Kore 93

Head ran its entire Kore collection through the re-design wringer only last season, so it was a bit of a surprise when only a year later all the Kores were given another collection-wide enhancement, in the form of a urethane topsheet. Chosen primarily for its protective qualities, the urethane layer also added a noticeable dose of smoothness to what was already a fabulous ski.

A close examination of the cumulative scores for the 2023 Kore 93 compared to its immediate predecessor’s strongly suggests that the addition of a tip-to-tail shock silencer improved every trait we track. In light of the evidence, we’re anointing the 2023 Kore series as “new,” even though everything else about the 2022 and 2023 versions is identical.

We are fortunate to have as a regular contributor to Realskiers test program, Jim McGee of Peter Glenn’s, who was so impressed with the 2022 iteration that he bought a pair. So, McGee knows of what he speaks when he notes, “Head took an almost perfect ski and improved it. Even more grip and better dampening. I sold a bunch of my other skis because of the Kore 93.”

Fellow Peter Glenn stalwart Mark Rafferty was singing from the same hymnal when he mused, “Every now and then a perfect ski comes along. The Head Kore 93 was already almost there. This upcoming season’s model of the ski has nailed it. Strong, quick, comfortable, fast, grippy. All the things you hope for when you head down the hill. The latest Kore 93 comes though better than anything. And an intermediate skier would feel great on it but as that same skier improves, this ski would be right there to bring you to that higher level.”

If the Kore 93’s personality profile could be condensed to a single word it would be, “intuitive.” All the skier has to do is aim. The ski is so light, it feels effortless to steer, yet you can rev it up to the red line and it stays the course. “Great ski for the 85 to 95mm group,” crowed Jim Schaffner from Start Haus. “Did everything well with style and expertise! These skis will work well for a wide range of performance and snow conditions.

Kore 87

How can a ski as narrow-waisted as the Kore 87 come across as the most versatile ski in its wide-body family? After all, the Kore collection is 100% an off-trail creation; its avatar should be the Kore 111, not this string bean.

The improbable polyvalence of the Kore 87 is partly explained by a sleight of hand Head pulled off in the make-up of the narrowest Kore models just last year. Taking advantage of Graphene’s ability to affect flex without a commensurate effect on mass, Head beefed up the Kore 87 to account for the certainty that it will spend much of its life on groomers. Its power quotient might have gone up another tick last year with the substitution of poplar and Karuba for Koroyd, which subtly enhanced its feedback on hard snow.

This year, Head coated all the Kores with a sheath of urethane, mostly to protect the top and sides from minor nicks and scratches, with the added benefit of further smoothing out the ride. Our stats suggest the new topskin had less effect on the Kore 87 than it did on wider Kore models, but no matter what its contribution is to the ski’s overall behavior, the experience the Kore 87 delivers remains remarkable for its trustworthy edge grip and quickness on and off the edge. Renowned bootfitter Jim Schaffner dubbed the 2023 version of the Kore 87, “Fun, easy skiing, yet enough high performance to hold well on harder snow. This is a very good execution of a one-ski quiver ski for the aging crowd!”

The improvements made to the Kore’s capacities on brittle hardpack don’t seem to have diminished its inherent talent for off-trail travel. The sidecut is fairly straight underfoot, so it’s simple to swivel, an action made even more greasy by a beveled top edge that slices sideways without resistance. But the primary contributor to the Kore 87’s ease of operation off-trail is its ethereal light weight.

Supershape e-Titan

Of the four Supershape models, the one that underwent the most telling transformation two years ago was the e-Titan. In previous generations, the Titan and Rally were very close in every respect. In the current Supershape family, the e-Titan has put more distance between it and its thinner sibling.

It’s not just that the e-Titan plumped up to an 84mm waist; it also was trimmed down at tip and tail. By taking some of the shape out of the sidecut, the e-Titan became more adapted to irregular terrain and even powder, while the e-Rally remained a purebred carver. To put it more plainly, the e-Titan is more at home in a big-bellied GS arc while the e-Rally is genetically inclined to SL turns.

Comparing the 22/23 e-Titan to the Titans of yore, the latest issue feels smoother flexing and easier to compress at less than rocket speeds. This is due in part to how Head takes advantage of Graphene’s ridiculous strength-to-weight ratio to re-distribute heavier materials so they’re not all concentrated underfoot. Reducing the core profile underfoot and making the middle of the ski softer allows it bend more fully, unleashing the e-Titan’s flawless grip. The flex pattern is matched to the sidecut and baseline of each length to achieve a more fluid, balanced flex pattern that makes skiing feel as natural as walking.

