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Firm snow reviews: 2012 Head Peak 84, Peak 90, Rock n' Roll

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

3.jpg


Crappy pic of me on the Rock n' Roll.  Trying to lay that baby over and see if it will break loose.  Never did. 

 

Ski Reviews: 2011-2012 Head Peak 84 PR Pro 177cm, Head Peak 90 177cm, Head Rock n' Roll 94 180cm

 

Conditions: firm snow, groomers, some sugary snow on top, firm/icy off-piste conditions

 

Skier info: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, ski 30-50 days a year, can ski the whole mountain, enjoy pretty much any condition but prefer challenging terrain, steeps, and bumps; probably rated somewhere in the “9” PSIA range, skiing speed is moderate fast to fast.

 

I got a couple of days on these 3 skis. I had skied them the past spring, at the Snowbasin demo, in mostly firm groomers and bumps, with also some corn, and came away very impressed with my short time on them. The past few days' demo was more revealing though. Conditions were relatively tough; off-piste snow is skiable, but very icy, as we have been getting 50 degree temps during the day. Need a storm in a bad way right now.

 

These 3 skis are all within 10mm waist width of each other. The Peak 84 PR Pro features a new titanium laminate layup (reminiscent of the old iM Monster series) but with a new (toned down) Flow Ride tip. The Flow-ride tip allows the ski's tip to flex along the length of the ski when pressured, but stays rigid when flexed laterally.. The flex pattern is much stronger in that first 10cm of contact length. The Peak 90 is similar to the 84, but without the titanium layup, and is therefore a touch softer. The Rock n' Roll has a subtle rocker tip and tail (maybe a few cm of length), twin tip construction, no metal either, is quite light, and the tip flexes a bit stiffer, to offset the rocker. The entire Head lineup has been redesigned for 2012. We took a 2-year hiatus with regards to carrying their line, but as the skis are some of the best out there right now, we are bringing them back in for 2012.

 

Overall impressions:

 

Peak 84 PR Pro: the stiffest ski of the 3. Tail is somewhat more aggressive, not overly so. Slightly more stable than the others, a bit more grip as well. Likes big turns more than the others. Good in off-piste chunk and bumps. Reminds me of a Kastle MX78/88, but has more energy and isn't quite as solid at insane speeds. More versatile than most, should get great reviews. One of the best narrower skis I have ever tested. Better choice for me than the Blizzard Magnum 8.1 I used to own, which was super fun at big speeds, but a handful in the bumps.

 

Peak 90: softer than the 84, not quite as stable, but close. Edge grip is very good for a no-metal ski. More energy in the tail, likes to stay a bit more fall-line. Very fun; otherwise, similar to the 84. Solid frontside performance, very reliable, forgiving enough for the solid level 7-8 skier and the improving 6. Technically oriented, yet forgiving of mistakes. Provides solid positive feedback when the skier makes good movements. Going to have better float than the 84, not quite as much as the 94. Sweet in bumps, great all-mountain tool.

 

Rock n' Roll: also a great carver, as much grip as the 90. The tail is more forgiving, showing itself to be the best ski on steeper off-piste crappy snow. Easier to pivot on the tip when pulling feet back at the top of the tip. Speed limit almost that of the 84. This is really, really good ski; what I wished the Mantra was (that ski was always too stiff for me). This is the ski I would choose if I had a “daily driver” or “PM ski” for Squaw, when I was skiing steeps and bumps and was skiing skied out or firmer conditions. A stellar performer, at least for a guy my weight and skill set. I can't think of a ski that is better in this width range, but watch for updates. We are going to do a Bonafide and Rock n' Roll shootout tomorrow.

