Testers saw room for improvement in last year’s Lien AT, and K2 stepped it up for the 2017 edition. They were pleasantly surprised by how stiff and supportive the highback was—and according to K2, it’s 25 percent lighter than last year’s model. Testers said the weight savings didn’t compromise power or responsiveness. In another weight-shaving measure, the new chassis is bored out, too. The intuitive, natural flex was decidedly more playful than some other power-hungry chassis. The footbed is on the leaner side but supportive.
The ankle straps aren’t overbuilt but still provide plenty of support and comfort. Testers loved the action on the buckles, and cited the quick-release as the best in the test. There was concern about some play in the quick-release levers that may have been due to the internal spring wearing out or loosening. The toe straps are sleek and minimalist, although testers said the material was a little slick for maximum boot hold, especially in cold temps where some snow freezes to the toe of the boot. Tool-less adjustments all around made on-the-fly changes to strap lengths and highback angles a breeze. Testers did lament the lack of a traditional forward-lean-adjustment latch.