K2 Pontoon: Ripping powder in clown shoes
Vail, CO Colorado
I had a chance to join Aspen Mountain Powder Tours for a day of backcountry snowcat skiing on Tuesday, Feb. 26, and I was delighted when the folks at Gorsuch set me up with some big, fat powder skis.
In fact, they sent me out with a quiver of skis to choose from: a pair of Atomic Powder Rides and the ultra-wide K2 Pontoons.
With the thigh-high fields of fluffy whiteness all to ourselves on Richmond Ridge, I’d have worn the same silly grin no matter what ski I chose, but taking the powder boards was a great move.
I took my first run on the Atomics ” a more standard powder skier’s choice ” and they performed well. When I rocked the second run on the Pontoons, though, I never looked back.
I never got over the feeling that I was wearing clown shoes, as the 179-centimeter-long and 140-millimeter-wide Pontoons look more like two snowboards than skis. But the Pontoons do just as the name suggests: Float high above the powder and turn like a dream without having to do that tiring powder-skiing bounce.
The Pontoon has a three-phase rocker design, with a side-cut in the center and upturned ends ” elements borrowed from water sports such as surfing, water-skiing and wakeboarding, according to big-mountain skier Shane McConkey, who helped design the ski.
Each run on Tuesday was better than the last, and our group just rocked it, prompting our guide, Bob Perlmutter, to take us down the steeps at McFarlane’s.
It was one of the best days of skiing I’ve ever had, and I think it had much more to do with Ullr’s bounty, the smiling sun and the friendly folks in our group, but my awesome powder sticks made the day just mint.
That said, the snowcat dropped us at the top of Aspen Mountain at the end of the day, and I decided to ski down the front of Aspen instead of downloading on the gondola.
The Pontoons might rock the off-piste powder, but they’re just no fun on the groomers. Granted, I was tired, but I couldn’t muster much more than a halfhearted sliding turns with the massive skis clacking against one another.
My advice: Keep your Pontoons on the powder.
A pair of K2 Pontoons are on sale for $189 at Gorsuch but list online for as much as $899.
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