Individual Review Head Monster 98 (184cm)

markojp

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Definitely not #3. Possibly #2? Keep in mind my local hill is pretty large and wide open so easy to cruise.

Re:: #3, I love the length. Think its perfect. 90% of the time the ski is perfect. Arcs awesome turns, its that 10% time when I'm really moving and making 35m radius turns that it can feel a bit unnerving.

It is a totally stable, smooth ski. I think its possibly #2 or possibly the fact that it has a bunch more sidecut 135-98-120 w/ its 23m radius versus the 29m radius of the old skool Legend Pro 124-97-116 that is my baseline. That 135mm tip just feels like it will turn a lot more abruptly than the 124mm tip of the LP. When going fast that feeling is a bit disconcerting. Still smooth and not flappy or chattering, just a quicker turner me thinks?

Sooo, was toying with moving from +1.5 to +.5 or so to see what that does. Crazy idea?

Fwiw, I have the 15-16 monster 98 and ski it at +1.5 and an 88 at +1. Both are 184's.
 
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markojp

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I think its a very good idea. Moving them back will give you relatively more graduated and less immediate turning because you will be initiating the sidecut more and the shovel less. So they may very likely feel like they ease into a turn a bit more.

Just curious, have you skied the 98? It's one of the last skis that needs to be mounted behind the line. The OP would be better to leave them where they are or ski a 191. I don't think I've ever had a moment on the M98 mounted +1.5 that has ever felt anything than rock solid... then again maybe I suck. ogsmile The 191's seem to be a Big Sky thing from what I've heard from the local rep, so venue certainly can play a role in the equation.
 
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Alexzn

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That someone who is 160 lb could find the 184 lacking in stability (even at Mammoth!) sounds highly improbable to me. I am almost 200lb, and a decent skier at this point, and I have never found the 184 lacking muscle, or stability in any situation. I cannot imagine that ski being hooky or unstable at any speed if you stay balanced half-way well. Granted, a 23m ski needs to be on edge a lot more than a 30m sidecut ski. 20m Bonafide is never being considered a squirrel ski and the Monster has arguably longer edge contact length. I cannot imagine a resort where 191 would be appropriate, unless you have a helicopter with a film crew whirring overhead.
 

markojp

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That's why I'm thinking his tune's off or things are edge high. I'd bet a bit of the latter.
 

skibob

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Just curious, have you skied the 98? It's one of the last skis that needs to be mounted behind the line. The OP would be better to leave them where they are or ski a 191. I don't think I've ever had a moment on the M98 mounted +1.5 that has ever felt anything than rock solid... then again maybe I suck. ogsmile The 191's seem to be a Big Sky thing from what I've heard from the local rep, so venue certainly can play a role in the equation.
No, only the 88's. However, I am going based on what he says and my own experimentation with Aaatack 13 demo bindings which is somewhat independent of individual skis and general physics.

Think of it this way. If you shorten the distance between the ball of your foot and the fattest part of the shovel, the ski becomes relatively more responsive--it initiates a turn more quickly and has a shorter turn radius. If this doesn't seem intuitive, just imagine an exaggertaion--10cm forward and you will see you are essentially tightening the turning radius of the ski by pressuring it farther forward.

The opposite is also true. Move the binding back and it becomes relatively less responsive--it is slower to hook up the widest part of the shovel and has a longer turn radius.

I was never saying that the M98 is mounted too far forward. I was saying, IF you want it to hook up slower and turn wider, move back. And vice versa. This is true for any ski (relative to centers on the same ski farther fore/aft) so long as you can bend the ski. If you are unable to bend the ski effectively, these things are not going to be very distinct.

EDIT: I am actually missing a nuance here. Binding farther back, with adequate force applied, will eventually tighten into a tighter turn than binding farther forward. But it will be much more progressive whereas ball of foot forward will snap around quicker. Again, only relative to the same ski with ball of foot fore/aft. And some skis may be so stiff, and/or skiers so light, as to negate this effect.

