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Reviews: Atomic Metron B5, Volkl AC3, Kneissl Power Glide, Head Monster iM72

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Disclaimers: this is the first time we’ve done a ski review so apologies in advance if we don’t word it well. Obviously just our opinions based on performance in Alpine conditions.

We trundled over to St Anton yesterday to test some skis. Conditions: icy piste (very icy in places) with occasional clumps of powder; crud and a little bit of powder outside the piste markers.

Eng: 5’6”, 67kg, very good technique but low aggression – level 8-9 on the Aspen scale posted elsewhere.
Mr Eng: 6’4”, 85kg, good technique and more aggressive – level 8-9 on the Aspen scale posted elsewhere.

Background: 95% of our skiing to date has been on piste, looking to do a bit more off piste this year, conditions permitting. Ski exclusively in Europe so we were looking for a ski that handles ice and piles of powder on piste, and will cope with crud and up to a foot of powder off piste.
Current skis: 02-03 Salomon Crossmax 10 (Mr Eng) and 8 (Eng). I (Eng) was increasingly finding the Crossmax 8 highly unstable at speed and always felt it was going to slip out from under me on ice.

We had planned – and reserved – to test the Atomic Metron B5 (Mr Eng only), Head Monster 72 (Mr Eng), Head Wild Thang (Eng), Volkl AC3 (both) and Volkl Allstar (both), possibly Stoeckli Stormrider and or Volkl 5* if time permitted. Sadly best laid plans went slightly awry and a miscommunication meant not everything we wanted to try was available (no Wild Thang and no Allstars mounted). However our first choices on paper were there and in the end we tested the B5 (Mr Eng only), AC3 (both), Monster 72 (both) and, on the suggestion of the test centre, the Kneissl Power Glide (both).

Atomic Metron B5 with Neox binding:
Mr Eng: Length tested 172 cm. Great in powder, good on piste. Needed to be skied fast to get the most out of it. The 172 length felt too short and needed some getting used to at first and even then I still wanted it to be 5+ cm longer. The big disadvantage has got to be the weight. Compared with all other skis tested, it felt liked they’d made the core out of solid lead. More of a problem when your legs are too long to fit on the bar of a chairlift than skiing. Definitely an excellent ski.

Volkl AC3 with Marker AT binding:
Eng: Length tested 168cm. This is the longest ski I have ever skied and I was pleased to find my technique coped perfectly well. I found the AC3 a bit disappointing. It handled crud OK as you would expect, but it didn’t like the ice on piste very much and needed to be worked hard to hold on it. The transition between ice and powder was therefore quite noticeable. I got the impression that it doesn’t really excel at either – if the ice handling was not ideal, I expected the crud handling to be better than I found it. Having said that it was very stable, but uninvolving.

Mr Eng: Length tested 184 cm. I found this ski boring compared with the Metron or the Monster 72. Definitely likes a little more powder, totally different dynamic under foot. Not bad, just not in the same class.

Kneissl Power Glide:
Eng: I didn’t like this ski one bit. It didn’t give me the confidence to let it do what it’s supposed to do best, i.e. carve. I never really found the ideal balance point and it punished hard if my weight was even slightly off perfect. It hated the transition between ice and powder on piste, almost coming to a complete halt in the powder (with potential subsequent amusing cartoon moment). I felt you needed a particularly strong inside leg on the turns otherwise it caught an inside edge and threw my balance totally off. I only did one run on this as I couldn’t wait to get off it, and was fighting it every inch of the way despite its stability at speed. I thought it was just because I was getting tired by then but it turned out it wasn’t. In fact I disliked it so much I didn’t bother checking what length I skied it in (just checked their web site – it was 158 cm) or what binding it had on it.

Mr Eng: Length tested 178 cm. At full carve with lots of speed – wow! Day to day on busy pistes it would be hard work. The stabilising inserts on the bottom of the ski were excellent in a straight line and added to the manoeuvrability in the powder but were quite capable of biting back if you weren’t paying attention and weren’t on the edges on piste. Not a ski I want to be tired on.

Head Monster 72 with Salomon 810 binding:
Eng: Length tested 156cm. I did the first two runs of the day on this and liked it a lot but had no basis for comparison at that point except that it was a major improvement over the Crossmax 8 in every respect, especially stability at almost any speed and ice hold. I found it handled everything excellently, barely noticed the transition between ice, crud and powder. I decided to go back to this for my last run of the day rather than changing to the 5* as it was my favourite of the skis I had tried and I wanted to check out how it and I would cope with one another on the ‘home run’. I loved it. I immediately doubled my speed after the Kneissl as it gave me the confidence to set it on edge and let it get on with it. You can push it hard if you want, or it will let you go along for the ride, in other words you can be aggressive with it but you don’t need to be. I found I was actively seeking out ice and cruddy bumps, I was really having fun even though I was tired. Confidence-inspiring and relaxing at the same time, I felt it had plenty in it yet is easy enough to let me ski all day. No prizes for guessing which ski I bought

Mr Eng: Length tested 177 cm. Really close run thing between this and the Metron. The weight and the price (half that of the Metron) swung it in the Head’s favour. The Metron wasn’t a class better to deserve the price tag. Stable on ice and powder, did exactly what it was told to do, could be pushed quite hard or coast gently. Overall much more impressed with this than I expected to be.
post #2 of 8
Superb reviews! Especially liked the female/male point of views .


post #3 of 8
Thanks for the info and reviews.

You used the Salomon 810 binding on the IM72? How did you get it to mount on the integrated railflex mounting?
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Maybe they're selling different versions in Europe from your side of the pond, but it's a flat ski.
post #5 of 8

It really isn't "integrated"

Originally Posted by SkierXMan
Thanks for the info and reviews.

You used the Salomon 810 binding on the IM72? How did you get it to mount on the integrated railflex mounting?
The Railflex plates aren't really integrated (like some of the Marker based systems). They just screw onto the top of the ski. While there are probably some Head skis that aren't offered flat (iM77 might be one) I have seen most Head skis (including the 72) offered both ways.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Phew, thanks Gandalf! I was worried there for a moment, but checking the Head and Tyrolia sites, it does look like the rail is integral to the binding, not the ski. We had the Salomons put on the skis we bought partly to avoid an unknown variable between the test and 'real' ski and partly because we are using Salomon bindings at the moment and like them. If it ain't broke, don't fix it....
post #7 of 8
Great reviews, thanks, Eng! And very cool that you found a pair that fit into that "great when I push 'em but they let me relax, too" category.
post #8 of 8
Thankyou for the great reviews. It's always good to hear it from skiers, not just reading add copy.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Reviews: Atomic Metron B5, Volkl AC3, Kneissl Power Glide, Head Monster iM72