Individual Review 2015-2016 Head Monster 83 177cm

Josh Matta

Skiing the powder
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So I am going to keep this fairly quick.

For the past 3 years my main "teaching" skis have been a pair of 174cm BLizzard X power 8.0 Tis. They have been a fantastic carver and actually decent ski in skied out bumps and woods, and even skied it in powder, the length and relative softness though always left me wanting more in Crud, skied out groomers and high speeds. I always felt hemmed in by my skis while skiing even the blues Mansfield, let alone nosedive and hayride.

So with no more Hook up on Blizzard........I found a pair of 177cm Monster 83s with 13 din binding for 250 dollars last spring. I had never skied on a head but everyone who has them seems to love them.

All I can say is WOW! along with crazy good edge grip, its the dampest most quiet ski I have ever skied. The ski is more comparable at speed on a groomer to my 195cm Superbro, than my 174cm Blizzard X power. It even out performs my master GS skis on less than ideal groomers, think eastern groomer at 3pm on saturday ie just utter garbage. Needless to say the 18m sidecut is straighter than 16m of the X powers but it feels even straighter than that. The Master GS ski is better on smooth firm hardpack or ice but typically there is sugar and/or granular chunks on groomers and the Monster's dampness make that work a ton better. Its is also a quite good bump ski as long as their isnt too much soft snow around. Its short comings are powder, choppy soft snow, and trail that are too flat to get it going. Also the factory base grind is quite slow in powder. MMSC will change that shortly.

Overall if you want a skis that will basically trench any packed snow you put in it way, they might be better skis, but I have yet to ski it. With that said, its not a great teaching ski, or exam ski due to how fast it has to go perform well. so my search continues for a damper more stable X power, while still being fun at slower speeds.....if that is possible.

Specs on the skis.

177cm
Tip 120mm
Mid 83mm
Tail 110mm

R = 18

say its has rocker but they its barely perceptible which is a good thing for my cause. They also tout the graphene in the ski, but my feeling is there is some UHF or rubber of some sort to give it other world dampness. It is the most damp ski I have ever skied(along with the other monsters I have tried since then) the next closest being my sickles followed by my Bonafides.
 

jmeb

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Big agreement with this review. I've got a 1/2 dozen days on them in early season CO conditions. Some additional short thoughts:

  • The 83s like being on edge. They are incredible damp, but they are not for straight lining the hill.
  • Agree its radius feels longer. And related
  • It needs some speed and power to really perform. I bought it hoping to do slower speed drills on...it's not great at that.
  • Okay in bumps, but not forgiving and requires a skilled pilot as it prefers to be on edge rather than just rotating.
 

silverback

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I bought some 177's and skied a few runs on them last week then switched to 188/30M Women's FIS GS skis. Firm but mostly not icy, grippy and fast man made snow, groomers only. My initial thoughts are similar:

-The factory tune was irregular... moslty flat. I put a very sharp 0.7/3 on them but I'm not sure the tune is where I would want it.
-They hand flex very stiff but they don't weigh that much. Graphine?
-I read that they should be mounted "on the line" or +1 so I split it at +5mm for me.
-On the snow, they are super damp and smooth and like to haul ass.
-I would not want them longer even though most of my other skis are longer.
-They like a larger radius turn and tend to lock into the carve and perfer to stay on edge. The hold was really good, it really surprised me how good it was.
-It takes some work to tighten the radius and if you go too big (SG size to straight line) they get a little nervous and want to make tighter turns.
-Switching to my GS skis I noticed the are more similar than different in terms of smoothness and dampness.
-The GS skis happily make the same GS radius turn that the Heads like but are happier with larger radius turns and easier to flex and tighten up the radius on.
-The GS skis don't hold an edge any better than the Heads but they release and stivot easier than the Heads.
-The GS skis are longer but dont feel longer. They are overall easier to ski.
-I can't comment on bumps, powder, cut up or rough snow, etc.
-I'm thinking they might need some break in? I'd love to hear other folks impressions that have had them for a while.
 

Myles

Putting on skis
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I picked up a pair for next to nothing at the end of the 2016 season and used them a lot last year. I agree with all of your observations, Josh. They are a really nice ski, with good power, solid edge hold, nice and damp, and can handle chop. A very solid eastern ski and good out west when the snow is not too deep (although they seem to handle 6 inches or so of fresh pretty well, but then what ski does't?). My only issue has been taking them in the trees, where their lack of playfulness makes me have to work harder than I want to at times. Overall, I am surprised that these skis appear to have been so unpopular (at least where I have skied the past couple of years), although I am glad that this same fact allowed me (and you) to pick them up for next to nothing.
 

jmeb

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Mine are mounted with a 10mm riser plate. Reading this thread I’m wondering if I’d like them more in variable snow and bumps if I removed the risers and cut down the screws to fit...
 
