Pugski Test Team

Testing skis so you don't have to.
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Head.jpg

18 Kore 93-TC.png
Head Kore 93
Dimensions: 133-93-115
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 153, 162, 171, 180, 189
Size tested: 180
Design: All New

Drahtguy Kevin: Super light both afoot and in hand, the Kore 93 is nimble yet stable and dependable in steep, bumped-out terrain. The tip made getting into turns easy no matter the snow type. The Kore’s even flex masks the stiffness and torsional rigidity that keep the ski from deflecting in dicey conditions. With a 16.4m radius, the Kore feels much narrower underfoot than it is. I could see this ski as a viable backcountry ride. Head has a winner in the new Kore series.
  • Who is it for? Mountain explorers.
  • Who is it not for? The groomer-only crowd.
  • Insider tip: Don't let the weight fool you, this ski can be pushed.

FairToMiddlin: The Kore series is the replacement for the Flight series, Head’s lightweight off-piste/touring ski. I admit, for riding the chair up the hill, I don’t get too excited about the manufacturers that are all wound up about adding lightness, and the Kore had me less than stoked, but I heard whispers of "whole ‘nother animal," and gave it a try.

Wow.

I got off the Kore 93 and scurried over to the Nordica tent to snatch a pair of 185 Enforcer 93s for a run or two, just to make sure I wasn’t out of my mind.

Nope, mind intact (well, mostly…). I am a fan of the Enforcer 93/100, have been since it was introduced, but for the things I would want out of a mid-90s ski, I would take the Kore.

Heresy! Nevertheless, Head has seemingly done what nobody else is truly nailing: a lighter ski that doesn’t sacrifice feel and communication. Its off-piste performance is fun and confident; back on the trail, it has a turn initiation and sidecut shape worthy of the Head name*. The Kore gets the Most Pleasant Surprise of the Year medal, no contest. I would have liked to try the Kore 105, but we didn’t have the soft snow for it. I sure do hope to get on it in the future, however.

*Weirdly, the really cool looking black topsheet offers no dimensions, and the reps awkwardly admitted they didn’t know the actual sidecut/dims. I’d put it in the realm of 16-18 m.
  • Who is it for? Lightweight schmightweight: it’s for folks looking for a wide 88, or narrow 98, and want solid performance, period.
  • Who is it not for? True 11/10th heavyweights. It is impressive, but it has to start obeying physics at some point, and that probably starts somewhere north of a 200-lb skier.
  • Insider tip: The 180 didn’t ski short; don’t feel like you need to size up as a default.

Philpug: Nailed it. Head’s new Kore 93 is such a fun ski. Its lightweight construction and playful nature will make a lot of skiers very happy. There is a crispness here that is not found in many others skis in this class.
  • Who is it for? You like puppies.
  • Who is it not for? Chargers, bigger skiers.
  • Insider tip: Mount 1 cm back.

Ron: The new Kore line comprises Head's lighter, more off-piste, touring-friendly skis. I tested it with @Philpug while he was on the Monster 88, which is probably the ski a lot of people will ask about when comparing the two. The Kore does in fact have a lighter, more "fun" feel even while staying well connected to the snow. Despite its prowess in softer snow, the tip engaged well and held an edge on the groomed just fine, and you can still finish a turn. Compared to the Monster 88, it feels less serious -- but that’s not a bad thing. The Kore 93 is a fun, capable, off-piste-oriented ski. It would make a fine AT setup and is a great option for lighter skiers, too.
  • Who is it for? Softer-snow environments; would make a good narrower all-mountain AT ski.
  • Who is it not for? Anyone who is skiing hard groomers 70% of the time.
  • Insider tip: Demo the 88 and the 93 back to back.

SBrown: Light and maneuverable yet good, smooth grip on soft groomers. I thought the tip was too soft in steep cruddy bumps, but that’s probably not its strong suit. Should be a popular ski. I worry a little about its lightness in heavy snow but didn’t get to test that.
  • Who is it for? Could easily be a one-ski quiver for in and out of bounds in Colorado.
  • Who is it not for? I’m gonna say big strong skiers in big strong snow, but that is just a guess.
  • Insider tip: Coolest graphics ever.

