2020-2021 HEAD Kore 117

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Head Kore 117 for Blister Gear Review.
Head Kore 117, 17/18 Graphics

Ski: 2020-2021 HEAD Kore 117, 189 cm

Available Lengths: 180, 189 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 188.0 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1973 & 2020 grams

Stated Dimensions: 145-117-129 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 144.5-117-128 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (189 cm): 24.6 meters

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 69 mm / 23 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm

Core: Graphene, Koroyd, & Karuba wood

Base: Structured diecut UHM C

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -11.6 cm from center; 82.4 cm from tail

Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: currently +1 of Rec. line

Boots / Bindings: Head Raptor 140 RS / Tyrolia AAAttack2 13 AT

Days Skied: 3

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley, NM

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 2017-2018 Kore 117, which was not changed for 18/19, 19/20, or 20/21, apart from graphics.]


Head’s new KORE series for 17/18 turned a lot of heads when it was first unveiled, and the new skis certainly got our attention, and earned HEAD our Swagger Award from SIA for their Kanye-esque copy.

We’re going to be talking soon about the KORE 93 and 105, but about the KORE 117 in particular, HEAD states: “Wide like a sumo wrestler, but light like a ballerina, the Kore 117 defies stereotypes. It’s strong and light, but stable and nimble.”

And of course this statement immediately leads us to ask:

So how strong is it?
Exactly how light is it?
And how stable?
How nimble?

(And it also has us wondering how versatile it is, how powder-specific it is, how hard it can be pushed, etc.)

But before we get to that, let’s talk about the KORE 117’s flex pattern…

Flex Pattern

Handflexing the ski, I’d sum it up like this:

Tips: 7-8
Shovels: 9-10
Underfoot: 10
Behind the Heel piece: 10-9
Tails: 9-8

Yep, this ski has a very stout flex. I actually hadn’t hand flexed the ski before I got it on snow the past three days (more on this in a bit), and I can’t say that in three days that I found the ski to feel like it was super stiff.

But fact is, the KORE 117 flexes stiffer than every other ski that I’m going to refer to in this review, and in my upcoming Deep Dive Comparisons piece.


As of this writing, we haven’t seen a stated weight from HEAD on the Kore series, but our pair of 117’s came in at 1973 & 2020 grams per ski.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Head Kore 117 for Blister Gear Review.
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Head Kore 117, Taos, NM. (photo by Kristin Sinott)

That’s not as crazy light as we were expecting — and I, for one, am glad about that. For those looking for a fat, dedicated touring ski, you can find lighter options out there. But the KORE line is supposed to excel inbounds, too, and going too light can produce an inbounds buzzkill.

Still, there’s no question: for a ski this big, these are pretty light. Let’s look at a few relevant skis for comparison:

Weights Per Ski:

Head KORE 117, 189 cm 1973 & 2020 g
DPS Lotus 120, 189 cm 1997 & 2021 g
Rossi Super 7 HD, 188 cm 2087 & 2110 g
Rossi Super 7 RD, 190 cm 2126 & 2173 g
Moment Governor, 186 cm 2199 & 2219 g
Liberty Origin 116, 190 cm 2252 & 2254 g
Moment Blister Pro, 190 cm 2261 & 2297 g

To recap: the KORE 117 is the stiffest ski in the bunch, and it’s also the lightest ski of the bunch.

Ok, but how does the KORE 117 ski?

Thank You, Big Surprise Spring Storm

To be honest, I wasn’t even going to ski these, and just was going to send them immediately to Alaska for our reviewer Paul Forward. But then 30” of snow fell on Taos over a couple days, setting up pretty ideal conditions to test this “clinically obese” ski (as HEAD calls it). And here’s how it’s gone so far:

24” of Heavy, Dense Snow

About 24 inches of new snow had blanketed Taos — 24 inches of some of the heaviest, wettest snow we ever see around here — this was the New Mexico version of Sierra Cement. Lots of skiers were struggling on the mountain, and everyone in my regular ski crew was talking about how demanding this thick snow was.

But all in all, I found that the KORE 117 handled the conditions quite admirably, and I seemed to be having as much or more fun than many of my friends on their regular setups.

If I had to guess what similarly-wide skis would have fared better in this dense snow, I’d say the 190 cm Blister Pro and the 192 cm Atomic Bent Chetler — both of those skis are significantly heavier than the Kore 117, and the Blister Pro and Atomic Bent Chetler both have more tail rocker. And fatter skis like the Praxis Protest, Blizzard Spur, and DPS Lotus 138 would all have been pretty ideal options for staying on top of the glue.

All that said, I was quite pleased with how well the Kore 117 held up in these conditions. While it is not a heavily tail rockered ski, I didn’t find the tails to be getting hung up very often, and certainly when skiing at speed in sections of thick, untracked snow that was getting baked by the sun and by the very warm spring temps, the Kore 117 felt very comfortable and composed at speed.

Point is, this is a good fall-line pow ski, and if you are tracking down the fall line rather than making a ton of little low-speed pivot turns, this ski will plane and perform well even in dense, pow that is setting up fast.

NEXT: Next Day: 6” of light, dry pow on top of that 24”, Deep Chop / Big, Soft Moguls

13 comments on “2020-2021 HEAD Kore 117”

  1. Nice write up, as usual. How does this ski stack up in terms of damp/poppy, etc.?

    I’d love to see the new Enforcer Pro in the Deep Dive comparison to this ski.


  2. Very excited to read your write up of the Kore 93, especially if you are going to draw comparisons to the Enforcer 93. I’m mostly sold on the Enforcer 93 to be my next ski to balance out my Backland 109s in my 2-ski quiver but I’m intrigued enough by the possibility of what the Kore 93 could be to keep me from making the purchase. Hopefully they will both be at Alta’s demo day and I can try them back to back!

  3. I had the Collective 105’s so I am curious as to how you will review the KORE 105 when you get a chance. Have you skied any of heads other “flight” series skis? like the CYCLIC 115? The new KORES are suppose to be replacing that series so a series to series comparison could be really interesting.

  4. Hi,
    I like the review, it is pretty informative. What I understand that Kore 117 is stiffer than Moment Governor/Bibby PRO and Rossi S7 RD?
    Did I get this right?
    Thank you

  5. Between this in the 180cm 115mm waist or the Blizzard ruslter 11 in 180cm w/ 112mm waist. What has better all mountain performance to pair in between a 100mm enforcer and a 124mm moment nighttrain?

  6. You mention better options for quickness in tight spaces… Could you expand on that with a few recs or a write up?? I came here hoping kore 117 might be the answer to that question. Thanks for the article.

  7. At 5’ 11”. 170. 62 years. Need to be able to make lots of controllled tight turns in steep trees with good moderate to higher speed GS turns through chop and crud. 180 or 189?

  8. Watch Sam Kuch on these in Return to Sender! Wonder where he mounts them…?

    Also the K2 Mindbender 116 seems quite similar but softer.

  9. Can anybody speak to this vs the black crows anima…? Plan to mount with tecton 12’s. 50/50 ski. I know the anima has more weight but performance wise looking for input. Thanks.

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