[This retread review pertains to a prior iteration of the e-Supershape Magnum in the 2021 collection. The new iteration shares many of its predecessor’s attributes, which is why the latter is included here.]
Head was the first major manufacturer to embrace carving skis when they were still in their infancy, and the brand has never lost its commitment to perfecting the genre. The Supershape series is an unmatched collection of carving machines, and the i.Magnum is the shapeliest of them all, with a 59mm drop between its tip and waist dimensions, creating a turn radius (13.1m @ 170cm) tighter than that of World Cup slalom.
The slight early rise in its shovel is shallower than the same feature on the i.Rally or i.Titan, so the i.Magnum behaves more like a fully cambered ski than a rockered one. It doesn’t just like to carve; it insists on it. If you want to moderate its mongoose-quick reflexes, consider getting it in a longer length; if you’d prefer to accentuate its short-turn expertise, stick with the shorter length you’d normally use for a Technical ski.
[This retread review pertains to a prior iteration of the e-Supershape Speed in the 2021 collection. The new iteration shares many of its predecessor’s attributes, which is why the latter is included here.]
The Head Supershape i.Speed should be called the i.Quick, for while it probably isn’t the fastest ski, it’s certainly the quickest edge-to-edge, superiority it’s itching to flaunt. Point the i.Speed down the fall line, tilt, pressure and repeat. You expect it to make short-radius turns at the expense of all others, but the i.Speed only executes its tightest turns when raked up to a high edge. Relax the edge angle and you’ll discover the i.Speed’s stability in a long-radius arc is underrated.
Head uses Graphene, carbon in a matrix one-atom thick, to manage flex distribution. In the i.Speed, this means applying Graphene to the ski’s midsection so the reinforced center doesn’t have to be so thick. By apportioning more material to the tip and tail, the flex is not only rounder, it’s achievable with less pressure. This is one reason the i.Speed makes a better mogul manipulator than you might expect for ski with so much shape: the tip conforms to sudden terrain changes and the tail won’t wilt under any circumstances.
How is it possible to make a better Technical ski than Atomic’s Redster X9? It has the stability of a sumo wrestler and the reflexes of a fencer. If there’s a speed at which the edge breaks loose, chances are you’ll never touch it. Its imperturbable hold is amplified by a feature called Servotec, a long, thin rod embedded in an elastomer under the binding at one end and attached on the other end at a point just behind the shovel. The interaction of the rod and the elastomer during flexion both absorbs shock and actively restores ski/snow contact.
Servotec’s effects are noticeable both in straight running and especially in energized turns, where the X9’s rebound qualities are off the charts. “Really great for a ‘beer league’ ski!” raves one of The Sport Loft faithful. “Lots of fun, if a little stout.” To this tester’s point, one has to be able to impart energy in order for Servotec to kick in, but any athletic expert should be up to this challenge. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked, like the tester who wrote, “Feels like an old friend right away. Ski begs for speed like a junkie. Nifty rebound carries skier to next turn It’s easy to lean into and trust.”
Based on its brand marketing over the last twenty years, you don’t expect K2 to show much interest in the Technical genre, much less produce a first-rate entrant. But the headliner of the new Disruption series, the MTi (the M stands for Mid-radius) shot to the top of a genre K2 has been successfully ignoring for decades.
Not only is the Disruption MTi a graceful carver, its slightly softer edge gives it a forgiving quality that’s a K2 hallmark. The main reason the Disruption MTi feels different on edge from, say, an e-Magnum, is because its Ti I-Beam metal laminate is only as wide as the thinnest section of the ski. As the ski widens at tip and tail, a gap grows between the Ti sheet and the edge. This allows the edge to give a little, which creates a cushioned ride on a firm surface.
To be clear: the edge doesn’t give out or wiggle around – despite its name, the edge grip is never disobedient or disorderly. If anything, the mildly less aggressive grip feels easier to trust in a fully-laid over carve. As testament to its most distinctive trait, the Disruption MTi earned higher aggregate points for Finesse properties over Power traits, an inverted ratio in the Technical field. Due to its markedly mellow character in a category dominated by brutes, we award the Technical genre’s lone Silver Skier Selection to the Disruption MTi.