2022 Head Kore 99 Ski Review: Lead Image

Ski Reviews

2022 Head Kore 99 Ski Review

The Head Kore collection has carved a little niche for itself in the ski industry. The line in general, and especially the Kore 99, has made a name for itself for being lightweight, stiff, powerful, and agile. It’s one of those skis that feels like an oxymoron. How can something this light be this stiff? For 2022, Head has revamped their Kore collection, but has retained the same theme. They’re light, they’re stiff, and they have this unique blend of power and agility that feels different than anything else out there right now.

Let’s summarize the changes to the entire collection before we dive into the 99 specifically. On the men’s side, we get an additional width in the Kore 111, and we also get a lot more lengths. Previously, in the Kore 99, we had a 162, 171, 180, and 189 cm length. Those 9 cm jumps are pretty big--bigger than most brands, at least, and it made it difficult for some skiers to choose their length. Fast forward to 2022 and now we have 6 lengths and perhaps most notably, those 6 lengths are just 7 cm apart from each other. 156, 163, 170, 177, 184, and 191 cm options are going to make it much easier for most skiers to home in on the correct length for them. We told a similar story with the new Nordica Enforcer 100, and we actually get noticeably fewer questions about length choices on that ski, so it definitely seems to work.

AT A GLANCE


2022 Head Kore 99 Skis



AVAILABLE SIZES

TURN RADIUS

SIDECUT

CORE

STRENGTHS

156, 163, 170, 177, 184, 191 cm

17 m at 177 cm

134 / 99 / 120 mm

Poplar/Karuba, Carbon, Graphene

Strength, Agility, Lightweight


A quick note on the women’s side of things. The women’s line drops the two widest skis and also features slightly different width options than the men’s side. This is actually consistent with how the Kore skis have always been. The shorter skis have been progressively narrower, so the women’s models weren’t actually as wide as their title indicated. For 2022, we get a Kore 103 W, Kore 97 W, Kore 91 W, and Kore 85 W.

So, those are the differences you’re going to see on paper. More lengths, tweaked widths on the women’s side, and an additional ski on the men’s side, the Kore 111. In addition to these changes, we also get new construction. Maybe new isn’t the right word, rather the construction has been tweaked or refined. Let’s circle back and focus on the 99 as that’s what we’re reviewing in this article. While they all share basically the same construction, there are some slight differences between the narrower (87, 93, 99) and wider (105, 111, 117) models.

2022 Head Kore 99 Ski Review: Camber Profile Image

If you recall, these skis feature some unique materials as well as a different topsheet style than any other brand. Most all of that carries over to 2022. These new skis start with a Karuba/Poplar wood core, which provides some nice pop and energy. We get carbon fiber layers both on the top and bottom of that core, which adds in a lot of precision and responsiveness. Then we get Graphene in the tips and tails of the Kore 99, shedding weight and further increasing responsiveness. Add in a vibration damping layer, some fiberglass, and Head’s Polyester Fleece topsheet (or lack of topsheet…) and that’s the construction. No more Koroyd in the 2022 ski. The way it’s pressed together also results in a different look than previous versions. There’s more of a chamfered (I don’t get to use that word nearly as much as I’d like) edge on the top of the ski now, almost like a partial cap construction. Head cites a few different reasons for this. One reason, that I think people will be psyched about, is increased durability. With this kind of finish on a ski, you’re less likely to get chipping along the sides of the ski, which a fair amount of people noted as an issue on the previous skis. Nothing structurally, but it can be annoying to see topsheet chips on a new ski. The other benefit is a slightly more compliant, playful feel, which I think is a great thing to add to the Kore 99.

On the shape side of things, there are less changes. In fact, the 2022 Kore 99 in a 177 cm length has the exact same dimensions as a 2021 Kore 99 in a 180 cm length. The rocker/camber profile is basically the same too, and I can’t really find any significant differences in the taper either. So, new construction, but basically the same shape. Cool, I like it. I had no issues with the shape of the Kores in previous years. I largely didn’t have issue with construction, either, but I can confidently say these new skis are better, at least for the vast majority of skiers.

