Review: K2 Eco Pop

The slick-looking Eco Pop is a women’s all-terrain snowboard, inspired by K2 professional rider and 2006 Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler. The fact that Bleiler has inspired a board comes as no surprise to snowboarding aficionados — this tiny, outspoken shreddy betty has been involved with a number of design projects for both K2 and Oakley, with a particular emphasis on women-specific design. In 2008, she partnered with Aspen/Snowmass to produce the first ever all-female halfpipe competition, known as the Snow Angels Invitational.

Most women-specific boards are just smaller versions of men’s boards, painted pink. The Eco Pop, however, feels like a women’s board — and for a lady rider, it’s a difference as keenly felt as putting on a men’s pair of jeans versus a women’s pair. It’s narrow and light — reeeeally light. K2’s marketing-speak calls it “hybrilight” construction, a term they’ve patented to describe the process of “using less stuff.” Using less stuff is eco-friendly! It also makes it less likely you’ll tear a knee ligament on the lift, or throw out your shoulder while lugging it across the parking lot.

The board is designed on the new K2 flatline rocker, which is neither rockered nor cambered — just flat from tip to tip. Boards with this profile are supposed to be more versatile — hence the marketing as an “all-terrain board.” But under certain circumstances the stick just felt squishy and old. It chattered significantly over chop — my lower jaw rattled unnervingly when I tried to blow through some rougher terrain — and it wasn’t that fast over soft stuff. Instead, I would take this board straight to the park, or to a nice blue with lots of kickers. Flatline tech makes spins and landing jumps practically a second thought, and the board’s pop and flex can’t be beat.

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