2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

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2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby HighAngles » Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:38 pm

So the first of the 3 big Fall demo days in CO happened this past Saturday. I spent most of the day skiing on the new Head skis and they honestly were the brightest points of the demo day. I own a couple pairs of Head skis, but I've never really been much of a Head "zealot", but I have to admit that Head is really doing some good things with their latest skis. So while many may lament the loss of the original Supershape there are still some excellent skis available for the PMTS faithful.

Conditions were mixed, but mostly hard pack without any recent snow. Of course that meant that I could actually test the skis' ice performance so it's not necessarily a bad thing. Too bad the demos didn't continue through today because I would have loved to get some of the Head Big Mountain series skis in the deeper snow.

My intention was to go from skinny skis to fatter skis as the day progressed and I was able to mostly stick with that program. I didn't only ski Head skis; I tried some other stuff too. And I had an interesting observation; this season the reps actually came to play with more of their skinny models available for demo. Though this wasn't true across the board, I was encouraged to see that narrower waist widths were available and noted that the skinny skis were almost always out for demo while a lot of the fat skis were just sitting in the racks. Maybe much of the skiing public is starting to have the realization that fat skis have their place (and it's not on a hard snow groomer skiing day), but there are still those fools who go out on entirely inappropriately wide skis when a fresh flake hasn't fallen in weeks.

Note that I ran all of the i.Supershape series and the REV series skis 2 "notches" forward from normal on the demo bindings. This equates to about 7mm forward of the factory mark. I normally would run even more forward, but I was leery of going too far "out of whack" from the factory marks without taking ski measurements and being able to spend more time on the skis to experiment. I ran most of the skis for 3 runs except for the ones I really wasn't liking after 1 run.

Head i.Supershape Rally - I ended up on this ski first because the Magnum was already taken out. World Cup construction, a nice deep sidecut, and I was in my happy place. This is a ski that will really perform marvelously with the right input, but it's not especially punishing for failure to achieve skiing greatness. It's smooth, stable, damp, but not lifeless. I have to say that I really like the feel and performance of these new i.Supershape skis which is surprising to me since I've generally gravitated to more damp and stable feeling skis - I love that "glued to the snow" feel. Many find that type of ski a bit one dimensional, but here we have a ski that keeps me happy while being quite a bit more adaptable for other types of skiers. Ice hold was sufficient, but not fully up to the par of my Blizzard S-Power/G-Power skis (but those really set the benchmark for grip). If I wasn't already swimming in skis with waist widths in the mid 70s I would put this ski on my buy list.

Head i.Supershape Magnum - This ski is much of the same as the Rally which shouldn't surprise anyone given that they share almost all characteristics except for width. It has an almost identical sidecut to the Rally and as you would expect is just quicker edge to edge. I also found this ski quite adaptable and not a one-trick pony. I skied the Magnum a few seasons ago and I remember coming away with the thought that I wouldn't want to ski that ski all day. Of course my skiing has changed a bit, but I think Head has definitely reworked this ski for the better and it's become a great all-around ski. The old ski was stiffer and straighter while this new version has more tip cut and an improved flex pattern. When my Stockli Globe skis finally go to meet their maker I will keep this ski in mind as a replacement.

Head i.Supershape Titan - I skied this one in the 177cm length; a length that I normally wouldn't choose for an 80mm underfoot ski. Oh, but what a surprise. I honestly could go with this ski as my number one all-mountain choice. Same construction as the Rally/Magnum, but Head has also tweaked the sidecut from the old version and it really improves the versatility of this ski. The older Titan had a "lot of tail" and kind of felt locked in on turn radius to me. The new version has a slightly deeper cut for the tip while relaxing the tail sidecut. I felt like I could do no wrong on this ski; it just ate up any terrain I fed it. I will probably buy this ski at some point.

