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K2 Cool Bean 2018-2019 Snowboard Review

Given that just about any shape can float in powder, there’s a danger of going a bit too far and creating something that’s only useful on those glorious, deep days. On the face of it, that’s what the K2 Cool Bean looks like, but in reality it’s earned plenty of props in other areas too.

K2 call it a rocker board, given the upswing of the extended nose, but actually the vast majority of the K2 Cool Bean is flat. You’ll find this on a lot of shorter boards, as camber is a hard thing to get right when you downsize this much.

“The K2 Cool Bean has always been versatile enough to win over more than just a narrow niche”

First thing’s first: the K2 Cool Bean is born for the powder, and its none-more-stubby tail is happy to disappear below the surface while you point that big nose wherever you see fit. The wider waist compensates nicely for the lack of length, so you can feel secure on this no matter your speed or riding style.

It’s not exactly overflowing with clever tech, because it doesn’t need it; this board’s calling card is the shape, and no mistake. Besides, the additive-free biax fibreglass makes working that wide waist a little easier.”

Having said that, the core uses three different types of wood for a light-yet-strong foundation, and the sintered base is pretty darn quick too. So you won’t be left feeling short-changed, by any means – especially when you see the price.

“It’s not exactly overflowing with clever tech, because it doesn’t need it; this board’s calling card is the shape, and no mistake”

Away from the deep stuff, the Cool Bean is a little outside of its comfort zone, but still has plenty to offer. While the tail is a butter-free zone, you can have a lot of fun rolling round the massive nose. While not built for carves per se, it can still hold a decent edge, and is great fun in slushy side-hit territory.

It might not be for everyone, but the K2 Cool Bean has always been versatile enough to win over more than just a narrow niche – and those who love it, really love it. For the powder purists, there’s now also a splitboard version available: the K2 Split Bean.

Tester’s Verdict

John Wellswhitelines.com

“Accept no imitations: this is the ultimate short ‘n’ fat, setback rocker. Small, lively, and mischievous, if this board were a dog it would be a Jack Russell crossed with the best day of your life.

It all started when a K2 rep came up to me with what i thought was a travel sized ironing board. Historically i’m not one for new experiences, “NO CHANCE! Get that thing away from me. Its got no tail for Christ’s sake, and why does it have the shape of a cartoon bomb?” I yelled. “Just try it, just one run, please!” the K2 rep replied. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how my life changed forever… my snowboard life, that is.

“If this board were a dog it would be a Jack Russell crossed with the best day of your life”

I had some incredible powder experiences on this bad boy which produced some serious smile-induced face cramps. That giant bulbous shovelhead mixed with the heel & toe drag eliminating width make this board float like nothing else. That tiny stiff swallow tail opens up your back foot to give unparalleled turning and slashing capabilities.

In my (correct) opinion, the ‘surf’ term gets bandied about too liberally in snowboarding but, holy shit, it felt like i was killing it in the WSL on this little rocket ship. Its short size makes it terrifyingly responsive. It takes a corner like Mario Kart, holding turns nice and tight to give a refreshing whippy feel.

But here is the thing; this board isn’t some one trick powder pony. It is a hoot and a half on the groomers too. The small rocker shape will still hold an edge pretty damn well and that extra width means you aren’t getting any drag. However, don’t forgot this is still a super small rocker so you will get out of your comfort zone pretty quickly once you get some speed up.

Overall i was really shocked by the Cool Bean’s on-slope capabilities. In particular, it excels in freshly pisted snow and slushy spring snow. It is definitely a stiff board, so that tiny tail gives you just the right amount of pop. Its small size and light weight make it somewhat twitchy in the air, but a total blast on side hits and mogul gaps.

The sheer uniqueness of the Cool Bean makes it a challenge but no less a pleasure. It is the ultimate second board, a true snowboard curiosity, and a perfect way to inject some vigor into a snowboard trip. So good I have to get one.”

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