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Head John

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
 I am a Level 9 skier who is 6'3" and weigh about 100kgs (220 lbs).  I have predominantly skied front side carvers ( have Rossignol CX 80s - which I love).  However, if it has snowed, I want to get off piste and into the trees and powder.  The Rossy's simply don't cut it here and are really hard work.  As I almost always will ski in a resort, any powder soon gets cut up - can anyone recommend a ski for off piste resort conditions.  I recently tried the Head John - it was amazing how easy these skis were to use, turn etc.  They really lapped up any conditions that I threw at them.  Is there something better out there?
post #2 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by themajor View Post

 I am a Level 9 skier who is 6'3" and weigh about 100kgs (220 lbs).  I have predominantly skied front side carvers ( have Rossignol CX 80s - which I love).  However, if it has snowed, I want to get off piste and into the trees and powder.  The Rossy's simply don't cut it here and are really hard work.  As I almost always will ski in a resort, any powder soon gets cut up - can anyone recommend a ski for off piste resort conditions.  I recently tried the Head John - it was amazing how easy these skis were to use, turn etc.  They really lapped up any conditions that I threw at them.  Is there something better out there?

There are many good skis in the John category of mid-90's underfoot.  I happen to love the John and think it's a great all-around ski, but I'm affiliated with Head so my opinion is suspect.

Fischer's Watea 94 gets great reviews here.  I recently skied the Blizzard Titan Atlas IQ Max and liked it a lot.  I'm sure there will be other suggestions in that category.

That said, if you really liked the John when you demoed it, there may not be a whole lot of reason to look elsewhere.
post #3 of 25
great Bob, because I would like to know what the Head brand is now days, skis, then boots and some other stuff. I thought I heard Head is now made in Austria. What company is that and why in Austria? When did Head leave the US? To what extent did the company change things when they left the US? What is the significance of a brand like Head? When I hear Head skis now, am I hearing about a fairly traditional Austrian ski? If so, why not call it Kopf.
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

great Bob, because I would like to know what the Head brand is now days, skis, then boots and some other stuff. I thought I heard Head is now made in Austria. What company is that and why in Austria? When did Head leave the US? To what extent did the company change things when they left the US? What is the significance of a brand like Head? When I hear Head skis now, am I hearing about a fairly traditional Austrian ski? If so, why not call it Kopf.

Head is now, and has been for many years, a European company based in Amsterdam. 

www.head.com/corporate/investors/news.php

Head left, so to speak, the US many, many years ago.  HEAD is now an international multi-sport manufacturer.  As far as I know, all of their skis are made in Austria.  The Head brand has been a valuable one for many years, particularly in skiing and tennis.

My guess - although I have no figures to back this up - is that today Head skis are FAR more popular in Europe than in the US.  As you travel through the Alps, practically every ski shop you see carries Head and often uses them as a primary rental ski in addition to displaying lots of models on the retail rack.  That - perhaps - helps explain why the Head ski line tends to skew more heavily toward racing, carving, and on-piste models.

I think it would be fair to call MOST Head models "fairly traditional Austrian skis", as long as that's a good thing as far as you're concerned. 

Head skis tend to have a very distinctive "feel", particularly in their higher-end all-mountain and carving skis.  They are mostly wood-core and metal construction skis with a very damp, stick-to-the-snow feel.  I like them better than anything else on the market, which is partly how I came to be affiliated with them as an on-mountain rep.  I was buying them (on my own), even though that was a fairly difficult thing to do in the US six or eight years ago. 

Today, you'll see a lot of Head skis here at Jackson Hole, and I hope I've had a little bit to do with that influx.  To be fair, though, I have a feeling that Bode Miller and Didier Cuche and Lindsey Vonn and Crystal Wright have a lot more to do with it than I do.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by themajor View Post

 I am a Level 9 skier who is 6'3" and weigh about 100kgs (220 lbs).  I have predominantly skied front side carvers ( have Rossignol CX 80s - which I love).  However, if it has snowed, I want to get off piste and into the trees and powder.  The Rossy's simply don't cut it here and are really hard work.  As I almost always will ski in a resort, any powder soon gets cut up - can anyone recommend a ski for off piste resort conditions.  I recently tried the Head John - it was amazing how easy these skis were to use, turn etc.  They really lapped up any conditions that I threw at them.  Is there something better out there?

