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K2 Wayback 106 2020 Test Report

K2 have updated the iconic Wayback and Talkback touring series for this winter. 
To ensure that the new skis perform in as many different snow conditions as possible, K2 asked Scandinavian and European ski guides what they wanted, and the new skis benefit from a new shape and construction.
To reduce weight K2 have replaced the balsa core with paulownia. This has also made the skis stiffer torsionally. The innovative carbon construction results in a very light ski while the titanium plate adds stability under foot and reduces vibrations, giving a responsive yet dampened feedback to the skier. The T3 Ti SpYne titanal plate also means that these skis are compatible with all bindings, including telemark bindings, which can be mounted without risk of tearing out.

The widest in the range, the K2 Wayback 106 shows the benefits of this construction and weighs in at only 3 kg a pair
(172 cm length), pretty light for a ski this wide.
As you’d expect from K2, the brand that made reverse camber skis mainstream, the Wayback 106 has reverse camber
“All-Terrain Rocker”, with a short low rise in the tail and a gradual rise in the tip for great versatility and additional control in powder. Turning radius is a medium-long 22m for stability at speed in deep snow.  

K2 have given the Wayback 106 a flex that is firm without being too stiff, a flex that is pretty optimal resulting in a ski that performs on hard snow and smooth in soft snow. The tip is not too directional as for example is the case of the Blizzard Zero G 108 if the skier lacks technique, but is torsionally stiff, unlike the Atomic Backland 95 which can flex if the skier applies too much force through the boots.
We really liked the shape of the tip with the point of contact quite high. This lets you drive the ski on it’s edge and despite the long front rocker one seems to be using the full length of the ski. At low speeds the 106 is equally at ease and remains stable and serene and planes easily.

When skinning, the relatively straight sidecut and firm flex underfoot makes the Wayback 106 climb efficiently without flexing on steep traverses. Mount these skis with a lightweight binding and you can tour as far as you like. The low weight makes these wide skis practical for long distance trips in the backcountry, whatever the terrain.
Our Wayback 106 is mounted with the Marker Alpinist bindings and weighs in at only 3.5 kg a pair which is quite impressive in terms of weight / skiability.

On the descent the 22 m radius is forgotten as soon as you edge the skis since the rocker lets the skis pivot effortlessly and you can vary the radius of the turns intuitively. The Wayback 106 lets you ski short or long turns, changing effortlessly with the terrain and snow conditions. It’s very fluid, enjoyable skiing.The Wayback 106 is fast, intuitive, yet solid without being too directional when you ski the fall line. The only minor gripe, which applies to many touring skis where the shape is optimised for both uphill and downhill use, you need to avoid letting the tail drift when skiing hardpack, and do not apply more power to the edges than the skis can transmit. But this is a minor detail for a touring ski and the Wayback 106 is  very versatile and performs extremely well in all backcountry conditions.

A similar ski to the Wayback 106 is Black Diamond’s Helio 105. This is another good ski but the Wayback offers a more fluid ride in cruddy snow, better planing at low speed and a better price.
If you’re looking for a wide yet light ski with a modern shape for serious backcountry adventures, then the Wayback 106 should be on your shortlist.

K2 Wayback 106 Ski 2020

Neil

Neil started skiing in the Scotland when he hired lightweight tele gear and skied Cairngorm to Ben Macdhui. He was bitten and not by the midges! Th ...

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