 

Performance rated on scale of 1-10:

 

Reviews in depth:

 

Groomers:

Fall line steeper groomers: out of the 3, the 84 takes the most work, in that to really stay in the fall line, you want to be very active fore and aft with the feet. It pops out of one turn to the next, if you load it up, but seems a bit more GS oriented. It could also have been rust though: I haven't been on the snow much this year. The 90 is more forgiving here, providing more energy and a less stout release out of the old turn: it wants to be re-directed into the new turn a bit quicker than the 84; the 84, with the stiffer tail, provides more power but also holds on a bit longer. The Rock n' Roll was the quickest of the 3; it just bounced from one turn to the next. The tail is the softest and has a bit of rocker, so it releases in a hurry, and feels almost like a fall-line slalom ski. If you can pull your feet back in time and set up the top of the turn, you feel like you are skiing a Porsche on this one. The others too, but this one really wants to power out of each turn. Really fun.

 

Big-turn GS arcs: the 84 has the edge here: the longer feel of the ski, due to the metal, really holds through the belly of the turn at speed. It likes a bit slower, more deliberate transition, and toward the end of the day, when the groomers are turning into piles of pushed-around snow, it tracks the best of the 3. A very good groomer ski here. The 90 is similar again, but has a bit softer turn finish, and doesn't grip quite as well in the belly of the turn. Feels like it wants to finish the turn a bit earlier, not quite as comfortable ripping at 40mph across the fall line, but still plenty stable for what it is. Rock n' Roll is the quickest of the 3 again, so it in theory should be the least suited to big arcs, however this was offset by the bigger turn radius (19+m) and just a tweak in technique. On the other 2, I was more focused on being active with my feet fore and aft, and on the Rock n' Roll, I made sure I was initiating with a subtle foot-tipping inside ski motion, as well as pulling the feet back. Do this, and you pull the ski quickly into the turn and set up your balance well; it rides through the arc with power and has plenty of edge grip at speed. Not quite as stable as the 84 in rough snow; a little better than the 90 though. It is close.

 

Groomers, short turns:

Peak 84: 8,

Peak 90: 8.5;

Rock n' Roll: 8.75

 

Groomers, long turns:

Peak 84: 9.5,

Peak 90; 8.5;

Rock n. Roll: 8.75

 

 

 

Steep, unpredictable off-piste icy crap snow, and trees: The 84 is easy to ski here. Releases smoothly, predictably, and the length is just right. The softer tip really is appreciated: I can get the skis around in a hurry, and pressuring that tip really helps. The tail holds on the most strongly of the 3, but it isn't overbearing. A skier with solid skills will have no trouble with this one. The 90 was similar, but a bit softer tip, and even quicker. I found it easier to be more active with my feet. If you give it just a bit more edge at the end of the turn (with the pole plant down the fall line, which loads up the skis and allows for a powerful release) it really comes across quickly. Rock n' Roll is the best off-piste; this ski is like cheating. The tip flexes perfectly. I can literally feel like I am pivoting across the fall line on only the tip when I start the turn by planting and pulling the feet back aggressively. So easy, and the tail offers no surprises: it releases exactly when you are expecting it to. Wow, I am really impressed with this one.

 

Peak 84: 8,

Peak 90: 8.5;

Peak 94: 9.5

 

Bumps: Peak 84 is a great bump ski. Width is perfect for bumps. Tip flexes just as you would hope a good bump ski does. One of the best skis I have been on; it was hard to do anything wrong on it. Peak 90: close, just a little wider in width keeps it a bit slower. Flex is also great. An excellent bump ski. The Flow Ride tip really works as advertised here; stays glued to the snow, but bends up at just the right amount to keep from clanging the tip off of the backside of the bump. Rock n' Roll; similarly good. Tail releases smoothly, tip flex is perfect. Again, a little wide, but other than that, no complaints at all. As good as any ski I have ever tried (mid-90's) in the bumps. Super quick tip and tail, almost like cheating compared to stiffer skis I have tried here.