UGASkiDawg: The Kore 93 was great fun in a short section of chopped-up crud in Sail Away Glades. It’s light, and the tail was done perfectly: it’s there if you need it to push you into that next turn but doesn’t demand that you do so. I found the front end of the ski very vague, though; I couldn’t figure out how to get any flex out of it. I could push on it but when I did it felt like I just hit a stop. The ski responded by turning but it was disconcerting. I’d like to give this ski a try again.
  • Who is it for? A Head fan looking for an all-mountain ski that is more off-piste-oriented than the Monster.
  • Who is it not for? Like every Head I’ve been on, this is not for the aspiring intermediate; you need to drive it.
  • Insider tip: Try it back to back with the Monster and/or the Enforcer 93 before making up your mind.
18 Kore 103-TC.png
Head Kore 105
Dimensions: 135-105-125
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 171, 180, 189
Size tested: 180
Design: All New

Philpug: The Head Flight collection was not the most inspiring that Head ever offered, but it has been replaced by a black Kore collection that is simply amazing. And it's not just in comparison to the low-ish bar set by that outgoing series: these skis are really really good. The Kore 105, as the middle of the three-ski line, does not suffer from middle-child syndrome at all. It handled the mank of Snowbasin with authoritative ease, which says a lot; some skis just folded under the pressure of the high-water-content snow. I hope to see a pair of these in a long-term test down the road.
  • Who is it for? Those who like a light-feeling ski, these are very deceptive.
  • Who is it not for? If you are hard on skis, beware: with the lack of a finished topskin, these might not take abuse.
  • Insider tip: Don't wait, they will sell out early.
18 Monster 88-TC.png
Head Monster 88
Dimensions: 133-88-114
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 163, 170, 177, 184
Size tested: 184
Design: New Construction

Drahtguy Kevin: Head lightened up the tip this year with hopes of making this model accessible to more skiers. It is. The softer tip felt more hesitant than years past, but the 18.9m radius (184cm) is still true, and the solid, secure feel is evident. The classic Head tail expels energy. Speed has no limits with ski.
  • Who is it for? Aspiring chargers and competent skiers.
  • Who is it not for? Those looking to ride the tails.
  • Insider tip: A great ski to grow with.

FairToMiddlin: Next year is the third year for the "new" Monster series -- or maybe it is the beginning of a second two-year product cycle? It looks the same, it’s shaped with the same radius, but for 2018, it gets a lightened and softened tip, much like the Bonafide. And, much like the Bonafide, it will probably appeal to more skiers, but it feels like change for the sake of change rather than actual improvement.

To me, it feels like it has an incremental ease of use, but also a sacrifice in power, both in the beginning of the turn and through the chop. Like the Bonafide, it is still on the power end of its segment, but … but. The current Monster 88 felt like a better Kästle MX88 when it came out, and I wrote as much two years ago. If James May were a skier, he might say that this latest Monster lacks some of the fizz of the outgoing one.
  • Who is it for? Intermediate/advanced skiers moving up from milder, price-point all-mountain skis.
  • Who is it not for? Intermediates not moving up; it’s still a strong ski.
  • Insider tip: Now more than before, sizing up could be the way to go, don’t be skeered

Philpug: For some reason, Head felt that the Monster 88 was too much ski for some people. Maybe it was, but that's what made the Monsters what they were. These were men’s skis, and that is good. So what does Head do but go and fix what wasn’t broken -- actually making the ski better without losing hardly anything. (I personally like my crow with a sherry cream sauce.) I am not saying that the Monster 88 (this also goes for the 83) will be an acceptable tool for someone just entering the sport, but now it is about 10% softer, and a change in the early rise makes it a better for lighter finesse skiers who sometimes could be taken for a ride on the old one -- all this without compromising what stronger, more advanced skiers appreciate in the skis.
  • Who is it for? Skiers who take the sport seriously.
  • Who is it not for? Lazy skiers can still get spanked: the Monsters didn’t lose all of their bite.
  • Insider tip: Still one of the more serious skis on the market.

Ron: I loved the “old” 88 and felt it was the best value in the crowded 88 slot. I was concerned when I heard that Head changed the design in fear that it had been dumbed down from its rather stoic prior iteration. Hmm, a bit more shape, a touch softer, a schniggle more rocker …. Well, Head did what most manufacturers don’t: they actually made it more approachable and kept its capabilities intact! I loved the new 88! It is still more off-piste-oriented, and the tip is a touch less precise on the groomed, but the ski feels more alive and, yes, even more fun. It still has a solid feel underfoot; you can ski the whole ski. This remains my choice for an 88mm ski that truly skis the entire mountain.
  • Who is it for? It still requires a pilot with some skills but now has a broader bandwidth; lightweights may struggle and should look at the K2 Pinnacle 88. The 88 could be that one-ski quiver for Out West.
  • Who is it not for? If you are looking for a groomer mid, look elsewhere.
  • Insider tip: The new 88 is truly “new and improved”; buy it and smile.