2022 Head Kore 99 Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 1 2022 Head Kore 99 Ski Review: Full Width Action Image 2

The Kore 99, as we mentioned in the beginning of this article, is one of the top skis on the market in terms of combining a lightweight feel with a stiff flex pattern. The new Kore 99, with the new construction, is even lighter. The new ski is listed at 1800 g per ski, which is a little over 100 g lighter per ski. Sweet! That’s putting it among some of the lightest skis in this width range, at least in terms of skis that are intended for resort use, not just touring. The Kore 99 is still a stiff ski, although it’s not quite as stiff as its predecessor, which I think is a good thing. Let’s start out analysis with groomers.

When you click into a ski that’s this lightweight, you don’t expect it to be this powerful on a groomer. The Kore 99 can absolutely rip. Although it is a touch softer than the previous ski, it still requires a lot of skier input when carving. You can push as much as you want, and the ski won’t wash out. It’s a weird feeling. Not weird in performance, just weird in the sense that it doesn’t really make sense that a ski this light can do that. It reminds me of the Elan Ripstick 96 in that sense, but the Kore is stiffer. Those skis are definitely in the same conversation but have a different feel. Skiers who like a precise, stiff ski with a lot of feedback and responsiveness may prefer the Kore. It’s really interesting, actually, and that comparison is something I could spend a lot of time talking about. In theory, they basically do the same thing, but with a different attitude. The 177 cm length I tested in the Kore 99 has a 17-meter turn radius, but it actually takes some effort to get it to come across the fall line. I attribute some of that to my weight, at around 150 lbs, but it’s a ski that demands a lot of input if you’re trying to get it to flex into a shorter radius carve. On the other hand, it makes big, arcing, high speed turns 100% better than you’d expect if you just looked at its weight and shape. It’s strong, stays composed, and doesn’t really lack any edge grip.

Now, the previous ski basically had all of these characteristics as well, but the new version feels smoother. We experienced a lot less chatter in the 2022 version of the 99, as well as the other widths, even on firmer snow. This is a huge upgrade for this 99, and an improvement that a lot of skiers will appreciate. I’m not sure whether to give credit to removing Koroyd, or the chamfered shape, or the other tweaks to construction, but this new ski does feel more supple, more compliant, and has more vibration damping. At least, that’s what I found. You have to take all of that with a grain of salt, so to speak, as it’s still a highly responsive ski, but I think far less skiers will find it too responsive, whereas that seemed to happen more often with the current ski. Advanced, expert, powerful skiers had no problem with it, but some found it a little too much.

Now, when you take this ski off trail, it really starts to shine. In fact, I don’t think I would be doing it any injustice by saying there are better carving skis in this width range. If I’m insulting any ski engineers at Head, my apologies, but my point is the place where the Kore 99 is a superior ski to most is tight, technical terrain. It’s insanely agile. It’s maneuverable, it’s quick, and it does it all with a more precise, responsive feel than most. Skiers who value technical terrain and have good technique will absolutely love the Kore 99. It’s such a good ski for flicking around through trees, bumps, etc. Now, even though it’s a little softer than the previous ski, I do still think it’s best for a relatively advanced skier. The tail in particular is softer than the 2021 and prior version, but it’s still stiff enough that it can kind of accentuate a mistake. Advanced and expert skiers won’t have any issue with this. When you make a mistake, the ski lets you know, which is a nice feature. An intermediate, on the other hand, may find it a bit overwhelming and would likely be better off on a softer-flexing, more smeary, slarvy ski, rather than one that’s so quick and responsive.

All these tweaks to construction and the resulting changes in performance are great. I like the new Kore 99 more than I liked the older Kore 99. I don’t think there will be many skiers who don’t… In fact, I can’t really think of anyone who wouldn’t value the changes to this ski. It feels right at home at Stowe too. You can rip around on steep groomers like Hayride, Nosedive, and Lift Line, then go ski some technical double fall line bumps on National, Lookout, and Starr. Then you can go venture into the Notch and ski some technical tree lines. It does a lot and is a valuable ski for a high-level skier. As a bonus, 1800 grams per ski is undoubtedly light enough to use as a touring ski. So you could slap something like a Duke PT or a Shift on the Kore 99 and use it in the resort, in the backcountry, and basically anywhere you can think of.

