2020 Head Absolut Joy

The 2020 Head Absolut Joy is a bit stiffer this year, with a Graphene power sidewall jacket. This gives the skis strong torsional stiffness and additional edge hold. For skiers who are looking to advance and perfect the carved turn, the Absolut Joy truly lives up to its name. With a 79 mm underfoot width, the skis are very quick from edge to edge, and the shape combined with the construction makes them super-grippy on even the hardest snow. You’ll have a ton of confidence, and that will make you want to strive for and advance to the next level of skiing. While not built for off-piste adventures, they’re still light and maneuverable enough to get your exploration on, and you’ll be stoked on how nimble they are, even in softer snow. Tip rocker assists with turn initiation, while the camber underfoot and throughout the tail really holds on tight. The flat tail loves to grip the turn until the end, and when it releases, all that energy that’s built up in the core and in the sidewall will rebound you into the next turn. Stay balanced, because they’re pretty quick. The 13.5-meter turn radius at the 163 cm length is pretty short, so slalom-style turns will be the preferred shape. If you like carving, that’s going to be a big selling point. Our testers loved the quick and nimble nature of the ski, and all peg it as a solid intermediate level ski.

Morgan Nichols skied the 153 but found it short. For how light it is, Morgan should be on a longer size. Regardless, her scores of 5 out of 5 for quickness, maneuverability, playfulness, and forgiveness should not be overlooked. She also had a very favorable overall impression of the ski, with her score appearing to be right on the line of 4 and 5. “This ski hooks right up and holds the turn, making any skier look good.” In terms of the forgiving nature of her 153 cm test length, the Absolut Joy is “definitely softer and better for quick turns. It’s probably too soft for a heavier or more advanced skier.” Good point by Morgan, as the Absolut Joy is best enjoyed when the skier is lighter or looking to improve.

Susan Dorn skied the 158 and, like Morgan, found her test length to be on the short side. She was all 3’s right down the middle with an unsurprising exception for a 2 in flotation. Powder skis these are not. But her scores do reflect a well-rounded nature of the skis that’s nice to see. Susan calls the Absolut Joy a “nice, smooth intermediate ski. Turns easily and holds well. Nothing phases it. good all-around, even in bumps.” Susan’s a pretty accomplished skier, so we take her at her word when she notes that the ski is “a little too light, though—not quite enough damping.” For advanced and expert skiers, the Absolut Joy might feel airy, according to Susan.

Also on the 158, Carly Monahan felt like she could have used a bigger ski as well. Resulting high scores of 4 out of 5 for quickness, maneuverability, and forgiveness are not shocking. Carly calls the Absoult Joy “very light and forgiving. If mellow cruisin’ is your thing, these skis will surely put a smile on your face.” Sounds good to us, Carly!

Just because a ski is light doesn’t mean it’s unstable, and we see that pretty clearly with the Absolut Joy. It certainly doesn’t perform like a race ski, and it’s not intended to. It’s designed and built perfectly for the advancing beginner and intermediate crowd who is looking to get better, improve, and not get weighed down in the process.


Carly Monahan

Age: 33Height: 5'4"Weight: 135 lbs.

Ski Style: Athletic and active, but laid back

Sam Purnell

Age: 26Height: 5'5"Weight: 130 lbs.

Ski Style: Strong and athletic with an adventurous spirit

Morgan Nichols

Age: 37Height: 5'6"Weight: 175 lbs.

Ski Style: Smooth, fun, and playful with the terrain

Susan Dorn

Age: 61Height: 5'2"Weight: 130 lbs.

Ski Style: Deliberate, smooth, Masters ski racer

39 Comments on the “2020 Head Absolut Joy”

  1. Is there a possibility these would be “too easy” for a skiier? I’ve been skiing for years (but only a couple of a times on a mountain for a season) and haven’t progressed past low intermediate mainly due to confidence. I’ve also been skiing on my beginner skis the entire time (Rossignol Saphir LX) so definitely time for an upgrade. I like the sounds of the confidence building, but don’t want to outgrow a new pair too quickly. I ski only in the Northeast so the comment about gripping the hard snow also sounds good.

    Also, is there a major difference between this year’s model and last year’s?


    1. Hi Kaitlyn!
      Yes, they’re a bit different–stiffer and more performance than last year, but not a major difference. And yes again, it is certainly possible for a ski to be “too easy” and for you, I think this might be the case with the Absolut Joy, and especially the older version. If you’re overpowering the ski, it gets floppy and choppy, and this is no good. On the other hand, too stiff, and you won’t be able to control it as well. Check out the Blizzard Black Pearl 78 as a good in-between version. I’d look for that upper 70 to low-80’s underfoot width with a wood core. Have fun!

