Pros: Short radius, edge grip, medium radius, stability at slow to high speeds
Cons: initial wax, stability at extreme speeds
Level: CSIA level 3 candidate
Measurements: 6'0", 167lbs
Style: Higher finesse, medium power
Speed: Moderate to high
Ski length: 170cm, 13.2mm radius
Other skis in quiver: Dynastar Omeglass WC SL, Head Peak 82, Dynastar Contact Cross
Let's be honest: eastern resorts don't have a monopoly on ice! On the west coast we can get significant ice and hardpack, particularly on groomed runs after they've been skied out by the masses, after thaw-freeze cycles, or during night skiing. On groomer days, it's important to have a fun carver ski that you can take off the piste once the terrain thaws out. The Integrale 009, Head's 2013 underdog ski, gives advancing intermediate and solidly advanced skiers the performance they crave on hardpack while still providing versatility for off-piste conditions.
I tested the Integrale 009 in Ontario in conditions ranging from ice to a few centimetres of new snow to slush. The Integrale 009 has excellent edge grip, and due to its narrow waist is quick when transitioning from one turn to the next. This ski feels similar to a Head Magnum in edge grip and performance, but is less damp and consequently provides more sensational awareness of the terrain underfoot. While the Integrale 009 is reasonably forgiving of stance and balance issues, advancing skiers will appreciate the ski's immediate feedback - yes, this ski can improve your skiing.
From a speed perspective, this ski can rip on groomers. One could ride a GS ski faster and more confidently at high speeds. However, on groomers, I feel more confident on my Integrales than on my slalom race or off-piste skis (Head Peak 82). Experts and the very heavy may prefer the Head Titan, as it offers a layer of titanium to further stiffen the ski.
We had some small bumps during my testing time, and the Integrale 009 was maneuverable, quick edge to edge, and sufficiently soft to bend through the bumps. I needed to stay centered and mobile over the Integrale 009 to drive short radius turns, but passerbys commented on the smoothness from one short radius turn to the next. When skiing from the backseat, turning becomes considerably more difficult on these skis--again, the ski provides built-in, immediate feedback.
As the mountain turned to slush, the Integrales continued to provide performance. So long as the ski stayed on edge, the slush was no match for the Integrale. These skis are barely waxed when you buy them, so expect to wax immediately or after your first ski day.
I feel confident I can take the Integrale 009 to any western mountain to make a hardpack day fun again, and keep the ski on for a fun afternoon in the bumps or slush. The Integrale is a hidden gem in Head's 2013 line. Advanced skiers looking for good versatility in hardpack, soft snow, slush and some bump/off-piste will enjoy this ski.