I just got a set of new K2 Recons 177cm, these are last years model 08/09. I see they are made in China, When did K2 start making their skis there? Who else is making their skis there?
So so so sad... I think they were the first to downgrade to child labor like all other industries. As far as I know they are the only major company to do so.
It is rumored to be the reason they are out of the racing biz... a few kids on my team had pairs (K2's) in high school from China and the base of the ski completely separated from the top of the ski. Good luck.. hopefully your skis are better quality!
Fortunatly I paid no where near retail for these skis, will use them mostly in powder conditions.
When did K2 start making their skis there?
Of the 15-20 skis I examined, mounted, tuned, etc... last season, K2 was among the best quality in a noticeable way. Some of the worst I saw were European made Heads and Dynastars -- big problem with defects and workmanship (I went through two pairs of Head Mojo 94s before getting keepers, saw defects on their 2008 Monster series, and have seen multiple pairs of warped Dynastars).
Last year I mounted a pair of K2 Extremes for David and two pairs of K2s for family members, and examined them closely. Also a pair of Line Motherships for myself (sister brand to K2). The build-quality was top notch in all cases.
I don't have any K2 skis in my quiver right now, but I would not hesitate to recommend them based on general build quality (other factors aside -- obviously the most important thing is how they ski). If anything, K2's quality has improved now that their overseas production has matured.
Manufacturer hype creates the impression that $ki$ are slightly less complex than the space shuttle. Mostly they are just a sandwich of metal, wood, plastic, and fiberglass bonded together under high heat and pressure. I don't know why a Chinese worker would be worse at assembling skis in a plant in flungdung than a Turkish gastarbeiter would be in a plant in Austria.
I'm not skiing on K2's now (for reasons other than quality) but I skied on them for years and years and they were always bulletproof. I haven't heard or seen anything in the last few years that would change this view.