EDIT2: And obviously it depend somewhat on how you ski. I use the ball of my foot pretty aggressively to initiate a turn. And I'm a big guy, although I also ski fairly stiff (civilian) skis. I feel these things pretty distinctly with just a 1cm movement. A smaller, more finesse skier will feel them less. But, again, so long as you are bending the ski . . .
 
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markojp

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Bob, The 88's and 98's/108's are sort of different critters. The latter 2 could be cautiously categorized as 11/10th skis. The 88 is more accessible.(yes, I prefer it for most things but have skied both a good deal in a wide range of conditions. Head issued some mount point corrects to their dealerships for both the monster and flight series skis. The Monsters (16-17) for 184 are: 88 +.5'. 98 is +1. I'm a bit forward of that as I like things to engage a bit quicker... Both are very stable skis at speed even forward. Neither should require mounting behind the mark. The Kore's probably will, but not the current Monsters.
 

skibob

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Bob, The 88's and 98's/108's are sort of different critters. The latter 2 could be cautiously categorized as 11/10th skis. The 88 is more accessible.(yes, I prefer it for most things but have skied both a good deal in a wide range of conditions. Head issued some mount point corrects to their dealerships for both the monster and flight series skis. The Monsters (16-17) for 184 are: 88 +.5'. 98 is +1. I'm a bit forward of that as I like things to engage a bit quicker... Both are very stable skis at speed even forward. Neither should require mounting behind the mark. The Kore's probably will, but not the current Monsters.
I am sure you are right. I don't have an opinion as to whether it needs to move back from +1.5.
 

markojp

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I think Alex and I were just sort of scratching our heads (pardon the pun) that 160 lb skier would have any stability issues with a 184 monster 98. Haven't skied the 17-18 yet though.
 

Jim McDonald

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I'm a 165 pound skier and had no stability issues at all with 177cm Monster 98s, both skiing slow on a 2018 in very soft, warm snow and a 2017 on roughed-up hardpack, going fast enough to want to slow down.
 

Comish

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Thanks for the banter, appreciate the ideas. Thought I clarified, but will try again.

Definitely do NOT need a longer ski. I'm not proposing I'm some WC downhill legend. Length is great. Flex is great, dampness is great.

So tune could absolutely be off. Definitely a possibility and will check it out.

Other possibility is that when hauling ass I prefer old skool, less sidecut skis, since that is my point of reference having ridden the LP for many many years with multiple pairs. Others are demo'ing and skiing new skool skis more than I have. Went to a Stöckli Stormrider 95 for last season (way less stable, softer, but still fun) and the Head Monster 98 (in between the Stöckli and LP in terms of stability, flex, dampness) this season. Both are significantly turnier, ie smaller turn radius than Legend Pro's. I do have a buddy who thinks the same of the Bonefide as I have expressed about the Monster and our theory is its the approx 20m turn radius rather than nearly 30m radius of the old skook skis. Its not that its not stable, but I think the faster I go, the longer the turn I typically make, so a ski with a short turn radius (to me) can feel a bit turny when trying to make 30m turns at mach schnell.

Therefore I don't think Bob or others are crazy. I do wonder if I was a bit farther back that maybe the tip and sidecut would be a bit slower to engage. Don't know, hence my question. For what its worth I typically ski with a bit of an old skool racing, forward stance. Working on using my feet more than pressuring the tips after a clinic by ex-US ski team coach, but I still tend to be forward for what its worth.

Marko, your well written review was one of the reasons I mounted it +1.5. Doesn't mean its the be all end all of mount points. I do think skis have become very sensitive to mount points because of the interaction with rocker, sidecut, and flex makes it a complex equation to solve. I do tend to like more Austrian rearward mount points. For example, I hated my Blizzard Bodacious largely because they were mounted on the line, which per my Austrian source, was put there for the American market. I truly wish I had mounted it way back from the line and my Austrian friends all agreed that is what they would have done. They laughed at where it was mounted. I just wonder if the Head Monster should have been mounted on the line, where the Austrians intended it to be mounted since I typically like a rear, more Austrian mount point. Just speculation...

