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EpicSki › Ski Equipment and Resorts  › Ski Gear › Alpine Skis › Carving Skis › 2009 Head Monster im 78

2009 Head Monster im 78


Pros: Up for anything I threw at 'em

Cons: Need more width for cut-up crud snow

by Oren


Last week we were down at Bachelor during my son's mid-winter break. I'd been thinking about a new pair of skis, and I had been in contact with Dawg/Scott and he had recommended several that he thought I should try. 


Me: 5' 7", ~150 lbs, 55 year old male, level 6 skier looking to get better, ski around 15-20 days a year in the Northwest. For the last five years or so I've been skiing on a Atomic Beta Ride 9.22, 170 cm.


I was looking for an all-mountain ski that could help me ski off the groomed better but that also would be comfortable for cruising with the family - the mythical 50/50 ski.


Scott's crew hooked me up with three skis to demo - the Fischer Watea 78 in a 167, Head Monster im 78 in a 171, and the Elan Magfire 12 in a 168. Due to a recent hospital episode I was under doctor's advice to take it easy, but since I also was shepherding three eleven-year-old boys who are quite good skiers it didn't end up being all that easy.


Unlike up here in Washington, Bachelor had received a couple of feet of new snow in the week before we arrived. The first two days were mid-20s with a 3-4 inches of new each day. The last day there was no new, but it was a brilliant sunny day in the low 30s.


I started the first day on the Wateas, cruising some groomers and playing some in the softer snow around the edges. The skis felt good, quite stable underfoot. They seemed to like longer turns more than short ones, and the more I got off the corduroy into the softer stuff the more comfortable they felt.


After a few runs on those I switched over to the Heads. Wow! What a difference! While the Fischers had felt ok, the Monsters seemed positively eager. You know that kind of dog that's not nervous but is always up for the next adventure and gives you that look that seems to say "what are we doing today"? That's what these skis felt like to me. They were up for anything - long turns, short turns, groomed snow, soft snow, some moderate bumps even (that's about the extent of the bump skiing I tried). I stayed on the Heads for the rest of the day, following the boys through some tree runs, and then bombing the groomed black runs off the Outback chair. I was thinking 165 was the right length for me, but the 171s felt perfectly manageable. I really liked the way these skis seemed perfectly happy going slow if I wanted to take it easy, but were stable and secure up to any speed I felt comfortable moving.


The second morning I started on the Magfires. These were the plain Magfire - not the Ti version. The Magfires felt very comfortable and versatile - not too different from the Monsters. I spent most of the morning skiing the trees off of Boomerang with the boys (which I don't do very well) and we had a blast. The Elans might be a touch softer than the Heads - they didn't feel quite as comfortable at speed on the groomed, but were maybe a hair easier in the soft bumps we tried. Scott didn't have a pair of the Tis in my size to try, so I didn't get to try those out.


In the afternoon I decided I should give the Wateas another try - I had read such good reviews of them I thought it was worth skiing them when I was more warmed up. The second try confirmed my initial impressions - very comfortable and stable, especially in softer snow, but to my mind at least, not as fun as either the Heads or Elans.


The third day I went back to the Monsters. The Summit finally opened and we spent the morning playing around  in the soft cut-up snow off the east side of summit leading down to the top of the Rainbow chair. The Heads were far more capable in that snow than I was, but it sure was fun! That was the only conditions of the week that I was thinking a wider ride might have helped, but I think it's more lack of pilot skill than anything about the skis.


After some deliberation and discussion with Scott on the phone (we never actually did meet f2f) I bought the Monster 78s and am delighted with my purchase! The demos I was skiing were the only pair of 171s that Scott had in stock, so he gave me a very decent price on them. I can't say enough about how great it was to deal with Scott, Shane, Kevin, and Brance (who even sent me home with Sun River yo-yos for the boys). Mt. Bachelor is a great family resort, and the whole family looks forward to getting back there again.



Pros: Great carver, solid in mixed snow, smooth with great edge hold

Cons: not the most energetic poppy ski out there

A lot has been said about this ski, but I wanted to add my 2 cents, having finally got these after thinking about them for a year or so.

About me: I'm 39, 5'9, 170lbs or so and ski primarily at Tahoe, with a trip to Utah every year, if all goes well. I put myself in the upper echelon of the SF Bay weekend skier crowd. I have decent technique and ski everything with confidence at reasonably high speeds. I do not ski like a former racer or 25 year old local stud.

I haven't skied a ton of skis over the years, so that's a relevant point here. I''ve had first generation Bandit XX's (not so great), Pocket Rockets, K2 Crossfires, and Gotamas. Still have the PR's and Gotamas. I've demoed Salomon Fury's, Mantras and Watea 84's, and Head 82's. This is really the first multi-metal heavy duty ski I've skied on, so I'm sure others are similar in some respects. I was looking for a hard snow ski, specifically for spring Tahoe days, where it starts on very firm groomers, then the off-piste opens up as the sun allows. The Crossfires, at 68mm, were simply too narrow and flimsy for the variable conditions that come up, but I still wanted something carvy, hence the 78's. I tried the 177, on hard snow only, and elected to go with the 171. I'd like to spend some more time on the 177 if I ever get the chance, to see how versatile it is in tight bumps etc.


