K2’s entrance into the lightweight touring market certainly caught our attention (they previously made heavier touring skis). The Wayback 88 is a top contender for the title of Quiver-of-One. Factor in price, and it's a sure-fire winner. It’ll float in powder and pop while slashing corn laps, yet still flaunt relentless grip and stability on firm snow when laying ‘em down. Usually when skis present such an impressive level of downhill performance, the last thing you feel like doing is hauling them uphill for another lap. The Wayback weight is low enough that at first glance one might expect an uphill-focused touring ski with mediocre handling. If weight is out of the equation and downhill performance was the sole focus, the K2 Wayback 88 would still be impressive. As it is, the combination of superb weight, construction, and outstanding ski performance is enough to win us over. Go ahead, try it.
- “Snophobic” Top Sheet isn’t a real word, but it sheds snow quickly.
- Carbon Overdrive is a super-secret carbon fiber layup for increased performance.
- Ti Spyne dampens the ski while increasing system stiffness.
- All-Terrain Rocker is K2’s trademark profile for float and easy turn initiation.
- Paulownia Tour Lite core is energetic and lightweight, perfect for a touring ski.
- Skin Grommets are quick tip-attachments for matching precut skins.
- Surprisingly low price for such a good ski.
Update 2020/21: The K2 Wayback 88 is coming back this season with a spiffy updated topsheet, sure to make you look stylish and glide faster!
|Lengths (cm)||160, 167, 174, 181|
|Weight (pair)||2290g 
||Z-Clip tip and tail holes, flat notched tail|
||Mild rocker, camber underfoot|
||Square-ish, tapered tip and friendly, medium radius|
||Titanal Ti-Spyne laminate with abs sidewall construction, and full metal edges|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||Going anywhere and skiing anything in all but the deepest conditions|
|Notes||Very nice lengths available|
|Bottom Line||Supreme ski at a great price|
|Compare to other Mid-fat Skis|
Questions & Reviews
Could you tell something about the new 2024 version of the Wayback 88?
I wonder what are main differences between the new and old versions in terms of weight and flex pattern, which of them is softer?
Could you tell what is the actual length (straight line from tip to tail) of the 174 Wayback 88?
This is a relatively stiff ski that excels at longer turns, breaking speed with a bit of wiggling rather than a stiff turn on edge. Its construction helps it really live to its fullest potential on piste skiing or shallow snow conditions. I think the K2 might be a tad aggressive if you are new at skiing in general - that being said, if you're familiar with a downhill experience and like longer turns, this might be the ski for you. It's certainly a great ski at its pricepoint. I'd point you to any ski for touring around high 160cm - low 170cm range.
If you want to pick through the weeds more, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be happy to pick through some options with you more directly!
The Wayback 88 would be a great option for uphill touring in the resort where you're expecting to ski some off-piste conditions but not very deep snow. If more than 6 inches or so of fresh snow is on the menu regularly, I would consider something like the Dynastar M-Tour 99, but for mixed conditions and shallower powder or piste skiing, the Waybacks would do great.
The K2 has a good amount of tip rise and very flat tail. The Salomon's are more traditional. Little tip rocker, but more tail rocker then the Waybacks.
I'm looking for an Eastern Sierra ski for mostly couloir skiing.
These are stiffer, with less of an early rocker. Both would be great for couloir skiing. Personally, I'd say the Alp Tracks would be more fun in powder, while the Wayback will handle spring conditions and crud better.
I was think this or maybe the black light 88. But I’m not sure it will be stiff enough and I like the price of the wayback.
What would you guys suggest? And what length?
I will ski in varied conditions (soft powder,crud,wind packed snow) and also sometimes in the piste. Would you recommend one over the other and at what length?
I think based on the intended use you described the Wayback 88 is going to be a perfect choice. That ski is both maneuverable and surfy, so it really shines in spring conditions!
Is 88 underfoot and 174 length going to be enough at my size for Spring/early Summer ascents in the Cascades? Should I be looking longer or at 96s instead?
Wondering if these would be too soft for me or just right? I’m 6’3” and 193 lbs. intermediate skier progressing towards expert. Also, what would be the best length? This ski would be my spring ski and uphill resort ski.
88 underfoot should be totally sufficient for volcano chasing! In Firmer spring conditions or corn, a narrow waist width is far more manageable. Additionally, a narrow ski is grams saved.
Length is a more subjective matter. 174cm will be pretty short for someone of your stature. However, a lot of folks like to save grams with a shorter spring ski because it will save weight, and be a far more maneuverable ski. However, that will come at the expense of stability at speed. If you plan to ski very controlled, you will have no issues with this length. If you are a fan of faster more wide open turns, I would go 181cm.
Finally, on to ski characteristics. The Wayback 88 is an awesome all around performer. It is surprisingly damp for its weight, and has a turn radius that will suit a wide range of skiers. You will certainly be able to “grow” into this ski! If you have further questions, reach out to email@example.com.
I'm an 60 yr old experienced intermediate telemark skier, 74 kg, 179 cm, looking for a ski for longer tours that can handle both powder and windblown conditions. Would the Wayback 88 in 174 cm be suitable? Also wondering about the Salomon Mtn Explore 88 in 169 cm (too short?) or 177.
The Wayback 88 will handle itself very well in all but the deepest powder. The slightly wider tip on the MTN Explore 88 will help with float, but for crudbusting and confident edge hold I will give the nod to the Wayback 88. If you do go for the MTN Explore 88 the 169cm length would be my choice for you. Hope this helps!
Would you recommend this ski for a heavier person, I'm 77 kg / 171 cm. Looking for a lighter ski which capable of my weight and is easy to handle in mixed conditions.
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