Whenever a brand offers two very different skis in the same category, it reveals how that brand perceives the needs and desires of two skiers who share the same mountain but have little in common when it comes to technique. Head’s 2018 entries in the Big Mountain genre, the updated Monster 108 and the all-new Kore 105, offer two contrasting solutions to the problem of how to make the optimal off-trail ski.
The Monster 108 puts modern tech to the task of making a very traditional ski. In addition to a tried-and-true wood, glass and metal structure, Head adds resin laced with Graphene, the lightest, strongest material known to man, as avant-garde a material as is being used today. But while Graphene is magical, it can’t actually make other materials weigh less, so the Monster 108, with all that surface area, ends up being a genuine monster of a ski. It uses all this awesome power to tear into terrain. It doesn’t try to subtly negotiate its way through a tough crowd of crud; it mows through it without hesitation.
The Kore 105 couldn’t be much more different. One immediately notices that a pair of Kores seems to weigh no more than a single Monster. In the Kore, Head uses Graphene along with its genetic kin, carbon, which is woven into a tougher-than-steel Triaxial weave, to give the Kore its directional stability and torsional strength. The Monster’s wood core is replaced with a composite of Koroyd honeycomb and Karuba, a wood best known in the AT world for its ultralight weight. The usual top sheet is dispensed with, replaced with a sheer polyester fleece.
The two models also have sharply contrasting tip and tail designs, with the Monster’s sidecut meant to latch onto the snow as if it were a ginormous carving ski, while the Kore’s tip and tail are tapered and less stiff torsionally, more intent on flotation and disconnected enough at either end to be tolerant of swiveling.
No doubt about it, the Kore construction is the wave of the future, at least in the off-trail terrain for which it was made. Despite all its hi-tech elements, the Monster is an anachronism; its defiance of the “Lighter is Better” mantra will likely render it obsolete in a market where LIB has become a religion.
The Kore 105 is the middle brother in a family of three (93, 105, 117), all using the same components and construction. The Monster 108 is the fattest of the returning Monsters (others are 83, 88, 98), all of which have been softened up a bit so they’re easier to bend at speeds below 40mph. The Joy sorority of women’s skis is joined by the party-loving Wild Joy, adding a 90mm footprint to this superlight collection.