K2's aptly-named "Enjoyer Collection," which includes the Carve Air, the Cool Bean, the Party Platter, and the Split Bean, is all about one thing: having fun. In their catalog, K2 describes the line as follows: "Boards created with an open-minded viewpoint of snowboarding. Seeking to create new turning experiences with a focus on clean, fluid style."
Our staff tried to maintain open minds as they rode this bizarre, barrel-chested mini split last spring— and they were rewarded with what one called "the most stoke-worthy turns of the year." A contemporary ode to the old school, the new Split Bean is the Enjoyer Collection poster-child.
If this unorthodox split is anything, it's undeniably fun.
Cool Bean, Meet Split Bean:
You probably recognize the shape: the squat swallowtail is essentially a split copy of the widely admired Cool Bean, which was introduced to K2's lineup last year. And where the Cool Bean excelled — in pow and pillows— the Split Bean is ready to take you there. Though not the fastest skin track charger, testers found that the Split Bean's shorter, wider planks offered stability on traverses and tightened kickturns in dense trees.
Coming solely in a 144-cm model, this deck is One-Bean-Fits-All. Riders ranging roughly 140-190 pounds have been known to drool over the board: "I was surprised by how stable it felt," said one of our heavier riders after riding the Split Bean inbounds, "even railing carves at speed." A lighter tester commented on the floaty nose and turn initiation after a couple pow laps in the backcountry, "It rides like a much longer deck, but it still has a turning radius tighter than a Hot Wheel." Riders on both sides of the weight spectrum agreed that the mid-range stiffness and stubby, meaty tail helped the Split Bean both slice through corduroy and bounce gracefully down pillow lines.
Much of rider praise is thanks to the wide waist. To paraphrase an "out of bounds" pioneer, the great Sir Mix-A-Lot, the Bean got back. This ample-waisted deck has 287 millimeters of powder-loving flatness underfoot, sandwiched by a slightly rockered tip and tail. Though thick around the thighs and waist, the Bean still has a decent edge-to-edge flow—you can tell you have a little extra width underfoot, but that flat base helps to minimize any lag during turn initiation. Much like fish surfboards, which combine higher volumes with shorter lengths, K2's Volume Shift construction shaves length off the nose and tail and tucks it in along the sides.
The result? A floaty, snub-nosed swallowtail that each and every tester enjoyed riding. Though obviously not a go-to big-mountain splitboard, the brawl-ready Split Bean's aptitude for pow, glades, cliffs, and jumps makes it a board worth considering on most days in the backcountry.