First powder ski - Head Kore 111 vs 117 in 184cm or 191cm

Martin H.

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Hi,

it would be great to get your thoughts on my choice for the my first powder ski ever. I am a 39 yr old male, 5ft11 (180cm), 225lbs (103kg) naked, strong legs, former youth ski racer (GS), tend to have a wide stance, living in the German/Austrian Alps.
I currently only have a Völkl Deacon 76 Pro 181cm for piste skiing with a turning radius of 19.4m. For my style and speed I still feel it could have an even larger radius, so I really prefer fast long GS carving.

Now I want to get into Powder Skiing mostly resort/lift, maybe a few heli trips after 1st season.. Probably wont get more than 10 powder days per season. I am more into speed and wide GS carves in the wide open. I want to be able to "tour" it modestly to get access to good spots but not extensive touring... For me this is 99% about the downhill aspect of things. With my weight I feel I need a wide and long powder ski to keep me afloat, which usually makes for a pretty heavy ski. But I also want to be able to get around the occasional tree line and hike, and therefore would prefer a light yet still stiff ski.
I searched the internet and read reviews after reviews and pretty much nailed it down to the Head Kore. Do you also think it would be a good fit for my requirements? I know it is meant for "advanced to expert level skiers", I would consider myself in that category on piste, but in powder I would be a "beginner-intermediate". But hey how hard can it be - I anticipate a steep learning curve and rather buy the "advanced" ski right away ;)! Or shouldn't I?

So which one should it be? Kore 111 or 117 in 184cm or 191cm? In 191cm they are actually 113 or 119 wide.
I tend toward the biggest option 117 in 191cm. What do you think? I dont really care how it performs on piste. I will use this ski 90-95% in powder only. For piste I have my deacon.
Any other recommendations would be also appreciated.

Cheers,
Martin
 
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Tom K.

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76 to 111 "jump" seems more logical than all the way to 117, and the Kores have a very classic mount point, which should mesh well with your style.

I've owned several 115 powder skis and they are great in untracked, but I've actually gone back down to 108 for a less bumpy ride, once the resort starts getting tracked up.

Have fun with your new adventure.
 

martyg

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I prefer a stiffer, cambered ski - and it sounds like that is where you are. My in-bounds powder ski is a Head Kore 99. For me, it provides similar feedback as a stiffer, sub 80mm ski, but in 3D snow.

What turns you like to make in heli or cat skiing are irrelevant. It will be dictated by the guides. Everyone sees the gorgeous, above timberline shots of heli-ski operations. In reality, due to avy conditions, weather, skiing in a ping pong ball visibility, etc. you will be skiing a lot of trees. Those perfect weather / avy windows do exist, but do not count on them.

For powder, you will need to focus more on pressure management skills than you are used to. If you have solid body awareness, and take some prep courses / instruction the learning curve will not be heinous. How much you intend to put into it, will determine what width ski you go with. My in-bounds is a 99. My AT kit is a Head Core 105 with tech binding.

One other observation... IME powder skis, in 3D snow, do not provide the granular feedback of a dedicated carving ski. Probably due to the nature of the snow. That super solid, compact snow provides all kinds of ground reactionary forces that you don't get in powder. So probably no need to overthink it too much.

Enjoy.
 

ski otter 2

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There is a fair amount of controversy regarding powder skis on this website. Many don't actually like real powder skis, especially for resorts.
I am not one of them.

At your size, the Kore 111 would be more of a crud ski and a 6" fresh and under type of powder ski. It would get very little float, which is to many the most fun part of powder skiing, along with the 3D up and down of floating, the semi-trampoline, weightless quality,

The Kore 117, great ski in its longest length, 191, floats and plays well, and is great at longer powder turns for a directional skier. For me, very stable going fast and in soft uneven terrain. It would be the best of these options, for your profile, I have to think. My only reservation is that while your height would work, you might be too heavy for that ski. Since you are about 75 lbs. heavier than me, I'm just not sure.

The 184 would be a playful, slower option, where you are purposely skiing slower (not so much big turns), doing many more turns. The fore-aft stability of the 184 comes into play for even me, a lighter weight guy; and it's longer turns you want to do. I gotta think way short for you, especially if you want to heli-ski and not be held back by being forced to be slower/quicker turning, and more playful.