Definitely consider the Fischer Watea 94 too.  I have both skis (well, my Head is the "Mojo" 94, renamed as the John this year).  The Watea is a little better in powder and crud, and is more athletic/graceful when carving on groomed soft snow -- it's got that classic racy Fischer feel.  The Mojo/John is a bit more versatile overall though, as it has enough metal and damping to do OK on harder snow where the Watea gets chattery, and I'd say the Mojo/John is also better in bumps.  It also happens to be my all time favorite ski for spring snow.
post #6 of 25
 219:  You gotta be kidding about W94 being a better crud ski than Heads.  I agree that W94 is a more energetic carver of the two, but I would much rather be on the Heads on a crud day.  Head is just much more damp and solid, Watea is too springy and high-strung.    I own the Heads (Mojo94), and I only demoed the W94, so conceivably I may be missing something, but my crud performance impression was very clear, it is just not a good crud ski.

To the OP: For better or worse, the standard in that mid-90 category is Volkl Mantra.  I do not like it- it is too stiff and nervous for me (I happned to think that John is a better Mantra than the Mantra).   Also, there is the 94 mm Blizzard (Answer, Atlas?, I am always confusing them).   Since you have a widish carver already why not go to an even wider ski, 100 mm plus? Line Prophet, Dynastar 6th Sense Huge, Gotama, etc?   A jump from the CX80 to Johns would not be enough; John is realkly a one-ski quiver ski or an everyday ski in a three-ski setup.  
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

 219:  You gotta be kidding about W94 being a better crud ski than Heads.  I agree that W94 is a more energetic carver of the two, but I would much rather be on the Heads on a crud day.  Head is just much more damp and solid, Watea is too springy and high-strung.    I own the Heads (Mojo94), and I only demoed the W94, so conceivably I may be missing something, but my crud performance impression was very clear, it is just not a good crud ski.

The Mojo/John is a bit deficient in crud because of its tip geometry, which is low and shallow.  I have made this same observation on many other skis as well, so it's not a special case here.  I snapped this photo of the Watea and Mojo tips last year:



(Watea in background, Mojo/John in foreground).  Maybe it's just my skiing style, but dampness is not something I associate as being important for crud / powder / soft snow capability, so that aspect of the Mojo/John doesn't really come into play for me in crud.  It's more about tip geometry and the ability of the ski to transition through variable snow conditions well.  That's where the Watea excels in my experience.  It is among the top powder / crud / soft snow skis I have owned in recent years. 
post #8 of 25
 BTW, lest we mix up conditions, my definition of crud is what you get after powder has been all tracked out.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post




The Mojo/John is a bit deficient in crud because of its tip geometry, which is low and shallow.  I have made this same observation on many other skis as well, so it's not a special case here.  I snapped this photo of the Watea and Mojo tips last year:



(Watea in background, Mojo/John in foreground).  Maybe it's just my skiing style, but dampness is not something I associate as being important for crud / powder / soft snow capability, so that aspect of the Mojo/John doesn't really come into play for me in crud.  It's more about tip geometry and the ability of the ski to transition through variable snow conditions well.  That's where the Watea excels in my experience.  It is among the top powder / crud / soft snow skis I have owned in recent years. 
See, that's exactly why I'm not as much of a fan of the Watea 94 as others on here. 

For me personally, that exaggerated tip rise makes the ski MORE susceptible to getting deflected and banged around in inconsistent snow conditions than the John.  I think the lower tip makes the John more capable of slicing THROUGH stuff rather than getting nudged off-course by it. 

That said, the Watea 94 is a very popular ski here in JH, and we get a lot of crud.  This sort of thing is exactly why demoing is so important, IMHO.
post #10 of 25
 FWIW, the Watea tips are about average among all my skis -- not exaggerated by any means, they just look like it next to the Mojos.  The Watea tips are similar in shape/rise to the tips on my Head iM88 and iM82, which both do very well in crud.  I tend to like a traditional tip with a healthy ramp angle (Watea, iM88, iM82) because of the way they punch/plow through crud.  More of the tip area is projected forward.  In contrast, I have found that shallow tips such as the Mojo's are more likely to ride up and go rodeo because more of their area is projected downward.  It's a small distinction, but one I have noticed repeatedly over the years, and it makes sense -- almost analogous to projected area of boat hulls.  Anyway, it's more about ramp angle, and the incidence of the tip to the snow, than the actual height.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post

 BTW, lest we mix up conditions, my definition of crud is what you get after powder has been all tracked out.
Ok, here here is where we differ.  For me crud is what you get two days after the storm when the chopped-up powder thawed by the end of the day and froze during the night.  Cruddy snow for me is just chunky hard snow that makes your ride very bumpy.  Here at Squaw powder is always chopped up powder- there is usually no powder left after 10:30, so you almost always ski the cut-up stuff.   The mountain is huge, it just has to many damn good skiers, so the competition for the fresh is pretty fierce. 

