Published: February, 2003
Midseason product launches are nothing new. Most years, one or two ski manufacturers unveil new additions to their lines around mid-December. This year is no different as K2 and Head offer new products just in time for the holidays.Midseason product launches are nothing new. Most years, one or two ski manufacturers unveil new additions to their lines around mid-December, looking to cash in on the Christmas rush with something fresh and exciting. K2 has long been a practitioner of the art. The Four is perhaps the most memorable example. This year Head joins the fray, bringing in a couple of next year’s models a year early.
K2’s offerings-the Seth Morrison-designed and -inspired Seth Pistol and the park-slaying Public Enemy-are new additions to its Factory Team lineup, and are unmistakably aimed at the youth market. The Seth’s graphics are punk to the point of gory, complete with blood-splattered bullet holes. The new Enemy is slightly tamer, but also decidedly underground-urban, with gun-sight crosshairs on the K2 logo and shotgun-wielding, riot-shielded cops descending on a scene out of “Fight Club.” One wonders what’s going on in Seattle these days. Is this the same company that gave us the happy-go-lucky Cheeseburger Special?
The Seth is a 95-mm waisted big-mountain ripper equipped with twin-tips for the occasional park/pipe session. It gets K2’s “race-room” construction: a burly wood-core torsion-box with vertical sidewalls. Rugged, extra-thick edges will take a licking and keep on gripping. Dimensions: 128-95-118. Sidecut radius: 24 m (at 189 cm). Lengths: 169-179-189. MSRP: $750. Web: sethpistol.com.
The Public Enemy is park-oriented, narrower (80 mm waist) and more deeply shaped. The construction is similar to the Seth and the existing Enemy, with jib-specific modifications (tip shape and height, industrial-strength rivets, etc.) Sidecut radius: 20 m (at 179 cm). Lengths: 169, 179. MSRP: $450. Web: k2factoryteam.com.
Both K2s will be in stores before Christmas.
Head’s new offerings, which will also be in stores mid-December, are aimed at a much broader and, yes, more conservative market. There are two skis: one essentially a soft-snow/Western midfat, the other a hard-snow/Eastern carver. Both are sure to deliver the distinctive Head ride: gluey edge-grip, tank-like and trustworthy at speed.
The iM 75 Chip joins Head’s Monster family of freeride skis. It’s a supercharged midfat, intended to be as turny and precise on hard snow as it is floaty and forgiving in powder. The little “i” is for “Intelligence,” (See Intelligence video below) a Head technology that debuted this year. Mechanical energy (vibrations) are converted to electrical energy, which is applied to special fibers in the layup that can be made progressively stiffer, thus causing the ski to grow stiffer torsionally. In a matter of microseconds, the ski “senses” and adapts to its surroundings, growing stiffer or softer torsionally as conditions and speed warrant. The Chip, used on high-end models like the iM 75, amplifies the effect. The ski comes with a binding, Tyrolia’s LD 12, and an integrated plate system, Super Railflex, which allows the ski to flex unimpeded. Dimensions: 115-75-104; sidecut radius: 18.4 m (at 177 cm). Lengths: 163, 170, 177, 184. MSRP: 1,055 (with plate/binding).
The M-Pulse 7.70 is the first model in a new series for Head. Its waist is 70 mm, once considered fairly fat; now increasingly the width of choice for frontside-backside versatility. It, too, comes with a binding/plate system: the Tyrolia SLD 10 with Railflex. Dimensions: 112-70-100. Sidecut radius: 16 m (at 170). Lengths: 140, 150, 160, 170, 177. MSRP $599 (with binding).