfing the powder.
What is your overall impression of the board? [Arielle] My overall impression of the snowboard is that it was very powerful and aggressive. You definitely need to know how to snowboard well to enjoy this board. It is not meant for a beginner and not meant to be your first board. But like I said, this is a more advanced, aggressive, and hard-charging board that can take you through chunder, powder, trees, steeps, and drop some cliffs. It definitely has a lot of power behind it, which is why I would never put a newbie on this board because I might scare them out of wanting ever to snowboard again. The K2 has some awesome tech that you can see on the board. It has carbon forks, giving you that driving force out of your tail in all of your turns. It makes you feel locked and loaded in your turns, and then it almost feels like a little rocket as you're going out of your turns and into your turns. There's almost this extra force and this oomph in those deep carves. If you want to lay a trench or two, you can definitely do that on this board. There wasn't much I didn't like about this board. I would like to try it in a 146 instead of a 150, which still would be a little bit larger for me as a volume shift board. But I enjoyed riding this board a little bit longer, and it didn't really affect me. I thought it was going to be heavy. I thought I might even hurt myself, but it rode a lot shorter and felt pretty light. There wasn't much that it couldn't do or that I wasn't confident doing on it.
Is there anything about this board that surprised you? [Spencer] I was actually surprised by the stability and how easy it was to turn from edge to edge, being that it's a volume-shifted, wider board.
What is the profile of the board and how does it impact the riding experience? [Arielle] This rocker up here is really going to help you float on top of that powder and cut through all of that chunder. I didn't get to take it in any fresh stuff at Powder Mountain. We had some really firm springtime conditions, but with that came some chunder, and with this big rockered nose, I could just cut through everything, which was kind of nice. And it also does help get you into those turns. And then those carbon forks are what's going to give you that rocket launch in and out of your turns, and then that camber is what's going to keep you locked into those deep carves. This board has some crazy power behind it. And the fact that this is the only rocker point in the board, I feel like that's why it is so powerful.
Anything about the size and shape of the board? [Arielle] It is considered a unisex board, so it does range from sizes 142 up to 152. But like I said, that 152 isn't super large because if you're normally riding a larger board, you can actually size down on this.
This board is a volume-shifted board, which means you can ride it about five to seven centimeters shorter than your normal board. You're going to get a pretty wide waist width. So if you have bigger feet, don't be afraid to ride a smaller board. It will be super nimble and still give you all that power without having to ride a super, super long board.
What is its flex? [Arielle] I am a bit of a camber profile snob, and all of them are a bit different, but because this board is also pretty stiff at 7 out of 10, it is definitely meant for hard-charging fast lines for sure.
How does it carve? [Arielle] Carving was my favorite thing to do on this board. You definitely feel the most stable under your feet, where the most camber is on this board. So it really locks you in, and you feel locked in right underneath your feet. Then it soars you with the carbon forks on the tail.
[Spencer] The K2 Excavator carved super hard. It dug trenches. It just powers out turns. It’s definitely a great board for carving groomers. With its camber design, it has a super stable, good midsection for carving, and tons of pop and control. It's going to be good for hitting any sort of jumps and give you good landing gear.
How is it to turn? [Spencer] It was nimble for being a volume-shifted board because it has good torsional flex. This board actually had a lot of power out of the turns and carves.
What is the edge hold like? [Spencer] The edge hold was great. The camber held an edge really well, even in the icier conditions and during longer traverses.
How is its stability in turns? [Spencer] It has carbon stringers going tip to tail, which really helped the board stay stable and gave it a bit of pop, too.
What about dampness? [Arielle] It was extremely damp. Every hit that I hit landed smoothly. It cut through all of the chunder. It was like having a magic carpet under your feet.
[Spencer] The nose is a little bit softer than the tail, I felt like, so that dampened the ride quite a bit and kept the chatter down. I didn't feel too much underfoot chatter on this board.
How does it feel in terms of speed? [Spencer] It did really well holding speed, especially when you're on edge. Turning was really easy at speed.
How playful is it to ride? [Spencer] With that little softer nose, it was pretty easy to do 180s, butters, and such on it.
How is the pop? [Spencer] With that carbon, it definitely had some good pop.
