Pros: Damp; Smooth; Strong; Carves well for a wide ski; Feels nimble for a big ski
Cons: Heavy; Needs a bit of speed in the soft stuff
Head's racing background is legendary, but they're looking to make more of a mark into a wider range of products, and in this case, managed to infuse some of that famous lineage into their Big Mountain freeride skis in the Collective 105.
It's got camber underfoot, though the softer tip and tail is accented by rise/rocker, allowing float in the soft snow. It's not a lightweight ski; it's a bit on the portly side but not cumbersome at all. In truth, it skis like a much more nimble ski that you'd think. It doesn't feel weighty underfoot, and won't give you lead legs by the end of the day.
On the hardpack, it holds an edge very well for a 105mm ski (this coming from someone who uses 67mm carvers as a daily ski on the east ice coast) and loves the short turns with its tight turning radius. At high speed GS turns, the rocker and softer tips start to get just a bit squirrely, but the Collective 105 isn't designed for racing speeds on the icy hardpack. It can handle slow speeds with aplomb, easing in and out of short turns without complaint; you don't need to be on the gas with these sticks.
The Collective 105 is a smooth, damp ride, easily handling the chop without getting bounced around. It's got enough beef to slice through the crud, but enough width to float over the top if you run them flat rather than on edge. The flipside of this, of course, is little snow feedback, but it's a very forgiving ride. The Collective 105 isn't a high-strung thoroughbred, despite Head's racing pedigree. Interestingly, Head has somehow managed to dial in a ski that doesn't need metal to be so smooth, while still retaining just a bit of energy if you want to give it a push.
If you're an expert looking to slay back bowls at mach speed, the Collective 105 can get overpowered. But for the rest of us mere mortals looking to get off trail, hit some groomers, surf the soft stuff through the trees.........and want it in a really smooth ride, the Collective 105 is an excellent option.