This year K2 have completely redesigned their Freeride range.
The skis have been segregated into two defined groups: bi-directional and directional skis.
Simply, this just means half the range will be designed for landing switch in powder and other backcountry activities, whereas the other segment is designed more as an all-mountain ski. The K2 Annex 98 is a directional ski (the all-mountain one!).
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Annex 98 is a perfect ski for those who desire a little bit of everything. The ski will carve well on groomers or on the bumps, this makes it the perfect entry level ski for an Advanced Intermediate – someone who is stable and controlled on all groomed gradients and has begun to experiment with the snow to the side of the piste markers.
Furthermore, due to the ski’s construction (which will be scrutinized in a moment) they are predictable in any conditions, flows well, has extreme maneuverability, is inordinately versatile and carves easily on groomed pistes.
These characteristics fuse together to create a ski which the user can throw from piste to off-piste and notice very little difference in the ski’s performance. The Annex 98 is ideal for skiers who have outgrown the world of hire-skis and want a ski that can do everything sufficiently.
The only negative I noticed is when Annex 98 is at high speed they became as floppy and bendable as a clown shoe, please bear in mind, I am a racer and am acclimatized to my Dynastar Omerglass Ti. The K2 Annex 98 is not suitable for anyone who plans on traveling above 60km/h and, in reality; freestylers should steer clear of these ones, as they are not designed for completing any serious tricks.
As for racers, stop reading this review, they are like floppy clown shoes and of no use to you – unless you want a ski specifically for sliding and maintaining a course.
These skis were built for medium to large radius turns. They can be a little bouncy if you force them into short radius and are impossible to ski well in a slalom turn. Nevertheless, at a glalom (half way between slalom and GS) radius they seem comfortable but are really built for the long sweeping carves.
Watch the Annex 98 review by onthesnow.com editors
The Annex 98s are built for the advanced intermediate freeskier, who wants the occasional slide in powder. For this market, Annex 98 is a perfect ski. Its forgivingness and soft flex are acting as a catalyst to spur K2’s market share. The ski is suitable for any set of conditions, being as at home in powder as on bulletproof ice. Annex 98 has a lot less rebound than other freeride skis, meaning turning is easy. This ski is not designed for athletes but would be an awesome first pair of skis due to its lightweight feel and versatility.
The side cut on the tip is 131mm and on the tail is 119mm.
The tip has rocker but the tail does not. This is to create a traditional camber feel on the groomers but ensure the front of the ski is not overly pressurized for the softer stuff (preventing tips digging-in). This makes the Annex 98 an ideal choice on or off the piste.
K2 have used Hybritech technology to design a sidewall which can provide accuracy, power, performance, and fun. Hybritech is an unorthodox blend of sidewall and cap structures, which give the ski a lightweight feel on softer stuff but allow smooth initiation of turns and easy carving on groomers.
K2 have also used a metal laminate in Annex 98. This attempts to enable the ski to be stiff enough for an advanced skier but soft enough to allow fun. The tips and tails are also tapered. This reduces the risk of catching an edge or the tips digging in, perfect for off-piste skiing. Additionally, the tapered tail will help in weight-transfer and when exiting the turn more smoothly and controlled.
K2 Annex 98 Overall
The soft flex, easy maneuvering, tapered tips and tails, the fusion of camber and rocker, hybrid-tech sidewalls, a good flow, and versatility make this ski perfect for anyone who is not at an elite level of skiing. Although not designed for high speed (60-70km/h+) they were a total joy to ski. The Annex 98s are a playful and enjoyable ski. K2 has really run with new technologies in this ski and it has paid off, I can hardly wait to see what they will offer next year!