Head Wild Joy ReviewAugust 31, 2018
- Light but substantial
- Good edge hold
- Can pivot, smear & handle crud
- Sluggish edge-to-edge
- Tips can wander
- Damp underfoot
The Head Wild Joy is a versatile Frontside ski, both nimble for its girth and stable for its lightweight construction. By now, Graphene (a material with a high strength-to-weight ratio) has become synonymous with Head. What started out as a material designed to make women-specific models light yet strong has filtered into unisex skis as well. For good reason: When combined with Koroyd and carbon, Graphene helps make the ski light, reactive and strong – all at once. The Wild Joy has an all-mountain waist (90 mm), but Head classifies it in the Frontside category because it behaves like a carving ski. Other features include a full wood core and tip rocker. “It’s agile and responsive,” said one tester. “You can feel the entire ski carve, from tip to tail.”
The Wild Joy also features Head’s ERA 3.0. ERA stands for Evolutionary Rocker Architecture. This trilogy of ski elements includes Allride Rocker, or a split of 20 percent rocker (in the tip) and 80 percent camber, designed for steering and increased flotation. Head claims that the second element, Progressive Radius, means better edge contact with the snow and therefore increased edge grip. The third component to ERA is Intellirise Rebound, or shock absorbing “Intellifibers” placed in the ski tip to reduce vibration.
Testers were impressed by the even flex and rated Edge Hold slightly above Carving Pleasure. Slightly lower Carving Pleasure scores came from the chatter some testers felt in the tip at speed, or on hardpack. Testers noted that the ski lacked rebound and was less forgiving for backseat driving. The Wild Joy’s dampness was not a deterrent and even praised by one tester. Overall, the Head Wild Joy is another versatile iteration of the Joy line, accented by its crafty combination of light yet strong materials that create a nimble, luxe ski that’s a little on the wide – or wild – side.
The Wild Joy’s 90 mm waist and generous 139 mm tip with tip rocker aids in flotation in small amounts of powder and testers gave it high scores here for the category. Powder seekers should look to the wider Great Joy or Big Joy.
Overall, testers gave the Wild Joy moderate to good scores for Stability. One tester called the ski “Plush and damp – a luxe ride.” Some testers noted that the 90 mm waisted ski is less than forgiving when the skier’s weight is aft. “It has a smaller sweet spot than some other models in the category and the tip can chatter at speed if in the backseat,” said one tester. “It rewards an athletic stance and feels stable there in a variety of turn shapes and snow conditions.”
Testers gave the Wild Joy high marks for Edge Hold. The Graphene Koroyd Carbon sandwich construction produces “an even flex” and “effortless turn initiation” according to testers. To some, however, the tip felt sluggish to engage on hardpack, some calling it “a penalty at the top of the turn in icy conditions, but excels in all other terrain and snow conditions.”
The Wild Joy received high scores for Carving Pleasure, though slightly lower than Edge Hold. Lauded for its nimbleness, some testers cited low rebound energy out of the turn and all testers noted the ski’s damp feeling, albeit with an even flex. Some testers enjoyed feeling the entire length of the ski from tip to tail, an attribute from Head’s ERA technology, which combines rocker, radius and rebound to enhance the ski’s carving acumen.
Turn Shape Variability
The Wild Joy received slightly lower scores for Turn Shape Variability. “It’s not as forgiving between long to short radius turns, but catches up quickly,” said one tester. At 90 mm underfoot, it’s one of the wider skis in the category, so it goes head-to-head with some narrower models, though Head’s new model has a 14.4 m radius. “This ski shines in medium to big radius turns,” said another tester.
Krista Crabtree- Skiing
Passionate about women’s ski camps and women-specific gear, Krista organizes women’s ski programs at Eldora and Vail, including her own camp called She Skis. A former editor at SKI Magazine, she currently runs the ski test for OnTheSnow.com.