I found the 117/191 a really fun ski, with plenty of float, for me, and with a more traditional feel to it, with its great carving on lesser new snow days. Very versatile also: it does powder bumps really well, in addition to open terrain. This ski would actually be great as a soft snow ski: almost any amount of soft snow would work. Even an inch or two on top of a groomer, and this ski would come alive, smooth and fun.

The newer 191 model - the last few years - has a bit more rocker, and a mount point moved back 4 cm from the very similar older version, which makes it more fun. As a more traditional skier, you'd want to move the mount back a bit, one or two cm. A fun contrast to your Deacons.

( I tried one back, and it was better than on the line - but I would want to try two back also. If I had to choose, I'd go two back, probably - a Head rep told me that's the setting he uses, and I tend to think he'd be worth heeding. But instead of choosing now, I would use an adjustable binding like a Schizo or demo binding, to be able to play with the options more, in both heavy and light weight powder.)
 
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Tom K.

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@Martin H., in the spirit of the ever-expanding internet thread, are you really set on the Kores?

Seems like everything in your first post would point towards a damper pow ski with a bit of metal.

May I offer up the Enforcer Pro?!
 
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Martin H.

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@ski otter 2: Thanks for your detailed reply. It really sounds like I need the 117 (119) in 191 at least. Since I will use the ski only on pure/perfect powder days, I dont really care about versatility in other conditions. On non perfect powder days I ll stay on the piste with my deacons. If 117 (119) is enough float for me or I need more width is a good question. I would hate to find out in prestine powder conditions to need more width.

Regarding your point on binding positon:

The newer 191 model - the last few years - has a bit more rocker, and a mount point moved back 4 cm from the very similar older version, which makes it more fun. As a more traditional skier, you'd want to move the mount back a bit, one or two cm. A fun contrast to your Deacons.

( I tried one back, and it was better than on the line - but I would want to try two back also. If I had to choose, I'd go two back, probably - a Head rep told me that's the setting he uses, and I tend to think he'd be worth heeding. But instead of choosing now, I would use an adjustable binding like a Schizo or demo binding, to be able to play with the options more, in both heavy and light weight powder.)

I would get the newest 2021/22 version of the Kore. So where do you recommend the binding position in that case?

Blister said it prefered +1cm on the older model. "Blister - Kore 20/21 - Mount Point: Without question, HEAD’s recommended mount of 11.6 cm behind center puts us in very traditional territory. But that’s not unusual for pow skis, and a more rearward mount surely helps a ski from tip diving in deep, dense snow. After my first day on the KORE 117, I moved the bindings forward one centimeter of the line, and I found there to be zero downside. I’m not sure whether I’ll have time to play again with mount point, but I like the ski at +1, I’d advise nobody to mount behind the recommended line (I just don’t believe that it would improve performance), and I’m only slightly curious about going +2 of the line. (FWIW, HEAD includes marks of 1 and 2 cm in front of and behind their recommended line.)" https://blisterreview.com/gear-reviews/2017-2018-head-kore-117/2

You say the newer model has -4cm compare to old, which seems like a lot! Maybe +2cm on the newer one then? With my weight and style I feel further back would help me stay afloat.
Regarding binding, I was almost set on the Marker Duke PT16 since I wanted the pin touring option in combination with a downhill performance binding. But this one wont allow to change binding position I guess... hm you got me thinking...

@Tom K. Thanks for the recommendation. I ll have a look at the enforcer pro. I guess it's called the Enforcer Free 115 now? https://www.nordica.com/global/en/men/skis/freeski/enforcer-free/enforcer-115-free
"Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2346 & 2351 grams" So this seems like a really heavy ski. I tended toward the Kore line since it is light enough for some occasional touring, but supposedly stiff enough for me? Not sure.

Powder days are in the making atm here. So I need to order very soon/this weekend. :)

Regarding powder spots, I live pretty close to Hochfügen (Austria) in the Alps, which has many wide open powder slopes many of which are lift accessible with gondola but touring also opens up countless untracked other slopes. Do the videos look like a good fit for the Kore 117(119) 191? or sould I go even wider with 225lbs?


