In its second year, the Head Kore 99 sits pretty amongst the Kore line, as arguably the most versatile. In taking aim at some of the more prominent ~99/100 mm underfoot all-mountain skis in its class, the Kore 99 sets itself apart due to its metal-free construction. It’s got a useful shape and profile—perfectly suited to be a one-ski quiver regardless of home terrain. For a 99, it carves surprisingly well and has good energy out of the turn. Conversely, you’ll be set up for success in the soft snow, as the taper shape and rocker profile make it ski wider than the width indicates. Built like the rest of the Kore skis, the 99 has a Karuba wood core and a combination of Graphene, Koroyd, and Carbon built in to the laminates. This build keeps the skis light but stiff, so a wide variety of skier types can enjoy the Kore 99. Sizing can be a bit funky with the Kore line, as their sizes break every 9 cm, so some skiers can feel like they are in between lengths. If you tend to be on the aggressive side of the spectrum, we usually recommend sizing up. Our testers generally loved the stability and quickness of the Kore 99, with some testers being pretty surprised at how much they liked the ski.
Justin Perry was right at home on his 180 cm test length. His scores were all 4’s and 5’s, with 5’s given for versatility, torsional stiffness, edge hold, and playfulness. He didn’t happen to include a score for overall impression, but his quote makes me think that it’d be pretty high. “This ski blows my mind. It feels stiffer and is wider than the 93 and it shows on the way down. Amazing edge hold, super-playful, and so very quick from edge to edge.” You don’t usually expect such strong edge control on a ski this light, so that’s a good thing to hear from Justin, who in regards to the Kore 99, “would rip again.”
Michael Carroll-Sherwin is in the “this ski needs more speed” camp. He felt that way about the other Kore models too, so it’s not just specific to the 99 for Mike. He felt that the 180 was too short, so he’s also in the “I should size up on this thing” group. Regardless, he had some high scores on his card, with stability, quickness, and edge hold all getting 5’s out of 5. His lowest score was a 3 out of 5 for forgiveness, and that is unsurprising, as the skis are quite stiff. He notes in terms of speed: “This ski needs to run. Open trail and powder bowls make this ski happy.” Conversely, “tight woods and slower speeds are not these ski’s strengths.” Fair enough, with a stiffer ski, making it turn tightly can be more laborious.
Preferring the 180 over the longer or shorter, Josh Wolfgang was a fan of the Kore 99’s flotation, quickness, forgiveness, and playfulness. His overall impression score of 4 is pretty awesome, showing the versatility and all-mountain poise of the Kore 99. “I thought this was a pretty darn good all-mountain ski. I enjoyed bumps and it was forgiving enough when you were caught off-balance.” So Josh is a bit on the other end as Michael, in that they had differing opinions as to the slow speed, quick turning personality (or lack thereof) of the Kore 99. Josh did not find the ski to be overbearing, and as a result, he felt like he could turn it quicker. These quotes are, in fact, backed up by their scores, which is nice to see.
If you’re looking for a high-performance and light-weight all-mountain ski with a ton of upside and very few downsides, the Kore 99 is a really strong performer. Personally, I love the 99, and do not equate it to the rest of the Kore series, but rather its own entity that lives and skis in an entirely different universe. It’s pretty awesome.