For its 50th anniversary, K2 celebrates exploration. The "Side" skis in the line focus on sidecountry use, designed to be responsive and stable on the downhill yet light enough for uphill travel. Mahon says the Hardside "carves well, but it's at home off-piste." For handling the challenging side of the mountain, the Hardside has a lightweight metal construction, an elevated tip and a 98 mm waist. Tip and tail holes allow for easy attachment of K2 precut skins. "Expect quick transitions between snow densities," said Sutton. "This is a well-rounded ski for exploration."