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Skimo Co

K2 Wayback 88 Ski


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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
convert to ounces
1145g [160]
1220g [167]
1275g [174]
1360g [181]
Weight (pair) 2290g [160]
2440g [167]
2550g [174]
2720g [181]
Dimensions   121-88-109
Turn Radius   16m [160]
18m [167]
20m [174]
21.5m [181]
Skin Fix   Z-Clip tip and tail holes, flat notched tail
Specs Verified Yes
Profile   Mild rocker, camber underfoot
Shape   Square-ish, tapered tip and friendly, medium radius
Construction   Titanal Ti-Spyne laminate with abs sidewall construction, and full metal edges
Core   Paulownia
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

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Questions & Reviews

Question from Kyle
Hi! I am in the market for skinny spring/volcano skis and I'm stuck between K2 Wayback 88s and Black Crows Orb Freebrids. I was wondering if you had any insight on how the two would compare with each other. Thank you!
Answer from jbo
Hi Kyle, I've skied both. The Wayback is super versatile for all the conditions you'll find on a volcano, and I find it edges better than the Orbs which feel loose. The Orbs might be a bit easier in super cut up or variable snow as they are fairly soft & forgiving, but more scary on the steep and firm.
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Question from Aren
I have been skiing the k2 Mt. Baker for over 10 years. I keep skiing it because it works so well for me mostly lift serve telemark. The skis are obviously getting old. Would the K2 wayback 88 be a good replacement?

Answer from Jeff
Aren, Good to hear from Tele skiers. The Wayback 88 comes in the same lengths and sidecut are very nearly the same as the Mt Bakers. Construction has some modern upgrades. This ski holds up well in firm and all manners of cut-up snow, so will ski in the resorts better than your old one. Mounting is always a concern for light AT skis, but K2 has a pretty generous toe mounting area, so it should hold a Tel binding well.
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Question from Rick
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.
Answer from Patrick C

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!
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Question from anderson Cicotoste

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.
Answer from Zak M
Hey Anderson, the Wayback 88 would be an excellent choice as a lightweight higher-performing ski throughout lots of different terrain choices. If you are looking for a ski that can handle a variety of conditions and a bit less of that "deflecting" feel that a lot of lighter skis seem to maintain the Wayback 88 would be a great choice.
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Question from Henrik

Would you recommend this ski for a heavier person, I'm 92 kg / 187 cm. Looking for a lighter ski which capable of my weight and is easy to handle in mixed conditions.
Answer from Tristan M
Hi Henrik,

The K2 Wayback 88 is an awesome ski! It is definitely stout enough to handle a heavier skier, and is great in all conditions. What are you looking for in a ski? If you would like help narrowing your search, reach out to help@skimo.co, and we would be happy to point you towards some options!
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Question from Scott
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.
Answer from Brett S
Thanks for your question, Scott. I think this sounds like a great ski for what you've described. If you have mountaineering objectives in mind that will find you in steep couloirs, the 174cm might be the best length. If you are mainly cruising groomers and corn and value stability at speed rather than maneuverability, go with the 181cm. Let us know if you have any other questions!
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Question from RandoSwede
Very curious about these, compared to the K2 Shuksan of bygone days. That was my favorite all around ski back when it was considered "wide" under foot. Powder, corn, groomers, steeps, Sierra traverses- that ski did it all. The dimensions are very similar. Whatcha think?
Answer from Patrick C

Great question! The Wayback 88 will be a stiffer, more damp, more powerful ski and happier in variable conditions when compared to the Shuksan. Hope this helps!
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Question from Timo
I was aiming to put some Fritschi Tectons on these in 181 length, but someone advised that this wouldn't create a good set up due to weight of the Tecton. Would you have advise on this?
Answer from Cole P
Timo, thanks for reaching out. I agree that the Tectons are a little too heavy for that ski and recommend going with a lighter binding. If you were considering the Tectons, I think the Hagan Pure bindings, here will be a great option for you. The Pure's are our lightest fully-featured binding, meaning it comes with all the benefits of the Tecton without the added weight. The Pure's come with three different riser heights, fully adjustable release settings both vertically and horizontally, and a heel piece that is adjustable to different boot sole lengths. If you would like any more guidance email us at help@skimo.co.
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Question from Nicole
5'6" and 125 lbs female here. I've been eyeing these and had a few questions. Is there any difference between the men's and women's (Talkback) version of this ski, aside from the topsheet? I'm also trying to decide between the 160 and 167 lengths, any advice?
Answer from Jeff
Nicole, eye no longer. From all I can see there is no difference. Construction is the same, they may have soften the womans, but probably not. I would need more info to help with length. If you are looking for a light and fast Spring ski, go 160cm. If powder is in the future of this ski, I would go 167.
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Question from jrh
Any concerns and recommendations for mounting tele bindings to these skis?
Answer from Jeff
JRH, as far as we know, it should be OK to mount Tele bindings. It does have a slight hourglass mounting plate but looks like it should fit most if not all of the 6 screws most tele bindings have.
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Question from Ray H
I’m 5’9” and 160 lbs. looking for a spring ski that excels in steep conditions. What size would you guys recommend? Thanks, Ray
Answer from Jeff
Ray, If it is Steep and Tight, and you want it Light, you can do the 167 cm.
If it is Steep and Fast, I would lean towards the 174 cm.
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Question from Anthony O
I ski the salomon mtn explore 88 alot in the pnw- i find they do most things well enough. Would you say this is a better all rounder, i am always on the quest for the best daily driver that is reliable in bad conditions, light enough, and easy to ski. Also saw your demo alp tracks 89. Saw your comment that this carves better and is stiffer. Does the rocker profile on this truly assist more in crud?
Answer from Nate
Hi Anthony, the MTN Explore 88 is also a great ski, but it's pretty different from this ski so the comparison isn't apples to apples. Both skis are dependable on edge and very well versed in all around conditions. Where the MTN Explore 88 has a softer, round flex, the Wayback 88 has a medium to medium-stiff flex.

This ski is certainly good in crud. I can't say with certainty that it's only the rocker profile making up this skis performance as I believe the tip shape and balanced camber profile also contribute as importantly as the rocker. For my personal style of skiing, there isn't a better 85-90mm ski at this time.
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Question from Phil
Will you be bringing in any of the other Waybacks? I was curious about the new 96... decent weight-width vs price. I haven't seen any reviews of it though...
Answer from jbo
Hi Phil, we're sticking with just the star (88) this season. We skied the others and had mixed opinions. The 96 was in the "OK" category, but we really wanted to start K2 out on the right foot with a "wow" ski that everyone agreed on.
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Question from Greg B
How different it is from last years wayback 88 and wayback 88 ECOre?
Can you compare it with the salomon mtn 88?
Answer from Trace Leches
Hey Greg! This is a new ski for us so unfortunately we haven't been able to ski any of the older models so I can't vouch for how they compare. That being said, it's an entirely new ski overall which dropped a ton of weight and we've been thrilled with how it performed at on-snow demos and in our personal quivers. We've enjoyed it so much that we started working with K2 just for this ski. It has a bit longer turn shape, better carving chops, and is a bit stiffer than the MTN 88.
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Model: Wayback 88

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