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Head – Kore 105
The brand new Kore 105 from Head is a powerful freeride ski in a versatile and stunningly lightweight package ‘ which is why we’ve given it the coveted ‘Best Freeride Ski’ award for 17/18. Aside from blistering on-snow performance, they look sensational with all-black graphics too! After being much touted at ISPO and on social media by Head’s pro team, our testers were all jostling to get a go on them at our annual ski test. The 93 and 117 models were also team favourites, but the 105 really stood out as a cut above the rest for its sheer versatility and fun factor in all snow conditions. Picking them up for the first time the weight ‘ or lack of it ‘ for a ski of this size is the first surprise. At around 1.8kg per ski in the 189cm length the Kores are in the same weight class as many skis we’d consider to be aimed mostly at touring, but with none of pitfalls or ‘tinny’ feel normally associated with lightweight skis. On snow they feel dependably stable and solid ‘ the word competent repeatedly came up at the ski test ‘ with a smooth powerful flex that comfortably absorbed any chatter in the rough stuff, helped by just enough rocker to ride over bumps while still spearing (as opposed to ploughing) through the lumps. The camber underfoot provides plenty of pop when airing off drops and rollers, but the overall feel is that of an alpine machine rather than flippy-spinny toy. That’s not to say the Kores can’t be playful ‘ the lack of mass and low spin weight certainly lends itself well to floating out a few 360s or backflips if you have the skills ‘ but they definitely lean a little more towards the charger end of the spectrum, though critically without being overly demanding. And we like that: it’s a nice little confidence booster when you’re staring into a committing couloir or a bigger line and that little voice starts whispering in the back of your head.The key to all this magic is Head’s unique approach to construction, with more exotic materials than the average space ship. The core is made of low-density Karuba wood, married with triaxial carbon weave to add a bit of life. Graphene in the tips and honeycomb-like Koroyd material underfoot brings dampness to the mix to filter out unwanted vibrations, while further weight is saved through the lack of a top sheet ‘ instead Head use a polyester fleece material. This all adds up to ski that is as happy hooning about the whole mountain as it is hiking for fresh tracks, and we expect them to put a smile on many skiers’ faces next season.