Published on February 2nd, 2014 | by Greg0
K2 Diversion And Photokinetic: Looking Slick On The Slopes
If you’re heading to a resort for a weekend, enjoying the winter weather on your skis or your snowboard and ignoring the Super Bowel, you should be prepared. Even if you’ve just decided to take advantage of the polar vortex and sub-zero temperatures that have been making much of the United States into an impromptu set of obstacles, we wouldn’t suggest taking a ride through Central Park without having some protective gear. We’ve got two pieces that might complete your outfit, from K2 Skis.
Let’s start with the most basic piece of all: goggles. No matter where you are going, or what snow-bound sport you’re learning, trying out, competing in, or experimenting with, you need a good set of eyewear. We’ve tried out quite a few pieces over the years, including some oversized models from POC Sports. But the K2 Snowboarding Men’s Photokinetic Goggles (2014 Edition) are their flagship pair for the second year, with optics from famed lensmakers Carl Zeiss and several different color schemes. Ours had blue frames and their “Gray Red Octic Mirror” lenses, which were a nice amber shade and highly, awesomely reflective.
Offering solid venting and a coating called Ri-Pel, the Photokinetics looked great, but weren’t as flexible as some, allowing a bit of extra wind to come in around the nose and sides. Compatible with a variety of helmets, they were triple-lined with fleece, and very comfortable for those with larger heads and faces. On smaller folks, the air leakage might be more of an issue. Straps are pretty normal, but the lens quality was immediately obvious- cheaper sets are largely flat lenses or single, but these are the real deal. You’re paying a bit more for double-layer spherical hard-coated lenses, anti-fog, with 100% UVA/B/C protection, mirrored and polarized as are most. We loved the look and feel, and they do offer great protection, with a VLT rating of 25%. Available now for around $125.
If a helmet is what you’re looking for, we wholeheartedly recommend checking out K2 Ski’s Diversion. Ours was a lovely gray, but black and lime color options are available as well, and in three sizes (S, M, L/XL). One key feature here is the custom fit system, which they call the 360 K2dialed Fit and works like you might have seen on bike helmets, adjusting a web of straps as you turn the dial. Another nifty addition is the pre-installed, removable, in-earpad “Level 3 Baseline Audio system”, which we were initially a bit skeptical about. They claim that it seamlessly “connects you with your cell phone or media player, with a detachable cord and an all-new on-cord audio controller”, and it has worked out incredible well. We’ve seen a few other helmets (from Maze and Bolle) with audio accessories and built-in speakers, but this set was barely noticeable unless playing, and easy-to-use. The controller took some fumbling and figuring out, and could be a bit more durable and louder, but it’s a great system overall and well worth the inclusion. There’s even a mic!
The hybrid construction blends a hard-shell outer and a molded inner, and is thus lighter weight than many at only 430 grams, and also nicely airy. The Active Matrix venting basically allows you to adjust the airflow, and it’s a cute, if not strictly necessary addition- we set it once and mostly forgot about it. The inside mesh liner pulls out for easy washing, and wicks moisture to help regulate your inevitably too-warm head. Fully certified, we felt totally safe with K2′s Diversion- with great visibility, a low profile, and a great feature set, it’s one of the best snowboarding helmets that we’ve seen and an easy choice to take with us on our expeditions. Available now, online and in stores, for around $160.