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Review: Head Monster iM82

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
About me:
- Age 39
- Level 8-ish skier
- Height: 6'1" Weight: 195lb
- Ski 25+ days per year
- 28.0 Salomon Xwave 9 boots, 325mm sole length

The skis:
- 183cm Head Monster iM82 skis with Head (Tyrolia) LD12 bindings mounted on ski's center mark (results in -2cm from a true BOF/ski-center mount)

Snow conditions included:
- Untracked powder 4-12" deep
- Cut powder and crud
- Groomed and skier-packed powder
- Groomed frozen manmade snow

Some of my other skis: Head Monster iM77, Fischer RX-9, Fischer Watea 94, Fischer Watea 84, K2 PE




I had briefly demoed these skis last year and liked them, so I nabbed a pair from Tramdock a couple weeks ago for about $340. When Snowshoe WV moved their opening day up to November 21 after 32" of snow fell this week, I quickly mounted up the 82s and gave them a wax; the day's expected conditions very closely matched my mental specs for the 82. It turned out to be a great pairing.

My first impression of the iM82s was that they felt light in hand compared to some of my other skis, including my shorter iM77s (to be fair, the 77s have a RailFlex binding setup that adds a few ounces). It's best described as a qualitative lightness -- holding the iM82, flexing it, and giving it a few taps lends the impression that this is a structurally efficient ski -- it almost feels like the ski is all shell with a very light core. But coupled with this light feel is an unmistakable sense of strength. If you've ever held a mechanical part made out of titanium, you know the feel I am describing.

On the snow, this combination of lightness and strength is immediately apparent. The iM82s have the same light feel I like in my Fischer Watea 84 skis, but unlike the Wateas, the 82s possess good damping and great grip on hardpack. Whereas the Wateas offer distinct tip and tail engagement feel (what I would describe as a two-part "bite" on the snow), the iM82s have that classic Head feel I can only describe as one big unified edge. It's smooth, smooth, smooth. In the context of smooth, the 82s do offer a lot more feedback from the snow than my iM77s. So it's an improved version of the Head feel I have come to recognize.

One great aspect of the 82 is the versatility to take on a wide range of turn shapes and feel like they are all at the design turn radius of the ski. Of course the 82s can crank out big GS turns at speed, but if you stand on the edge, the iM8s will rip off short slalom turns -- pretty much turning on a dime -- without feeling like the tails are skidding. It's quite impressive.

There weren't any moguls on the hill yesterday, but there were a few isolated bumps here and there, enough to feel out the ability of the 82s to make quick pivot/skid turns. Among the many skis I have tried in recent years, I got the feeling that the 82s were going to be some of the better 82-87mm waist skis in the bumps. The tails come around nicely, without any fuss, and the skis feel narrower and shorter underfoot than specs suggest. At times, the 82s felt more like a 75mm waist / 175cm length ski. Since I frequently try out skis that become unwieldy and seem to add clumsiness in quick skid turns, it's nice to run across skis that make these types of turns easier.

In powder, I found the iM82s surprisingly decent. They clearly do not offer the flex and feel I get out of the Wateas (which are more dedicated to soft snow), and you can only expect so much float out of an 82mm waist ski. But I am glad to report that the 82s were not tanks in powder like some skis in this category. Often, "all mountain" skis tend to look for the bottom in 10-12" of powder, so it was nice to find a ski that was playful and had at least some float. Credit the light feel for this.

Overall, I would say that the iM82 is as close as I have come to finding a real all-mountain "50/50" ski. Most of us feel that such a ski doesn't exist, but if I had to rate the iM82 in a bunch of categories, I would give it an average to very good ranking in all of them. That, coupled with the fact that the 82 doesn't rate below average in any category (which is a first for me -- I usually always find some aspect of a ski to nitpick), makes it a good candidate in the 50/50 all-mountain range. This ski has strong groomer performance, it's nimble turn characteristics make it versatile in a variety of on and off-piste scenarios, and it's light feel endows it with enough grace that it skis powder pretty well. You can't go wrong with this ski.
post #2 of 28
An excellent analysis of the Monster 82's. I'm a believer. They're my fave out of the last 30 skis I've been on.

What could be emphasized more is how damp they are. Like the other Monsters, I think they stay on the snow better anything else today. That's why one can ski faster in rough snow than with any other ski.

