K2 Pinnacle 95 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The consensus amongst our testers is that the Pinnacle 95 is easy to ski and fun in soft snow. It is an easy choice for days that we don't want to work too hard or pick up the speed too much and we want to take some mellow laps without getting into too much steep terrain with firm snow. We weren't under impressed with the Pinnacle 95, we just changed our expectations when we took it out of the rack. Sometimes you just need to know the specific strengths and limitations of certain skis. With that said, its hard to recommend this ski as a jack of all trades, versatile all-mountain ski.
This ski is lively and very playful at moderate speed and in soft snow. Although narrower, in some ways it is reminiscent of the Armada TST with less camber and less pop. They're both easy to turn and a little floppy with smooth surfy turns. Its soft, rockered tip adapted well to skied up pow. 95mm underfoot is great for quick edge to edge transfer, but it doesn't provide the float that we value overall in our powder skiing scoring metric. Skis like the TST, Nordica NRGy 100, and the DPS Wailer 99 scored well with our testers for powder skiing performance. For a few inches of fluff, don't hesitate to bring out the narrower boards that will transition to the typical beat up afternoon chop at the ski area.
We tested the 184cm length in the Pinnacle 95. It has a turny 17 meter radius. K2 has worked to save weight in the ski by concentrating the heavier materials near the edges where it is needed more. The camber profile of the ski has fairly generous amounts of tip and tail rocker, with camber (but seemingly flat), underfoot. The tips and tails are tapered. K2 continues to use a hybrid sidewall/cap construction on the Pinnacle.
Stability at Speed
The Pinnacle 95 shines at moderate speeds. Its comfort zone is a bit slower than most of the other skis in this review, but as soon as we recognized its preference, we could work well with this ski. We preferred making lots of small, finessed turns on the Pinnacle vs. opening it up and arcing big GS style carves, regardless of the snow condition. The tip of the Pinnacle is the most concerning at speed. It likes to flop and when pushed hard tends to feel weak.
This ski is easy to turn but doesn't always feel lively. It lacks the pop feeling when you release from the turn that we enjoy from excellent carving skis like the Rossignol Experience 100. The 17 m radius is partial to medium to short radius carves. Again, at speed the Pinnacle leaves something to be desired. The rocker in the tip and tail lead us to feel like it skis short and didn't provide the edge hold we were looking for, especially when pushed a little faster than it liked to go.
At 95mm underfoot with the tip rocker, turn initiation and edge to edge quickness is no problem on this ski. And, the tapered, rockered tail releases from the turn smoothly for when you need to scrub speed or want to vary your turn shape.
Soft, consistent snow is definitely the ally of the Pinnacle 95. We would prefer a wider ski for a dedicated powder ski, but for shallow pow and storm skiing early on, we had a good time on these boards. They still want to stick to their speed limit and want to turn more than mach, but are bouncy and fun in the soft stuff.
The shape of the Pinnacle 95 is a serious asset in the thick, refrozen, breakable chunder that we refer to as "crud". Easy turn initiation and quick release from the turn can help to navigate tricky snow conditions. What we found lacking here was the fortitude to punch through the toughest conditions on the hill. Skis that are damp and stiff as well as nimble can play well with the weird conditions that nobody really likes to ski. But if thats the hand you're dealt, wouldn't you like your go to all-mountain ski to eat it up? We couldn't find a better ski than the Editors' Choice award winner, the Volkl Mantra, for this purpose. It has the quick turning capabilities of the Pinnacle, but is a bit more stout.
Testers had a good time with little airs and tight terrain on the Pinnacle. Tree lines and little gullies were the terrain of choice with these skis. Skis that are approachable, easy to turn, and lightweight are usually pretty fun. The Armada TST and the Line Sick Day 95 are two of the other most playful skis in this review. While they almost completely fell apart performance wise when they were pushed onto hard snow, the K2 had a bit more control and edgehold. Those two prefer sliding or skidded turns in tight terrain, but the K2 is capable of railing some quality, controlled carves in the same situation. Experienced skiers with some finesse will especially find this to be the case.
Bump Skiing Performance
The soft flex and nimble nature of the Pinnacle 95 help it to be one of the better skis for navigating the post storm mogul fields commonly found off-piste. The narrower waist is quicker edge to edge than the wider skis in our review, and the soft rockered tip eases turn initiation in the tight troughs, and also smears itself off of the side of the bumps.
This ski is best suited for the soft snow enthusiast who doesn't have the need for speed.
The Pinnacle 95 falls right in the middle of the spread for MSRP amongst our 11 ski review category. For the right skier, this ski can handle a good variety of conditions. Overall, we prefer skis that balance the ability to handle speed, carve turns on firm snow, and float through the powder. For that reason, there are more versatile skis that are of better value than the Pinnacle 95, such as the Volkl Mantra and the Best Buy award winning Dynastar Cham 2.0 97.
This is an approachable all-mountain ski. We enjoyed it once we discovered its limitations, mainly speed and really firm snow. It is nice to find a ski that is fun and isn't a lot of work to ski.
You can find the Pinnacle 95 in four different lengths. Sizes are 170, 177, 184 and 191. The Pinnacle series includes a 105 waist and the big boy of the group 115 mm underfoot.
— Mike Phillips