Old-world heritage or the new order who hasn't built a true hard-snow ski this century?
Here we have traditional skis from the winningest manufacturer in the World Cup and past Olympics, as well as the red-white-and-blue ski builder with more recent experience on the X-Games podium. It is a good thing there are new contenders like the SuperCharger that are keeping Head from resting on its laurels. Choices, choices ....
Starting with the Head, it is the reigning champ in this class, and it has earned its stripes. The iRally is all new for this year, and if you have read anything I have written, you know that I think it has more purpose, aka more precision and accuracy on the snow. Head included Graphene in its halo collection for this year; combining that ingredient with the new shape adds a new level of fun to the 76mm Supershape. Head chose to stay with the proven PRD12 binding system as the interface. If you are between sizes, err on the shorter of the two.
There are always one or two surprises at the ski tests every year. No one expected the Super Charger, no one expected a hard-snow ski this good to come from K2. K2 lately has been taking the middle-of-the-road approach with most of its skis, good skis for everyone, easy and playful bit not precise or serious. No one ever said, "Damn, if I was on an Amp 80XTi, today would be perfect." I received a few PMs and e-mails questioning my review of the Super Charger because it didn't do that well in some magazine tests. I replied, "So what. You know, our reviews are not like magazine reviews; we are going against the norm, like K2 is challenging the system with this new collection." This is a serious ski, all you have to do is pick it up and flex it. Take a look at the sidewalls that extend from tip to tail and the rockerless square tail. The binding option is Marker's X-Cell 12 or 14DIN; the only way it could be better is if K2 used Marker's world-class piston plate, but that might be a bit of overkill for this ski. For the tech geeks concerned with ramp angle, the interface has a 0° ramp so you are neutral on the ski.
- Why choose the Head iRally? You prefer a shorter- to medium-radius turn and the precision of an Austrian ski. This ski will make you feel like [Fill in Your Head Team Racer of Choice].
- Why choose the K2 Super Charger? K2 didn't put "charger" in the name for nuthin'. With a 17m radius, the K2 likes be opened up. The Super Charger is a powerful ski that wants to run, and run it will. These are NOT your nephew's Fujatives.
- Other skis in the class: Rossignol Hero Elite LT Ti, Völkl Code Speedwall L UVO.