Expert Review: Head Kore 97 W Skis · Women's · 2022Published on 11/14/2022 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the skis, which I purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
Backcountry fun! Photo courtesy of Amanda S.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the skis, which i purchased with my own money in December of 2021.
The Head Kore 97 Women’s Skis are ideal for an advanced to expert East Coast skier who has transplanted out West and likes to carve out of habit but wants to float in the powder.
About the skis I own
- Model: 2022 Head Kore W 97
- Size: 156cm
- Height: 5’4”
- Weight: 120lbs
- Experience: 20 years of skiing
- When I bought these: December 2021
- Days tested: 10
- Mount position: Factory Standard
- Boots: Rossignol Alltrack Elite 110
- Boot Size: 23.5
- Bindings: Salomon MTN
- Where I’ve used it: Alta, Brighton
- Terrain: Backcountry terrain, anything inbounds
How they perform
What I was looking for
A few years back, I demoed a pair of Head Great Joys. They were boats (98 underfoot and 141 in the tip), but they knew how to get up on an edge and carve. When I realized I was late to the game in finding a pair, I still hoped Head evolved the ski in some way (thus, I found the Kore line).
Why I chose this gear
I decided to buy a pair of Kores because I was hoping they were an evolved version of the Great Joys. After talking to my Head rep in ski school, he told me it was a lighter, faster version. I talked about potentially wanting them for my backcountry set up, and suggested the Head Kore W 97.
What I love about them
- Speed: One might think the lightness of this ski would compromise speed…quite the opposite. The ski as a whole is super responsive and ready to charge.
- Edge hold: The karuba/poplar core is infused with a carbon layer and graphene to keep it light, but the shorter turning radius helps it be a carving machine. There’s more construction directly under the foot (with a sloped side wall), allowing for the skier to trust when they lean into their edge, but tapers making it easy to maneuver the ski in every which way.
- Turns: High speed, slow speed, this ski will do whatever I ask it to. Again, that tapered sidewall really allows for the ski to turn on a dime.
- Groomers: The shorter turn radius of this ski makes it perfect for carving. I can feel like I can get up on an edge, but with the sloped side walls, I feel that I have as easy release as I do initiation.
- Powder: The rockered tip (at 131mm) allows it to float in some powder. Transitions from hardback to soft are no problem. If it’s a deep day, though, I gravitate towards a wider ski (the true waist on the 156cm is 93mm).
- Trees: This ski is a nimble one, with a shorter turn radius, tight turns through trees are wicked easy.
- Moguls: Again, this ski can turn on a dime and hold an edge, so bumps and moguls are no problem. I can skid, slide, and turn all with ease.
- Backcountry: The ski feels wicked light, allowing for adventurous long days in the backcountry. I don’t ever feel like I’m dragging.
- Durability: Some superficial scratches on the top sheet, but overall the core and profile have me feeling stiff, stable, and like I can go wherever with ease.
- Weight: Probably the lightest ski I have in my quiver. When I am touring and skinning uphill, it feels easier on my hips, and I do not feel like I’m dragging on the way up.
- Stability: This ski feels like a buttery smooth ride. When I get up to speed, the ski is pretty damp. Some chattering, but not much.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Park: This ski is not a park ski; it only has a partial twin in the back, so it’s meant to ski forwards, and maybe help one back out of tight spaces if they get stuck.
- Switch riding: This ski has a partial twin, so if I end up backwards, it’s not the end of the world, but definitely not meant for backwards skiing.
- Other: If skiing on the 156cm, buyer beware. The waist is not a true 97mm, it is actually a 93mm.
Favorite moment with this gear
My favorite moment with this gear was one of my first tours, where I actually felt comfortable in my skis. Knowing how they felt in an alpine setting (after demoing them), and knowing how I felt after borrowing other people’s older gear (exhausted), I felt like I finally created a setup that felt right for me, and would respond to what I needed. Being able to have a fluffy ride down was amazing. Though I wish they would’ve floated a little bit more; having the freedom in a ski that doesn’t hold you back is amazing.
Value for the money vs. other options
The Head Kore W’s 97 is pretty comparable pricewise to skis like the Salomon QST line. Weight wise, the Kore line is significantly lighter. For a lighter ski, it’s worth the money.
Other than wishing the smaller options had a true width of 97, it’s a really bombproof, all-mountain option for the skier who is looking to get into the backcountry (on average to not-too-deep days), or who carves out of habit on soft snow because that’s all they’ve known how to do.