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Rating: 3.25 / 5
Waist Width: 79
Lengths: 143, 148, 153, 158, 163, 168
Stability at speed: 3.64 / 5
Hard snow performance: 3.29 / 5
Crud performance: 3.00 / 5
Flotation: 2.21 / 5
Forgiveness: 3.56 / 5
Overall: 3.25 / 5
The 2017 Head Absolut Joy, which returns unchanged, is the second-least expensive model in the Joy collection of women’s skis. It’s built with a soft-flexing, super-light, and affordable foam core, with a 79-mm waist width well suited to soft groomers and an unaggressive attack.
Head’s highly successful, six-model Joy series of women’s skis is a broad and diverse line encompassing all ability levels and snow types, from a super-wide powder ski (the 108-mm-waisted Big Joy) down to novice-level groomer ski (the 73-mm Pure Joy), with in-between waist widths of 98, 85, 75, and 79 mm. The top two models (Big Joy and Great Joy) are only sold flat; the bottom four are sold with bindings (a sturdy 11-DIN for rippers on the Total Joy and Super Joy; a lighter-weight 9-DIN on the Absolut Joy and Pure Joy). Head’s use of graphene-infused laminates, introduced to the men’s skis this season, has been enjoyed by women for a few years. The super-thin/strong Nobel-prize winning material adds strength with virtually no added weight or thickness, allowing Head to optimize ski profile thicknesses-thinner and more flexible underfoot, thicker and grippier toward the tip and tail, and lighter overall. The top two models (Big Joy and Great Joy) are built on wood cores, for maximum durability and high-speed responsiveness. The middle widths (Total Joy and Super Joy) are built with Head’s GKC Superlite construction: the core is a light, airy honeycomb of koroyd plastic, reinforced with light/strong carbon fiber in addition to graphene. The narrowest, least expensive models (Absolut and Pure) are built with light, economical foam cores. All are partial cap constructions where the topsheet drapes over the top corners and rests on medium-edgy three-quarter-height sidewalls. All models are rockered in the tip-for soft-snow flotation, shock absorption, and mellow turn initiations-with low camber from the forebody back.
Head Skis is owned by a Dutch company that also owns Tyrolia bindings. Its factory headquarters are in Kennelbach, Austria; U.S. headquarters are in Boulder, Colo. Head was founded in 1950 by American recreational skier and aeronautical engineer Howard Head, who is acknowledged as the first ski designer to successfully combine metal and plastics in ski design. -J.C.