SBrown: I skied this right after the Kore 93, on the same terrain, and personally, I preferred the Monster. They ate up those same cruddy bumps that gave me pause on the Kore. (That said, they weren’t tight bumps, and I bet I’d give the Kore thumbs up on those.) Some of our bigger reviewers aren’t necessarily thrilled with the friendlier tip, but at 140 lb, I’m cool with it. Still, I never found the "old" Monster 88 to be an issue -- it's just a great ski, any generation.
  • Who is it for? I think this might be the perfect narrow side of a Western two-ski quiver.
  • Who is it not for? Content intermediates.
  • Insider tip: A skier's ski.
18 Monster_98.png
Head Monster 98
Dimensions: 135-98-120
Radius: [email protected]
Size tested: 170 and 177
Design: New Construction

UGASkiDawg: The Monster 98 is the closest thing I’ve been on to the old Kästle MX98: it just powers through everything. It needs to be driven from the front; when you stay on the front, it responds with precision. It will punish you if you ski the longer sizes and don’t have the requisite skills. I love it in the smaller 170 size and still like the 177, but this length is much more work for me. This is a more front-side-oriented ski but is a blast off piste for a charging style; in the shorter length, it's fun to noodle through the trees.
  • Who is it for? People who like to ski fast all the time and push the envelope. You don’t have to be an expert but you better want to be, and this ski can help you get there.
  • Who is it not for? This is not a playful ski.
  • Insider tip: Size down unless you have lots of mass.
18 iRally-TC.png
Head Supershape iRally
Dimensions: 136-77-115
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 156, 163, 170, 177
Size tested: 177
Design: Carryover/NGT

Philpug: (from last year) Head took the very successful iSpeed and iRally and gave them more direction, more purpose. The addition of Graphene, a new profile, and a new tip shape has resulted in a more technical feel for these Supershapes.
  • Who are they for? Technical skiers. If you measure your fun with each turn, these are your sticks.
  • Who are they not for? Those who like making figure 11s.
  • Insider tip: Instructors, these make most any turn shape at any speed. Great teaching skis.

Drahtguy Kevin: (from last year) More sidecut and the addition of Graphene kick this venerable offering up a notch. Multiple turn shapes, varying speeds, and versatility make the Rally a Head turner.
  • Who is it for? Technical skiers and those looking for a more piste-biased ride.
  • Who is it not for? People who don't enjoy turning.
  • Insider tip: A wonderful ski to help increase skills and confidence.

FairtToMiddlin: (from last year)I owned a 2016 177 Rally, and it is a fine "easy SL" ski. The new Rally is altered sufficiently to be called new, but has enough of its predecessor that a blindfolded test would be a challenge. (Note: pugski.com does NOT recommend that you ski blindfolded. But if you do, please video it for our entertainment.)

Its difference lies in feel. Perhaps it is the Graphene, I am not ready to get on that bandwagon, but it is a quieter, less vibrate-y Rally, not that the last one was bad at all. Apart from that, it has the same "sub-cheater GS" sidecut, which is why I call it an easy SL. The tip looks different from this year, but still initiates very well; tip the ski and it engages, and a smile appears on your face with the response. It has a hint of rise that resists tip dive off piste, a versatile mid-70s ski. I would place its off-piste skills above the 174cm Renoun Z-90 that I skied a few days after the SIA test.
  • Who is it for? A World Cup SL owner who wants an all-mountain alternative, something a bit more forgiving, a little less "Jane, stop this crazy thing!" than your SLs that want to arc endlessly down the fall line, but aggressive enough to lay the trenches you're used to.
  • Who is it not for? If you aren't comfortable being on edge, a lot, this might not be for you. A more sedate alternative, incredibly, would be the outgoing Kästle MX78 (I own that, too), which is also very “quiet" and damp.
  • Insider tip: The 177cm is the reference length; 184 is probably reserved for 11/10th skiers, and the 170cm gives up some of the forgiveness, brings it back toward the SL ski (the 170 has a 13m radius) that you probably already have.
18 iTitan-TC.png
Head Supershape iTitan
Dimensions: 138-81-118
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 156, 163, 170, 177
Size tested: 177
Design: Carryover

FairToMiddlin: I picked this as my reference ski, a ski I knew from last year and could use to get a feel for the snow conditions, then use as a benchmark for everything else to follow. It is a hard act to follow; it is a great ski on sale this year, and Head was wise enough to leave it alone for next year. At 81 mm underfoot and a 15m sidecut, it boasts fantastic hard-snow chops; it initiates the new turn with just a whiff of tipping onto edge, then pulls across the hill with power and enthusiasm. The fun continues off piste, as it excels with maneuverability and composure that is beyond its mission statement. If I had not tracked down and purchased the Blossom White Out in the off season, this would be my top pick for the narrow end of a two-ski travel quiver, no question.
  • Who is it for? Skilled pilots wanting versatility out of a carver, and improving skiers who need immediate feedback as they try new techniques.
  • Who is it not for? Lazy skiers. This is a highly trained Vizsla, not a lap dog.
  • Insider tip: This ski can be skied a size longer, and still feel nimble; I thought I was on the 170, until I looked at the tail and saw the 177. Yet, far from being skittish, it was merely quick (while being very confidence inspiring).