Head’s deep roots in race ski design has honed a keen interest and expertise in exotic damping methods, a tradition continued in the e-Titan. Gone are the previous KERS piezos in the tail of the i.Titan. Head’s new form of shock therapy, Energy Management Circuit (EMC), is located in key vibrational nodes on either side of the binding. The EMC system is pre-set to nullify vibrations when they hit 80Hz, which you won’t hit unless you’re cooking, but if you do hit this threshold it will become an addiction. You won’t be able to stop hitting it. Jim Schaffner of Start Haus, who still attacks every run like it was race course, called the e-Titan, “Awesome! Playful yet powerful! A home run!”

Supershape e-Rally

Head didn’t invent the shaped ski, but when the Carving Revolution was in its infancy it was the first major brand to commit to the concept with its Cyber series. Over the last quarter century its commitment hasn’t wavered, consistently offering several skis in its collection with curvaceous sidecuts. For the last decade, the focus of Head’s non-race carving models has been the Supershape series, a family that remains intact in 22/23, returning unchanged from the incarnations introduced just two years ago.

In light of its long history of making category-crushing carvers, it’s saying something to assert that the latest batch of Supershapes is the best ever and that among them the e-Rally hits the sweetspot. As it approaches a new turn, the e-Rally is like the smarty pants in class who is practically jumping out of his seat because he knows the right answer. At the first hint of recognition that its pilot wants to change direction, it dips and tugs into the turn; all it needs is a little more encouragement in the form of a tilted edge and it’s cutting a short-radius arc you couldn’t bobble if you tried. As the skier’s energy shifts to the tail at arc’s end, the e-Rally provides an earthquake-proof platform for transitioning to the next exhilarating turn.

With its 54mm-drop between tip and waist width along with two thick, end-to-end, wall-to-wall sheets of Titanal, you’d surmise the e-Rally isn’t open to suggestion about turn shape. But you’d be wrong. Sure, if you take full advantage of its sidecut you can cut a world-class slalom turn, but back off the edge angle and you can extract whatever shape you want.

A parallel point can be made about the e-Rally’s attitude about speed: it’s not mandatory to go 40 mph, but you’ll never discover the amazing effect of Head’s Energy Management Circuit (EMC) if you don’t give it some gas. When you have sufficient energy coursing through its system, the e-Rally becomes both calmer and more responsive, reacting to a jolt of added pressure with palpable forward propulsion.

Kore 99

Just last season, Head invigorated its Kore series by making a handful of product changes that palpably improved every Kore model’s performance. You’d think the Austrian brand would rest on its considerable laurels, but it elected to add a urethane topcoat – like frosting on the proverbial cake – to help protect the top and sides from nicks and scratches. Lo, and behold, the addition of an end-to-end dampening layer gave the new Kores a little extra cush to their ski/snow connection, which showed up in the guise of slightly improved scores for both Finesse and Power properties.

Underneath the new urethane topsheet the 2023 Kore 99 is the same ski, with the same behavior profile, that knocked our collective socks last year. The Kore 99, then and now, epitomizes what makes Head’s unique Kore construction so well adapted to irregular, off-trail conditions without compromising its capacity for holding on hard snow. The All-Mountain West category resides on the boundary line between hard-snow carvers and Big Mountain drifters. The Kore 99 is definitely from the latter camp of looser skis, but its thoughtful design never forgets that is has to meet a certain hard snow performance standard or Head won’t put its name on it.

One of the measures of a great ski is how it handles conditions for which it was not designed. The Kore 99 is built through-and-through to be an off-trail, loose-snow ski, yet it acquits itself on hardpack as if it were home sweet home. Loosen up the surface even a little bit and the Kore 99 comes alive.

Unlike some of its burlier bros in the All-Mountain West genre, the Kore 99 feels quick to the edge and reactive off it. “It didn’t ski like a short (180cm), fat ski,” writes Bobo’s Theron Lee. “It was very nimble yet very stable at speed and able to follow terrain quite well. The biggest surprise was the width: it did not feel like a 99mm width, it felt much narrower.”

For making high performance, all-terrain skiing accessible with less exertion, we again award the Kore 99 a Silver Skier Selection.