Head REV 80 Pro and Head REV 85 Pro - So color me not a big fan. After my demo runs on the i.Supershape series I found that the REVs just couldn't hang with the performance of those skis. Yes, they're a bit wider than that series, but it's not the whole story. They use a different construction and don't provide the feel I like on hard snow. They also have significantly more rocker in their profiles. The i.Supershape series really only has marketing rocker (it's barely noticeable), while the REVs have enough that I would call it significant; it definitely changes the skis' performance. I can see the REV series as being more popular for less aggressive skiers and if I hadn't spent so much time on the i.Supershape skis I might have come away with a slightly better impression. They may be good choice for softer snow days, but I have the feeling I would be just fine on something like the Rally or Titan on a softer day, so for me these REV series skis don't really fit into my quiver needs. I skied the wider REVs a couple seasons ago in soft conditions (many feet of snow had fallen in Tahoe) and I did enjoy them there, but didn't walk away from that experience with the feeling that I needed to buy any of them.

Head Venturi 95 - I was grinning ear to ear on this ski. Even though the conditions certainly didn't warrant being on something this wide I found that it performed admirably and you wouldn't be whining about such a wide ski on your way back to the chair lift. This is a more than worthy successor to the R-n-R. Although I didn't get to run it in a back-to-back showdown with the venerable R-n-R I think that I prefer the Venturi. Head is really onto something with the construction of their new Big Mountain Series skis. The TTS technology definitely improves the tip and tail stability and the feeling of the ski is like a wide surefooted carver on the hard pack. I did not find that the rocker profile detracted from my turns at transition, but I was really focusing on holding my CA when tipping to new edges because I knew that these skis might have a tendency to want to pivot when flat. Note that the graphics at the tip and tail aren't just pictures, there are actually raised ridges and purposeful structure in the construction of these areas. This ski is definitely on my buy list.

Head Collective 105 - so I got on this ski against my better judgement. I had no business being on a ski this wide (105mm) on a groomer day. It also has a much more aggressive rocker profile and they only had the 181cm ski available (in a ski this wide I would normally go longer due to the much shorter contact length). I only took 1 run on the Collective because it was just the wrong ski for the conditions and it was pivoting like mad. I will say though that the tip stayed fairly quiet; much more so than skis of similar design. So Head definitely has something figured out to help stabilize more rockered skis in their Big Mountain series. I would love to get on this ski on a truly deep day and compare it to some of my other wide skis.

I also skied on some Rossi and Blizzard skis, but I doubt the forum collective is interested so I'll post my thoughts on those elsewhere.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby jbotti » Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:43 pm

Nice write ups. Thanks for taking the time. The rally and the venturi sound like skis I want to demo.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby Max_501 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:42 pm

HighAngles wrote:Head i.Supershape Titan - I skied this one in the 177cm length; a length that I normally wouldn't choose for an 80mm underfoot ski. Oh, but what a surprise. I honestly could go with this ski as my number one all-mountain choice. Same construction as the Rally/Magnum, but Head has also tweaked the sidecut from the old version and it really improves the versatility of this ski. The older Titan had a "lot of tail" and kind of felt locked in on turn radius to me. The new version has a slightly deeper cut for the tip while relaxing the tail sidecut. I felt like I could do no wrong on this ski; it just ate up any terrain I fed it. I will probably buy this ski at some point.


IMO too stiff for off piste use except for crud busting Sierra Cement. On groomers it wants to lock into a single turn shape and fights efforts to decrease the radius. Somewhat like the original Atomic Metrons.

HighAngles wrote:Head REV 80 Pro and Head REV 85 Pro - They may be good choice for softer snow days, but I have the feeling I would be just fine on something like the Rally or Titan on a softer day, so for me these REV series skis don't really fit into my quiver needs. I skied the wider REVs a couple seasons ago in soft conditions (many feet of snow had fallen in Tahoe) and I did enjoy them there, but didn't walk away from that experience with the feeling that I needed to buy any of them.


When compared to the Titan the Revs are better in deeper softer snow. Keep in mind that for PMTS skiers 80mm+ is moving into off piste ski territory.

HighAngles wrote:Head Venturi 95 - This is a more than worthy successor to the R-n-R.


