Length Tested: 181
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 16m
Camber (select one, delete the rest): Early Rise
Mount point: Suggested (boot center)
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Squaw Valley USA
Number of Runs: full day
Snow Conditions: Old snow, some windbuffed, some chalky winter snow, some early groomers, some spring snow
Demo or Own: demo
Ski Days/Season: 50+
Years Skiing: 34
Current Quiver: 184 Dynastar ProRider, 187 Blizzard Bonafide, 190 DPS 112RP
Home Area: Squaw Valley
Preferred Terrain: off-piste
3-word review: demo, demo,demo
Rev 105 is a new big-mountain ski for Head for the next season (thanks to Starthaus for the demo). Rev105 follows the configuration that is quickly becoming a standard in that segment- early rise tip, camber underfoot and a fairly conventional tail. Head also has a few twists on it. The flex is quite moderate, I would call it medium at best. The tail is nicely rounded and slightly upturned, the is moderate amount of camber, but not as much as in, say Cham 107. The defining feature of that ski is its very substantial tip. It has a decent rocker (early rise) like many other big-mountain skis, but most of them either go for no early taper (Blizzards) or for significant early taper (Cham, DPS, Atomic). The Head tip is sort of in-between. Another surprising feature is a very tight 16m sidecut -- unusual for a big, heavy, wide big-mountain board.
There was not much in the way of new snow on Saturday, but plenty of different kinds of old snow. Early on the ski was quick on groomers, but I had trouble getting good edge grip, the ski chattered a lot under me. Getting a lot more forward pressure quieted things down significantly. The ski is not stiff at all, but it still manges to smooth the rough snow really well, so Head still has their magic glue formula to make very damp skis. The dampness helped a lot in frozen crud as well. If you appreciate a quiet un-phased ride, this is your ski. On smooth windbuffed snow patch the ski totally ripped, but I have a hard time thinking about a ski that would not be fun on that kind of "hero snow". Biggest surprise of the day was in bumps, the nicely rounded tail and softer shover makes it quite agile and easy to ski on bad bumpy runs.
As I said the defining feature of the ski is the massive tip and it determines a lot of positives and negatives about the skiing experience. The tip pushes you back quite a bit, and the soft rounded smeary tail makes it stupid easy to ski with bad technique. That same tip also makes it a surprisingly demanding ski when skied properly, you have to stay forward all the time and drive the tip aggressively. Most of the time I felt that I was fighting the front of the ski to do what I wanted it to do. The "undertapered" tip also made it somewhat wandering in frozen crud. If you couple the big tip with the 16m sidecut behind that tip, you got a pretty weird sensation when a ski was a bit hesitant to enter a turn and then turning quickly.
I can see why this ski could be a huge hit in the right conditions, the big area upfront will float very easily and the soft tail coupled with tight sidecut will make piloting it a breeze. I felt that the same features were detrimental in the difficult snow conditions on the day of the demo. To me the biggest liability of the ski was the 16m sidecut, it has no place on the ski that is that big. I am not a huge fan of the tip shape as well. This is one of those skis that you really have to demo to decide whether you like it or not.
If I had my wishes, I would ask for a 19-20m sidecut with higher overall stiffness and a more tapered tip to make it less of a liability in cruddy snow.
The obvious comparison is the Dynastar Cham 107. I felt that Cham was a more energetic "driver's" ski, a more spirited groomer ski (more camber and much stiffer tail, well, duh...), more snow feedback, and a quicker, yet more powerful variable snow ski. Where Heads totally trounce the Cham is the bumps, Cham is too stiff to be a great bump ski. Overall Cham is much more to my liking than the Rev. Your mileage obviously may vary.
Note: This was the first ime I was on Tyrolia demo bindings, they may have different delta from what I am used to (Look and Marker Royalty). That may have contributed to the difficulty of finding the balance point.
Edited by alexzn - 3/13/12 at 5:32pm