  2. My wife is a beginner-intermediate skier in her 50s, 5’10” at around 145lbs with 3 seasons under her belt. She’s currently on Rossignol Famous 2s in 149cm (126-74-111). We ski primarily East Coast (Western NC) but are now taking an annual trip out west. She progressed pretty quickly after a few one on one lessons but seems to have hit a plateau at this point. She’s not an aggressive skier, certainly doesn’t attack turns laying the ski hard on edge. She does ski parallel but often times, her turns aren’t initiated parallel but rather starting the turn with the downhill ski and sliding/dragging the other ski around after he turn has been initiated. She skis greens confidently and does quite well on blues when snow conditions are good. When crud/chop begins to form, she gets very nervous and cautious, especially when she approaches a steeper pitch on a blue. I know her technique needs more refinement and I doubt she’ll ever be truly aggressive, I’d just like her to be more comfortable and confident on the steeper end of blue pitches where they’ve started to get tracked up and crud building.

    Beyond additional lessons to work on technique, I’m wondering if she’s reached a point where her skis could be holding her progress back. I’m thinking some additional float and rocker would help which would certainly demand a little wider and significantly longer ski. I’m just not sure if that would be too much ski for her. My top contenders have been the Absolute Joy and Black Pearl 78 in the upper 150s to low 160s length. What are your thoughts on this? Is it time for an upgrade both in ski and length? Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of options for doing a lot of demos in our area so I’m trying to do a lot of research on what the answer might be.

    On an unrelated note, it seems you no longer offer DPS Phantom service on your packages. Have you just stopped all together for some reason or is there a way to include it that just doesn’t show up on the ski selection page?

    1. Hi Brandon!
      We do offer Phantom on any ski, it’s just not on all of our product pages. If you don’t see the option, please call and we’ll be sure to tack it on to your order. I think the uptick in performance will do a lot of good things, and I think the 78 to 84 mm underfoot range is a good one. I do think the Head will be about the same in terms of light weight and short turns as the Famous, so I’d lean more toward the Black Pearl. Also, if you liked the Rossi, check out the Experience 84 for a slightly wider choice–certainly not too wide that it’ll compromise firm snow performance. I’d say the upper 150’s is a good place to start, but try to keep it under 165. Hope that helps!

  3. Hi! Maybe you could help me find the right size of skis for me, I’m interested in these Head Absolute Joy 2020, I’m undecided between 153 and 158. I’m about 5’6” (168 cm) and 55 KG (123 lbs) , I’m a good skier, but I don’t like to go too fast 🙂
    What would you reccomend?

    1. Hi Ines!
      Given your speed preference, I’d say the 153 is the way to go. They’re fun and great turners! Have fun!

  4. Hi, I am 64 yo female . I ski for years , since my early childhood. Recently I do not that much time to ski , but we go for few days ski trips 2 to 3 times a year /East Coast.I think one could call me intermediate skier.
    My height is 5,5 feet , weight 145 lbs.
    For years I use now Dynastar 144cm.
    I think it is time to change them.
    I was thinking of Head Absolute Joy or Pure Joy 148cm
    Another would be Atomic Cloud 9 148cm.
    Which one you would advise ?:)

    1. Hi Wiesia!
      Great options! All pretty similar, with the Head skis being a bit lighter than the Atomic, which will give you some more stability. I’d go with the Cloud!

      1. Hi! I’ve started looking at getting a set of skis for myself since we skied for a couple days in Ohio back in Feb. The Absolut Joy seems to check a lot of boxes, but I welcome your input for options to look at. I’m pretty sure I want skis specifically for women. I’m 5’2” and 140lbs. This was my 3rd season skiing but first paying attention to my rentals. I had a pair of 140 Rossignols the first day and 142 Head the second day (but I couldn’t figure out anything else about the skis.) We skied mostly afternoon and into evening…green into blue the first day and blue the second day. I was struggling going over ice and crud by the end of the second day. I’m not sure how much of it was because of my skill or my skis. We will mostly be skiing in the Midwest, and occasionally upper Michigan gets some fresh powder. I’m not an aggressive skier and will be chasing after my 7 yr old and helping teach my 4 yr old next year.

        1. HI Lori!
          The Absolut Joy is incredibly fun, light, and easy to turn, and I’m not that surprised that the skis struggled in ice and crud because they just don’t have the power to grip and float like some heavier skis do. Slightly burlier, check out the Volkl Yumi 80 and Nordica Astral 78–just a bit more power, but certainly not overwhelming. Have fun!

          1. Thanks! Do you have a recommendation on length? Charts seem to give a really wide variety, and I felt our local ski guy was just trying to sell me what he had in stock.