 

Peak 84: 9.5

Peak 90: 9

Rock n' Roll: 8.75

 

Crud: I haven't had a chance to get these into real high speed crud, due to conditions. Due to the flex characteristics, I expect the 84 to do really well, the 90 to get tossed a bit more (but be just fine at any typical skiing speed), and the Rock n' Roll to be along the lines of the 84 for handling rough snow. Will update when conditions allow. I have had the Inferno there, and it was an excellent high-speed crud ski. The Rock n' Roll is basically a narrower version of that ski. Kevin spent some good time on all 3 in off-piste cruddy conditions last year and was really happy with the performance, but I can't say anything from personal experience.

 

Conclusion: all 3 skied well, definitely better than average for a guy my weight. All were really enjoyable: the 84 was the best hard snow ski and groomer tool, the 90 was a bit more mellow but still powerful and quick, and the 94 was the mainly off-piste powerhouse that still was a whole lot of fun on the groomers. These were very well reviewed last spring by those that got time on them, and it is obvious why. Head is back with some really good skis. Thankfully! I wasn't that impressed with the Peak stuff; no secret there. This new redesign is up to the mark, though. The way these play out: 84 is the groomer-oriented 60/40 ski with very little drop off in off-piste performance: 90 slots in as a slightly more forgiving, 50/50 ski for those who want a bit more technical feel (stronger turn finish) and the Rock n' Roll is a 40/60 ski for those who want a great off-piste ski that holds well on hard snow and is above average on groomers. There is probably enough overlap here that the Peak 90 doesn't need to exist: these all 3 are awfully close in performance. It would be hard to tell the Peak 90 and Rock n' Roll apart in a blind test, and even the 84 is only slightly more stable in choppy snow at speed on groomers, with a slightly more demanding tail.

 


Edited by dawgcatching - 12/9/11 at 2:44pm
post #2 of 17

Thanks Scott...maybe I missed it, but what length did you ski them in?

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

Thanks Scott...maybe I missed it, but what length did you ski them in?



Fixed it.  177cm, 177cm, 180cm

post #4 of 17

Hey Scott. After reading this review and you comments about skiing the Legend 94 especially in bumps....I was hoping you could compare the Peak 90 and the Rock n' Roll to the Legend 94 in a bit more detail. Actually, if possible, a ranking for the 94 in the same categories (bumps, firm snow etc.) as you did for the 3 skis above would be outstanding!

post #5 of 17

Scott, I know from your review of it, you liked the Motive 84. How much more do you like the Peak 84? What are the major differences?

 

Thanks,
D

post #6 of 17

Thanks dawg.  More good info.  Still hard to get my head around the idea that skis with a 90mm+ waist can be considered firm snow skis.  Ten years ago skis that wide would be only used on powder days.

post #7 of 17

Scot, great reviews and also glad to hear head has some good skis again, Me 200lb, 6.1 ft and rate my self level 8 skier, I like all conditions, but prefer challenging myself on steeps, skiing fast on groomers etc. I am thinking of replacing my 888 ( its 4yrs old and has been base ground once to often) with the Rock n Roll, I was after a ski slighlty more off piste orientated ski than the 888 but still good on the groomers, so I was wondering on what your thoughts were on this, is the Rock n Roll giving much away here as the Rock n Roll didn't feel overly stiff to me? as I  a bit  heavier than you or am I better off considering the Peak 90 or an Elan Apex? Other skis I own are Line Phrophet 115 and a progressor. Also length wise how did feel?

 

Thanks

M

post #8 of 17

Any thoughts on how these match up with the peak 78; I am a mostly Eastern skier.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugahloafo View Post

Any thoughts on how these match up with the peak 78; I am a mostly Eastern skier.



Yeah, the new Peak 78 Pro is basically the same ski as the 84, just narrower. I skied that a bunch last spring: it is a thrilling ski on hardpack, groomers, and moderate crud.  Very good ski, I was going to buy a pair, but am running short of funds at the moment.  

