I have been fortunate enough to tour with an awesome splitboard this season and during the second half of last season: the K2 Panoramic Splitboard. Given the far-below-average snowfall the Sierras have received this winter, the Panoramic has been ideal. In powder it surfs like a dream. In corn it rips and lays down hard slashes that move even the heaviest snow, so I can fake “face shots” when they’re really more like “ankle shots”. In crud and chop, it handles like a beast. Not like the yacht that most powder boards resemble when they encounter rough n’ tough stuff, either. This feels more like a wakeboard boat that turns on a dime and weaves in and out of trees as if they were other boats on crowded water. Nothing has changed about the Panoramic Splitboard since last year besides the top-sheet graphics, so this review of the 2013 Panoramic Split equally applies to the 2014 K2 Panoramic Splitboard.
This board is lightweight yet strong, making crusty and sticky snow easier to manage. The graphics are also pretty sweet, and the colorful deck-bottom stands out in flat light and in white-out conditions, which should stoke the photographer you dragged up the hill with you.
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being flexible like a park board and 10 being as stiff as they come, I give the Panoramic a 7. It’s stiff enough to be dependable on steep terrain and in no-fall zones, but flexes enough that it’s fun to drive and you can still ollie out of pow and execute clean 180-switch-nose-butters.
The Panoramic is set back one-inch so you float even better when the snow gets deep, and has a sintered base so it’s that much faster. I’d say this board is good pretty much all across the board: steep chutes and hard-packed, slick traverses; trees, both dense and lightly scattered; sun-baked crust, dirty early-May crud, and even groomed runs in-bounds (you can make some mean carves on this badhawk).
The K2 Panoramic Splitboard Kit comes shready! When you get the splitboard package deal you get hardware (mostly installed, besides stance) in addition to K2 touring skins, so it’s ready to shred straight outta the box!
The new climbing skin technology that K2 is using are also super freakin’ sweet! Rather than having to worry about skin glue losing its grip between trips or when exposed to wet snow, we can now depend on the K2 skin clips (nose and tail) to keep our skins taught, thus reducing the need for excessive glue. This also greatly reduces frustrations often experienced at the summit, when all you want is to switch from tour-mode to ride-mode as fast as possible. K2 climbing skins will not stick to your gloves, nor to one another, so you can re-assemble your board with ease and begin ripping much faster than with traditional split skins that lack tail clips. To top it off, the folks who design K2 splitboards colored their skins bright green, which automatically boosts your style points when you’re trudging around in the middle of nowhere with nobody in sight.
I brought this board into some of the best powder of the season, as well as some of the crummiest, heavy and chunky snow. In both scenarios I was thoroughly impressed with the Panoramic’s all-around excellent performance. On a scale of 1-10, I’d give K2’s splitboard technology (board & skins) a 9. It doesn’t get a 10 because I’m leaving room for improvement. Keep your eyes peeled this coming fall for a ladies version of the Panoramic, the K2 Northern Lite splitboard. It features a female-specific flex and width, but offers all the great characteristics of it’s big brother.
I snapped this pic from the sled on our way out, after shredding the center chute a ‘new one’.
You too can be (almost) this cool with a board that performs as well as the Panoramic.
Pieps DSP Avalanche Beacon
K2 Speed Shovel
Adam Broderick manages the web content at Tahoe Mountain Sports. When he is not in the office, he tries his best to be in the field doing something awesome.