For skiers, there is perhaps no greater search than for the perfect ski. Every year, for the past 17 years, that search has been our goal at Powder Week, the annual gathering that produces the Buyer’s Guide. Because skiing is so subjective, rarely is there consensus on one ski.
This year was different. After 33 skiers ripped around Big Sky, Montana, for four days at the end of February, it was abundantly clear that one ski lead the pack: the Head Kore 105. “I loved these,” wrote Crystal Sagan, a backcountry skier from Boulder, Colorado. “Ultimate one-ski quiver, so light it would be a great touring ski but railed an edge on groomers and through crud, while still feeling nimble in technical tight spaces.”
“These skis are super fun and easy to maneuver on any snow condition,” noted Eric Germmann, co-owner of the Ski Monster shop in Boston. “Lightweight without sacrificing a solid feeling underfoot.”
“Groomer, windbuff, crud, this ski flat out rips,” said Dave Stergar, a middle school teacher from Helena, Montana. “It instills confidence to ski fast with any type of turn.”
“Winner,” added Spencer Harkins, a freestyle from Salt Lake City. “The karuba core/carbon layup keeps this ski super light. But it charges like a resort ski. Perfect flex to absolutely crush, but still soft enough to play around. Dampest ski of the week so far.”
That all of these skiers have different styles says a lot about the Kore, which introduces several new concepts to ski construction. First, the attractive top sheet isn’t even a top sheet, but a heated layer of polyester fleece that normally goes beneath a traditional top sheet, shaving weight by 200 grams per ski. Second, the ski utilizes a unique core comprised of lightweight karuba wood (similar to balsa) and koroyd, a thermally molded honeycomb material originally used in helmets. A layer of carbon infused with Graphene—an incredibly lightweight material used to strengthen bonds within resins (particularly as it applies to the marriage between carbon and fiberglass)—gives the ski surprising strength in an agile package, allowing you to ski it hard in any terrain.
Slight camber with tip and tail rocker, the Kore 105 engages the snow with ease. The 17.8-meter radius makes it quick in the trees and bumps, and many skiers at Powder Week noted its stability on groomers. While the same thing can be said about many skis in this guide, what sets the Kore apart is its lightweight construction. It’s the rare ski that feels like it has metal for performance on hard snow, yet, at just 1755 grams per ski (lighter than many touring skis), would be an ideal touring rig perfectly capable of navigating rocky couloirs, chasing your friends down the bumps, doing hippie turns in low-angle powder.
There are better skis on hardpack, and in powder, for which you’ll find plenty of other options. But for an everyday ride, the Kore 105 climbed to the top of the stack—this year’s number one ski. —Matt Hansen