Ski: 2018-2019 HEAD Kore 93, 180 cm
Available Lengths: 153, 162, 171, 180, 189 cm
Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 179.1 cm
Stated Weight per Ski: not listed
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1585 & 1586 grams
Stated Dimensions (180 cm): 133-93-115 mm
Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 132.5-92.5-114 mm
Stated Sidecut Radius (180 cm): 16.4 meters
Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 59 mm / 19 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3 mm
Core: Graphene, Koroyd, & Karuba wood
Base: Structured diecut UHM C base
Factory Recommended Mount Point: -11.15 cm from center; 78.4 cm from tail
[Note: Our review was conducted on the 17/18 Kore 93, which was not changed for 18/19, apart from graphics.]
HEAD says about the Kore 93, “Sometimes it’s deep. Sometimes it’s tracked. Sometimes it’s bumped. Lots of times it’s groomed. If this is when and where you ski, then the 93 is for thee. Any condition, anytime.”
“Any condition, anytime.” Well that certainly puts us squarely into one-ski quiver territory. Question is, is there reason to think that the Kore 93 can really pull it off?
For as long as I can remember, HEAD has specialized in making heavy skis (often the heaviest in their class) with a solid race construction. But at less than 1600 grams per ski, the KORE 93 is significantly lighter than most other skis in it’s class (which tend to range from 1800-2100 grams).
We are very quick to point out around here that lightweight construction often negatively affects the downhill performance of a ski. So for a company like HEAD that has strong race roots (where downhill performance is the primary goal), creating such a light ski is a dramatic statement, and it begs the question: Is HEAD onto something special with their KORE series in terms of lightweight construction and downhill performance? Or are they just after a piece of the trendy, lightweight pie?
As you know by now, the primary story with the Kore lineup is the weight of these skis. HEAD claims that their KORE skis are the highest performing and lightest skis in their respective categories. And as we wrote in our review of the 189 cm Kore 105, that ski may actually be the lightest we’ve ever seen for a ski of its length and width.
And the same is true for the Kore 93. Take a look at these comparisons in the 93-98mm width range:
180 cm HEAD Kore 93: 1585 & 1586 g
185 cm Blizzard Zero G 95: 1353 & 1376 g
184 cm Salomon MTN Explore 95: 1507 & 1595 g
178 cm Black Crows Camox Freebird: 1661 & 1664 g
180 cm Fischer Ranger 98 Ti: 1807 & 1833 g
187 cm Liberty Origin 96: 1991 & 1997 g
185 cm Nordica Enforcer 93: 2114 & 2133 g
180 cm Blizzard Bonafide (16/17): 2167 & 2199 g
The first thing to keep in mind: HEAD is positioning the Kore 93 as a high-performance inbounds ski. So in terms of ski shape and purpose, the Nordica Enforcer 93 and Blizzard Bonafide are really the closest comparables here. And take a look at the weight difference.
It’s also interesting to note the weight of the Blizzard Zero G 95, which is a dedicated touring ski, and the Salomon MTN Explore 95, which is a dedicated touring ski that has gained some traction as a “50/50” ski.
But again, I think it’s important to note that HEAD isn’t thinking of this as a “50/50” ski, and as I wrote in our Blister SIA Awards, HEAD wanted us to put this ski up against the heaviest skis listed here. Swagger indeed. But we’ve gotten good enough results in our reviews of the Kore 105 and 117, we’re genuinely curious to see what this Kore 93 can do.
Another thing I’m psyched on is that the Kore 93 has a bit less tip taper than the Kore 105 and 117. I think that’s a good thing, and if you want to geek out a bit about tip shapes in particular, you might want to give this Blister podcast episode a listen.
Flex Pattern: KORE 93, 180 cm
All three skis in the Kore lineup have very similar flex profiles. Hand flexing the 93, here’s how I’d sum it up:
Behind the Heel piece: 9-8.5
FWIW, the tails of the 93 feel very similar to the 189 cm Kore 105, while the shovels of the Kore 105 actually feel just a touch stiffer than the shovels of the 180 cm KORE 93.
And just to show how similar these skis feel, here are our numbers on the Kore 105 and 1117:
Flex Pattern: KORE 105, 189 cm
Behind the Heel piece: 10-9
Flex Pattern, KORE 117, 189 cm
Behind the Heel piece: 10-9
Point is, all three skis have a pretty burly flex pattern. So if you know you prefer softer, more buttery flex patterns, these might not be your skis.
Also, the Kore 93 (like the Kore 105 and Kore 117) has a very traditional mount point (Kore 93 = -11.15 cm). So while we haven’t tried slamming bindings forward to -4 cm (in the way that we never tried to turn the Nordica Enforcer 93 or Blizzard Bonafide into some jib ski), I think it’s best for most skiers to think of the Kore skis as very lightweight, directional options.
Low Weight + Stiff Flex
This is a combination that we haven’t always found to work well on snow; light & stiff has often produced a pretty jarring ride that lacks suspension and damping.
But so far with the Kore 117 and 105, I have to say that we’ve been pretty impressed. Yes, these are light skis, but they have not produced that jarring, tin-like sensation on snow.
But with the narrowest Kore 93, we’re moving more and more toward a width that you might use when it hasn’t snowed for several weeks, so really, the Kore 93 seems like it will be the toughest test of HEAD’s construction — can this ski really smooth out variable snow and firm, chunked-up or refrozen nastiness as well as the heaviest skis in the category do? Our intuition says no, but we shall see.
But given how well the other Kore skis have performed, we are ready to believe that the 93 is going to be a blast on clean groomers and softer, fairly-forgiving off-piste snow.
What about the Kore 93 as a “50/50” or dedicated touring ski?
Well, it’s certainly in an extremely competitive weight range, so we’ll be weighing in on how these skis would perform with touring bindings. And we’ll predict that in terms of strength to weight, this ski is going to be impressive.
It’s also worth noting, perhaps, that this is not a wildly-rockered-out 93 mm ski that has clearly been optimized to plane up in deeper snow. The 180 cm Blizzard Bonafide has a deeper tip rocker line, and skis like the Liberty Origin 96 have way more tip and tail rocker to aid flotation.
But having said that, the combination of the Kore 93’s low weight and very traditional mount point may go a long way toward helping it to plane in deeper snow.
The biggest question mark for us, really, is that the 180 cm Kore 93 has a pretty tight sidecut radius of 16.4 meters, which doesn’t sound ideal for dealing with punchy, grabby, backcountry snow. But stated sidecut numbers rarely tell the whole story, so we’re just going to have to get this ski on snow. Still, the idea of touring on this ski up to a big, wide-open bowl of soft spring corn, or to billygoat down a steep, consequential, wind-scoured couloir … it’s easy to imagine this ski shining in either scenario.
NEXT: ON-SNOW PERFORMANCE