That said, the tune is way easier to change than a few holes. That is tomorrow nights project so appreciate the idea. It doesn't feel like the tune, like these East Coast race stock GS skis I just bought that have 5 degree side bevel, but you never know. I know I don't like/need a 5 degree side bevel. Wow those railed...
 

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Only other data point I can give is I mounted my 18x Soli Q Lab's -2cm and like the mount position. Ski it in different situations so not really comparable, but I guess I feel like i do like a rear ward mount point.

Last point is that I only find this in about 15% of the situations where I'm really moving. The other 85% of the time I like the well balanced +1.5cm mount. Since I'm slowing down in my old age (>40) That percentage when really moving is getting smaller and smaller so its really not a big deal, just trying to get rid of the need to hold onto my last pair of LP's since I think the Monster can do it all better than the LP if I can sort out that 10 to 15% of the time.
 

markojp

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Given your thoughts, I'd just go ahead and move them back from +1.5 to the line, particularly if they're this year's. (16-17). Just curious, but what year Bodacious do you have?

The tune thing... Think I posted it before, but it can be pretty big. My 98's were a bit edge high in the shovel of one ski when new so they needed a grind from the get go. The 88's were good enough that I skied them out of the wrapper. They were ok, but I knew they could be better. I also needed to change out my lifters. Took them to a guy I'd only used once before... they came out worse. Thankfully I knew it was the tune and not the ski. Took them to my regular guy. He did his magic, problem solved. Night and day.

The Q labs... Definitely needed to go back. On line, they felt like there wasn't any tip.
 
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Comish

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1st year Bodacious. Wish I had gone back a bunch from the line and that they had more tip rocker. Loved the "feel" of the ski, but had tip dive issues with the mount point. Sold them for Atomic Atlas.
 

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Thanks for the banter, appreciate the ideas. Thought I clarified, but will try again.

Definitely do NOT need a longer ski. I'm not proposing I'm some WC downhill legend. Length is great. Flex is great, dampness is great.

So tune could absolutely be off. Definitely a possibility and will check it out.

Other possibility is that when hauling ass I prefer old skool, less sidecut skis, since that is my point of reference having ridden the LP for many many years with multiple pairs. Others are demo'ing and skiing new skool skis more than I have. Went to a Stöckli Stormrider 95 for last season (way less stable, softer, but still fun) and the Head Monster 98 (in between the Stöckli and LP in terms of stability, flex, dampness) this season. Both are significantly turnier, ie smaller turn radius than Legend Pro's. I do have a buddy who thinks the same of the Bonefide as I have expressed about the Monster and our theory is its the approx 20m turn radius rather than nearly 30m radius of the old skook skis. Its not that its not stable, but I think the faster I go, the longer the turn I typically make, so a ski with a short turn radius (to me) can feel a bit turny when trying to make 30m turns at mach schnell.

Therefore I don't think Bob or others are crazy. I do wonder if I was a bit farther back that maybe the tip and sidecut would be a bit slower to engage. Don't know, hence my question. For what its worth I typically ski with a bit of an old skool racing, forward stance. Working on using my feet more than pressuring the tips after a clinic by ex-US ski team coach, but I still tend to be forward for what its worth.

Marko, your well written review was one of the reasons I mounted it +1.5. Doesn't mean its the be all end all of mount points. I do think skis have become very sensitive to mount points because of the interaction with rocker, sidecut, and flex makes it a complex equation to solve. I do tend to like more Austrian rearward mount points. For example, I hated my Blizzard Bodacious largely because they were mounted on the line, which per my Austrian source, was put there for the American market. I truly wish I had mounted it way back from the line and my Austrian friends all agreed that is what they would have done. They laughed at where it was mounted. I just wonder if the Head Monster should have been mounted on the line, where the Austrians intended it to be mounted since I typically like a rear, more Austrian mount point. Just speculation...