 
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chris_the_wrench

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Seems like everything in your first post would point towards a damper pow ski with a bit of metal.

May I offer up the Enforcer Pro?!
Those look like they would of been fun yesterday! One of the few days I was wishing for a true powder ski. I'm going to add them to my look for on summer ski sale list.

@Martin H. Im 6'3" 195lb'ish. I've never skied the kore in that width, but I put sometime on the 105's(resort). Not my favorite ski(too light and got pushed around in the chop), but I prefer heavier metal skis(for lift skiing). I rarely ski anywhere(resort) where Im not skiing alot of chopped up snow by the 3rd run(with pockets of fresh). I saw that weight of 1920'ish grams for a 117 ski and I was quite surprised, thats light(similar to Chetler 120). I backcountry ski on some 108 skis that are about 2200 grams, I feel that weight on the uphill but I wouldn't want anything lighter for the downhill. For 'me' those kore 117's 'sound' like a real fun ski for touring on really fresh days or if your lucky to ski someplace where the long tracks of virgin powder lasts longer. Again, I haven't skied those kore 117's so I'd yield my assumptions to someone who has time on that actual ski.

BTW, I really enjoyed those videos, further evidence I need to get back to Austria(in the winter this time).

-Chris
 
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Tom K.

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Those look like they would of been fun yesterday! One of the few days I was wishing for a true powder ski. I'm going to add them to my look for on summer ski sale list.

Ski Essentials had them at something just north of $400 this pre-season. I had them in the cart, but a one-day reality check intervened.

108s are the perfect resort pow ski for me. So much less bouncing around after the Hour of Powder is over......old knees, etc..

If they came in a 186 I probably would have caved! :ogbiggrin:
 
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Martin H.

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@ski otter 2 : hey i think you mixed up the mount position numbers in your earlier post. the new version of the kore 117 in 191cm should have the mount moved forward by 4cm, not backward. It used to be at 11,6cm. Now it should be at 7,6cm. Blister liked the old 189cm version at -1cm, hence 10,6cm and debated if -2cm hence 9,6cm would be even better. You liked -1cm hence 8,6cm on the new 191cm version and your head rep opts for -2cm hence 9,6cm. Now it starts to all make sense :)
I ll order my Kore 117 191 tomorrow with at least -2cm then.

@chris_the_wrench : the new 117 in 184cm has a claimed weight of 1980g so I guess the 191cm should be around 2100g. The old 117 in 189cm actually also had close to 2200g. Which is light but hopefully not too light.
 

ski otter 2

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Yes, thanks! I did mean to say they moved the mount position forward 4 cm, not back, on the newer longest version. And that I found 1 cm back from that better. (And the Head rep found 2 cm back from that 4 cm more forward mount to be "right for the ski" and for him personally.)

To complicate things a bit more, Head seemed to have delayed their release of the new versions for a year due to Covid. That "new" Kore 117 was actually offered to industry/ski shop folks for testing the previous year, Feb. 2020 at SIA in Winter Park, with the anticipation it would be a 20/21 ski. So thiis "new" version has been a long time coming - a source of some confusion for me, when I searched Blistergear in vain for any mention of it last year. :)

In addition, this year Blistergear somewhat obsures the changes, because while they reviewed the longest (189) Kore 117 20/21, they reviewed only the 184 21/22 version this year, including in their gear magazine. So no detailed direct comparison of the longest length versions are possible with them, for now.
 

Alexzn

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I own the Kore 117 in 189 as my powder ski and have taken them Heli skiing as well. its an unusually stiff ski for a wide pow board, which in combination with lighter weight actually makes them a lot more versatile than they look. I have no issue skiing them in resort powder here in the US ( which gets cut up very fast very frequently) and they are fine in trees as well. For Europe, they will be an even better fit, since your off piste terrain is much bigger and does not get chewed up that fast. There are many skis that are better at skiing pure wide untracked powder or tight trees than Kore 117, but they won’t be drastically better. At your weight, you need the longer length and as much width as you can get. Just be aware that being a stiff ski, they will need some technical input, they are not going to provide an automatic powder turn like some DPS models do.

p.s. my “old” 189 Kore is mounted on the line. I actually played with the mount point in a demo on a pow day and decided that the recommended line was the best setting.

p.s. The advice for a 99 mm Kore as a powder ski was way off.
 