FWIIW:I skied the W94 in classic Squaw cruddy conditions- soft corn in the sun sports, refrozen corn snow in the shade.   W94 was a blast in the sunny spots (as I wrote in my review, I was skiing with a ski instructor friend who was on slalom race skis, and I was matching him turn for turn- no small feat for a 94mm ski), but it was downright scary in the shade spots.  I switched to my Mythics and although they were not nearly as fun as a carver, they were rock solid in crud.
post #12 of 25
Yeah, I would not call that crud; straight crud is strictly on the powdery end of the spectrum, right after powder becomes tracked out and starts getting pushed around.  If we're talking about frozen crud or snow that has gone through any sort of freeze/thaw, wind pack, or aging, then Wateas would not be a good choice at all, and you don't need a demo to know that.  Lacking any metal or substantial damping, they just wouldn't make sense.  

That's my discriminating factor when packing a ski for a trip out west -- if the conditions are going to include anything other than powder/crud, then I go with a ski that has metal layers and some damping.  In cases like that, I would pick the Mojo over the Watea for sure.  It's one reason why I can justify having both skis in my quiver despite the similarities in length and width.  They cater to different parts of the spectrum, Wateas being focused on soft snow with strong performance in that area, Mojos covering a wider range with more versatility.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post

Yeah, I would not call that crud; straight crud is strictly on the powdery end of the spectrum, right after powder becomes tracked out and starts getting pushed around.  If we're talking about frozen crud or snow that has gone through any sort of freeze/thaw, wind pack, or aging, then Wateas would not be a good choice at all, and you don't need a demo to know that.  Lacking any metal or substantial damping, they just wouldn't make sense.  
Yes, I am glad we are on the same page once the terminology is squared away.  Lack of damping is why I didn't consider W94 for my daily driver after I demoed.  Here in Tahoe, that ski does not make much sense as a daily ski (basically if you are going to encounter only powder and cut-up powder, you might as well be on a real fat ski.  For those days I now have a Huge Trouble).  For the more typical days when I can encounter everything from blue ice to thawed-out spring corn, Mojo94 and my old Mythics cover me pretty well.  I have a feeling that the new Sultan 94 will be a better daily driver than either of those two, unless Dynastar managed to screw up totally, but I must say that Mojo94 does everything pretty well; it is hugely versatile and a total sleeper ski hit for Head.  I still slightly prefer the feel of Dynastar skis-( for lack of better wording, they have a bit of exuberance that Head lacks... I know I am not too coherent, but basically, Dynastars are less damp but still manage to absorb vibration enough to make a solid ride while still delivering the "pop").     
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

I still slightly prefer the feel of Dynastar skis-( for lack of better wording, they have a bit of exuberance that Head lacks... I know I am not too coherent, but basically, Dynastars are less damp but still manage to absorb vibration enough to make a solid ride while still delivering the "pop").     

Agree 100% -- I find Dynastar does a lot better job keeping their skis interesting.  Head usually goes overboard with the damping, though there are exceptions like the iM78 and iM88.
post #15 of 25
I find this thread interesting on a number of points, but would like to add a couple of cents to the discussion with regards to...

The Head John in chopped up powder appears, to my uneducated eye, to be a wanderer, with the tips getting thrown around too much for it to be a proper charging ski. Now, I know that it's supposed to be exactly the same as last year's mojo 94, but last year I could blast the chop.  This year, not so much. (could be me? i don't know!) The only reason I have the john is because my mojo got delaminated at the end of season (no jokes please) and the John was a replacement ski this season. And I think there is a discernable difference in performance between the two skis, to the point where I don't want to ski the John as a every day master blaster. I've heard that it's exactly the same as last year, and i've heard that they made it softer. I feel that it's softer, and that going softer has proved a negative, but i'm just a ski bum so what would i know!

So that's my reservation about the ski. That if you are going to ski resorts where new snow doesn't last, then you may have to ski according to the ski limitations, rather than your own.

