Hagen Mountaineering Core 84 Ski
Earlier this winter I bought a pair of really light pow skis. As a result, my new 108 waist skis weighed the same as my old 95s. That seemed unacceptable, so I started looking for a lightweight volcano crusher for the Pacific Northwest spring time. If you give a mouse a cookie…. right?
I was drawn to Hagen Mountaineering by their venerable Pure 10 AT binding. I was set on the bindings and while checking out their website saw that they had an awesome lineup of lightweight skis for all conditions and skier types. I knew the skis had a sterling reputation across the pond, and once I saw the option for pre-cut skins to match the skis, I decided to go with an entirely Hagen setup.
I selected the Hagen Mountaineering Core 84 ($749) as the description on the website highlighted their ability to stay locked on to firm snow, turn on a dime, and still be able to facilitate fun turns on a pow day. I’ve put them to the test from the resort to halfway up Mount Rainier. Put simply, I’m very stoked with them. They’re crazy light and their weight/cost ratio is competitive. They have astounding versatility and handle all the conditions I’ve thrown at them like a much heavier ski.
Hagen was founded in Austria in 1924 and has stayed exclusively focused on alpine-touring products since then. Their distribution in North America is relatively new, and as a result the brand has not been popularized yet. Their Pure 10 binding is starting to spread the Hagen name, and was my first introduction to the company. I’ll be the first to tell you, their skis should be every bit as popular as their bindings.
Hagen has excellent customer service. They answered a bunch of my questions when I was deciding between ski models. When I did place my order, I knew the bindings were on backorder. They reached out with updates and expedited shipping as soon as they were back in stock. I will be giving business to Hagen in the future, and I’ve been telling my friends to do the same.
Any new ski is a sexy ski, so I’ll admit my first impressions are quite biased. With that in mind, the first thing I noticed is they look like real skis. I was afraid that the 84mm waist would equate to toothpick looking boards, but the pronounced sidecut give the tip and tail usable width.
Additionally, they have a full sidewall at the binding plate of the ski which also lends to the look of a full ski. I bought them to make uphill easier and when I picked them up, I confirmed that they would do just that. They weigh in at 1220 grams for the 170 cm length. My first impression is that they seem like sleek skis for the uphill that will shred pretty well on the way down.
The Core’s shape consists of a fairly long camber with tip rocker. They have a pronounced side cut which gives the ski it’s awesome 17m radius as well as gives the tip the width it needs to stay up in deeper snow. The shape is very similar to the Head Kore, which is my daily driver ski I use for patrol. The result is a very versatile ski that holds an edge really well on hardpack and turns quickly and easily in variable snow.
I decided to take a few lift-served laps in the resort to get a feel for Core 84’s before I went hiking with them. On my first lap I shredded some groomer and took advantage of factory sharp edges on an icy afternoon. The skis are superb on edge and I had a ton of fun railing carves past spring breakers who were in full slide-for-life.
The Multiradius feature became apparent after a few laps and was really entertaining. I found by pushing harder into the front of my boot I could get super short, sharp carves. Next, I took them into the bumps and was super stoked at how well they handled the variable conditions.
Typically, with a light ski the terrain pushes back, but the Core drove and held turns like a much heavier ski. I found a few stashes of fresh snow to make turns in. They were sufficiently buoyant in pow and didn’t feel like I had to fight to keep the tips up. It was only maybe six inches of new, but if conditions are any deeper than that, I’m going to be skiing my wider skis anyway.
Ok, So How Do They Ski Out of Bounds?
I’ll start off by saying that I’ve always been a proponent of skiing the widest, most rockered ski sensible for the conditions. The Core 84s are seriously shifting my opinion on that stance. Tour after tour I thought about taking a different pair of skis, but grabbed the Cores just to see how they’d do. They kept kicking ass on everything I put them on.
I think the best way to illustrate the characteristics of these skis is to show how they debunk the misconceptions of a wide rockered ski fanatic (me.)
The long camber will make them hard to turn and I can handle icy conditions just fine on rockered skis – Wrong: The awesome sidecut and tip rocker make disengaging the previous turn super easy and fluid. The camber is extremely helpful on frozen conditions. Not just for increased prevention of slide-for-life, but the added security prevents me from having to ski timidly waiting to wash out. As a result, I can ski with better technique and flow. I actually had fun skiing the frozen garbage higher on Rainier.
84mm underfoot will not handle soft snow well and I’ll have to fight to keep the tips up – Wrong: The Core’s float just fine, and are really fun in soft snow. The video on this page is from a day where we were hunting soft snow in Washington, and as you can see, these things rip.
A ski this light will get knocked around in variable conditions – Wrong: They have a really nice flex pattern, especially compared to a full carbon ski. When paired with the full sidewall near ski center, they eat up chunder like a resort ski. I repeatedly put them on bad snow waiting to get bucked or hook a ski and they crushed it every time.
Recommended Boot Center
When I got the skis back from getting mounted I noticed that they seemed pretty far back. I checked the boot center and confirmed that the shop had mounted them at recommended. I compared them side by side to other pairs of skis and found that when I lined up the toe pieces that the Hagens had more ski out front than any other pair of skis that I owned.
I was skeptical but took them out as mounted and found no issue skiing them. I contacted Hagen and asked it would affect the ski’s performance to bring them forward. They let me know that 2-3cm wouldn’t affect performance and going further forward would probably be fine too as long as it was within the binding reinforcement on the ski. Despite them skiing really well I still thought that it looked weird, so I had them brought 3cm forward. It didn’t affect how they skied and made them look closer to what I was used to.
Hagen describes the Core 84s as “All-rounders aimed at adventurous ski tourers and downhillers who head to the mountains in any conditions and with a wide variety of goals.” This is exactly what they are. I got the Core 84’s to be light skis that would make trips up to high camp on Mount Rainier easier.
What I got were super light touring skis that I’ll likely take on all but the deepest Colorado days. (You can have my rockered pow skis when you pry them from my cold dead hands.) I think the Core 84’s would make for a decent first AT ski for those living in warmer snow climates. I know for certain they are an excellent addition to a well-rounded quiver of backcountry skis. I look forward to skiing them all spring here in Mount Rainier National Park.
Kyle grew up in Iowa and after high school ditched the midwest to begin college at Western State Colorado University and start guiding in the summers.
Kyle says he spent his time at Western climbing, snowboarding, volunteering on the rescue team, and instructing for the outdoor program. He claims if he had spent any less time actually in class he certainly would not have graduated. Kyle’s time with the Western Mountain Rescue Team was extremely formative and revealed his passion for wilderness search and rescue (SAR). He made it his goal to make a career out of SAR. Kyle is well on his way to achieving his goal and currently works as a Ski Patroller in Colorado and a Climbing Ranger in the Pacific NorthWest.
Kyle’s certifications include WEMT-IV, Avalanche Pro 1, and AMGA Single Pitch Instructor. Kyle is a certified AIARE instructor and teaches Recreational Level 1, Level 2, and Partner Rescue courses. He is also an Apprentice Rock and Ski Guide through the AMGA
When Kyle has free time he climbs and skis. He’s taken the hard way to the top of El Capitan and the steep way down peaks in Colorado and Washington.
Kyle’s jobs allow or force him (depending on the weather) to work 200 days a year outside. He’s constantly testing gear in all conditions and refining his setups to make work and play easier, faster, and more fun.