Ron: The Titan was my first ski on snow for the testing -- and I'm glad I had that third cup of coffee. Still a class-leading ski for those who want to tip and rip, it demands a skilled pilot to bring out its fighter-jet abilities. I love its supreme feel: stable and precise with virtually no speed limit. The Titan has a trick up its sleeve, though: you can take it into soft, broken snow, too! Even with a squared-off tail, it can be skied on edge and released when needed.
  • Who is it for? Skilled carve-aholics who venture off the groomed.
  • Who is it not for? If you can't leave two parallel rails when you ski, no need to apply.
  • Insider tip: Don’t be afraid to go to the 177.
Women's
18 SuperJoy-TC.png
Head Super Joy
Dimensions: 128-75-108
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 143, 148, 153, 158, 163, 168
Size tested: 168
Design: Carryover

Tricia: When Head introduced the Joy line a few years ago, the promise of making a ski that was both lightweight and powerful with Graphene was something new in its skis. While the technology has since been implemented in its men's skis, the Joy line, and the Super Joy in particular, still stands out. It turns intuitively and pushes through crud effortlessly. When it's time to carry it back to the car, you throw it over your shoulder and realize that you just spent the whole day on a ski this lightweight like it was a powerful carver -- which it is!
  • Who is it for? Anyone desiring a lightweight ski with carving chops.
  • Who is it not for? Someone who likes a damp frontside ski.
  • Insider tip: Don’t let the weight fool you.
18 Wold Joy-TC.png
Head Wild Joy
Dimensions: 139-90-119
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 153, 158, 163, 168, 173
Size tested: 168
Design: All New

Tricia: The Wild Joy is a ski that was missing from Head's lineup: it had the 75mm Super Joy, which you all know I love, and then the 98mm Great Joy, which has been a fan favorite. I got on this ski twice. The first time was at Copper Mountain on hard-packed groomers, and it did exactly what I expected it to do on the hard pack. It turned nicely and held an edge with confidence. The second time was at Snowbasin, at the end of the day, with a lot of bumpy, choppy, yucky snow. The Wild Joy didn’t disappoint. As light as it feels, it didn’t act light when it was time to power through the choppy yucky snow. Head has a winner with this one.
  • Who is it for? Someone looking for a midfat everyday ski that will turn nicely.
  • Who is it not for? Someone who is timid.
  • Insider tip: Don’t think about the weight; this ski is light but powerful.
 

Tom K.

HRPufnStf
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Dec 20, 2015
Posts
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Noticed the kore are sized.
  • 162 cm – 124/87/108
  • 171 cm – 130/91/113
  • 180 cm – 133/93/115
  • 189 cm – 136/95/117
I love this incremental sizing, to keep turn radius near-constant as length changes.

This years Monsters at amazeball prices, next year's slightly gentrified Monsters, or Kores....aaarrrggghhh!

In a happy way!
 

Tom K.

HRPufnStf
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Posts
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My wife adores her Super Joys, as well as her Black Pearls (so probably no Wild Joy in the cards yet).
 

Ken_R

Living the Dream
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Posts
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Location
Denver, CO
Any Photos of the Monster and Kore top sheets?
 

neonorchid

Out on the slopes
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Nov 21, 2015
Posts
3,581
Noticed the kore are sized.
  • 162 cm – 124/87/108
  • 171 cm – 130/91/113
  • 180 cm – 133/93/115
  • 189 cm – 136/95/117
So I'm thinking if I replace my BMX88's, @ 171cm the 91mm waist "should" have less overlap with my 170cm Volkl 90eight???
 

Magoo

Praying for snow
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Jan 1, 2017
Posts
59
Location
Boise
So I'm thinking if I replace my BMX88's, @ 171cm the 91mm waist "should" have less overlap with my 170cm Volkl 90eight???