I'm amazed how short people ski them. 183cm is the right length for me, and I'm only 150 lbs.


http://peterhaley-all-ski.blip.tv/file/775651/

http://peterhaley-all-ski.blip.tv/file/775488/

http://peterhaley-all-ski.blip.tv/file/775485/
post #3 of 28
I've got the im82 & im88, the 82's are more versatile overall & much more lively. They have that distinct damp head feel which you either love or hate. Needs speed to come alive. Currently my favourite as an everyday do it all ski
post #4 of 28
Nice review, thanks for sharing. The 82 is probably the perfect do-everything Eastern ski if you want a ski that still does well out West.
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by crudmaster View Post
An excellent analysis of the Monster 82's. I'm a believer. They're my fave out of the last 30 skis I've been on.

What could be emphasized more is how damp they are. Like the other Monsters, I think they stay on the snow better anything else today. That's why one can ski faster in rough snow than with any other ski.

I'm amazed how short people ski them. 183cm is the right length for me, and I'm only 150 lbs.


http://peterhaley-all-ski.blip.tv/file/775651/

http://peterhaley-all-ski.blip.tv/file/775488/

http://peterhaley-all-ski.blip.tv/file/775485/
I am a wuss, I only ski them in 172, although the new 177 this year would probably be the ticket for me. It wasn't available previously, though.
post #6 of 28
M82 has been one of my all-time favorite eastcoast skis. I will also emphasize that the 183cm ski is very manageable.
post #7 of 28
So, I'm picking up a pair of 2007 iM82s to be my "do everything, east coast ski"--pretty much because of the raves I've read here. Dawgcatching's old reviews might be the most to blame. And let's leave aside for a moment the question of whether it's wise to buy stuff solely because of what somebody you don't know said on the internets. I make all my decisions based on the advice of anonymous strangers. You should see me at the supermarket.

So, first of all: thanks for all the info/analysis, anonymous strangers. Second: I'm going to put some old Look p14s on the Monsters, and am curious about mounting position. I can't explain where the idea came from, but as I read through all the older discussions of these skis, I concluded that I should mount them forward 1 to 1.5 cm. Does anyone with experience on these skis have a strong opinion against this idea? Or can explain to me why this makes sense for me to do? It's entirely possible that I'm wrong. If it helps: 5'9", 140ish, "scrappy" advanced skier, with a bias toward tight trees and EC backcountry crud.
post #8 of 28
I skiied the 183 last year and I'm one more skiier that calls the i.m82 in 183 just an outstanding choice. I had Railflex's on them and played with dead center and 1.5 forward and ended up preferring dead center better.
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
Yossarian, it really depends on what size iM82 you were planning to buy, and what your boot sole length is. But based on my experience (and I put much time and analysis into binding placement), mounting on the line is good. I did prefer my iM77 at +1.5 (RailFlex) but the 82s skis great on the line.
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
Yossarian, it really depends on what size iM82 you were planning to buy, and what your boot sole length is.
I don't want to completely hijack the thread, but just to quickly answer: 172cm, 305BSL. And I think I figured out where my "mount 1.5cm forward" theory came from: in (glowing) discussions of the iM78, some people mentioned mounting them 15mm up, and others at 5mm. I think Dawgcatching was a +15 proponent. The iM82 is a different ski, but I thought maybe the same idea applied.

Anyway: very nice review, skier219, with enough worthwhile insights to sell me on these skis. Damn you.
post #11 of 28
What side/ base edge are you running?
Was there any hard snow feedback?

Finally I am a bit taller and heavier than you but want a good 'do everything ski' (Currently skiing Rotors far too short but did so for good reasons) did you try the 177cm ski?

I have other (fatter & softer) skis for proper powder days and am considering this ski against the Stockli XXL 178cm as the shop that is supporting me does not stock the XXL but stocks the Heads.

Good review - have only ever heard good things about these skis.
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew R View Post
What side/ base edge are you running?
Was there any hard snow feedback?

Finally I am a bit taller and heavier than you but want a good 'do everything ski' (Currently skiing Rotors far too short but did so for good reasons) did you try the 177cm ski?

I have other (fatter & softer) skis for proper powder days and am considering this ski against the Stockli XXL 178cm as the shop that is supporting me does not stock the XXL but stocks the Heads.

Good review - have only ever heard good things about these skis.
I skied with the factory tune, which is probably 1/2, and the skis were quite good. I didn't really hit any true boilerplate snow, at least not when I was turning, so I can't comment on that, but the skis were great on packed powder.