          2. HI Lori!
            I’d look to a chin-nose high length on those skis. Have fun!

  5. I like your reviews and hope that you can help me select a ski. I am in my 60’s, have skied 6-7x per season for the last 30 years with the exception of the last 4 years. Haven’t been on the mountain for 4 years. We ski at Tahoe and generally pick good-condition days to ski. At this stage, my preference is for challenging, groomed blue runs. My 18-year-old skis are Volkl 163cm. I’m 5’0″ and 120 lbs. Time to get new skis and I’m looking at 2020 Head Absolut Joy (148 cm) or Salomon QST (153 cm). Recommendations?

    1. HI SC!
      Both solid choices! The QST is a bit more energetic and all-mountain oriented, while the Head has more of a carving mentality. This makes it a bit more precise–the tails want to stay engaged and hooked in rather than the QST which has a bit more of a playful and well-rounded feel. I think the more all-mountain ski is a better choice, so I’d look at that QST 85 as well as the K2 Mindbender Alliance 85 and the Blizzard Black Pearl 82. I’d look to that low 150 size range in any of those skis. Have fun!

  6. Hi I would appreciate any recommendation. I’m 45 years old female 5’3” 97 lbs. I have had a dynastar 140 cm for 10 years sking in New England with lots of ice! I’m intermediate and doesn’t like to go too fast. I mostly ski the blue trail. I’m looking to upgrade to a newer technology. Thank you.

    1. HI Nster!
      I’d look for something like the Elan Wildcat 76 or the Rossignol Experience 74W. Both light and easy to use, but with the newer tech, they’re good carvers and quite grippy! I think your size and your propensity for slower speeds puts you in one of these lighter skis, and even though they may be marketed for beginners, they do have a reasonably higher ceiling than the beginner skis of yesteryear. 145ish for sizing, I’d say. Have fun!

  7. Hi! I was hoping to get some help with sizing! I’m 5’8, 137lbs and low intermediate skier (can do blues and some blue/blacks but don’t like to go too fast). I’m deciding between the 153 and 158 and am looking for skis that still give me some room for improvement. I live in California and usually go up to Mammoth and Tahoe 2-3 times per year. What would you recommend? Thanks for your help!!

    1. HI Linda!
      I think the 158 is the proper size, but if you’re looking for slower speeds and mellower skiing, there’s nothing wrong with the 153, it just won’t be quite as stable as the longer ski. Have fun!

  8. Hi! Looking for help to find the right size of skis. I’m interested in the Head Absolute Joy 2020, but don’t know if I should get 148 or 153. I am about 5’5”. I have skied for 25+ years and am looking for new skis to replace my straight skis from about 20 years ago! I’m a good skier, but I as I get older, I am not as daring or fast, lol! Would that be a good ski? Any recommendations on ski length? Thank you!

  9. Hi! I’m deciding between the head absolute joy and Salomon aira 76 st and would love any help in deciding between the two. It’s for my mom who is 63 years old getting back into skiing after not skiing for over 35 years. Hence she considers herself a beginner, mainly to cruise on groomers and learning with her young grandkids who got started this year. She is 5’0” weighs 97lbs mostly ski west coast Seattle area. She prefers slightly shorter skis. Thanks in advance!

    1. HI Mimi!
      There’s not a whole lot of discernable differences between those skis at a beginner level. The Salomon is perhaps a bit more stable, but also a tad heavier. At her size, that would make me lean to the Head, and something in the low to mid 140’s would be good for sizing. Have fun!

  10. Hi! I’m trying to find a pair of skis – maybe you can help? I’m a 37yo beginner in alpine but overall athletic (and experienced in cross country skiing). I’ve only tried alpine twice so far (both this winter) and luckily seemed to be able to learn relatively quickly. The Absolut Joy seems to tick a lot of boxes but I’ll admit my understanding is still super limited 🙂

    I’d say I’m looking for more groomed slopes, but want to be able to feel confident in softer snow too. Not looking to go super fast – mostly to have fun, and build skills! I’m 5’5″ and 136 lbs. Would you recommend Absolut Joy or are there others that come to mind? Also wondering which length to go for 🙂 Thanks in advance!

    1. HI Pinja!
      If you’re looking for something light that turns easily on groomers, there’s not a lot better out there than the Absolut Joy. If you’re looking for something that’ll have more versatility, I’d recommend looking at the Blizzard Black Pearl 78–narrow enough for easy turning, but with more of an all-mountain personality, rather than just groomers. I’d look to the low 150’s for sizing. Have fun!

  11. Hello! I’m looking for a new ski to add to my quiver and have been considering the 2020 Absolut Joy. I’ve been skiing for about 8 years now as an adult, but only ski 3-8 days a season, typically in CO or another Epic resort in the US/CA. I’d consider myself an intermediate but am a pretty cautious skier and definitely not a speed demon or aggressive.

