Joy is such a subjective thing. Finishing my season on K2’s Joy Driver cemented that in my mind. I had fun on the board, no doubt it would’ve been a hoot if I’d taken it for a spin in a well-groomed terrain park (though it’s a split) or even sessioned a backcountry booter. As spring has all but passed, the Joy Driver delivered a ton of performance when the snow was decent and I had anything to pop off but when the snow got iffy — there was little joy to be had.
A Joy to Drive in the Soft White Sublime
K2 Joy Driver Split Review
With its set-back stance and camber (seriously, check out this shifted camber, wild idea that delivers one of the most unique feels of any plank I’ve tried) my turns in soft flowed. You feel like jibbing, even if it’s off little more than snowy lips or smooth rocks. Yeah, it’s playful and fun but I had some issue when conditions were less than… good.
We’ve shown you countless clips and shots of deep pow and yes, that’s a huge part of backcountry riding. But if you’re a fellow derelict snow addict, you ride when it’s good, you ride when it’s bad, and you sneak in a lap before work even when you know it’s gonna be hard and chunky (though you’re hoping for corn, of course).
The real backcountry is knappy and uncontrolled and not always great but some days the only way you can keep the shakes away are by trying to squeeze whatever’s left out of the winter. I like a board that’s not only fun to ride in good snow but also can handle crud. The Joy Driver is awesome in good snow, as evidenced by all K2’s pros who kill it in the park.
But in some variable, and especially that spring variable that goes from frozen to mashed potatoes, the lighter, more sensitive board had trouble with near-frozen old tracks and chunder chunk. Even more, I hate turning but if you’re gonna straightline on this in Colorado high mountain hardpack or refrozen skied out spring flanks, get ready for your teeth to chatter out of your head. While the Bambooyah core makes it plenty stiff for big drops and high-speed pow arcs, it definitely had a few issues with petrified chopped up Teton white. But when I got into the corn — and the pow — man it was fun.
Because of the unique construction, this has gotta be about the lightest split I’ve ever taken up a hill. And the bamboo core? When K2 first threw it in the boards almost a decade ago, they were leading the charge towards changing the board industry to caring about sustainability. Now bamboo cores are industry standard. That Bambooyah core is super poppy, making olleying a dream.
So yeah, the K2 Joy Driver Split ($999.99) is super-light, super-high-performance board that, under the conditions we really like to ride in the BC, helps you ride like a rock star.
The setback camber feels so sweet on the carve and yet the thing about it all is you get world-class performance while saving your back and your legs. But if you’re like me and even ride in miserable conditions just to get out on the hill, it might be a little soft.
Though really, who buys a new board to ride shit anyway?