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski100 View Post

Scot, great reviews and also glad to hear head has some good skis again, Me 200lb, 6.1 ft and rate my self level 8 skier, I like all conditions, but prefer challenging myself on steeps, skiing fast on groomers etc. I am thinking of replacing my 888 ( its 4yrs old and has been base ground once to often) with the Rock n Roll, I was after a ski slighlty more off piste orientated ski than the 888 but still good on the groomers, so I was wondering on what your thoughts were on this, is the Rock n Roll giving much away here as the Rock n Roll didn't feel overly stiff to me? as I  a bit  heavier than you or am I better off considering the Peak 90 or an Elan Apex? Other skis I own are Line Phrophet 115 and a progressor. Also length wise how did feel?

 

Thanks

M


Hey there,

 

The Peak 90 and Rock n' Roll are similar in flex. The tail feels soft on the Rock n' Roll, but that is just the twin part: underfoot, it is as substantial as the Peak 90. The new Apex is a bit stiffer; it skis more damp, and slightly more forgiving than the old 888, but in a similar performance range.  I think the Head, not having metal and a touch softer flex, skis with more energy and pop in the tail. Stability might be a touch lower on it, though; it is quicker and very playful.  I don't think you could go wrong with either: if you liked the 888 and wanted to go with a similar feeling, but superior ski, the Apex is great.  Otherwise, the Rock n' Roll gives you a very fun package, great in off-piste conditions as well as a carver.  

 

I didn't notice much of a difference in float. It is only a few mm in width. If you need a wider ski, the Spire from Elan is bomber. 

 

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH View Post

Thanks dawg.  More good info.  Still hard to get my head around the idea that skis with a 90mm+ waist can be considered firm snow skis.  Ten years ago skis that wide would be only used on powder days.



yeah, well, they are pretty solid, but not "great". I was on the FX94 today, which is a great hard snow ski for what it is, and once I hit the snow-gun section, it met it's match, or I should say, I met my match.  I could get it to carve, but not like I can a narrower low 70's ski.  So, take it for what it is worth.  I would want something 85mm max in width for a groomer ski; even if the snow is soft, the engagement is so much quicker and more powerful on a narrower ski, and therefore more fun to ski. 

post #12 of 17
I tried both the Peak 84 and the Peak 76 today. The conditions were not very nice, we have very little snow and it was a mixture of hardpack and soft slush, all depending whether you were in shade or sun. Before starting I thought the 84 would be the clear winner since I thought it would be more versatile and cope with the uncertain conditions underfoot. But as it turned out I loved the 76 and wasn't so happy with the 84. The 76 coped with the soft mush just fine, had better edge grip on the hardpack and was just much faster in the turn. The 84 felt boring and unresponsive by contrast.

Back in the shop I lined the skis up next to each other. I was surprised that they skied so different, since the difference in radius is insignificant and I had tried them both in the same length (170). Then I saw what it was, the 84 had the bindings set substantially further back on the ski. That's why it felt sluggish on the hardpack! Probably it would float better in deep powder but that set-up wasn't working well for me in those conditions.

If I was going to buy one of these I think I would go for the 76 because it did cope very well with the conditions and I really enjoyed skiing it. But I feel the 84 could have performed a lot better with the right set up for the conditions. I was actually a bit disappointed with myself for only working out what the issue was until my demo was over. With a rail binding it would have been easy enough to move my feet forward a bit on the ski.

Thanks to Utesport at Granberget, Leksand (Sweden) for giving me a free demo. I was intending to train with my GS skis but one run was enough to realise that I hadn't come to the hill with the right equipment. A demo on some new skis saved the day and I went back home with a grin on my face.
post #13 of 17

Can anyone weigh in on how well these would compare to the Blizzard Bushwacker as an East Coast all mountain ski? I'm torn between this ski and the Rossignol S3 as an all mountain twin tip ski in Vermont.  Thanks!

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wikked1 View Post

Can anyone weigh in on how well these would compare to the Blizzard Bushwacker as an East Coast all mountain ski? I'm torn between this ski and the Rossignol S3 as an all mountain twin tip ski in Vermont.  Thanks!