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Martin H.

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Thanks again to all of you guys!

I finally ordered my first powder/touring setup as follows:
  • Head Kore 117 (119mm waist) in 191cm
  • Marker Duke PT 16 (mounted at -2cm)
  • Pomoca Free Pro 2.0 XL 140mm skins (wall to wall cut)
  • Lange XT3 130 touring boots (for lift days only, I will ride my Lange RX 130)
Can't wait to put it to the test very soon :)
 
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Martin H.

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I just recieved my 2022 kore 117 191cm skis.

Measurements are as follows:

Rotal ski length: 189.6-189.8cm
Recommended binding line meassured from the rear: 87.0-87.1cm
(variations based on 3 different measurement tapes, so definately not 191cm.
Skis have exactly same lengths)

Given these lengths the recommended mounting point is 7.8-7.9cm back from ski center.
I mounted -2cm, so at 9.8-9.9cm back from center.

tip width: 147.1-147.3cm
waist width: 118.6cm
tail width: 130.6-130.7cm
(measured with digital caliper. the variation relates to differences between the skis themselves. One is 0.1-0.2mm wider than the other at tip and tail)

weight incl. marker duke pt 16:
3440-3465g
(so assuming blister's duke pt 16 weight of 1383g, one ski without binding should be: 2057-2082g)

it's snowing like crazy for the next few days, so plenty opportunity for first timer testing feedback ;)

One question regarding detuning. The edges seem pretty sharp all around. Should i detune the tip and tail rockers with blue rubber stone till contact points?
 
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Martin H.

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interesting that 105, 111 and 117 all have the same 10 point rating for powder according to head...
 

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Rdputnam515

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I prefer a stiffer, cambered ski - and it sounds like that is where you are. My in-bounds powder ski is a Head Kore 99. For me, it provides similar feedback as a stiffer, sub 80mm ski, but in 3D snow.

What turns you like to make in heli or cat skiing are irrelevant. It will be dictated by the guides. Everyone sees the gorgeous, above timberline shots of heli-ski operations. In reality, due to avy conditions, weather, skiing in a ping pong ball visibility, etc. you will be skiing a lot of trees. Those perfect weather / avy windows do exist, but do not count on them.

For powder, you will need to focus more on pressure management skills than you are used to. If you have solid body awareness, and take some prep courses / instruction the learning curve will not be heinous. How much you intend to put into it, will determine what width ski you go with. My in-bounds is a 99. My AT kit is a Head Core 105 with tech binding.

One other observation... IME powder skis, in 3D snow, do not provide the granular feedback of a dedicated carving ski. Probably due to the nature of the snow. That super solid, compact snow provides all kinds of ground reactionary forces that you don't get in powder. So probably no need to overthink it too much.

Enjoy.
I too ski a Kore 99 as my daily driver. I love it. I does everything I need and actually skis Pow (up to about 8 inches) pretty darn well. I can tell you @martyg and my experience on the 99 is he same. I am however quite a bit smaller than you are so your experience may differ.

I am also an ex racer as you are OP and love the feeling of the Kore 99, if it feels the same in a 117 or 111 I don’t know. If it does you will like them.

I can tell you I have gone to a different type twin tip 112 and there is a bit of a learning curve there. At this point I am still figuring them out. The float of the wide ski is pretty nice and makes skiing powder and chop much more fun and easier to manage. the hardest part for me on my 112 is the tail length. The Kores traditional mount point should make it a non issue for you.

from what I have read @ski otter 2 and I ski in similar snowpack you do, he’s is a good resource as he skis a lot of different types of skis in similar conditions you see in the Alps.

I can also tell you I am a little bit of a brand loyalist, and the Kore 99 has easily been the most versatile, fun, and easy to ski pair I have ever strapped to my feet. If the wider skis are anything like them, you will love them.

I can’t wait to see your review on these, I have a feeling one will be in my stable sooner rather than later lol
 
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