Written in winter 07/08
STATS
Skis (make/model): 2007-2008 K2 Mt. Baker Superlight

Dimensions: 120/88/108

Weight per pair: 6.6lbs

Size Tested: 174

Tester’s Name: Mike Bromberg

Tester’s Weight: 155

Bindings: Dynafit TLT Classic

Boots: Garmont Megaride

Summary

A mid-fat ski in a ‘superlight’ weight… Hmm… I think I’m right to be initially skeptical. How could a ski this light perform well in such a large platform.
I’ve owned efficient skis, see my SkiTrab Sintest review, that were great on the up. I’ve owned larger planks, great on the down. But generally have not found something that can do it all. K2 claims that the Mt Baker Superlight is “Lighter than most skis that are much narrower, the Superlight was developed for the ski mountaineer who demands soft snow performance, but also places a premium on weight for longer, more committing tours, or faster, easier ascending. We chose the same shallow, progressive sidecut and longer tip that give the new Baker superior predictability. Then we challenged our engineers to shave weight everywhere possible. The resulting ski is lighter than anything we’ve seen with similar dimensions.”

I had hoped that the Baker Superlights would be my answer to the common dilemma, a ski that could ski softsnow well, handle crud reasonable, and inspire confidence during more technical descents AND be a pleasure to skin with. Unfortunately I think this ski will end up as a master of none…

Testing Notes

Having skied the Superlights for a week in the Crested Butte backcountry on several human powered forays, here are my initial thoughts. This skis is really quite large for the weight, the large rounded shovel contributes to a solid amount of floatation. While skinning I immediately noticed the relatively light weight, however I also noticed how soft the ski was. Any small undulations in the track caused the ski to flex. Breaking trail through some suncrust on a south aspect I watched banana like ski bow significantly. Uh-Oh… Maybe my fears were correct.

Those of you who have been following the Colorado winter know that it has been good. In your face good, we’re spoiled rotten, quit your job good. So upon descent these round flexing skis performed nicely in the consistently deep snow. Cruising the 3000’ down BC’s Red Lady Bowl, I was sold. These are the shit. But rethinking this reaction, on a day like that even snowblades wouldn’t ruin your day.

Pros: Good Modern Mid-Fat Dimensions
Impressive Weight Savings
Flat Tails; Essential Ski Mountaineering application
Good soft snow performance

Cons: Just seems a little noodle-esque.
Likely get tossed around in variable snow.

The Verdict

The Mt. Baker superlight is a great performing soft snow ski, but I’m a little skeptical about how it will handle variable snow and all but the most uniform of spring surface conditions. For the Backcountry ski guide, this ski would be an excellent edition to the quiver. I could see this being the go-to ski for long or multi-day tours where only soft-snow and short radius turns are likely to be encountered.

UPDATE**

Light ski construction has gained in popularity over the past several years since I reviewed the Mt Baker Superlight. Most manufacturers offer similar and even more versatile skis in this category with performance that rivals those of heavier weight. My recommendation is to test drive as many skis as possible in this category and judge based on performance in marginal conditions. Most of these boards will ski relatively well when conditions are consistent (light powder or smooth corn) but the best will perform admirably in conditions that are more challenging.

Some recommendations are the Kastle TX and FX series. Quality materials and craftsmanship make huge differences in the performance of these touring specific boards.