Have to disagree with you here. The Venturi pivots too easily in the high C when compared to the RnR. I'm not saying its a bad ski but it is defintely not RnR-ish. Plus the Venturi tip flaps a bit whereas the RnR tip doesn't.

HighAngles wrote:Although I didn't get to run it in a back-to-back showdown with the venerable R-n-R I think that I prefer the Venturi.


I skied the RnR same conditions day after the Venturi. For my style of skiing the RnR wins easily.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby HighAngles » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:31 pm

Max - were you on the new Titan? I can't agree that this is a too stiff ski when compared to the pantheon of skis in the market. Granted I skied it in a longer length than I normally would so that certainly improved its ability to flex on the hard pack.

As far as the Venturi goes, what I didn't mention is that I've felt that the R-n-R can have a tendency to have a tip that feels vague at initiation. I did not have that feeling at all with the Venturi. That's where my comment about preferring the Venturi comes from.

And in regards to the REVs, at these widths I'm just not willing to give up the superior hard snow performance. For me, the Titan runs circles around the REV 80.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby Max_501 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:45 pm

HighAngles wrote:Max - were you on the new Titan?


Yes.

HighAngles wrote:I can't agree that this is a too stiff ski when compared to the pantheon of skis in the market. Granted I skied it in a longer length than I normally would so that certainly improved its ability to flex on the hard pack.


Got video? :D The thing about the Titan is that it's a confidence inspiring ski because it locks in with a tenacious edge grip and is incredibly stable. So you can pick up speed every turn and feel like a super hero. IMO this ski is not a good option for PMTS carving because it resists efforts to decrease the radius by bending the front of the ski.

HighAngles wrote:As far as the Venturi goes, what I didn't mention is that I've felt that the R-n-R can have a tendency to have a tip that feels vague at initiation. I did not have that feeling at all with the Venturi. That's where my comment about preferring the Venturi comes from.


I found the RnR tip engages earlier and stronger than the Venturi. I suspect you were feeling the difference in radius.

HighAngles wrote:For me, the Titan runs circles around the REV 80.


Got video? :D For most PMTS carving the Rev Pro 80/85 are probably better than the Titan because they bend!
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby HighAngles » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:55 am

Sorry, no video.

I believe that the Magnum, Rally, and Titan all have the same (or very similar) flex patterns. They are all stiffer than the REV series. The REVs have a lighter more playful feel on snow (read that as less damp, less stable). In the end the only way to really decide what's right for you is to try to get some demos and decide for yourself. My intention in posting reviews is to provide some insight that may help some skiers narrow down their choices. Clearly my skills are not yet at Max's level, but I feel that I'm far enough along that my perspective on these skis as a PMTS skier provides a different perspective than you will find out on the general Internet and other publications.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby Max_501 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:25 am

HighAngles wrote:I believe that the Magnum, Rally, and Titan all have the same (or very similar) flex patterns.


I was hoping they did but the Titan lacks the smooth flex pattern that rewards proper movements with a nice tight speed controlling arc. Its too bad because on paper it looks great.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby theorist » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:19 pm

Max_501 wrote:
HighAngles wrote:I believe that the Magnum, Rally, and Titan all have the same (or very similar) flex patterns.

I was hoping they did but the Titan lacks the smooth flex pattern that rewards proper movements with a nice tight speed controlling arc. Its too bad because on paper it looks great....IMO this ski is not a good option for PMTS carving because it resists efforts to decrease the radius by bending the front of the ski.

