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Review: 2013 / 14 ON3P Billy Goat

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Me: 5' 11" tall / 170 pounds / 34 years old.  Moderately aggressive skier, 25 - 35 days per season.

 

Size: 186cm - 142 / 116 / 126

 

Boots: Tecnica Cochise Pro 130 in 25.5

 

Bindings: Salomon Guardian 16, mounted on the line

 

Where: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Northstar

 

Conditions: Powder (from a few inches to a foot deep), crud, groomers

 

Cross-posting my review from http://www.powfix.com/2014/03/review-2013-2014-on3p-billy-goat/

 

I feel like many ski reviews would be better (or more useful to the reader) with a proper back story, so I apologize in advance if I ramble on a bit, but ultimately it’s because I want to do my best to validate the views I’m about to put forth.

 

I came across the ON3P Billy Goat on what feels to be the late side. Despite recent growth and accolades, ON3P is still a very small indie brand in the grand scheme of the industry, and while over-looked thus far in ski shops across the country it can be difficult to decipher through the indie brand hype that you’ve likely already read online if you’re reading this review. Skiers often take a shot on a smaller label because it’s cool and then psych themselves into loving a ski no matter how it actually performs so long as the performance is at least acceptable.

 

The truth is, there are so many really good, well-constructed skis out there today it can be tough for a design to show any true identity and many of them can feel shockingly similar. Then you find out they were produced in the same factory or have the same parent company (or both) and it makes perfect sense.

 

Like most ski addicts, I started the season with a quiver of skis for different conditions. My powder ski was the same as last year – a Salomon Rocker2 115 in 188cm. They’re really great skis and I have nothing bad to say about them. Last season I took them out on some of the very few powder days we had around Tahoe and they were amazing. But this year, unlike last year, some of the realities of skiing in California began to set in, namely in the form of heavy Sierra Cement. When the snow was light my Rocker2′s were an absolute blast and I felt like a superhero, but when it was heavy – which is common in Tahoe and nearly all that we’ve seen this season – I found I was getting my ass kicked. We haven’t been blessed with a lot of snow in recent years, so getting your ass kicked when it finally does snow is simply not an option.

 

Meanwhile, at the end of last season I picked up a pair of ON3P Jeffrey based on a brief demo I had on them. They’re a bit narrower (110mm underfoot) and twin-tipped – what I would describe as an all-mountain jib ski with a strong preference towards softer snow. I was immediately blown away by their combination of being able to charge hard through cut-up snow while also retaining that pop out of each turn that you get from a less stiff ski. I have no idea if it’s the bamboo or the carbon stringers or what, but whatever they’re doing in that factory up in Portland is working. Having owned some super hard-charging Blizzard Cochise for the previous two seasons, the only way I could describe the Jeffrey was like a Cochise that was playful without sacrificing its backbone. A little camber may have something to do with that, but I suspect the bamboo plays a role as well. I’m also comparing a twin-tip to a ski that has a relatively flat tail, which is impressive.

 

Anyway, that positive experience with ON3P naturally brought me back to them, so in looking to replace my Rocker2′s going with the Billy Goat made a lot of sense. The dimensions (142 – 116 – 126 in 186cm) are very similar and I wanted a directional powder ski that was playful during first tracks but still capable after the snow gets chopped up, which at Squaw or Alpine Meadows happens quickly.

 

When the skis arrived I hand-flexed them and they didn’t feel much stiffer, so I was a bit concerned, but as soon as I got them into some heavy snow it was a different story. On a day when many on the mountain were struggling and I heard the word “mank” mentioned a few times, the Billy Goats carved through the foot of heavy fresh like it was blower powder.

 

They’re just as happy blasting through cut-up piles of snow as they are surfing clean lines and provide an extremely stable platform. Much like the Jeffrey, the Billy Goats display an amazing balance between being playful and fun yet solid when you need them. This stability translates to the air as well, as they are very capable when it comes to stomping landings.

 

As for the much-talked-about RES (Reverse Elliptical Sidecut), described by ON3P as a large, convex elliptical arc that runs from boot center to tip taper, eliminating traditional sidecut in the tips, it seems to do the trick. They’re quite comfortable making turn shapes of any size (perfect for skiing trees) and when thrown sideways at high speeds I didn’t experience even a hint of hookiness.

 

So why do the Billy Goats feel so different than the Rocker2 115′s (this season known as the Quest 115) if they have similar specs and seem to have a similar flex? I believe it comes down to torsional stiffness. When trying to ski through denser snow, the less that a ski twists from edge to edge, the more stable it’s going to feel.