That said, it's still a good off piste quiver of one. Brilliant in the trees, great in powder, takes drops with aplomb, and handles bumps with no dramas. So i would reccomend, despite the above reservations. But with your height and weight, I think you are going to want the 187cm length. And i you can get it, i'd suggest last years mojo 94! :)
post #16 of 25
Interesting observation... I do recall hearing/reading that Jonh is softer than the Mojo94.  FWIIW, Johnny Moseley skied on Mojo94 and not on Johns at his Squaw event this past Christmas.  I am guessing that as a Head-sponsored skier he presumably should have no problem getting a ski from the current line. 
post #17 of 25
 Maybe Bob can comment -- I was under the impression the ski was unchanged.

Is your binding mount position identical?
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
 Thank you all for such detailed responses.

For my part crud basically means chopped up powder - Fernie gets tracked out pretty quick as does any ski hill.  The Head John was fairly unimpressive on piste although carving on the way back to the ski lift was achievable.  I found it excellent in the chop - very easy to turn and very responsive underfoot.  Not having had much experience with such skis, I also found the shovels / tips blasted through the chop and I had a lot of lift.  The worst part about the ski are the new graphics - the Mojo are much more appealing.  Is there a great difference between the two skis?

I also tried the Dynastar Big Trouble which were excellent in deep untracked powder.  However, the Head skis out performed them considerably in the chop.  Maybe this is because the Huge (Big?) Trouble is just a flat ski but I certainly felt every bump which on the Head John, I would not have given a second thought to.
For icy conditions, lets face it, I wouldn't be skiing the John and would revert to my CX80s
post #19 of 25
I skied the Johns in a 180 at White Pass last weekend - warmed up slough on top of some hard pack - typical NW El Nino snow.  I thought the ski hooked up pretty easily when you roll them over and then held a nice arc even at speed.  Bumps were fun.  Remarkably light swing weight (mounted with Marker Griffons) compared to the ski/binding combos from most ski makers these days.  That was a pleasant plus.  They aren't snappy, but reward some energy and are a generally fun ski to be on in many conditions and different terrain.  Afterwards, back in the city I compared them to the Mojo 94s from last year.  The shop tech claims the Johns don't have the metal layer of the Mojos and flexing the two I could feel the Johns were markedly softer.  I think the flex of the Mojos is more like a Volkl Mantra or Gotama.  I'm thinking I may spring for the Mojo 94s (better clearance price as an older model) because I think I'll like the pop from the metal sheet better.  But I wonder if I ought to compare them to some Line Prophet 90s.  Anyone have a comment on that comparison?
post #20 of 25
All I can do is reiterate one more time what I've been told by two different Head regional reps:

The Mojo 94 and the John 94 are identical skis except for the graphics.  There is no metal in the ski (either one) other than the edges.

I've skied both.  I own a pair of Mojo 94's and I've skied a friend's pair of new John 94's.  Same ski length, same boot sole length, same binding (Marker Dukes), and same snow conditions because we switched mid-run.  I could tell no difference at all between them.

I'll be at Snowbasin next week and I'll be talking with a bunch of Head people.  I'll ask again if my information is wrong.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

All I can do is reiterate one more time what I've been told by two different Head regional reps:

The Mojo 94 and the John 94 are identical skis except for the graphics.  There is no metal in the ski (either one) other than the edges.

I've skied both.  I own a pair of Mojo 94's and I've skied a friend's pair of new John 94's.  Same ski length, same boot sole length, same binding (Marker Dukes), and same snow conditions because we switched mid-run.  I could tell no difference at all between them.

I'll be at Snowbasin next week and I'll be talking with a bunch of Head people.  I'll ask again if my information is wrong.
 

Bob, there is definitely metal in the Mojo 94 (haven't seen the Johns myself).  Under the topsheet skin is a fairly thick layer of aluminum.  You can see this shiny layer by looking at the side of the ski (also visible in my photos above).  My real glimpse came when I had an earlier pair that delaminated.  It's a big old floppy piece of aluminum running from tip to tail
post #22 of 25

Would the Mojo/John 94 be a good addition to a current quiver of one consisting of a Watea 84?  Those are my "carver" bump skis of choice, but would like to try something wider and a bit different.  Ski west exclusively, but am forced to spend more time than I like on the groomers due to family, kids, etc.

post #23 of 25

Not really, too much overlap.  Get a 100mm+ (or even a rockered) ski for a soft snow day.  

post #24 of 25

if you like the head john 94 get the motorhead rock and roll 94, they feel like the john only better in the soft snow due to the early rise tip and tail

 

sam

post #25 of 25

mojo 94 and john 94 same ski!!  johny 94 no metal.

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