I was blown away by this ski. In short, it is tremendously stable, solid, and quiet, but does everything I ask of it without protest. It feels like it is glued to the snow and just removes any chatter or surface irregularities like they aren't there. I have found it to offer super high levels of performance in all conditions, yet it is not in the least difficult to ski. They like to go fast in all conditions, but are easy to control. There have been many wow moments as I got to know the ski.


First, on icy morning groomers, the snow types and transitions just don't seem to matter. Just arc across them without a problem or shock as the snow transitions. If you want to line up the run and do it in 2-3 turns, no problem. Super stable at speed. What's remarkable is how they quiet the snow and isolate you from the ice, etc. They seem to do all turn shapes well, from quick side to side rhythms, to opening them up. Lots of fun. This stability comes with a trade off. They are not super snappy or energetic, but more calm and sure.


Loose snow and crud were a big surprise. I just arced through it with no fuss. The tip on these things is actually bigger than on my PR's and not much smaller than the Gots. I purposely went through some refrozen crud and hardly felt it. Nice! I haven't had that on the lighter skis I've been skiing.


The biggest wow, and something I can't get out of my head when I go to sleep, came on a super steep bump run on decent, but variable snow. Firm on the back of the bumps, some cruddy fluff around the troughs. This is the kind of run I love Squaw for, where if feels like you're descending 10-20 feet of vertical for each long mogul. This ski gave me options I've never had before. I could flow with the shape of the bumps, OR I could carve wicked fast turns as I came over the top of the bump on the frozen backside of the bumps with complete control. The tight radius and stable, grippy nature of the ski made it easy to just turn on a dime in almost no lateral space. It was like dicing up the run with a scalpel. Super quick, no skidding turns any time I wanted, but I had no trouble floating or sliding as necessary. Again, really easy to ski. The ski makes everything feel smooth.  That said, when the terrain leveled off a bit and it was zipper line time, I couldn't just mash the ski around the bumps like with my Pocket Rockets. They are a firm, reactive ski. But they don't throw you around or take you for a ride either.


One reviewer commented that he liked the Watea 84 for soft snow and I can see that. After all it's a bigger ski. I demoed the Watea and was impressed with how it held on firm groomers for a light ski, but the feel is totally different. They are more like a higher performing Pocket Rocket, soft and playful, but the Head's just smooth and level everything out for you, inviting easy speed. On soft fluff, who cares, but for the variable conditions I got them for, they are ideal.


I would recommend that anyone looking for a midfat put these in their demo list. The performance and versatility are awesome. They aren't a snappy, poppy ski, so if that's the feel you're after, I don't think this would be the right ski.


One thing that I found, and it's been well commented on this forum, is that the factory tune sucks. They need to be reground and the base edges reset to 1 and a side bevel of 2 or 3. I went with 2 because all my other skis are 2 and I wanted to compare apples to apples. Given the performance was as good as I could have asked for, I'll stick with it for now. A lot of people have recommended a 3 side on the Monster series, so you may consider it. It's a shame that they come out of the factory jacked up, but just get them retuned right away and that's that.


Pros: very stable, low chatter and tractable

Cons: not the best in tight spaces

I demoed these skis this past week and found them very good (to my style anyway)  I found them very stable and forgiving whenever I got upset.  I was skiing on long blues and mogully blacks with some treed cut up glades thrown in.   The temps. were around the melting point so the snow was somewhat sticky but soft and forgiving.  The only difficulty I had with the skiis was in the trees but I had the 171cm skis and probably would have been better off with the 165's.  Anyway, I quite liked them although graffics wise they are quite plain.


Pros: predictable, quick turning but will put a big line down on grommers,

Cons: not a lot of pop

About me 5'10" 150lbs 25 years old.  Probably a level 6 when i bought but better now. I bought this ski as my only pair after a long time demo-ing because of a long break from skiing.  I wanted something that i could handle but that I wouldn't over-ski once i started getting better.  It isn't the most lively ski in the world, but it will do anything you ask from it.  I have taken it all over the front sides from ice to bumps.  Short turning radius helps me out in the bumps.  I have also been in bottomless powder with it at heavenly 2 years ago in january.  Obviously the powder performance wasn't great but it got me down the mountain.  No complaints, I got what i was looking for.


Pros: have a question about mounting

Cons: have a question about mounting

I just bought these IM 78s and they came with a pair of MOJO 12 bindings!  My question is - they did not come with riser plates.  Do you recommend a riser for these bondings on thee skis?  thanks


Pros: love this ski

Cons: none

great do it all ski. I have a Baron A/T binding on it and can ski it anywhere my skins will take me.


Pros: Solid, unflappable, reliable like an old friend - my #1 ski this season

Cons: Not good in bumpy tight tree runs where my boy loves to go ;)

Buy it!

2009 Head Monster im 78

The Head Monster iM 78 Ski is an all-terrain freeride ski that performs capably on groomed slopes and really shines in powder. New fully reinforced sidewall construction. The new HEAD AIRCOAT Hollow Glass Technology makes the 2009 Monster weigh less with more agility and bite than ever before, meaning: Upgrade to a wider monster without sacrificing on-slope performance! Powder to piste ratio: 50/50.

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