    I currently have a pair of 2018 Black Pearl 88s in 158 that I LOVE for mixed conditions (powder, crud, ungrommed trails, the times I get coaxed into the trees by better skiers) but I CAN’T carve yet and certainly not on my Black Pearls. I think they’re too wide to get on edge and I end up setting my downhill ski while my uphill ski’s tail skids. I’m looking for a lightweight ski that i can learn to carve on to make groomers as fun as light powder on my BPs.

    Note, I also own a pair of used demo Cheyenne’s from 2014 in 163. I’ve skied on them a few times but haven’t opten to bring them on my recent trips because they’re heavier and longer, so I can’t turn them as easily and they tire me out.

    What would you recommend for my frontside-specific ski that teaches me how to carve? Should I just stick with my Cheyenne’s and power through it, or would would the Absolut Joy be a good option for me? Or something else?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. HI Sasha!
      The Absolut Joy is lighter and a bit softer than the Cheyenne, so it will allow you to carve easier, but not necessarily with the same gusto. It’s also possible that the demo bindings are weighing you down too much? Either way, it sounds like you are looking for lighter, and the Head certainly is that ski. If you’re more cautious than aggressive, I think it’s a great choice. Have fun!

      1. Thank you! If I Have BP 88s in 158 and Cheyenne 78 in 163, which size would you recommend in the Absolute Joy (158 vs 163)? The 163 doesn’t bother me and seems appropriate, but not sure in the effective edge is shorter on the Cheyenne 78 than the Absolut? For reference I’m 126 lbs and 5’5”. If this is a slightly less aggressive ski I’m leaning toward 163 for a bit more stability. Thank you!

        1. HI Sasha!
          The Absolut Joy is light and quick enough so that the 163 makes more sense, especially if you’re looking to get a bit more stability in longer turns. Have fun!

  12. Hi I recently purchased the Head Absolute Joys in 143 length but I am worried they are too short. I am a beginner looking to become more confident on the green trails and progress to blues. I can ski a blue but will do quick stops once I pick up speed because I get nervous. I am 5’3”, 138lbs. and ski in Maine.
    Do you think I should exchange my absolute joys for a 153?

  13. My wife is 62, 5-0 tall, 100 pounds. Been skiing 4-6 times a year for 6 years , then stopped 4 ago after a fire claimed all of our gear including her 150cm Rossi Bandits. Very comfortable on Greens and can ski Blues but since she is not skiing parallel, she has trouble controlling speed and has a tendency to sit back when challenged with steeper runs. This year we got her the 2020 Absolut Joys in 153cm and she is not confident on them for some reason. They are only 3cm longer than her Rossi Bandits, which she loved. Should she be on a shorter Absolut Joy?? I would love for her to progress out of wedge turns and start moving on to parallel

    1. HI JPM!
      What’s the boot situation? The skis sound fine–light enough and short enough, so maybe the boots are the issue? The shorter length wouldn’t hurt, I just wonder if there’s a fit problem with the footwear that’s keeping the input from going from the foot to the ski.

  14. Hello! I am looking for my first pair of skis and I hope that you can help! I have always skied on rentals, so I don’t have an old pair to compare to.

    I am 19 years old and have been skiing actively for 8 years. I go mostly on reds, but often ski on blacks as well. I would like to be stable at speed. Sometimes I like to wander in the powder. I am 5’4 and 115 lbs. Would the Absolut Joy be a good match for me, and if not, what would be more appropriate? Also I don’t know which size to choose.

    1. HI Maria!
      Light, fun, and easy to turn, the Absolut Joy makes a great first set. I’d look to the low 150’s for length. Have fun!

  15. Hi! I’m hoping you can help me decide if Absolut Joy is the right skis for me. I’m fairly new at skiing (second season) but learned at Jackson and had a terrible time coming down the “blues” there. But have been skiing blues at Mammoth with more ease. I have Volkl Flair 76 Elite Women’s Skis 154cm currently. Am working on improving parallel skiing and hockey stops. I’m 5’5″ and 125 lbs. As a 46 year old, my goals are to have some fun ski days with my kids and husband.

    1. HI Soyun!
      I’d look for something more all-mountain oriented like the Blizzard Black Pearl 78 or 82, or the Volkl Yumi 80. As opposed to some of these system skis with integrated bindings that are happier in a carved turn. The more all-mountain skis can release from turns easier, helping you with the hockey stops and are more geared to having fun. I’d stick to the mid-150’s for length in those skis. Have fun!

  16. Looking for a lightweight ski for my advanced intermediate 12 year old daughter. 75 pounds, 5 feet tall, skis moderately fast and comfortable on all terrain, although we ski mostly groomers in the blue black range. Would these be a good first adult ski? My concern is obviously her weight.

    1. HI Suzi!
      They’re light skis and easy to turn, so I wouldn’t worry so much about her weight. I’d look to the shorter lengths. Have fun!

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