2022 Head Kore 99 Ski Review: Buy Now Image

Written by Jeff Neagle on 03/11/21

20 thoughts on “2022 Head Kore 99 Ski Review

  1. Great review as usual. Thanks!
    I am planning to buy new skis. Now I'm not sure if I should buy the 2021 model or wait for the 2022 model 🙂
    Does the Kore 93 get same kind of upgrade?

    1. HI Hasse!
      Kore 93 gets the same treatment. It's not a whole different ski, like when Salomon released its Stance line last year, the Kore is still the Kore, just a bit of a refresh. If you can get the 2021 at a good deal, I'd go that route rather than wait, unless you like having the latest stuff!
      SE

    1. Hi Bo!
      Weight is the big difference. Kore is lighter, quicker, and more agile, but the M6 is quite a bit more powerful and damp. I'd rather take the Kore into the bumps and trees, and I think the lighter ski is the better floater, but for a wider, more precise on-trail carver, the M6 is pretty slick. Have fun!
      SE

  2. I enjoyed the review and Head's initiative to re-size and offer more sizes to the range. Are they doing the same for the Kore 93? Alternating between Australia, New Zealand and Japan the 93 is a waist width that is in my sweet spot zone. I have skiied the 180 cm length as a demo rental enjoyed it but found that it was on small side for me (186cm, 80kg). No 188cm was on offer to hire having said that I reckon the 184cm length might just be spot on for me as a one quiver ski particularly when it comes to the moguls and trees.

    1. HI Rick!
      I think I answered on another thread, but yes, that filters into the 93 and 87. I think that 184 is going to hit a lot more skiers, including yourself!
      SE

  3. Hi Jeff, fantastic review as always!
    Some nice tree/bump skiing @ 12:45 in your video. In that terrain, which would you prefer more, the Kore or an Enforcer (100 or 94) - or something else?
    Cheers!

    1. HI David!
      Thanks! The more I skied the Kore, the more I like how it handled the bumps and trees, especially when the conditions were less than fresh powder. In the fresh snow, I'd rather be on my Enforcer 104, but for most other conditions, I am very impressed with the maneuverability of the Kore. Have fun!
      SE/Jeff

  4. Good review and a welcome change re: length options and forgiveness. Does the Kore 93 get the same treatment re: length options?

  5. Thanks for the great review. I am looking at the Kore 87. Does it get the same treatment in terms of new lengths? Additionally, what would you recommend as a "softer-flexing, more smeary, slarvy ski, rather than one that’s so quick and responsive?" As an advanced-intermediate who spends afternoons skiing with the 6 year old, smeary, slarvy skis have some value to me. I demoed the 2021 Kore 87 and the Kanjo 84 this weekend and I felt like the Kore 87 was the better ski for me, solo, on steeper groomed blacks, but was a little bit harder to maneuver when I needed to make sure the kid was still following my big turns across the blues and was skiing more upright. The Kanjo, on the other hand, felt better suited for this, but I did feel was a bit at a disadvantage compared to the Kore 87 when I was trying to push things on my own. Does this make sense? I liked the Kore 87 a lot, and feel like I will appreciate its lightweight nature/lack of metal skiing both for me (I don't go hard enough, nor am I technically proficient enough for an Enforcer or Brahma for example) and with the kid, but am wondering if there is something I am missing? Ripstick 88? I mostly ski NH Whites, and then Wachussett when there's a travel order in place... Thanks so much.

    1. HI Crofton!
      I think you're experiences are right on the mark. You will likely have a similar experience on the Ripstick as the Kanjo, as they're a bit more flexible than the Kore. In that mid-upper 80's range, if you want to go a tad wider, the K2 Mindbender 90 Ti is a great choice as well. Kind of splits the middle between the Brahmas and the Kanjos of the world. It's a bit heavier than the Kore, but you do get stability to go along with that. For 2022, check out the Rossignol Experience 86 Ti as well. Lots of good stuff out there!
      SE

      1. Awesome. Thanks. So would you say both the Experience 86 and the Mindbender 90 offer more versatility and forgiveness than the Kore 87 then? Your review of the Experience 86 makes this very appealing if it can let me get into a metal carving ski without having to be “on” all the time and still be able to skid with the kid (and I saw some skidding in the video so that has me hopeful). Thanks so much.

