K2 Alchemist 2020-2021 Snowboard Review

  • Price: $700, £525, €600
  • Category: Freeride/Powder
  • Ability Level: Advanced
  • Size: 157, 159w, 160, 163, 164w
  • Flex: 9/10
  • Shape: Directional
  • Profile: Camber
  • Base: Sintered
  • New for 2020/21

Why we chose the K2 Alchemist Snowboard: You won’t get more space age this side of Saturn.

The Dictionary defines alchemy as: “A seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination”, and we can’t disagree with its usage here. The K2 Alchemist is a no holds barred, no expense spared piece of kit. Let’s face it, this isn’t just a snowboard, this is a goddam’ feat of engineering. Built for deep days in the backcountry, narrow chutes, and deadly spines, this is where precision meets power, wrapped in the most premium package in their line.

When you first clap eyes on the Alchemist, you’ll probably immediately notice the alarmingly thin, bright yellow honeycomb-esque nose. Don’t fret, this isn’t some stained glass window aesthetic bullshit, it’s SpaceGlass– a precured fibreglass tip insert, insanely durable and lightweight, designed to soak up chatter from the nose and reduce swing weight up front. It’s revolutionary tech like this that justifies the Alchemist’s premium price tag.

“Putting aside all the technical jargon it’s a way that they can control and adjust the torsional flex of the board without affecting the longitudinal rigidity”

The list of ingredients in the Alchemist reads like a handbook pilfered from a top secret dungeons and dragons laboratory. Aside from SpaceGlass, the Numero Uno on the list of ‘what the fuck is this and why is it in my snowboard’ is Spectral Braid, and while it might sound like a hairstyle for ghosts, apparently it isn’t. Spectral Braid is a proprietary technology developed by the bods at K2 and putting aside all the technical jargon it’s a way that they can control and adjust the torsional flex of the board without affecting the longitudinal rigidity. Carbon stringers sat atop the core run at a 45 degree angle in the nose and tail to retain their stiffness and aggression, the weave orientation then reduces between the feet to allow for a more mellow midbody flex to engage the sidecut.

The tail of the Alchemist is further beefed up by a Carbon Power Fork and an aggressive camber right down to the contact point. The more you engage the back foot, the more energy is created and transferred from the rear of the snowboard. Carbon is incredibly rigid and lightweight, but when it’s bent under pressure, it snaps back with explosive power. You can drive and slash your turns when the snow gets deeper, and it’ll hold through the arc of the turn without skidding out on the groomers.

Bamboo is one of the world’s fastest growing plants, making sure that despite the Alchemist’s sordid love affair with carbon, it still hits some sustainability buzzwords. It’s also known for its durability and resilience under pressure, making it not only a green option for usage in snowboard production, but a smart one. The new BambooyahPro Core features Bamboo stringers running tip to tail to give you loads of snap and rebound, and cross bracing with aspen underfoot to engage the edges with minimal pressure.

Refusing to be outdone at any point by anyone the K2 Alchemist has a supercharged, carbon infused sintered base, built to reduce drag and retain wax. Now, it may seem fast bases on snowboards are ten a penny these days, nearly every board with a midrange price tag slaps on a sintered base. However, face melting jet fuelled bases aren’t quite so common. The Alchemist sits with the latter group and only has one speed: top.

“Refusing to be outdone at any point by anyone the K2 Alchemist has a supercharged, carbon infused sintered base”

This tour de force also features a brushed nylon SnoPhobic topsheet to keep the snow from sticking, Ptex Sidewalls to dampen out the ride, and a stone ground finish to keep you slick from day one. Thanks to the stiff flex and shock absorption of the structural layers when you’re wanting to point and shoot, it’ll do just that, regardless of what’s in your way. Death cookies, chunder, or janky cat tracks, you’ll be solid on the Alchemist.

Bursting into your first season strapped to the likes of Pat Moore and Sage Kotsenberg is about as auspicious a start as a snowboard can have, we predict big things from the Alchemist. This isn’t for the weekend warrior, it’s an absolute weapon, made purely for the corps d’elite. If you can handle the heat, the Alchemist is the type of snowboard that can really handle whatever you throw at it.

Tester’s Verdict

Rob McCreathWhitelines

“There’s always a couple of snowboards that everybody wants a shot of during on-snow industry events, even when there’s no powder. Lib Tech’s Orca is one such example, as is the Bataleon Surfer. I’m pretty sure the Alchemist now completes the trio of demo boards in hottest demand.

The construction of the snowboard’s core is pretty stunning – and not just the see-through bits either. The Bambooyah core felt impossibly light, certainly nothing like other 160 snowboards I picked up off the shelves that day.

It was early on in the season and things were pretty firm – earlier on in the day I hadn’t had much luck finding a board that could really bite into the hardpack. No such issues to report, here. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ridden something more solid underfoot before.

“It’s pretty damn special, I’ve gotta say”

It’s one of those snowboards that seems to make light work of the most demanding conditions but doesn’t punish the first mistake with a broken jaw and some missing teeth. I actually found it pretty to fun pop and slash and butter around the place, which is something I never expected to be doing. That’s possibly down to the just how light it feels, it almost tricks you into thinking you’re riding a shorter, more freestyle focussed snowboard.

It was also the only snowboard that day where I justified a 20-minute boot pack up to put down a few turns in some untouched powder, just above the lift lines. This is where the Alchemist excels. That nose just looks unsinkable, and the makes it pretty agile underneath the back foot. You’ll enjoy powder lines through the trees for days on this thing, but you just know it’s hungry for bigger, more ambitious high alpine lines.

If I had a big enough wallet and a non-existent desire to ride park, this would be a no brainer. But it even got me – a true-twin-every-day kind of rider – thinking twice about the investment. It’s pretty damn special, I’ve gotta say.”

Trade Secrets

Jonny Russel – K2 UK Rep

“K2’s new flagship model; the Alchemist, brings together all of K2’s premium technology into a truly outstanding snowboard. The new sustainably harvested Bambooyah Pro core matched with super high tech space glass delivers power damping and precision unmatched by any of its rivals. This is an aggressive directional snowboard built for the steepest lines and biggest tricks.”

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