Here's the disclaimer K2 should include with its T1 snowboarding boots:
"WARNING: The T1's may make you feel like a better snowboarder than you actually are, which may result in embarrassment and injury"
I had to learn the hard way.
It was a classic Crested Butte afternoon: Six inches of powder had dumped the day before, and a sunny blue sky tempered the goatee-freezing single-digit temps. I had spent the day popping air like an ADD-rattled kid on a pogo stick. Standing atop Canaan Terrain Park, my ambition fueled by chili cheese fries, I was ready to show the mountain my best Shaun White impersonation. But first I had to tighten my boots.
Click-click-click went the Boa Lacing System, cinching down the footwear. While other boots with the Boa design tighten the outer shell, K2's patented model cranks down the inner lining, so I could adjust the fit of my heel and toe within the boot without going through the hassle of taking off my gloves and untying my laces. I could do it while sitting on a lift, standing on the mountain, or even carving down a run. As part of the T1s' Access System, I got the most amount of control for the least amount of effort.
Born from this ease was confidence, and with confidence came air. OK, I wasn't hucking fakie 540 mute grabs, but all my landings felt smooth, as if I were touching down on a cushion of air, which, in fact, I was.
K2 became the first snowboarding company to use the ubiquitous Vibram outsoles on their boots in 2004, and the T1s' "Ultra-Light" sole features the design's next evolution. The soles are 30 percent lighter, and an air cell, àe; la Nike's Air Jordan line, sits under the heel.
So with my feet sitting atop a pillow of air and cinched tightly into my boots, I decided to launch off of Crested Butte's biggest hit at full speed, directly under the chairlift. I flew off the 12-foot-tall ramp, caught ten feet of vertical, and landed flat on my back.
There was the requisite, "Ooooh, damn," followed by an "Are you OK?" from the folks on the chairlift, who'd just been treated to a Teton Gravity Research stunt with a Three Stooges twist. With the wind knocked out of me, I couldn't immediately respond, which was probably a good thing, because I didn't know the answer.
A snow patroller came over and repeated the question, to which I gasped, "Huuhhh. Yeah."
"Riiight," he said skeptically, then "Dude, that was pretty gnarly." A few minutes later I finally sat up; to add insult to injury, he said, "You know, there's a smaller park on the other side of the mountain. It's still in the sun and everything."
I never found that park. Instead, I staggered back to the condo and haven't been on a board since. It looks like I'll be off the snow for the rest of the winter. Two weeks later I still haven't fully recovered from the deep contusions on my back and pelvis, and my boots sit tucked into a dark corner of the closet, taunting me to use them again.
But you know what? I can't wait. $250; www.k2snowboarding.com