        1. HI Crofton!
          I think the Kore and the Experience are similar in terms of stiffness, with the Kore coming in at a lower weight. This makes the Kore a bit more maneuverable, especially when combined with the more all-mountain shape and profile. The nice thing about the Experience is that it does have a range that can accommodate both the pure carvers and the fun skidders. Out of that group, I would say the Mindbender 90Ti is the most versatile. It's heavier than the Kore, so forgiveness can be tough to judge because the Kore is quicker, but stiffer. Hope that helps!
          SE

  6. You guys have the best reviews. Super informative! So as a primary east (ice) coast skier with maybe 1 trip out west per year, I’m looking to replace my head monster 87s from 12 years ago. They have been pretty good to me as I enjoyed them on the groomers and knowing I had an extra gear to let them fly. They were manageable in the bumps and trees but just felt a bit awkward and required a bit more work. I’m looking at getting more in the bumps and off piste in the trees and I want to be able to keep up with my kids as they get lost at Jay Peak’s Timbuktu trail and be able to get grip down a few steep ice faces. Also, once in a while I’ll seek out a park jump to get a little air. I’ve narrowed down to kore 93 (2022), Fischer 94 FR, and elan ripstick black quad rod 96 (2022). I have ideas of touring but on rare occasions. I think the rustler 9 is out as it seems a bit heavy. Recommendations? (And length)

    I’m 51yrs, advanced skier, 5’ 9”tall and 168lbs currently on 170 length.

    1. Thanks, Mike!
      Good list you've got--more right than wrong with any of those. The Kore is a fantastic tree ski--so light and maneuverable. The Fischer is a bit softer and more playful. We are all very impressed with the 2022 Ripstick Black 96, however, as that ski just checks a ton of boxes. Softer in the shovel than the other skis, it's got a very strong kick at the end, and for a ski without metal, it is about as stable and damp as it gets--a very successful application of carbon. For stronger icy performance, and a really quick ski in the woods, it does not get much better than the Kore, but we're talking pretty small differences. I'd stick to the 170ish lengths. Have fun!
      SE

  7. Really enjoy the reviews! How would you compare this ski with the Atomic Maverick 100 ti? They seem to share some similar characteristics. Thanks!

    1. HI Chris!
      The shovels of the Maverick are a bit softer than those in the 99--that's the big flex difference. The Maverick is still a bit heavier due to the metal, but also surprisingly light for metal. I would say that the Maverick is still more stable and damp as a result. Kore is quicker, especially in the tail. Have fun!
      SE

  8. I had about 100 days on my Kore 93's (180) before the ski gave way right behind the binding on a wet powder day at Snowmass. It was my favorite ski of all time even though I was not pleased that Head would not stand behind what I considered a defect. Even before I blew-out the ski I already had my eyes on the 105's. I just kept wishing they would come out with a 184 so when I saw the 2022 lineup it was a simple decision for me. I was able to demo the new ski a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately it was on a sheet of spring ice so I learned very little. My purpose in moving up to the 184 - 105's was for those 2" - 8" days. My only concern is how much of the quickness that I loved in the 180 - 93's will be lost moving up to the 184 - 105's. My current powder skis are some Liberty 182 - 115's and Fisher 182 - 115 planks. I expect the Kore 105's to be the perfect cross between a very quick, light ski that is stable at high speed on the groomers but can rip up the average powder day. I also liked the fact the Head stated the 2022 models were going to be both more playful as well as more stable at speed. We will see.

    1. HI Joe!
      Most skiers are pretty excited about the new lengths, myself included. You likely won't notice a huge difference in any lack of quickness with the extra 4 cm in the 93, and in the 105, it's just a great ski. These are all improvements over the older versions, as the skis retain their stiffness and quickness, and ditch some of the chatteriness that I thought was a bit excessive. Have fun!
      SE

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