That said, the tune is way easier to change than a few holes. That is tomorrow nights project so appreciate the idea. It doesn't feel like the tune, like these East Coast race stock GS skis I just bought that have 5 degree side bevel, but you never know. I know I don't like/need a 5 degree side bevel. Wow those railed...
This is why I love the Aaatack 13 demo binding. I didn't think to ask what binding you have. I play with this all the time, depending on ski, snow conditions, even just my mood!
 
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markojp

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1st year Bodacious. Wish I had gone back a bunch from the line and that they had more tip rocker. Loved the "feel" of the ski, but had tip dive issues with the mount point. Sold them for Atomic Atlas.

Huh... Interesting. Just curious and not being rhetorical, challenging, etc... but are you a former nat'l team member, NCAA div 1 racer, athlete, free ride pro, etc? I've never heard of anyone being able to get a gen 1 Bodacious to dive. Arne's dad has Arne's old skis. I'll ask where they're mounted next time I see him. Clearly you're an outlier. Do you have any vid?
 

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Sorry, don't need to get into a pissing match of who is better. I already said I was no WC downhill monster. You kinda are being challenging with your list of various levels. I'm a dad that skis >50 days / year. Used to be 100 when I lived in JH or went to College in VT. Like long, fast turns on big faces ala JH's Bowl, Cody, lower faces, or Mammoth ch23, but will hunt soft snow wherever. In the old fogy Mammoth village GS races I'm a second or two behind a Dartmouth ski team alum. So nope, no D1 racer, but I don't suck either. I'm relaying my experiences, you did a good job with your reviews, now lets all pray for snow and talk about skis :)

In heavy, deep snow, the bodacious, with its relatively stout flex and at least my pairs nearly negligible tip rocker didn't exactly enable the tip to stay out of the pow like the Atomic Atlases more significant tip rocker. I also saw a pretty large variability in tip rocker profiles in the early Bodacious. It was a stout ski and in reality I went to something a bit easier skiing with no metal and a lot more tip rocker to enable the tip to surf and not dive. I can drive it like an old skool race ski and it won't dive. Can't say that about my pair of Bodacious, where I had them mounted. Bodacious had a way higher speed limit and were way more fun on packed, but I had them for pow that I wanted to drive the tip. Make sense? I'm sure you and Alex rip way harder than I do, but I guarantee I can hang. Cheers!
 

markojp

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Comish, I wasn't trolling or kidding, and hoped you wouldn't take my post wrong. I have zero interest in starting a pissing match, and I have no idea how you ski... only that you're not from a 300' hill in the midwest raving about how hard you rip on SG skis and everyone else doesn't. ogsmile Honestly, I was just interested as you were clearly pushing the limits of two very stout, able, skis. I'm only interested in your user experience including the how and the why. I've always said that a clip of someone skiing goes a long way to sort out gear issues. In your case with the Monsters given your ski background above, mount them on line, get a great tune, and I'll bet the problem is solved. Dead serious though, no pissing match intended at all. We all ski with folks with a bunch of different skill sets and have fun. Tha'ts what it's all about.

(The funny thing about the early Bodacious, I was told that they couldn't finish them in Austria because they were too wide and were done locally after the container arrived... don't know if that's true, but there were alot of tooling marks on the edges for sure, and being it was a pretty radical departure for Blizzard at the time, I'm sure there were odd production issues. )
 

Comish

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Fair enough. Appreciate the clarification.

Certainly possible on the Austrian thing with Bodacious. It was clearly a US driven product, what with Arne and the US more forward mount point, and there are probably a total of 5 resorts in Austria that would even stock the ski, if that. I actually thought it would have been perfect with more tip rocker and I from what I have seen they added subtly more rocker in more recent years. Mine didn't have much more than the Monster 98's...

Think I'm going to remount toes back 1cm to put me +.5cm from market line on the Monster's. I really like the ski and find it very stable and damp, just turnier than my old nearly 30m turn radius standards. Just curious, did you or Alex or others ski the original Legend Pro? I'm just happy to see someone making a stout, damp ski since the whole world has been going lighter.

Anyone ever ski the Head A Star? Prolly better in another thread :)

Still curious of my first original question, where were the OP's demo skis mounted relative to the line?
 
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