Head came out with its line of Kore skis (93, 99, 105, 117) last year and made a huge splash in the ski industry. We were able to get our hands the 99mm underfoot version for a few days, but not long enough to complete our rigorous testing process. Because of how much our testers liked the ski, we decided to add in the Head Kore 93 to our testing line-up for the Men's All Mountain Ski 2018/2019 review, and they did not disappoint.
The Kore 93 is a slightly different shape and size than it's bigger brothers. What the entire Kore line has in common is Graphene, which is supposedly the lightest/strongest material known to man. Head uses it in the skis' tips and tails and uses a lightweight Karuba wood for the core. We chose the 93mm underfoot version to get a close comparison with our other narrower all mountain skis (ex: Nordica Enforcer 93), and they held their own.
Speed is no problem for the Kore 93. While our testers do notice slightly less stability than our top performers in the men's all-mountain ski category at top speeds, it is still relatively stable compared to the group as a whole.
Stability at Speed
If you only read through the construction materials for the Kore 93, you might assume that it lacks stability. You would be entirely wrong. Despite having no titanal, which is a metal most ski manufacturers use to add torsional rigidity and dampness, the Kore holds an edge surprisingly well.
Although the Kore 93 does not feel quite as damp as the Volkl Mantra M5, we did not experience the extreme chatter our testers found in the Icelantic Pioneer 96. We only found the Kore 93 to lack stability at the high end of our the speed limits, which is pretty high. At these speeds, the ski tends to flop around a bit. But in the majority of conditions, and at all but the most ludicrous of speeds, the Kore 93 performed much better than you would expect from a ski lacking a metal core.
Carving on the Kore 93 is a dream. Easy turn initiation and release combined with a super fun turn shape make this ski a blast when you're on a carving kick.
Head is a company known for making high-quality racing skis. While the Kore 93 is not built for the slalom course, our testers felt a bit of that racing background when laying the Kore over on edge. The skis initiate turns quickly and easily and have a ton of energy throughout the arc. Because of the camber underfoot and the Karuba wood core, they also have the pop that most skiers seek when carving a fresh groomer.
These skis are also quick edge to edge, just like the K2 Pinnacle 88 Ti, and make it fairly easy to adjust your turn shape and width, like the Volkl Mantra M5. Also, despite being tested in a very long 189cm, the Kore 93's turn radius is only 17.5m. This makes for a tight arcing turn that feels like you're adding a few extra points to the g-force.
Blasting down in cruddy conditions is surprisingly fun on the Kore 93.
This is the Kore 93's weakest category and the only one where the lack of metal was obvious. The graphene may be super strong, but it just does not have the effective dampening capabilities of skis with some titanal in them. We're not saying it can't handle chopped up pow or refrozen chunder — it's just no M5 when challenged with less than ideal snow conditions.
The Kore 93 is fairly easy to drive and direct through all sorts of crud, and our testers found the tip deflection to be minimal. But the ski does lack the ability to absorb the inconsistencies found in crud conditions. In contrast, you can ski the Nordica Enforcer 93 through most anything — avalanche debris, chicken heads, etc. — without begging for a knee replacement. The Kore 93 transfers some of that rough travel through the ski and to the rider.
The Kore 93 is a fantastic all-mountain ski. Yes, you powder fiends, that means it excels in the soft snow.
Despite being only 93mm underfoot, the Kore 93 really shines in the soft stuff. In most storms, the Kore did an excellent job of keeping our testers afloat and whooping for joy. The large (136mm) tip brings the ski to the surface, and the generous tip rocker keeps them there. It is not nearly as floaty as the Blizzard Rustler 10, but it is about 10mm thinner overall.
The Kore's rocker and soft flex pattern in the tip and tail combined to make it easy to slash, slarve, and butter turns in any terrain on a powder day. It has much more float and predictability in soft snow than the Enforcer, which has a similar width underfoot. Our testers imagine that the soft snow capabilities of the Kore only increase as you get into the wider skis of the Kore line.
Our testers found plenty of pop in the Kore 93, whether it is between turns while arcing carves or between natural features in variable conditions.
Playfulness is yet another category where the Kore outperformed most other skis we tested. The Kore 93 is a blast to play around the mountain on for similar reasons that it is fun to ride in powder (flex pattern, rocker, etc.). Our testers were jumping off everything they could find, just like when they were on the Rustler 10s.
The Kore 93 provides plenty of pop off of jumps and super soft landings by blending its wood core and camber underfoot with soft-rockered tips and tails. It is also incredibly lightweight, which makes it easy to throw around and around and around…
One of our testers putting the Kore 93 through some medium-sized bumps. The Kore responded well.
The 189cm length that we tested is not the ideal length for a bump ski. Even so, our testers found them to be a good ski on most bump runs — some key aspects of its design play into making it a good bump ski. The tip and tail rocker make for a more forgiving and less catchy experience when navigating the troughs. In this way, it's similar to the Black Crows Daemons. The quickness of the ski, stemming from its low swing weight, reminded our testers of the Blizzard Rustler 10. Finally, the narrow(ish) width underfoot allows for quick pivoting, like with the K2 Pinnacle 88 Ti.
If you like to open it up and double or air bumps, the length we tested is fantastic. But if you like to zipper-line under the chair, a shorter version would suit you better. We recommend going at least one size down if you ski bumps more often than not.
In almost every snow condition we could find, the Kore 93 was an incredibly fun pair of skis!
The best application for the Kore 93 would be on the feet of an intermediate to expert level skier who can't help but head for every side hit on the side of a run and every rock drop in sight. This ski is best suited for softer snow but can rail groomers with the best of them. It can carve, and also slarve, and feels right at home on any part of the mountain.
This ski retails for $650, which puts it just below the average for the skis tested in this category. The combination of such high scores in each of our testing categories and its relatively reasonable price point leads us to call this your best value for a men's all-mountain ski. It earns our Best Buy award.
The Kore 93 is able to handle almost any snow condition with ease. Here, it eats up all the terrain and snow Kirkwood has to offer.
This ski has a West Coast feel. It's not too serious (soft-ish flex), trendy and relaxed (rockered tips and tails), likes to have fun (see our playfulness category), but can get down to business and work hard (stable and can lay down a carving turn). It feels more are home on soft, natural, cold snow, but it can also handle any condition it is thrown in to with grace.
The Kore 93 is a true all-mountain ski that is just as fun in steep technical terrain as it is in the bumps, as it is on the groomers.
Overall, this is a true all-mountain ski that will delight anybody who picks up a pair — East or West coast. Head nailed it with their Kore line, and we're excited to see what the 93's bigger brothers have to show. Make sure you really think through what length you want, as they are nine full centimeters apart. Depending on your intended purpose, that can have a great effect on the skis' handling. For more information about choosing the right length for you, see our How to Choose a Men's All-Mountain Ski article.