I have not skied the iM82 in 177cm (I think that's a new length for 09) but my iM77 are 177cm and they are actually a bit misleading -- they ski every bit as well as my longer skis in terms of edge grip and stability at speed. I have owned other skis in the 175-177cm range that felt short to me, but the iM77 do not.

Myself, I would not go shorter than 183cm on the iM82 -- it's perfect in this length, and always felt nimble to me. Generally, as waist width creeps up, so does my preferred minimum length. I wouldn't go much shorter than 180cm on this width of ski.
post #13 of 28
I skied these heads as my "everything but deep powder" ski about 50 or 60 days last year at Sunshine (Alberta) and can attest that they are very versatile, damp and precise. Probably the best all around ski I have ever had. For me, they sink a bit in deep rocky mountain powder, but I think my heavy weight is responsibly. They should float better on heavier Vermont snow as well. One thing I noticed about these is this: as the speed got hairier, the skis became more damp and more precise feeling. I have never felt this sensation quite the same way on any other ski. I mounted mine on the line and ran a 1 degree base and 88 side bevel that felt pretty good. I tried a 0 degree base for a while but they felt too hooky on boilerplate and sucked in bumps. The bevel improved that a lot.
I am 168 cm and 90 kg (5'8" and 200lbs in Ameri-speak).
post #14 of 28
dingycaptain, what length did you ski?
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
Myself, I would not go shorter than 183cm on the iM82 -- it's perfect in this length, and always felt nimble to me. Generally, as waist width creeps up, so does my preferred minimum length. I wouldn't go much shorter than 180cm on this width of ski.
I'm about your height, weight and skill level and I'm on the other side of the fence when it comes to your feelings about ideal length and nimble feel at 183. I skied the 172cm im82's the first year they came out and found them to be more than stable at that length yet a bit on the heavy side. I haven't been on the 183 but I'd have a hard time believing skiing them at that length buys anyone our size added stability. I'll chaulk it up to a case of different strokes for different folks but I would bet you would enjoy the 177 more and find the 172 to be more than adequate. Perhaps my mancrush for the Watea 94 - 178 cm (and my affair with the Atomic Snoops - 174cm) distorted my view of what a nimble ski is or isn't? Perhaps.
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
Interestingly, I spent a lot of time re-evaluating ski lengths a couple years back when I lost some weight, and what I found is that I like 175cm for strong carver skis, 180cm for all mountain, and 185+cm for freeride and powder skis. Some skis in the 175cm range start feeling too short to me, and skis below 175cm generally don't offer me enough edge at speed -- it starts feeling dangerous to me. So that experience drove me to the length preferences I have now, and the 183cm iM82 fits in well. When turning, I actually thought they felt shorter and more nimble than the 183cm length would suggest, which is a bonus.

Aside from qualitative feel, stability at speed directly correlates to length in many cases, not just skis. In the case of a ski, it's due to having more edge, more surface area, and the resulting "compound" increase of lever arm from the additional edge and surface area further from the ski center. At least as far as stability is concerned, it pretty much scales directly with length and length^2. All else equal (construction, etc) a longer ski will always offer more stability on paper. Whether or not that translates into more stability for a particular skier / technique is another story. I know a lot of good skiers that seem perfectly happy on shorter skis than I would pick for myself.
post #17 of 28

Head iM82, 177cm.

I was torn between the 82 and the 88 as an all around ski that I could put a touring binding on and use for moderately long day tours and still use in resort.  I was inclined to the 88, but even in a 175 it seemed like a lot of ski to drag up the hill.  So the 82 got the nod.

Binding: Fritschi Freeride

Boot: Garmont Adrenalin

Bindings are mounted center for the 297 BSL.

Tuned: 1 degree base/2 degree side.

First impression: They are as described in the above reviews.  Very solid, predictable ski that can make any radius turn and doesn't get flustered.  Very easy turning but not skittish.  Damp but not dead.  Edgehold is great but that's not a big concern given how and where I'll use them.  Have not found a speed limit yet, but have not really tried.  Even with the softer boot and the less than downhill friendly binding I was able to ski pretty much the same as I would on my regular alpine gear.  My alpine boots are Dobermann 130's.  Alpine skis are 174 Blizzard Supersonics and 177 Mantras (red) w/ Dukes.  I definitely made the right choice going with the 82.  I'll update once I get a chance to tour on them and get them in other snow and terrain conditions other than eastern hardpack.  I don't see how anyone would be unhappy on these if they were looking for a ski in this category.


