K2 has completely redesigned the Annex 118 (Seth Pro Model) for the upcoming season. How’d she fare over the March that was in Jackson? Check this to find out…
K2 Annex 118 (Seth)
Defining tester quote: “A powder weapon with just enough frontside versatility”
Seth Morrison has had a pro model (AKA, The Seth, AKA The Seth Pistol) longer than some of our audience members have been alive. The ski has been through a number of iterations, from the 98mm underfoot traditionally cambered Pistol to the latest Annex 118. For 2015 the ski has been redesigned with more taper and rocker in the tip and tail.
Taper in the tip and all black bases are the biggest changes from last year. I find the taper helps float the ski quicker and allows for easier steering in soft snow. Not too much die cut, just logos so the skis will be faster than most. Seeing that many people spray painted their set ups, all black top sheets with some minimal graphics. Still a daily driver, not alot of tail rocker so the hardpack is as effortless as riding them in powder. Tip and tail holes work with k2 skins and Rescue Shovel Plus, with parts in the handle of the shovel you can build a rescue sled along with some cording.
- Size: 191 (though measure longer)
- Tip: 145
- Mid: 118
- Tail: 135
- Weight: 5.5 pounds/ski
- Radius: 23@ 177
- Camber: Rocker tip, camber, rocker tail
- Taper: Moderate tip, moderate tail
- Construction: Wood
- Flex: Medium
- Testers: Joe, Nelson, Brines
Summary: The one-ski-quiver for a place that sees north of 400″ a year, the Seth is both playful and stable – so long as things are soft.
Buy if…You are often looking for soft snow no matter how big of a high pressure cycle you are enduring. You don’t mind something a bit on the cumbersome side when things get harder. You like damp but not overly stiff skis. You are dark and mysterious like Seth. Bonus – the company offers precut skins for the ski.
Look elsewhere if…You are a traditionalist, this is your only stick and your mountain sees less than 350″ a year, you like stiff skis, you like skis with metal, you’re looking for a very precise ski, your idea of a good time is making lots of perfect looking, technical, aesthetic turns through a chalky bit of steeps (look to something narrower!)
This ski was tested by three skiers ranging in weight from 175-200lbs.
Would you buy this ski? Yes – 2 No – 1
In my youth growing up in Colorado, my buddies and I would always make a few early season trips to Vail to try and find the one and only Seth. Every now and then a man wearing all black would emerge, usually on a powder day, skiing extremely fast – often right under the chair. These days my buddies and I did everything we could to chase the icon. It was in situations like this that his style could be seen up close and personal. Though it takes only 30 seconds of watching him in the movies to know his turn style is aesthetic and pure – his inbounds style is just plain fast and aggressive. He makes quick work of most any terrain and his pro model is built to serve this style of “get on ‘er and go” skiing.
In harder conditions the ski proved a bit of a handful, though hardly unmanageable. The Annex 118 demands a stronger skier to handle the width (and length – as K2’s measure longer) in less than soft conditions. With a fair amount of tip and tail rocker, the ski was fairly easy to initiate slide-style turns yet had enough sidecut and running length to still arc turns on the groomer. Still, it’s 118 under foot and for those not conditioned to make this style of ski work in harder conditions – it was just a lot to get edge to edge, especially at slower speed.
In powder the ski received some of the highest marks in the test, which should come of little surprise being it was also the largest. It planed quickly, scrubbed speed easily and felt loose and surfy. It made most any turn shape with practice.
In skied out “crud” the ski again was a mixed bag. The Annex 118 was often on top of the snow than cutting through it. Though not light and damp one tester did not the ski would deflect a bit more than anticipated in chop whereas another found the ski to be extremely rewarding in crud. Our guess is those skiers who prefer the power and “umph” of metal will want to look elsewhere for a crud ski. Those who are more centered, balanced and not averse to putting the ski in the air looking for soft patches of snow will be very happy with the Annex in skied out powder conditions. Its all about the style of skiing you bring forth.
As a touring ski, the ski would be a mixed bag. At over 5 pounds its hardly light. Still, in smaller sidecountry jaunts it would be awesome. For a place like Jackson, it’d kick ass as work to the goods is often minimal. In the park (read: Grand Teton National Park, long approaches and bigger days) though you’d likely want something lighter and more manageable.
Though directional, the ski can still be skied backwards. Its not like the Volkl One or Sean Pettit “Pettitor” in terms of backwards-ability but you still could ski a few laps through the park without getting too funny of looks.
So who is this for? At the end of the day you need to be a stronger more proficient driver to make this your do-everything ski as its width, length and weight will beat up a less aggressive or conditioned skier in harder conditions. It’s the pro model, the exact ski, one of the best big mountain skiers of all time calls his own. If you don’t ski like Seth, don’t buy the Annex 118. If you look up to his skiing style and live in place that sees more than 400″ of snow a year – always looking for the goods – the Annex 118 could be your tool of choice this season…