 

I would imagine that maintaining a progressive lateral flex to make the ski feel poppy and playful while simultaneously providing a stiffer torsional flex is not an easy feat to accomplish, which is why some of the very best crud-busting skis also feel like lifeless wooden planks in deep powder. At least to my personal tastes, ON3P seems to have found the perfect balance between the two.

 

As for hard-pack performance, the Billy Goats behave about as well as you might expect from a ski 116mm underfoot. They get by well enough, although on some of the really packed down sticky snow near the lifts they could get a bit squirrely at times. To be fair, this snow was so sticky that people were losing poles behind them. At higher elevations on cat tracks and groomers I didn’t observe the same problem, so it was likely just a result of the conditions more than anything else.

post #2 of 29
jayt how would you compare the size feel of the 186 bg compared to the rocker2 188? 2cm wouldn't feel too much, but looks too me that the bg has a more tail rocker and splay, not sure if the same is true for the tips, but it might be as well.
post #3 of 29
okay, a few more questions on bg vs 115...

how's the feel about the lower camber on the bg? I really enjou the camber on the r2, actually big fan of the entire profile, did you miss the camber or a higher camber on the bg?

how about the sidecut? r2 is considerably shorter, think it's 16m vs 27m on my size, I'd think the bg is less hooky on chop
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

They feel about the same size.  Despite only a slight touch of camber the BG still has plenty of pop and it is definitely less hooky in chopped up snow.  This isn't to say the R2 is hooky in general, just that the BG is even less so.  And the BG is a little more slarvy as you might expect.

 

The Billy Goat has more splay on the tips which I really preferred in heavier powder because you can still get aggressively forward on your skis when you need to.  Definitely more tail rocker, which had neither a positive or negative effect compared to the R2 - which has tails I like.  Maybe it helps the turn shapes be a bit more flexible but so many design features go into that it's hard to attribute it to just one aspect of the design.

post #5 of 29

interesting review...

 

i demoed - 

 

longest Rocker 2 115, Automatic, Bibby Pros and Billy Goat...

 

went with the Billy Goat in 191... with tracker 16s

 

Only had 6 days in France for new years on them... so had ice, bumps, 12 inches powder, crud everything in that week there and loved these in everything except bumps...

 

Just did the base prep and edges on them for waxing tomorrow as got my SLC trip and 10 days there... decided to take my 102 Kung Fujas along with the Billy goats all the way from Scotland... due to the poor bump performance and i want to do a day at Brighton where i will do some park and jumps... 

 

One thing is these skis are so heavy with the bindings on them!!! 

 

On3p is one awesome ski company and my next ski purchase will be from them next time - prob replace the 102 skis... 

post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydonald View Post

One thing is these skis are so heavy with the bindings on them 

interesting you say they are heavy I did a quick search and they are about 150g lighter than the solly rocker2 115 176 vs 178 and the 191 bg is 80g lighter than rocker2 188, and I don't find the solly to be heavy

solly weight from evo chart and bg weight from on3p
post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 

Both skis aren't heavy considering they're 115 / 116mm underfoot.  They both feel surprisingly light, I'd say.

post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post


interesting you say they are heavy I did a quick search and they are about 150g lighter than the solly rocker2 115 176 vs 178 and the 191 bg is 80g lighter than rocker2 188, and I don't find the solly to be heavy

solly weight from evo chart and bg weight from on3p

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

Both skis aren't heavy considering they're 115 / 116mm underfoot.  They both feel surprisingly light, I'd say.

 

guess its because i was hiking with them on my back a lot... 

post #9 of 29

Hey @JayT would appreciate if you have time to upload some rocker profile pictures! Like you I don't trust that dumb profile on ON3P website! :cool

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

Here you go...

 

post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

Here you go...

 

thank you! exactly like you said on tgr, the real picture shows less rocker and more camber than the website!

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
 

Hey @JayT would appreciate if you have time to upload some rocker profile pictures! Like you I don't trust that dumb profile on ON3P website! :cool

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
 

thank you! exactly like you said on tgr, the real picture shows less rocker and more camber than the website!

hmmm.... 

 

never actually looked at it...

 

on vacation to SLC right now and done 7 of the 9 days here on my Billy Goats... been awesome in 6 inch powder to sloppy slush... 

 

only seen two other pairs... going to try Alta demo day tomorrow so interesting to look at next years models...

post #13 of 29

here is the profile on snow!!

 

post #14 of 29

have you tried the blizzard gunsmokes? i'm hoping for a similar mix of playful and stable from them.

