Initial Impression: Head's Supershape series has had a bit of a resurgence over the past few seasons and for good reason, they ski very well and they have a capacity that more people should (and some are) taking advantage of. This past season I talked about and did a long term review of the newest member of the Supershape family, the i.Rally. Todays review will be of the Supershape model that started it all, the i.Speed. While i.Speed's name is familiar along with it's 66mm waist, the shape is actually a bit different and there is also the addition on KERS to the design to store the kinetic energy during the turn, a technology shared with F1 racing as one example. The new i.Speed is an evolution ski.
On the Snow: Like it's big brother the i.Rally, the i.Speed is capable of making a multitude of turn shapes at a multitude of speeds. But now stating the obvious, it can do it quicker due to it's narrower 66mm waist. The groomer performance was as expected in most situations, the snow that I had was actually quite soft and corn like for late February but as long as I let the tails follow the tips through the turn shape, the ski was very happy. I did notice because of a slightly stronger construction and narrower waist, as soon as I tried to shmear the i.Speed, the 66mm waist did fight back, a turn that the i.Rally with it's 10mm more of width, was much more tolerant of. Contrary to what I just said though, the i.Speed was a lot of fun in the spring bumps that were on Northstar's The Rapids. Taking the i.Speed down almost 2000 feet of moguls was a lot of fun, the i.Speed in the 170cm length, had no problem snaking down, I think this had more to do with the medium balanced flex than the actual shape of the design. Head has proven that a softer (i.e. not stiff) ski can still have hard snow performance but a compliant flex can increase versatility immensely.
Yes, the Supershape i.Speed bends real nice
Overall: Like the previously reviewed i.Rally, the i.Speed has a level of versatility that goes beyond it's dimensions and it address the question that was brought up in another thread, "Are Head skis that good..." Right now I would have to say yes. Yes, Head had some stumbles and mis directions in the past years, what company hasn't but right now Head is hitting the mark an pretty much every ski in their collection and the patriarch i.Speed is no different. So again, like the i.Rally (and i.Magnum) if you are looking for a hard snow ski that is NOT going to punish you but will hold your hand help you improve as you enjoy the groomers or if you are an instructor going for a level, add the i.Speed to your list of skis to try.
Length Tested: 170cm
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 119-66-98 14.3
Camber (select one, delete the rest): Traditional w/ speed rocker.
Binding: Demo IS Suggested
Mount point: Suggested
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Northstar
Number of Runs: 15+
Snow Conditions: packed Powder to Late Day Corn
Demo or Own: Demo
Age: 50 (just)
Height/Weight: 5’10” 190lb.
Ski Days/Season: 60+
Years Skiing: 37
Current Quiver/test fleet:
Head Rally 177 w/Head PDX
Blizzard Brahma 180 w/Look Pivot 14
Scott The Ski 175 w/Look Pivot 15
K2 Amp Rictor 90 w/ Salomon Sth2
Blizzard Bonafide w/Salomon Sth2
K2 Annex 108 W/Salomon Sth2
Nordica Patron (yet to be mounted)
Home Area: Squalpine/Northstar
Preferred Terrain: groomers, bumps, off-piste, trees
(Photos courtesy of Dory Beaux / Falling Flake Images )
Edited by Philpug - 10/22/14 at 9:09am