Every brand, large and small, foreign or domestic, has to make a choice about how they want to build a ski. Once they settle on a construction and the equipment to execute it is on premises, they tend to stay with it for the long haul. Head’s wheelhouse construction could not be more fundamental or more sound: while other brands have obsessed with making a cheaper, higher margin ski, Head has stayed with what it knows will never fail them: a stout wood core, two sheets of titanal and carefully calibrated, pre-impregnated fiberglass to wrap it all up. To those who might quibble some of Head’s skis are over-built, we would counter, wouldn’t you rather own a brand that errs on the side of excellence?

As an Austrian brand, Head has always placed a premium on race results, and their investments in this area are paying impressive dividends. Lindsay Vonn has already eclipsed the considerable achievements of Bode Miller; both are Head skiers, as is Ted Ligety, who may be the second best technical skier in the world today. In a sport where wins can be measured in the thousandth of a second, who comes out on top may appear serendipitous; when athlete after athlete is holding up a crystal globe recognizing a season of superiority, something other than serendipity is afoot.

While Head’s victories on the World Cup cannot be ignored, they’ve had their issues translating gold on the racecourse into dollars in the register in the US. To put it mildly, the American market is not race-driven. Americans want to go where they wanna go, do what they wanna, wanna do; we’re all about freeride, dude! Head, to their great credit, is all about technique. They were the first major brand to treat the Carving trend seriously and make it part of their identity. Hooking into the top of a turn is part of their essential make-up. The idea of an edge breaking loose mid-turn makes their product designers break out in hives. Even their off-trail Monster series have a baseline and tail design more like a carving ski than the typical smear sticks found in the Big Mountain genre. Head understands what freeride skiers mean when they say they want the ski to smear; they just don’t understand why anyone would want that.

Two seasons ago, Head built a new women’s line from scratch, making the first ski collection to use Graphene™, carbon reduced to its single atom essence. The Joy series was an immediate hit and Head followed up last season with two new lines using the miracle material, Instinct system skis and Monster off-piste models for men. The tactical deployment of Graphene along the ski’s length allow for variations in pressure distribution so that skis can be softer or firmer flexing while retaining optimal torsional rigidity.

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