Max, I take it you're talking about the '14 Titan here. If so, I'm curious if you found the it different, wrt range of turning radii, from the '13 model. I've only been on the '13, but I was amazed by its great range of turning radii. When approaching skiers on a cat track I could slow by making tiny carved turns (something I don’t have the ability to do with my GS skis), and then easily open it up into sweeping GS turns (something I can do on my SL skis, but not as comfortably). This gave me an incredible feeling of control. [What I didn't like was that at high speeds, on rough terrain, I got bounced around more than on my race skis -- it wasn't a feeling of instability; rather, there was an odd lack of terrain absorption.] I'm 5'7", was 160# at the time, and was skiing the 170's.
Last edited by theorist on Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby Max_501 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:24 pm

theorist wrote:I've only been on the '13, but I was amazed by its great range of turning radii. When approaching skiers on a cat track I could slow by making tiny, precise carved turns (something I don’t have the ability to do with my GS skis), and then easily open it up into sweeping GS turns (something I can do on my SL skis, but not as comfortably). This gave me an incredible feeling of control. [What I didn't like was that at high speeds, on rough terrain, I got bounced around more than on my race skis -- it wasn't a feeling of instability; rather, there was an odd lack of terrain absorption.] I'm 5'7", was 160# at the time, and was skiing the 170's.


Yes, I've skied the latest version. If you are making GS sized turns on a ski with a SL sidecut then something isn't quite right.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby theorist » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:36 pm

Max_501 wrote:
theorist wrote:I've only been on the '13, but I was amazed by its great range of turning radii. When approaching skiers on a cat track I could slow by making tiny, precise carved turns (something I don’t have the ability to do with my GS skis), and then easily open it up into sweeping GS turns (something I can do on my SL skis, but not as comfortably). This gave me an incredible feeling of control. [What I didn't like was that at high speeds, on rough terrain, I got bounced around more than on my race skis -- it wasn't a feeling of instability; rather, there was an odd lack of terrain absorption.] I'm 5'7", was 160# at the time, and was skiing the 170's.


Yes, I've skied the latest version. If you are making GS sized turns on a ski with a SL sidecut then something isn't quite right.


Understood you've skied the latest version of the Titan -- what I was asking is whether you've also skied the earlier version and found it different with respect to limited turning radius.

These were older SL skis, from 2000 -- 16m@160cm, not 12m@155cm. So with respect to GS turns, they probably feel more like a too-short cheater GS than a modern SL ski. They were from the earlier years of the shape revolution, so they hadn't quite figured out the optimum sidecut for SL skis; for that reason they were actually much better as an all-mountain ski than in the course.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby Max_501 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:57 pm

theorist wrote:Understood you've skied the latest version of the Titan -- what I was asking is whether you've also skied the earlier version and found it different with respect to limited turning radius.


Yes as has HH (and he does not like them at all). If the Titan was a good ski for PMTS skiers HH would sell it. He doesn't. What more do you need to know?

theorist wrote:These were older SL skis, from 2000 -- 16m@160cm, not 12m@155cm. So with respect to GS turns, they probably feel more like a too-short cheater GS than a modern SL ski. They were from the earlier years of the shape revolution, so they hadn't quite figured out the optimum sidecut for SL skis; for that reason they were actually much better as an all-mountain ski than in the course.


My point was that if you are making GS turns on the Titan, which has a SL-ish sidecut, something isn't right.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby jbotti » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:09 pm

If you can't bend a ski it's bad for your skiing. There isn't too much else to say. Skis that can't be bent can often feel great and sometimes they have that glued to the snow feel. This can be very seductive. I have been on many skis that feel great that I have no shot of bending. I know enough to look elsewhere, even though THEY FEEL GREAT.

The vast majority of skiers have never bent a ski. A good percentage of advancing PMTS skiers have never bent a ski. Harald bends his skis on every arc. This being the PMTS gear forum (where we are trying to point out the best skis for PMTS skiers), unless you can bend a ski like Harald, there isn't much to debate here.

We know they feel good. That is not the true test of a good PMTS ski.

