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Head Monster i.m. 88 in 175 cm and 186 cm

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

SKIS REVIEWED: '05-'06 Head Monster i.m. 88, size 175cm (126/88/112 (19.2m) with the Tyrolia LD 12 RAILFLEX binding and 186cm with the Rossi Axial2 120 Ti Pro.

SKIER: 6’1” 240 lbs (260 lb skiing weight) Level 9 (I really don’t know since I have never been evaluated, but I have been skiing since the early 1970’s) skiing 70% off and 30% on groomed slopes. I am an aggressive and powerful skier with a 70/30 power to finesse ratio. I ski on Lange 120 Comp MF (2005) ski boots.

CONDITIONS DURING EVALUATION: Prior to arriving the mountain received wet snow or rain at lower elevations, conditions cooled and we received 8 – 12” of medium dry Northwest maritime powder each of the three days of evaluation. Powder depth on the mountain varied between 8” and 32” depending on location (some chairs had not been open for at least a few days and due to wind some slopes contained much more snow than others). The powder was over a firm to icy base of more than 160”.

LOCATION: Mt. Bachelor, Oregon

SKI PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS (1-5 rating with 5 being best):
Overall: 5
Hard Snow/Ice: 4.5
Crud: 5
Powder: 5
Snow Versatility: 5
Carving: 5
Skidding: 4.5
Rebound: 3
Stability: 5
Quickness (edge to edge): 4
Tracking (straight line run at speed): 4
Ski Speed: 5
Forgiveness: 3 (176 cm with the exception of diving in deeper powder when driven hard, then forgiveness is a 1).

Ski Weight: you stand on it ya rube so it doesn’t weigh anything (this is like worrying about the weight of the concrete sidewalk under your feet). If you are worried about carrying it on ascents and a difference of a few pounds is important to you, get thee to the gym. Sheesh.

REVIEW: Someone finally designed a GS race ski with real powder chops. This ski is amazing. For dense Northwest maritime powder, this ski is likely all that is needed. In snow up to 32” deep this very heavy skier had no difficulty with float or control. While I cannot precisely say how it would do in extremely deep, dry snow it would likely be an excellent ski choice for all but heavy skiers who might like a wider ski.

Likewise, on packed powder and even on scraped off icy pitches, this ski performed nearly flawlessly. Impressive crampon like edge hold and moderate but solid rebound made me think of this ski on a GS course. I have never thought of a mid fat or a fat ski on a GS course before. Even so, the ski performed extremely well at slow speeds and would make a great ski for those who need to occasionally ski slow but maintain complete control.

I did not have large or hard moguls to try this ski in. We had received too much snow over the past week with too few skiers to build a good mogul base. However, in small to medium well spaced moguls the i.m. 88 performed surprisingly well. Its beefy size belies its edge-to-edge quickness. I suspect skiers who wish to ski moguls for the main course will not be looking at the i.m. 88 as a primary mogul ski, and they should not.

I found length of the ski to be VERY important. For me the 175 was too short and I found myself having to alter my usually power driven style (yeah, I know style is probably the wrong word to use, heh) to a more finesse style. In deep powder the 175 cm ski would dive if I skied too aggressively. The same thing could happen in cut up crud powder. The result was the potential of going over the handlebars. This did not happen with the 186 cm ski. The additional length and float permitted me to ski the ski.

In a direct comparison of the 175 and 186 cm skis, I found the shorter ski to be somewhat more forgiving in all conditions except for the fore aft balance issue discussed above. The 186 is a big ski and requires the skier to drive the ski. The larger ski seems to be like a strong willful horse: rewarding if you control it but hazardous if it controls you. Both skis were capable of making a wide variety of turns.

All in all this is a most versatile and enjoyable ski. I might try the Élan 777 but it will have to be super duper to make an impression after the Head.

post #2 of 13
Great review!

My IM88's are on the way, can't wait.
post #3 of 13
Moguls at Mt. Bachelor????
post #4 of 13
great review Maddog! and sounds a lot like my impressions, although I didn't get onto the 185 and at 155 lbs probably don't ever need to.
post #5 of 13
Originally Posted by Rio
Moguls at Mt. Bachelor????
Keeping in mind that I only ski Bachelor one weekend a year, they often leave a trail on the Outback Express ungroomed so that it bumps out. Also, there are a couple of very small bump runs around the Pine Martin Express chair.
post #6 of 13
Please excuse the dickwaving, but I'm 190lb and am on the 186 im88. On the east coast. Is the ski stiff enough for you? I think it's on the soft side, but just right as an all around ski. What other big skis have you been on? Any 194 or 201 stocklis? Legend pros? Otherwise, spot on review, it's a great ski. I've skied GS race skis since high school, and this is just like them. Also, ski the elan 777 in the 192. That's the size to ski.
post #7 of 13

Great review, what do you think about my situation...

Because of your size and skiing type and the fact that I'm interested in the Monster 88's your review was very helpful. I'm 53 yo and also a large guy at 230 lb and 6' tall. Sounds like similar skiing style and ability to you. But I mix eastern skiing with western skiing. I am looking for a ski that will be at home out west and that I can get away with in the east. But the east doesn't lend itself to the full throttle skiing that western skiing does. So, being slightly smaller and maybe looking for something that's at least semi-comfortable in the east, for me would you pull the 186 length off the rack or down scale to the 175. If I'm going to error, I'd prefer to error on the longer side. But if the 175 would still be plenty of ski out west, why not enjoy it a little more when in the east. Thanks for your time.
post #8 of 13
6'2"/ 200lbs - I have skied both lengths -175cm better for all round but too short for heli skiing. 186 better for deep powder stability and more cruisey turns but more work for normal skiing ie trees, chutes, bumps etc.

Overall a very versatile ski.
post #9 of 13
6' 225, Level 8. I ski the 175 im88. I used to ski the B3 in a 184. The 88 in a 175 is easily as stable as the 184 Rossi. Really no issues there at all. I ski east and west and prefer the shorter ski or at least "this" shorter ski for more versatility. If I lived at Snowbird and only skied the bowls most of the time, then I would up to the 186.
post #10 of 13
If anyone is interested, the MotherLode Ski shop in the GMD at Alta had a pair of new 2008 186cm iM88 for $299 when I was there last week. It was their last pair. They said they would ship them. I had a hard time resisting that deal.

(801) 742-9753
post #11 of 13
Be careful on the bindings mount position. I got a pair of '08 IM88 175 which were marked from the factory for a dead center mount position. We actually ended up moving the bindings back 10 cm, which made them ski much better. The ski shop technician thinks the ski was mismarked from the factory. Has anyone else had this issue?
post #12 of 13
whoa... 10cm is a huge difference! Maybe they were blems? I've never heard of markings being that much out of whack. Good thing your tech was on the ball & actually measured to get the correct mounting.

The last couple of volkl's I had mounted, the shop measured as well, rather than rely on the factory markings.
post #13 of 13

Thanks you Mark, great review. I had similar experience with Blizzard Magnum 8.7 ( 128,87,113) which is a bit stiffer than Monster 88. I wrote a review for it in Epic.

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