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Head Kore 99 - Women's Review

We had hoped for more from these new Heads. They're decent in the fresh snow, but fall short in other terrain.
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Price:  $700 List | $698.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Decent in powder
Cons:  Hard to feel the tight turn radius, bouncy in crud, not super stable on hard snow
Manufacturer:   Head
By Renee McCormack ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 16, 2019
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42
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 16
  • Stability at Speed - 20% 3
  • Carving - 20% 4
  • Crud - 20% 3
  • Powder - 20% 6
  • Playfulness - 15% 5
  • Bumps - 5% 4

Our Verdict

We were very much looking forward to skiing the Head Kore 99, we've always enjoyed Head skis. Our lead tester loved her pair of Titans ever day until they died (the edge literally ripped off one of the skis after many years of heavy usage). Regrettably, we can't say we loved this version. They're big enough to float decently in powder, but they were unimpressive in most other arenas. We got pretty tossed around in the crud, and they chattered on us on hard snow and steeps. The tight turn radius they're meant to have didn't ever materialize for us. There will undoubtedly be others who love this ski, but we didn't, preferring to remember better times on other Head skis.


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Decent in powderIncredibly versatile, easy to ski, fun and quick, only 92mm makes it nimbleGreat float in powder, playful, decent stabilityUnparalleled stability at speed, crud-buster, lends you strengthA blast to ski, easy to turn, relatively stable, fantastic in powder
Cons Hard to feel the tight turn radius, bouncy in crud, not super stable on hard snowNot the perfect powder partnerMore expensive, slightly lumbering in bumpsVery pricey, prefers faster straighter linesNot perfect carvers, some deflection in crud
Bottom Line We had hoped for more from these new Heads. They're decent in the fresh snow, but fall short in other terrain.One of the most versatile skis on the market, this new Volkl is a Goldilocks ski - strong enough to battle in the crud, but soft enough for lighter mellower skiers to bend it.A great choice for a West Coast woman who loves getting out in the soft snow.If you like to go fast and want a one-ski quiver, this ski is absolutely worth the extra funds.Ripping skis for ripping chicks, or those on their way to becoming one, so fun and flexible.
Rating Categories Head Kore 99 - Women's Volkl Secret 92 Rossignol Soul 7 HD W Kastle FX95 HP Elan Ripstick 94 W
Stability At Speed (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
Carving (20%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Crud (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
Powder (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
Playfulness (15%)
10
0
5
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
10
Bumps (5%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Specs Head Kore 99 -... Volkl Secret 92 Rossignol Soul 7... Kastle FX95 HP Elan Ripstick 94 W
Intended Purpose All mountain All mountain All mountain powder All mountain stability All mountain play
Ability Level All Levels All Levels All levels All levels All levels
Available Lengths 153, 162, 171 149, 156, 163, 170 156, 164, 172, 180 173, 181, 189 156, 163, 170, 177
Shape 131-97-118 130-92-113 136-106-126 126-95-115 135-95-110
Waist Width 97 92 106 95 95
Radius 15.1 17.9 18 18 16.2
Rocker Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, camber underfoot Tip and tail, cambered inside edge
Weight Per Pair (Pounds) 8.16 7.7 9.62 6.725
Construction Type Sandwich cap Full sidewall Sandwich Sandwich SST sidewall
Core Material Karuba Beech & Poplar, multi layer Paulownia wood silver fir, beech, Titanal, fiberglass Tubelite wood
Tested Length 171 170 172 173 170

Our Analysis and Test Results

While they can certainly hold their own on a powder day, the Head Kores fell short in nearly every other metric. We were particularly disappointed in their performance in crud.

Performance Comparison


We really enjoyed these Heads in fresh snow  but they bummed us out a bit in other arenas
We really enjoyed these Heads in fresh snow, but they bummed us out a bit in other arenas

Stability at Speed


On firmer snow, at speed, and in the steeps, we ascertained that these skis did not provide us with a very secure mode of transport; they would chatter around and lose their line regularly. When skied side by side, one run after the other, with the best performing skis in this metric, the difference was vast and unnerving. It was a real shame for us to discover a Head ski that felt so unreliable in this setting.

We wished the Kores had provided more stability at high speeds; on harder snow than this they would wash out from beneath us.
We wished the Kores had provided more stability at high speeds; on harder snow than this they would wash out from beneath us.

Carving


Because they have trouble holding an edge, their carving abilities are diminished. Again, a real pity, since carving has traditionally been one of our favorite things to do on Head skis. After a few of us skied them for a few days, we had to go and triple check the company's assertion of a 15.1m turn radius, as it didn't seem possible it could be so tight. We all tried our best to get this ski to bend as far as it would go (at high speeds on groomers) and still we couldn't get it to feel as snug as 15.1m.

Since they didn't have exceptional edge-hold  we felt they were lacking in our carving metric
Since they didn't have exceptional edge-hold, we felt they were lacking in our carving metric

Powder


They ski well in the fresh stuff with their 99mm waist and rockered tips. The large spatula tips kept us afloat and just fine, but we didn't get any particular thrills from their performance here either. Again, we noticed that the turn radius did not feel like 15m; they definitely prefer to make a larger radius turn, especially in deeper snow.

These Heads performed with an average ranking in powder; we found them to be much more fun in the fresh snow than in any other condition.
These Heads performed with an average ranking in powder; we found them to be much more fun in the fresh snow than in any other condition.

Crud


They aren't beefy enough to smash through choppy snow, and not delicate or agile enough to skim over the top of it either. Those big flaccid tips kept getting deflected this way and that. At the bottom of a rough patch of chunder, one of our testers who had fallen behind on the Kores told us she had needed to stop every 10 turns to make sure she was still alive and had all her limbs, the ride was so rough.

We found ourselves having to stop and recompose after getting tossed around in choppy terrain.
We found ourselves having to stop and recompose after getting tossed around in choppy terrain.

Playfulness


We didn't find very much that was exciting or gleeful about skiing the Head Kores, though we wish we had! Even when they are skiing solidly, there's just no "wow-factor", as one tester commented.

Bumps


They were decent enough in the bumps, but we did wish we could've felt that tighter turn shape they claim when skiing through compact mogul fields.

Their supposed short turn radius didn't feel very tight to us  and that made skiing bumps trickier.
Their supposed short turn radius didn't feel very tight to us, and that made skiing bumps trickier.

Value


They go for a relatively average price, but we think you can probably do better for the same cost.

Conclusion


Head is one of the top ski manufacturers in the world and they've produced so many gems over the years, but the Kore is not one of them. Look to their other models first.


Renee McCormack