Hopefully drilling this home will save people some time and money.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby h.harb » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:26 am

I only sell skis that help you develop your skiing in the "right " way, if you like the Titan, there is something in your skiing that is incorrect, like extension or tail pushing. I've tested this ski for two years, hated it. I'd never recommend it, sell it or ski it. It's dead, heavy and slow. I even gave it a second look last year because the Head reps were pushing it. It hurts my knees, it bounces, it bucks, nasty thing. The former ski called the
"Jam" by Movement, is so much better, no comparison, similar dimensions. The Rock and Roll is a better ski by far and it's a 95mm width. There are so many Head skis that are a better choice for any snow condition. Example, The Rev 80 is a much better ski.
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby theorist » Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:43 pm

jbotti wrote:If you can't bend a ski it's bad for your skiing. There isn't too much else to say. Skis that can't be bent can often feel great and sometimes they have that glued to the snow feel. This can be very seductive. I have been on many skis that feel great that I have no shot of bending. I know enough to look elsewhere, even though THEY FEEL GREAT.

The vast majority of skiers have never bent a ski. A good percentage of advancing PMTS skiers have never bent a ski. Harald bends his skis on every arc. This being the PMTS gear forum (where we are trying to point out the best skis for PMTS skiers), unless you can bend a ski like Harald, there isn't much to debate here.

We know they feel good. That is not the true test of a good PMTS ski.

Hopefully drilling this home will save people some time and money.


Jbotti, I completely agree that you need to be able to bend the ski – if you can’t, you’re not using the ski’s design. I honestly can’t say, though, that I’ve felt the interesting sensation you describe (good, “glued” feeling from an unbendable ski)– when I have trouble bending a ski, that doesn’t feel good to me.

I certainly wouldn’t presume to say I can bend a ski like Harald—anyone with WC experience is always going to be a far better skier than me. In addition, anyone that makes it to the WC has far greater natural athletic gifts. But I do know how to bend a ski, and I know what it feels like. I don’t have recent pics of me on hard snow, but I managed to dig up one from 1997, where I’m on a 1st-gen Volkl P30 RC (turning radius probably just under 30 m) that clearly shows the ski being bent. [I tried to post it, but couldn't find an image upload function (image link only)!] Whatever the deficiencies of the Titan, I’m sure it initiates easier than that old Volkl, and I suspect it’s no harder to bend – so I surmise that I was bending the Titan as well. [OT, but that photo brought back fond memories – it was taken at a GS clinic given by Michael von Grünigen! For such a fierce competitor, he’s a sweet and gracious man – and, it turns out, a very good teacher.]
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Re: 2014 Head Skis Mini Reviews

Postby theorist » Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:44 pm

Max_501 wrote:
theorist wrote:Understood you've skied the latest version of the Titan -- what I was asking is whether you've also skied the earlier version and found it different with respect to limited turning radius.


Yes as has HH (and he does not like them at all). If the Titan was a good ski for PMTS skiers HH would sell it. He doesn't. What more do you need to know?

theorist wrote:These were older SL skis, from 2000 -- 16m@160cm, not 12m@155cm. So with respect to GS turns, they probably feel more like a too-short cheater GS than a modern SL ski. They were from the earlier years of the shape revolution, so they hadn't quite figured out the optimum sidecut for SL skis; for that reason they were actually much better as an all-mountain ski than in the course.


My point was that if you are making GS turns on the Titan, which has a SL-ish sidecut, something isn't right.


Max, I think there’s been a misunderstanding here—my apologies for my role in it! I wasn’t asking about your take on the ’13 Titan to get info. about the ski (since I’d already demoed it myself). Rather, I noticed you’re a strong skier and offer clear opinions on skis I’m curious about. So, to get a better sense of whether my reaction to a ski would be similar to yours, I was wondering if you’d shared my view on that particular characteristic of the ’13 Titan (ability to readily adjust turn shape). I.e., it was a standard gear-thread “do you react to skis like I do” question. I can see that, for the Titan, the answer is no (but I think I know why – please see my reply to Harald).

And yes, if there’s a Head ski that Harald doesn’t sell, one can directly conclude it’s a ski he doesn’t like (though of course that doesn’t necessarily apply to other brands). Nevertheless, I disagree with your sentiment that, if Harald doesn’t sell a Head, there’s no point in asking about it, since I think there’s also value in understanding why he doesn’t like a ski (which is why I found his reply interesting).
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