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Head XP100

post #1 of 7
Curious if you've tried the XP 80's, or heard if they're more forgiving in skid turns or deeper powder?
post #2 of 7
Curious if you've tried the XP 80's, or heard if they're more forgiving in skid turns or deeper powder?
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Head XP100

Me: 20+ years skiing, double-black freeskiing skills (Whistlerites: Spanky's, Pakalolo, The Couloir). Tall, about 180 pounds.
Current favorite ski: Volkl G41

Setup: Head XP100 Cyber 170cm, Tyrolia rental binding
Conditions: Varied. 10" of cut-up pow, crud, groomed, moguls.

Head advertises the XP100 as a high expert all-mountain ski biased towards hard conditions.

Looks: They look butt-ugly in pictures, and in person they're only marginally less ugly. The solid black resolves into a very, very deep purple with a subtle carbon-fiber waffle pattern, but their short length and extreme sidecut (122-67-108) still make them look like evil clown shoes. All my skis are butt-ugly (brown Snow Rangers and so on) so I don't mind.

Weight: Jesus, these things weigh. Maybe it's the Tyrolia rental binders or the built-in riser plate, but they still weigh a ton more than my 188cm G41 + Salomon 912. I had to keep switching shoulders on the walk from my car.

Stiffness: Very stiff. Right up there with Head's slalom racer or my G41s.

OK, now for the skiing part. I'll split this up, since the ski has two completely different personalities depending on snow hardness.

They're great in pow up to your boot cuffs, but anything deeper causes them to sink due to the narrow waist (67mm) and stiffness.

They have great crud and chop manners since they're so stiff. Just blast on through and make any turn you like. The huge sidecut doesn't hang up in soft snow.

On groomers or hard snow, WATCH OUT. These are the only skis I've found that can run away from me in half a turn. Just tip them on edge and you feel like you've been shot out of a cannon. That 12 meter sidecut kicks in, and nothing will shake it loose; not crud, little choppy bumps, ice, bricks, or anything else. You will rail your carve until you decide to roll your knees to the other side, at which point you whip around like some sort of demented carnival ride and do it again. They will hold any carve your legs can.

I spent the first three runs getting thrown into the backseat every other turn...fortunately the sidecut is so extreme that you carve even leaning back. Roll your knees while exerting shin pressure and you'll think you're on a new-school race slalom.
The tough part: these skis are nearly impossible to skid or hard snow. You can initiate a skid turn, but once the edges bite they will not let go, ever. And they really want to bite. So you will rapidly find yourself going 600 MPH on anything steeper than a green circle, because pure carves don't scrub speed.

It wasn't as bad as I thought in moguls: the short 170cm length made up for the stiffness and wide tip.

It skis very long: at no time did I feel like 170cm was unstable or too short, even though I normally ski a 190.

Verdict: The head XP100 is the best pure carving ski I've ever tried. However, it requires superhuman strength and stamina: I am in great shape from regular cycling and skiing and this ski completely kicked my butt. At the end of the day I could hardly walk.
If you want to experience incredibly brutal G-forces on a regular basis, this is your ski. I think of it as a race slalom widened up enough to handle crud and minor pow, and as such, highly recommend the shorter lengths. I can't imagine anyone short of FIS GS racers skiing the 184.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by eriksayre:
Curious if you've tried the XP 80's, or heard if they're more forgiving in skid turns or deeper powder?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Haven't tried them. They're somewhat softer and have a touch less sidecut (narrower tip and tail), so my guess is that they skid better but aren't an improvement in deep pow.

They'll still be way better than a regular race slalom, though: most race slaloms don't even like crud, which the XP100 bashes through effortlessly.
post #5 of 7
Just wondering, how would you compare XP100 to Slalom WC Ti? Can they carve short SL turns just as well? I guess XP100 would not be so quick edge to edge (wider waist)?

I really like SL WC Ti for hard snow and ice but they get a bit nervous (for me at least) in cut up snow. Maybe XP100 would be all I need.
post #6 of 7
The XP100 in short lengths (156 or 163) will be a decent short turner (according to reviews!) for a skilled rider. But it will never equal the Slalom specific ski.

So if you are a strong, skilled skier and willing to go very short, the XP100 may be a fun ski. I plan to demo it in Fernie (hopefully they will have a demo pair).
post #7 of 7
I tried the XP60 (163) and the 80 (180) on groomed hard pack and both felt unwieldy and unresponsive to me. Both just want to rail big high speed turns and neither wants to even 'scarve' much less skid. the 80 would skid-grab-skid grab; the 60 would jump-grab-jump grab. Maybe it was the tune or me but i'd try before I buy--these are wierd IMveryHO.
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