What about riding switch? [Arielle] When I did throw some 180s, although the tail is a little bit of a swallow tail, it still felt super stable landing switch, no issues there. I rode this board switch a little bit because I like to ride every board switch because I'm nuts.
[Spencer] I rode switch on it pretty well because it has a nice kick up in the tail. The switch was fine for being a directional board.
How is it for buttering? [Spencer] The butters were great, especially on the nose.
How is it on jumps and stability on landings? [Spencer] It had good pop and stability for landing decent-sized jumps.
How would this board be in powder? [Spencer] I didn't get to ride it today in powder, but I could tell from how this board handled in the trees that it would be really nimble and great in the deep stuff.
How is the maneuverability in the trees? [Spencer] This board would be great for tree riding, especially on a powder day. With that design, with a little bit of taper in the nose to the tail, it just carves super fast and nimble in the trees. It would float really well, too.
How is it on uneven terrain and chunder? [Spencer] It did pretty well dampening some of that variable terrain. If it was high-speed, it definitely gets a little bit bumpy. If you're trying to straight line through variable conditions, it will be chattery and throw you around. But at the slower speeds and you're going through mashed potato snow, it dampened the ride really well.
What terrain is the board ideal for? [Arielle] This would not be my go-to park board. That does not mean that you can't get spinny off of jumps, throw some 180s, 360s on the groomed runs in the powder, whatever you want. Although with the carbon in there and the camber dominant profile, it pops like crazy. So if you wanted to take it through a jump line, you'd probably look really cool because you'd be sending it to the moon. So it's going to thrive on groomers, and it's going to thrive in some powder with this big rock-out nose. It's just going to float right on top of that powder. So on those groomers, whether you're on the East Coast or out West, you will have a blast on this thing. It goes fast. I was out there with a skier filming me, and she was having trouble keeping up with me, which is rare. So this thing just sends it. I even had it on a little slush, which can sometimes slow you down and I didn't feel slowed down on this board whatsoever. Being a tiny human, I don't always go that fast, so being on a board that's a little bit bigger was kind of fun because I got to go really fast.
[Spencer] I would definitely ride this board in the trees and some powder. I would love to get it in powder. But it's a great groomer board, too, to carve around. It's going to be a good time.
What terrain is not ideal with this board? [Arielle] Don't get into too much freeriding terrain or powder. It isn't necessarily a quiver-killer if you are more of an East Coast rider. It wouldn't necessarily be my daily driver, but that being said, with the amount of camber in it, how stable it is in general, and the edge hold, you'd probably be okay on a little bit of that firm ice that you get over there.
[Spencer] It’s definitely not a park board. I would not send some 540s with this board, but you can if you want.
Is there any location this board is ideal for? [Spencer] If I were living on the East Coast and not making it anywhere out West, I would stay away from this board and look for something a little bit better for the groomers, full-time.
Who would you recommend this board to? [Arielle] This is more of an advanced to expert snowboard just because you have to know what to do on a snowboard. Additionally, it is meant for a rider who's looking to get some power under their feet and might need a wider board but who doesn't want to lose anything because of that. So you can go shorter on this board because it will be wider and still have the same power as anything else you've been on, if not more.
[Spencer] This is definitely for the intermediate to advanced rider looking for a good tree board or pow board that can still rip the groomers. If you're going to do park laps for the day, definitely grab something else. But if you're riding anything else other than park, send it. I recommend this board to an aggressive expert rider because it will carve hard, dig trenches, and stuff like that. Be really edgy. It's super fun, really fast, stable, has lots of pop, and tons of control. It's going to float well in the powder. It is a sweet board. I was pretty hyped on it.
Who would you not recommend this board to? [Arielle] I would not recommend this snowboard for a beginner or a low intermediate. It has some power behind it, and if a new snowboarder were to get on this, they might never want a snowboard again.
[Spencer] I don't recommend this board for a beginner. It's going to be super edgy and really catchy. If you're more aggressive and really carve hard, maybe you can lean into this board. It’s not a great board for flatter terrain. If East Coast riders aren’t not making trips out West, I would look for something else.
Snowboards work differently for different types of riders. If you want help finding the best snowboard for your needs, reach out to Arielle, Spencer, or any other Snowboard Expert here on Curated for free, personalized recommendations. They’ll help you find the right snowboard for you.