I demoed the 191 Venturi in late July on firm(ish) groomers with some softening snow on the lower slopes. I was impressed (I'm 6'4" and 210). I own the old Mojo 94 in 187 (a forebear to the RnR, with metal in the layup and without any early rise) and have read good things about the RnR; most people love it, although the topsheet design gets a mention in every review. Compared with the Mojo, which is a relatively heavy ski, the Venturi has really gone on a diet to remove weight - especially from the tip / tail. I was surprised to see it was a 191cm ski when I handed it back, as it felt a bit shorter than that.
For your stated purpose I don't think you can make a bad choice with any of the skis you mention, just as long as you're ok with the topsheet graphics on the RnR.
Here are my notes from the demo.
Head Venturi – 140-95-126 in 191cm with a radius of 18m
This is a twin tip with traditional camber underfoot (60% of the ski) and early rise in both tip and tail (the remaining 40%). The layup is wood core + fibreglass in a sandwich cap construction. There’s no metal in the ski, but there are dampening layers of rubber throughout. All models in the range feature Head’s TTS (Tip and Tail Stabiliser System) which is a distinctively patterned plastic inlay with an exoskeleton of raised ridges designed to control twisting and flapping at the tips without the ski needing to be too thick or too heavy at the extremities. TTS also continues the use of rubber to dampen vibration and calm down the tip flap that many early rise and rockered skis can suffer. The TTS ridges, in conjunction with the topsheet design, give the ski a distinctive art deco look. For a relatively large ski these were lighter than expected, both in hand and on your feet. TTS has to go a long way towards explaining this lightness.
Backcountry.com says “The first thing you, and everyone else, will notice when checking out the Head Venturi 95 Ski is the space-age-looking plastic thingy at the tip and tail. If you want to drop some knowledge on the clowns that are giving you a hard time for skiing on kitchen utensils, tell them it's an elastomeric stabilizing inlay with a glass fibre exoskeleton, designed to dampen the vibration found in rockered tips and tails while increasing torsional strength and reducing swing weight. If you want them to understand what that means, sit them down and have them watch while you rip the headwall of the off-the-summit groomer, duck into the trees and surf through your favourite powder stash, and poke out a steezy spin over the cat track at the bottom of the hill.”
Without poking around any further I expect this is an evolution of the old Head Rock and Roll – a great ski let down a little by some love-it-or-hate-it topsheet graphics. The Venturi is the narrowest model in its range, and is designed to take the rockered, surfy look back down a notch in terms of waist width, delivering an all-round ski that is at home both on and off piste.
On the slopes it feels lightweight and flexible, without in any way being a noodle. There’s a solid feel underfoot, providing a measure of stability and confidence, and at no stage did I feel any lack of support from the tail. It’s a big looking ski, but it doesn’t feel all that large when skiing. It’s also quite a damp ski, which is a marvel given the relatively light weight and with no metal in the construction – the TTS stuff must work.
On the two runs I took on them I wasn't trying to drive them overly hard - that's not how I ski. I suspect someone who really powers up a ski might find they need something a bit stiffer.
This is a wideish ski that carves well. More of a versatile, do-everything, 50:50 ski than a softer snow specialist. They’d be a great ski for overseas trips where you just have to deal with whatever conditions nature throws at you. They’d also work well as a wider ski for local conditions. The rep quoted me 191cm for this one, but it didn’t look or feel that big. Perhaps it was the twin tip / early rise at both ends giving a shorter running length, in combination with the light weight extremities, but it felt more like a mid-180s ski.
TWS (three word summary) – “wonderfully art deco”
Edited by sinbad7 - 11/3/14 at 3:03am