Ski: 20165-2017 Head Caddy, 181 cm
Available Lengths: 171, 176, 181
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull) : 178.8 cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 121-84-110
Stated Weight per Ski: 1760 g
Stated Sidecut Radius (181cm length): 20.2 meters
Core Construction: Silver Fir + Elastomer & Fiberglass Laminate
Mount Location: -1 cm from true center
Boots/Bindings: Dalbello Il Moro T ID / Rossignol FKS 140
Days Skied: 7
Test Location: Saas-Fee, Switzerland[Editor’s Note: our review was conducted on the 15/16 Caddy, which was not changed for 16/17, apart from graphics]
Head’s been in the park ski game for a long time—it’s been 16 years since Jonny Moseley invented the Dinner Roll on a pair of Head Mad Trix.
But with the iconic Mad Trix ski gone (along with many other park skis that came and went in the decade since) the Caddy is now Head’s staple park ski. It’s an extremely light, sandwich construction park ski with a medium flex and a bit of tip and tail rocker. Head markets the Caddy as being highly versatile, which piqued my curiosity about how it might stack up against skis like the Armada AR7 and the Nordica OMW.
Flex / Profile
In short, Head hasn’t really taken any risks with the Caddy. Hand flexing the ski reveals a profile that’s neither quite stiff (like the Salomon NFX), nor decidedly soft (like the Line Blend). The Caddy is roughly as stiff as the Nordica OMW. At 84 mm underfoot, the Caddy has a narrower waist width than the OMW, but has a very similar camber/rocker profile, with camber underfoot and a subtle yet noticeable amount of tip and tail rocker.
The Caddy is a bit more different from the Armada AR7; it has a noticeably softer flex pattern than the AR7, as well as tip and tail rocker, while the AR7 just has a traditional camber profile. Finally, the Caddy features a fast (and mostly black) base material that is predictably speedy in a variety of snow conditions.
On the Snow
When I arrived in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, earlier this month, I was met with excellent, mid-winter like conditions, thanks to a couple feet of fresh snow. The park setup included two large jumps (~45 and ~70 feet in length), and a slew of rails serviced by a short T-bar, which insured that I’d be able to put a ton of laps on the Caddy.
The ski doesn’t really have any immediately ‘surprising’ elements to its construction or design, and as a result, I quickly grew comfortable on the Caddy despite not having been on snow since early May.
I was fortunate to get five full days of hitting big jumps on the Caddy (in October!) in Saas-Fee, and really put the Caddy to the test. The first thing that struck me about the Caddy was the impressive, incredibly-low swing weight, which made initiating big spins and double flips feel easy, as if the skis were an extension of my body. This reminded me of the Scott Jib’s similarly light swing weight. While the Scott Jib is slightly wider, the Caddy is stiffer and beefier, and the feel in the air is fairly similar. This became particularly apparent when I switched over to the Salomon NFX during the second half of my trip—the NFX is considerably heavier.
The Caddy also felt very lively, playful, and full of pop on jumps.
Unsurprisingly, where the Caddy came up a bit short compared to the NFX was in terms of stability. The Caddy’s softer flex (coupled with a bit of tip rocker) caused me to wheelie out of backseat landings a bit more or feel a bit shaky laterally if I took a jump a bit too deep.
To be clear, this shortcoming was by no means dramatic. The Caddy wouldn’t completely flex out on tip-heavy switch landings, like the Armada E-Dollo can with its considerably rockered and soft tips. Nor did I ever feel generally unconfident about the Caddy’s stability on big jumps.
Still, I can say with confidence that the Caddy ranks below the Salomon NFX and the Fischer Nightstick in terms of stability on landings, and I would rank the NFX and the Nightstick as my number 1 and 2 all-time picks in that category. Of course, the NFX and Nightstick’s top level stability comes at the cost of tangible amounts of playfulness and versatility.
NEXT: Rails and Jibs, Comparisons, Etc.