Edited by choucas - Tue, 03 Feb 09 20:21:50 GMT
post #18 of 28

Got the skis (eventually) in 177 cm, mounted centre with Railflex II RFD 14. Not as heavy as my Stocklis (which have VIST plate and binding) but not light. Ski quite damp and I am happy with the versatility offered by the slightly shorter length (for me - remember 6'2" and 200 lbs) especially in trees and bumps. Everything good about them has already been said so I will not add anything more until I have skied some proper powder with them (had 6" of heavy powder the other morning - very capable).

 

Not impressed by:

Factory edges (pen test showed 1/1 but not true throughout length)

Base sucked literally - poor structure for Whistler wet but cold snow and almost no wax in bases.

Top sheet delaminating at tips (5 days on them - no student damage)

 

Why should I have to pay for a proper base/ edge tune and structure (and hot box) for a new ski?  I should be able to take them home, put a 2 degree side on them and a couple of hot wax and scrapes and they should run okay. They were slower than a one legged pensioner with no crutches running for the bus when I first took them out.

 

The top sheet should last longer than 5 days before starting to peel off.

 

I would recommend these to people based on the performance but not impressed with quality control. I know that Stockli are a hard act to follow and they are a different price point but surely a factory for a company the size of Head skiing should be able to afford a proper tuning machine and quality control in the finishing department.


Edited by Andrew R - 3/10/2009 at 04:41 am
post #19 of 28

One legged pensioner, eh?  On the contrary, after setting the edge angles, I waxed mine a couple of times, gave them a scrape and brush job and they ran like a two legged thief who just stole the crown jewels.  This was on groomed eastern hardpack.  I did get a chance to try them (this is with a touring binding [FFR+] and Garmont Adrenalin) in bumps (Upper FIS and Exterminator at Mt. Ellen), in the woods in old powder, and on old, windblown ungroomed stuff and had no problem on those snow and terrain conditions. In fact, I was amazed that I was to ski the steep bumpy stuff with no issues with that boot & binding combo.   I did put a little more bevel on the top edges with some 220 grit silicon carbide paper wrapped around a file to minimize the chances for top edge chips.

 

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew R View Post

Got the skis (eventually) in 177 cm, mounted centre with Railflex II RFD 14. Not as heavy as my Stocklis (which have VIST plate and binding) but not light. Ski quite damp and I am happy with the versatility offered by the slightly shorter length (for me - remember 6'2" and 200 lbs) especially in trees and bumps. Everything good about them has already been said so I will not add anything more until I have skied some proper powder with them (had 6" of heavy powder the other morning - very capable).

 

Not impressed by:

Factory edges (pen test showed 1/1 but not true throughout length)

Base sucked literally - rubbish structure for Whistler wet but cold snow and almost no wax in bases.

Top sheet delaminating at tips already (5 days on them - no student damage)

 

Why should I have to pay for a proper base/ edge tune and structure (and hot box) for a new ski?  I should be able to take them home, put a 2 degree side on them and a couple of hot wax and scrapes and they should run okay. They were slower than a one legged pensioner with no crutches running for the bus when I first took them out.

 

The top sheet should last longer than 5 days before starting to peel off.

 

I would recommend these to people based on the performance but not impressed with quality control. I know that Stockli are a hard act to follow and they are a different price point but surely a factory for a company the size of Head skiing should be able to afford a proper tuning machine and quality control in the finishing department.

Contact HEAD, they have excellent customer support.

post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew R View Post

 

Got the skis (eventually) in 177 cm, mounted centre with Railflex II RFD 14. Not as heavy as my Stocklis (which have VIST plate and binding) but not light. Ski quite damp and I am happy with the versatility offered by the slightly shorter length (for me - remember 6'2" and 200 lbs) especially in trees and bumps. Everything good about them has already been said so I will not add anything more until I have skied some proper powder with them (had 6" of heavy powder the other morning - very capable).

 

Not impressed by:

Factory edges (pen test showed 1/1 but not true throughout length)

Base sucked literally - rubbish structure for Whistler wet but cold snow and almost no wax in bases.

