Pros: A one ski quiver....does it all.
Cons: Not the best choice for bullet proof ice, but as good as most that claim to be made for that
Okay let me start off by saying that I have never skied a fat or mid-fat ski prior to this. All the skis I have skied in my life have been for carving or racing. So with that in mind…..
The skis: 09’ HEAD Monster iM88, 175cm
Bindings: 09' HEAD LD 12, no RF
Boots: 08' HEAD Raptor RD150 set to 130
Tune: factory edge tune. Waxed, hot-boxed and brushed out by me.
Weight: 190 lbs
Skiing style: fast and faster
Skiing location: North East, groomers primarily.
Test location: Mt. Snow VT, Mix of powder, crud, ice, and hard-pack…..a real mess.
Other ski’s in current quiver: (All HEAD) 05’ iGS RD 185cm, 06’ iSL RD 165cm, 08’ SS iSpeed 177cm, 03’ ic300 177cm.
Bottom line….I love these skis. There I said it. After a lifetime of skiing skinny skis, I had what I can only describe as a brilliant skiing day.
After countless positive reviews about these skis I decided to purchase them untested as a tool for what had been the most challenging conditions for my abilities, that being crud and yes powder. No more, I have never skied any skis with such ease and confidence…never!
Contrary to all that I have read, the skis feel very light, which made them very nimble and in spite of their width, very quick edge to edge; where they seemed to be happiest. The lightness made its larger-than-I- am-accustomed-to size, feel small, or rather average. Many have stated that these skis ski big, I did not have that feeling at all. After getting over the initial “wow these things are wide” I quickly got accustomed to them and in no time they felt like old friends, I did not at any time feel hindered by their width.
Another pleasantry was the lack of a plate….I cant remember the last time I skied anything without some sort of system or race plate, I felt much more connected and in control of the skis without them, which was a real surprise to me….BTW for my ability and size the DIN should be set at 9.5, since I was new to this whole thing I preferred to lower it and be safe, so I skied at 8…I had no surprises, things held firm, kudos to Head/Tyrolia
Perhaps it was due to their “mystique” which was actively being played back in my head over and over as I skied or maybe they are really just that good, but I have never been able tackle crud or groomers for that matter with the confidence and ease that I did with these skis. Balance fore and aft felt perfect, I was able to almost lean over the front of the skis while carving and just pop from side to side, carve to carve, at high speeds, connected, with almost no exertion, whereas as I normally feel quite a quad burn from a lack of such balance. Stability was excellent, float was also excellent. As their intended use design would suggest, uneven terrain was easily traversed with these skis, deflections were greatly minimized to what I am accustomed to. As has been mentioned by others, their width may not lend them to be the best choice for moguls. Their light weight (to me) made them feel right for taking air. The only place where I did find a weakness was in frozen granular at high speed…not ice, but the super packed hard snow, that looks like pavement and that nary leaves a mark even when one attempts to carve on it. The run was a black diamond, a steep, but short run, I attacked it at full speed, it was empty, the skis chattered with every edge change; but this may simply have been from my lack of abilities and not the skis performance (or maybe as Atomicman often suggests I need to change the tune to a 3* side bevel), aside from that these skis can truly do it all…or at least all that I need them to do. Where I not such a gear monger I could sincerely dump all my other skis and just keep these, they are that good.
After a full day of a crowded and snow-board infested mountain the top sheets were still looking like new in spite of some lift line shenanigans, they have a nice and durable finish.
All in all, these skis look awesome, ski awesome, and are now my favorite skis….two people asked me about them on the lift.
PS: I was able to run my new Super Shape iSpeeds in similar conditions and I liked the Monsters better…I think this may be mostly due to the weight difference, the SS feel almost like they weigh double what the Monsters weigh.
Highly recommended A+++