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by squawbomber View Post
 

have you tried the blizzard gunsmokes? i'm hoping for a similar mix of playful and stable from them.

I think the gunsmoke would be more like the jeffrey on on3p lineup. It's more symmetrical and more centered mount point, it's one of those skis you click in and you immediately notice a fair amount of tail behind you! But it can handle crud quite well, much better than the Line Opus for instance. 

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
 

I think the gunsmoke would be more like the jeffrey on on3p lineup. It's more symmetrical and more centered mount point, it's one of those skis you click in and you immediately notice a fair amount of tail behind you! But it can handle crud quite well, much better than the Line Opus for instance. 

well put: it handled very differently when i bought it compared to demo, so i moved binding back 2cm, much better. 

post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 

I actually have my Jeffrey's on the line and don't mind the extra tail since it has so much rise anyway.  Depends on the year, though, since the line in the last year or two is further back than earlier generations I've been told.

post #18 of 29

Got mine Today. Really like the rocker profile, totally different than what you see on on3p website. Really like the subtle tail rocker and the amount of camber, not as much as on my rocker2 115 but enough for what I need.

 

Bad thing is I will have to wait until December to probably find some conditions worth taking these out!

post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
 

Got mine Today. Really like the rocker profile, totally different than what you see on on3p website. Really like the subtle tail rocker and the amount of camber, not as much as on my rocker2 115 but enough for what I need.

 

Bad thing is I will have to wait until December to probably find some conditions worth taking these out!

 

i orderd mine after alta demo day last year... have to wait till december 28th to try them... first impression - dam they are bigger than i remember and fun!!!

post #20 of 29

@JayT btw, a jeffrey review is welcome! Interested to hear what do you think about sizing 186 BG vs 181 Jeffrey! ;)

post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
 

@JayT btw, a jeffrey review is welcome! Interested to hear what do you think about sizing 186 BG vs 181 Jeffrey! ;)

 

The 181 Jeffrey actually runs to about 182.5 and it doesn't ski short even with the big twin tip.  I'm not going to do a full review since they've revamped the Jeffrey with two versions next year (a 114 and 122).  Great ski, though.

post #22 of 29

I have a review of the previous generation Jeffery at 186cm here, if you search. I loved it at 186 in it's old width, and really miss owning it. Not sure I'm interested in the newer 114 waist version myself due to owning a 186BG. Though I could see the 122 as a super deep day ski having alredy owned the Caylor.

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post
 

I have a review of the previous generation Jeffery at 186cm here, if you search. I loved it at 186 in it's old width, and really miss owning it. Not sure I'm interested in the newer 114 waist version myself due to owning a 186BG. Though I could see the 122 as a super deep day ski having alredy owned the Caylor.

I think the jeffrey 122 replacing the caylor was a better move than the 114 replacing the 110. Looks like they want the kartel to 106 to be your midfat twin. I also didn't get the vicik being gone. I don't think the 102 or 112 wrenegade as a replacement.

 

btw, I saw your review! :-)

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mfa81 View Post
 

I think the jeffrey 122 replacing the caylor was a better move than the 114 replacing the 110. Looks like they want the kartel to 106 to be your midfat twin. I also didn't get the vicik being gone. I don't think the 102 or 112 wrenegade as a replacement.

 

btw, I saw your review! :-)


Actually after skiing it, I think the Wren 102 is a stellar replacement for the Vicik. I loved the first Gen Vicik, but many people felt it a bit much as a resort ski, a little too chargy. The Wren 102 with the shorter turn radius still has the ability to go fast and straight, but it is a lot more compliant making turns.

post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 

^^ Did you get a chance to try the Steeple 102 as well?  I'm considering both that and the Wren 102 for my "skinny" touring setup.

post #26 of 29
^^^ have you thought about Praxis BC or Yeti?
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

^^ Did you get a chance to try the Steeple 102 as well?  I'm considering both that and the Wren 102 for my "skinny" touring setup.


I did not, I do not currently, and have no future plans to tour. I had a specific hit list that day revolving around daily drivers, and ski's for S%&T F$#K conditions.

post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post
 


I did not, I do not currently, and have no future plans to tour. I had a specific hit list that day revolving around daily drivers, and ski's for S%&T F$#K conditions.

 

So are you going to get the Wren 102?  How did the 186 feel length-wise?

post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

 

So are you going to get the Wren 102?  How did the 186 feel length-wise?


I'm a big fan of a TRUE 186, so it felt really good to me. Though to be fair I am tossing up the idea of getting a Kartel 106, and a Fischer Motive95.

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