Sure, my take is this:

 

I would take the Peak or Rock n' Roll on firm snow for kind of every day conditions.  The Bushwacker tends to break loose in the tail early on hard snow when I lay it over, so I don't care for it as much in firm snow; it takes much more muscle tension and really precise movements to ski aggressively, and I usually end up feeling tentative on it.  

 

 In softer snow, they are pretty comparable: the BW has a bit easier tail release, the Rock n' Roll a bit more powerful and the Peak series still more powerful, but still fairly mellow, leaning toward all-mountain rather than a full-blown carver feel.  Tips of each of the skis are somewhat similar in engagement. Out of these, probably the Rock n' Roll is the most stable; it is a fairly substantial ski. Peak is quite easy to ski, the BW even easier. The latter has the lowest speed limit in chop. I don't ski EC conditions, but can imagine you ski a lot of tight trees?  These are all quick skis, with fairly soft tips and tails, so any of them would be adequate.  

 

In the video below, I am skiing the Rock n' Roll from about 2:30 to around 3:40 or so.  Besides the lurking crust and death cookies underneath, it is a pretty forgiving ski. Conditions were wind pack, some new snow, over top of some really set up firm snow. About 6-8 inches deep.  You can see how quick that ski is, or it will run if you let it. 

 

post #15 of 17

Excellent feedback! Thank you! I'll be adding these to my arsenal in the 180 cm length. I'll come back to this thread after I've had a chance to set them up with some nice bindings (I'm thinking a pair of the Marker Jesters in Lime Green would do the trick) not that I need that DIN............. a Griffon has all the DIN I need and ski ......for now anyway.......it'll probably be a Griffon binding I put on (why spend for more din than I'll ever need just for the color?  Anyway thanks for the review I wouldn't have given this ski a second look if not for that.

OH and one more thing....I am so jealous look at that snow!!!

post #16 of 17

I watched the video several times with great interest. The conditions were very similar to what I skied last weekend here in the east. Yes the east believe it or not but on my favourite small mountain that is only open on weekends, so after two snow falls of about 6 inches each it was great.

 

I was skiing on my BMX98's as well. Watching the video it seems as though the Kastle's are quieter, less bouncy in the rough snow. I find their smoothness to be perhaps their most defining characteristic. I guess I am just wondering if you find the same, or are you just more used to and in touch with the Kastle's?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post



Sure, my take is this:

 

I would take the Peak or Rock n' Roll on firm snow for kind of every day conditions.  The Bushwacker tends to break loose in the tail early on hard snow when I lay it over, so I don't care for it as much in firm snow; it takes much more muscle tension and really precise movements to ski aggressively, and I usually end up feeling tentative on it.  

 

 In softer snow, they are pretty comparable: the BW has a bit easier tail release, the Rock n' Roll a bit more powerful and the Peak series still more powerful, but still fairly mellow, leaning toward all-mountain rather than a full-blown carver feel.  Tips of each of the skis are somewhat similar in engagement. Out of these, probably the Rock n' Roll is the most stable; it is a fairly substantial ski. Peak is quite easy to ski, the BW even easier. The latter has the lowest speed limit in chop. I don't ski EC conditions, but can imagine you ski a lot of tight trees?  These are all quick skis, with fairly soft tips and tails, so any of them would be adequate.  

 

In the video below, I am skiing the Rock n' Roll from about 2:30 to around 3:40 or so.  Besides the lurking crust and death cookies underneath, it is a pretty forgiving ski. Conditions were wind pack, some new snow, over top of some really set up firm snow. About 6-8 inches deep.  You can see how quick that ski is, or it will run if you let it. 

 



 

post #17 of 17

By the way, you may want to check out the price Scott's store (dawgcatching.com -- site sponsor) is offering on the Heads.  I have bought skis from him and can recommend him without reservation.  Be sure to get the New Ski Prep ($15)--it is well worth the added cost unless you have shop tech skills. 

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