Top sheet delaminating at tips already (5 days on them - no student damage)

 

Why should I have to pay for a proper base/ edge tune and structure (and hot box) for a new ski?  I should be able to take them home, put a 2 degree side on them and a couple of hot wax and scrapes and they should run okay. They were slower than a one legged pensioner with no crutches running for the bus when I first took them out.

 

The top sheet should last longer than 5 days before starting to peel off.

 

I would recommend these to people based on the performance but not impressed with quality control. I know that Stockli are a hard act to follow and they are a different price point but surely a factory for a company the size of Head skiing should be able to afford a proper tuning machine and quality control in the finishing department.

 

Check out the thread on the monster 88's for tuning stuff. my new 78's absolutely suck out of the box and I'll get them retuned this weekend.

 

 

 

post #22 of 28

Skied 12" of 'fresh' today with these bad boys - de-laming top sheet still peeves me but I will get Head to deal with it at the end of the season. I do not see why I should be without my skis because their QC missed this.

 

It was typical NW coastal pow - read cement/ mashed potatoes/ mushy ice cream. But who cares - after no fresh snow for three weeks it was awesome.

 

It also threw a great variety of conditions at the skis and they handled everything with ease. I think I have found the sweet spot on the skis and may have to play with the Rail flex to get them spot on. I will mount them 5mm forward on the rail and keep the centre position. 


Edited by Andrew R - 3/10/2009 at 04:42 am
post #23 of 28

How do the im82's ski compared to the im78's?  Is it the kind of case where it's basically the same ski, and the extra 4 cm underfoot is welcome stability but is hardly noticeable in comparison edge to edge?

 

I love my im78's (171 cm)...have some Railflex bindings on them as well and found them to perform best at +mm. for on-piste, and at neutral or -5mm for more variable conditions or deeper snow.  Only areas where I wish the 78's were just a little bit better are stability underfoot in heavy crud and chopped up powder, and bump performance....I am looking to build a 2 or 3 ski west coast quiver up from them...but before I do so, just wanna make sure the im82's aren't an even better fit as the skinniest ski.

post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew R View Post

 

Skied 12" of 'fresh' today with these bad boys - de-laming top sheet still peeves me but I will get Head to deal with it at the end of the season. I do not see why I should be without my skis because their QC sucks.

 

 

 

Squirt some clear silicone in there -- it should keep the topsheet from flapping around until you can send them back in. 

post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by monologuist View Post

 

How do the im82's ski compared to the im78's?  Is it the kind of case where it's basically the same ski, and the extra 4 cm underfoot is welcome stability but is hardly noticeable in comparison edge to edge?

 

I love my im78's (171 cm)...have some Railflex bindings on them as well and found them to perform best at +mm. for on-piste, and at neutral or -5mm for more variable conditions or deeper snow.  Only areas where I wish the 78's were just a little bit better are stability underfoot in heavy crud and chopped up powder, and bump performance....I am looking to build a 2 or 3 ski west coast quiver up from them...but before I do so, just wanna make sure the im82's aren't an even better fit as the skinniest ski.

 

The 82s are a bit softer and definitely better in pow/crud than the 78s (I have both skis).  The 78 has an extra layer of metal, which makes it stiffer and a little more snappy on hard snow.

 

I think the 78 would make a better "skinny" ski in a quiver.  That's the role they are currently filling in mine.  The 82 serves well as a "do a little of everything well" ski in the middle of the quiver.

 

post #26 of 28

I have to agree - that is what the 82 fills in my quiver.

 

I run:

 

Supershape Speed 170 cm - serious training/ teaching ski

82 177 cm - ski everything/ teach everything - good when one is not sure what lesson one will get or what has fallen where in the Alpine/ back bowls

Prior Overlord 183 cm - stupid deep powder and powder in the trees ski - still waiting for enough snow to give these babies their christening day. 

post #27 of 28

the Monster 78 has a lot more sidecut than the 82.  If you like to carve a lot is better for that for this reason.

post #28 of 28

Continuing the info about the various models of Monsters and Peaks, the Monster 88's are stiffer than the 82's, and the supposedly de-tuned Peak 88 of 2010 (which replaced the Monster 88) is STILL stiffer than my 183cm Monster 82's.  I just got a pair of the 180cm 2010 Peak 88's (the black & white & mauve one) from Dawg, and I was shocked to discover how much stiffer the tip is than the 82's.  So they'd be good for a 180-pound skier, but not me at 155 pounds.

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