K2 Pinnacle 88 Review

December 18, 2017
K2 Pinnacle 88
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
80
Float
7
Stability
6
Edge Hold
6
Carving Pleasure
6
Turn Shape
5

The Good

  • Fun ski
  • Easy to initiate
  • Good off-piste
  • Nice amount of tip rocker
  • Perfect for spring corn

The Bad

  • Over-powered on hardpack
  • And at higher speeds
  • Not for hard chargers or ex-racers
  • Does not build confidence when driven
THE VERDICT
K2’s Pinnacle 88 is a really fun ski that will make a lot of people happy – especially if they aren’t looking for race-ready performance or something that will break the on-snow speed limit. It’s a fun ski, with a perfect amount of tip rocker for improving its performance off-piste. Get it on the hardpack and try to drive it too hard, or expect a superior carving sensation, and it will disappoint. This ski opened a lot of our testers eyes with its ease of initiation, its off-piste skills, and the way it made us smile and maybe not take “testing” so seriously for a run. Which, we believe, is what many consumers want, and is what skiing’s all about.
FULL REVIEW

Yes, we take ski testing – and all gear testing – very seriously at Gear Institute. That’s because we want you to have your best experience outdoors and get the best bang for your hard-earned buck. That being said, with all the technical aspects of each product that we put under the microscope, we don’t have an evaluation standard for fun. In light of how happy it made all of our testers to get a few runs on the Pinnacle 88, we may want to re-evaluate that.

To be clear, K2’s Pinnacle 88 is not a super technical ski that will lay trenches in the hardpack, shatter the sound barrier, or give you increased confidence while trying to lay arcs on a blue ice face. It does, however, offer perfect turn initiation, a free-wheeling feel in the majority of Frontside conditions – especially off-piste – and the ability to set an edge just about anywhere you want. If you ski to relax, enjoy the freedom of a wide-open run, and want a great value on a pair of boards you can enjoy in the majority of lift-served conditions, check these babies out. Otherwise, we have lots of other hard charging, race-style boards with high speed Stability and razor sharp Edge Hold for you to evaluate in the Frontside Category of our ski test.

Float

Float was one the best features of the K2 Pinnacle 88 and in the entire Frontside Category. K2’s All-Terrain Rocker design makes it super easy to initiate the ski, especially in off-piste terrain. Unlike almost every other ski in this class, the Pinnacle 88 got its best marks when testers weren’t trying to throttle it on the hardpack, and instead enjoying its all-mountain ease of use. Along with a couple 6s (out of a possible 10) at the lower of the ski’s scores for Float, the K2 received a majority of 7s and 8s, and even a single 10 from one of our East Coast hard chargers, who said, “It’s brainless how easy this ski is to initiate.”

Stability

Stability, on the other hand, was just OK on this ski. The light ‘Nanolite Core’ feels a bit hollow and lifeless compared to some of the other constructions (such as the Rossignol Experience 88 and Fischer Pro Mtn 86Ti, for instance), despite the addition of a metal Ti laminate. Which isn’t to say the ski isn’t fun to drive, just not at the high speeds of a Blizzard Brahma Head Monster 88. The Pinnacle 88 did earn a couple of 8s in this classification, and one 10, from a tester who wrote, “In all conditions, it felt very stable and confident.” The majority of testers gave it a 6.

Edge Hold

The Edge Hold also garnered a respectable, but not overly impressive rating. As noted under the Float heading, the ski is incredibly easy to initiate. It just does not invite you to try and hit new speed limits or really get technical a try to sink your hip into a deep arc. Testers who focused on really driving the ski, especially on firmer snow, felt it could be overpowered, chattery, and quickly lose grip. It does favor a more standup style of skiing, without as much emphasis on deep angulation, and without such a wide turn shape. There were some 8s at the top of scores in this classification, one 5, and again, the majority of testers giving the Pinnacle 88 a 6.

Carving Pleasure

As noted above in the Full Review, the softer the snow, the better the Edge Hold you will get on the Pinnacle 88, with what we can only describe as “a laid back, easy going response.” The harder the snow, and the more aggressive the driver, the less pleasure you’ll get.

Turn Shape Variability

Keep your turns in the short to medium radius variety, enjoy the open air and the feeling of freedom, and appreciate that every ski does not have to be at the top of the class to provide a good value on the slopes.

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WHERE TO BUY
MSRP
$800.00
ALSO AVAILABLE AT
$399.99
$449.95
$419.93
$379.77
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