Funny how we look at numbers and with it being 91 instead of 93 well then it is so much better or worse.... With the 162 being 87 at foot I'm wanting to see how this compares to the new brahma ca for us lite weights. hint hint
 

Ken_R

Living the Dream
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Jilly

Lead Cougar
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Nov 12, 2015
Posts
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Belleville, Ontario,/ Mont Tremblant, Quebec
Phil and I talked about this ski today, as I'm looking to replace my Temptation 88's. Going to have a talk with my Head rep when I get back to Ontario and see if he has any.
 

Lorenzzo

Right On The Line
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Posts
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Not Here.
Head's
We will add stock photos as they come out later, but here are mine. (The Kore topsheets don't photograph very well with an iPhone, to say the least...)

View attachment 20514

View attachment 20515


View attachment 20516 View attachment 20517
Great reviews, very well done. Particularly appreciated the comments on the Titans.

Head has cred in my book and it looks as though they've scored on graphics for next season. The photo of the SR next to the RedHead made my heart flutter.

I'm also interested in comparisons between the Kores and Rustlers as I'm thinking my Powder Quiver needs one or the other.
 

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
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Jilly, I think you'd be blown away by this ski.
 

FairToMiddlin

Getting off the lift
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Posts
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8300', CO
I was very impressed with Head as a full lineup, I would give them the nod for being consistently good. No other company seems to be as switched on. I would love to get the Kore 105 in its natural habitat and see if it can replace the Sollie Qlab in my 2-ski car/travel quiver.
 

Brian Finch

PT, CSCS, Cert- DN, FRCms, M|WOD Coach
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Posts
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Location
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IMG_1872.JPG
I struggled with the Kore 93 & 105: everyone was so stoked on em, but they flapped all over at speed despite having 5-6" of fresh to deal with. They were more playful than serious & I found that most ppl were stoked on em! Perhaps a good option for the YoYo crowd.

The Titan is my reference ski; I've got 30 days on the 177 cm. It's perfect for early season before the snow sets up for a SL ski. Mid season it rips off trail. Carves without too much reverb when you need to toss em sideways.
 

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Ken_R

Living the Dream
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Denver, CO
Humm $50 raise every year....
 

Tom K.

HRPufnStf
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Posts
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Testers, you list the new Monster 88's tail at 120, which is 5 mm wider than this year's.

Change in shape, or typo at 2 AM?
 

Kyle

Getting on the lift
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Jan 28, 2016
Posts
213
Location
Utah
I'll chime in here since I skied both the Kore 93 and Kore 105 in 180 last Saturday in Snowbasin's demo day. I had obviously read good things about these skis and was intrigued but also a little leary as I have never really seen lighter weight as something I needed to have in a ski and have some poor experiences with some lighter weight skis in the past. I am no lightweight at 215 and tend to like skis on the power side of the power/finesse continuum.

Well, I am not sure how they pulled it off but they both ski like very solid skis, both strong and plenty damp, and able to either carve or be manipulated into whatever turn you need to make. Very impressive skis. They are a little livelier and had more of a Fischer feel than a lot of other Head skis I have been on/owned. I believe I preferred the Kore 105 but would need to ski them again to be sure. In both cases, I was skiing 180s because that is all they had but I would definitely tend to think 188 is the right size due to me height and weight. I would love to demo these back to back against the new Blizzard Rustlers.

My son, who weighs 80 pounds less than I do skied the 180 Kore 93s and thought it was great as well.

For reference, I copied the background material from the Fischer thread:
Conditions were spring-like in that it was a little scratchy early and a little too slushy late. My son and I must have chosen our runs wisely as we had pretty good demo conditions. I heard a lot of people complaining about the conditions later and the next day but I thought we were able to get a good feel for the skis. We were primarily skiing areas that had been groomed at some point in the last couple of days due to the conditions and were skiing quite quickly. I think we logged about 45K in vertical before 3 pm when they closed up shop which included a lengthy lunch stop. I am 6' 2" (and shrinking) and weigh about 215. My son is a similar height but only weighs about 135. Some of the other skis I demoed that I really liked: Fischer Pro MT86, Fischer Curv GT, and Head Supershape Titan. For reference, most of my own skiing is done on one of the following 4 skis: Blizzard Bonafide 187, Fischer Motive 95 186, Nordica Unleashed Hell (Patron) 193, and Kastle MX 88 188.
 

Ron

Seeking the next best ski
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Location
Steamboat Springs, Co
the Rustler was a ski I wanted to get on but for the most part Phil and I (BSL buddies) stayed on the narrower skis. I was impressed with the shape of the ski and skied along side of @SBrown when she was testing them and liked how they worked. She can chime in here on the Rustlers.
 
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