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Josh Matta

Josh Matta

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They are not 2013 they are 2015-16.
 

trailtrimmer

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The reviews are spot on. I've ridden mine a couple times so far and slid the demo binding 1 cm forward to help initiate a little quicker. I'll play more with other binding positions for off-piste. Tune is factory base, 3 degree side.

The 177 is a burly ski, it needs to be driven with purpose, finesse fanatics need not apply.
It's feel isn't like a Head race or frontside ski, its more lively like a Head/Blizzard/Volkl mix. (my first monster, not sure if the wider siblings are like this)
Turn shapes are few, power is lots.
Small corrections can be made, large loosening corrections are tough to execute
Tames chop well, grips silly good on crust for an all mountain ski

Bottom line, it likes speed, it likes to be driven and wants a skilled pilot, intermediates are not worthy.

If you prefer to spend most of your day getting your hips low and linking trenches, these are a blast.
If you like to meander at slower speeds or are still developing your carving skills, you might want to look at a Brahma or Kendo which have 80/90% of the grip but can be finessed more.
 

TimF

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Does anyone know if if there were any changes to the Monster 83 from 15-16 to 16-17 to 17-18 model years?
Thanks. Still looking for a groomer type ski to make longer turns at local small hills on NTN telemark system. Most of the carving skis in the 16-18 radius are system skis. I had a pair of Fischer GS skis in 175 at one time but they needed "super speed" to get them to turn and this was a little fast for my skill. I'm looking at downsizing to the 170 cm.
 

jmeb

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Supposedly the last years model has a slightly softer tip to ease turn initiation. Otherwise same ski.
 
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Josh Matta

Josh Matta

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The newer one have slightly softer tips.
 

silverback

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I can update my impressions. I had the M83's out again today with much better results. 6" of fresh over firm/icy manmade snow. I liked them a lot more in these irregular snow condtions. They handled the icy patches and small bumps and pushed around and/or cut up snow. They rode smoothily on edge and released easily. Decent bump and crud skis with some good pop if you need/want to get out of the snow. I brought another pair of skis up but never went back to get them, the Monsters were in their element.
 

Roundturns

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Great deal
That's what is so great about this website, somebody posts how great a ski the 83 Monster is and the fact they can be had with binding for $325!

Don't need them , but Want Them ! Great price value begging to be exercised. I have a Head quiver. Ski the Magnum here at the local hill, Rally's at Vail unless it snows then the Chams. If I could have more days on the hill I would get these Monsters.

I'm tormented for sure now. ASO ships free and no Tax. I'd have to pay $75 to get them mounted I guess. If they would mount to the requested bsl I would have no excuse.

Anyway enjoyed learning about this ski.
 
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Josh Matta

Josh Matta

Skiing the powder
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just do it.

Maybe splurge and get yourself a Jig a rex and some decent clamps Plus stepped drill bit and learn to mount. I would have fun on these on the North Face of springs for sure.
 

trailtrimmer

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That's what is so great about this website, somebody posts how great a ski the 83 Monster is and the fact they can be had with binding for $325!

Don't need them , but Want Them ! Great price value begging to be exercised. I have a Head quiver. Ski the Magnum here at the local hill, Rally's at Vail unless it snows then the Chams. If I could have more days on the hill I would get these Monsters.

I'm tormented for sure now. ASO ships free and no Tax. I'd have to pay $75 to get them mounted I guess. If they would mount to the requested bsl I would have no excuse.

Anyway enjoyed learning about this ski.

Can you build a deck or do minor carpentry tasks? If yes, you can buy all the stuff to mount them from slide wright. They sell a transparent template, 4.1 drill bit, glue, tap, etc. I mounted mine no problem, just measured three times, center punched carefully and drilled away. I tapped the holes as well, but I bet it would be fine without.
 

silverback

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Day 3 on my m83s. Only skied after noon and it was warm so most groomers we're pretty beat up. Loved the 83s in these conditions. The skis have a learning curve for me. The are so much more powerful and stable than they initially feel. Compared to other chargy and damp skis I've had, these are lighter and have less of an "always seeking the fall line" personality. They are happy arcing turn to turn at high speed. As I've become more confident feeding them speed in rough snow, the better they get. They were decent in the bumps too for such a stuff ski.
 
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Josh Matta

Josh Matta

Skiing the powder
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I mean basically once your dialed on these guys they legit ski outski master GS skis on hardpack.....in choppy hard pack there is nothing better.
 

jmeb

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I mean basically once your dialed on these guys they legit ski outski master GS skis on hardpack.....in choppy hard pack there is nothing better.

As someone who has never owned or skied a masters GS ski...this makes me want to own a masters GS ski.

Because sometimes I'm lazy.
 
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