Product: 2016 Head Monster 88
Length Tested: 177
Dimensions/Turn Radius: 88 underfoot, uncertain of other dims
Camber: Early Rise Tip w/ camber
Binding: Tyrolia Attack13
Mount point: Boot Center
Environment & Conditions:
Location of Test: Flyover country (Minnesota)
Number of Runs: 10
Snow Conditions: Various
Demo or Own: Demo now, will own in the fall
Height/Weight: 6’2” 225
Ski Days/Season: a little low this year, probably 25
Years Skiing: 20
Aggressiveness: Conservative / Moderate
Current Quiver: Head i.Supershape 170, Head i.Supershape Titan 177, Nordica Enforcer 185, Nordica El Capo 185
As a big fan of Head's hard snow and "all-mountain" skis and a fan of the prior Monster series, I was pleased to hear that this line was coming back. My local shop had one of the test pairs of this ski and I spent a half day yesterday on it. Things got warm here in the last 48 hours so when I got to the area it was already low 30's and sunny. The conditions to start were refrozen groomed and progressed through soft hero snow to piled up mashed potatoes by the time I quit.
I took a couple of warm up runs with my boots relatively loose and was initially puzzled about the mount point as the ski seemed hesitant to engage at the tip. Right after this I ended up riding the chair with the local Head rep, shared my early thought and he said "let's move em..." I declined, not wanting to mess with the "baseline" at this point. I cinched my boots down and added some MPH and voila, there was the ski I expected. While this ski is not difficult at slower speeds, it clearly prefers to be driven and seeks the fall line. The early morning refrozen and occasional patch of ice gave me no pause and the mid morning hero snow was a real pleasure. The late morning piled up snow, was the test condition I really wanted to experience. Cut-up snow whether it be dry pow, chalky or wet taters is snow that I want to go straight through, not up and over or deflected by. The Monster 88 blew right through the piles.
This ski shares a lot of character with the Kastle MX88 which I've enjoyed but the Kastle sizing is wrong for me. The Head sizing is perfect (for me), I skied this in 177 (that's all that was available) but will buy it in the 184. I also prefer the tail profile on this which is certainly easier to release than the flat, square tail of the Kastle.
I can't speak to the bump capabilities of this ski (I have darn little bump capability myself) but for the conditions I want it for which are "no new" days and post non-huge storm days in cut-up conditions, the Monster 88 is a winner for me. I didn't perceive a speed limit and I couldn't shake the skis integrity. This one should be a big seller for Head in the fall. Big thanks to Pierce Skate & Ski for making this available to me and one big plus in demoing skis from Pierce is that the staff is maniacal about ski tuning. Unlike the tunes on many demo skis which are "various" at best, these were impeccably tuned and burr free.
Edited by gregmerz - 3/9/15 at 2:45pm