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Head Monster 88 Ski Review

Head Monster 88 2017 - 2016 Review by A Better Ski

All I could think of when skiing the Head Monster 88 was just how smooth and stable the ski felt. This monster is the middle child of the line, falling between the quicker 83, and more versatile 98. While I did enjoy both of those skis, this felt a bit more exciting to me. It’s a ski that has a smooth and damp feel, and does require a bit of driving, but hard charging skiers will be rewarded with powerful and energetic rebound and a stable ride at speed.

Head Monster 88 On-Mountain Video Ski Review

Jacket: Trew Cosmic Pants: The North Face Sickline Goggle: Smith Squad

Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120

Bindings: Tyrolia Aaattack 13

Size: 177cm

Days: 1

Riders: Matt

Conditions: Soft Chop, Groomed, Bumps

Ski Personality: The Head Monster 88 feels like a narrow all-mountain charger that wants to be driven down the fall line and carved on high edge angles. It’s not a ski for beginners, but will reward strong skiers.

On the Snow Feel: I would say this ski felt quite stable.

Turn Initiation and Carving: The Head Monster 88 feels like a substantial ski. Sure it has light-weight Graphene, but this ski is still a stiff monster. I was pleasantly surprised, however, that the ski didn’t feel overly difficult to maneuver. I wouldn’t really call this ski playful, but at slower speeds I could maneuver the ski well enough. Still, this is a ski that wants to be driven. A timid approach won’t reward the skier. Those who can and will drive the ski will be rewarded with quick response, and a powerful and energetic rebound. The ski wasn’t super quick from edge to edge, but I definitely appreciated the stability over quickness. I thought initiation was smooth, and I could feel the power throughout the turn. If I did tke a timid approach, I could still turn the ski, but it just didn’t feel a exciting. It took work to get it to flex, and get it on a high edge angle. I think expert carver will appreciate it most, but it could be good for advanced skiers looking to up their carving game.

Speed: I felt like this was an area that the Head Monster 88 really stood out. I kept thinking that this was one of the most stable and damp skis I’ve been on in this narrow front-side all-mountain category. The ski has a fun 17.5m turn radius, but I found I could lengthen it a bit if I wanted to. I also found I could shorten the turn shape as well, but it definitely took work to bring the ski around quickly. Sometimes smooth and stable can feel boring and one-dimensional, but what I liked about the Monster 88 was that it was still a very exciting and energetic carver. Sure initiation was smooth and predictable, but also very powerful. For me this was most evident at speed.

Uneven/Variable Terrain: Again, I feel like this was an area the Head Monster 88 stood out for it’s class. I usually like to have a wider (+100mm) base for blasting through chop, but the Monster 88 was smooth, stable, and damp. I felt like there was enough stiffness and power to cut through rough variable terrain. I never noticed any tip deflection, nor did I ever really get bounced around too much. I did feel like the ski would rather be on edge, and it couldn’t really handle a bases flat approach as well as a wider ski. While, I did spend a decent amount of time off piste, I never got the 88 in chop much deeper than a couple inches. I would suspect that it wouldn’t fare so well in really deep tracked out snow. Still, for an 88mm ski, this monster performed really well in variable snow.

Edge Hold: I never did get the Head Monster 88 on much hard packed steep terrain, but the ski did seem to handle the small amount of hard packed I did encounter well. When on edge the ski feels quite locked in, and at high edge angles I could feel a ton of power and grip. I would probably opt for the narrower 83 for more ice, but I think the 88 could fare well enough on most hard packed days.

Bottom Line: I think the adjectives that kept coming to mind most when skiing the Head Monster 88 was smooth, stable, and powerful. Yes, it’s not the quickest ski from edge to edge in the class, but it has a very exciting and energetic rebound energy for those who are willing to work for it. For some, the ski may feel a bit too much, but for hard chargers that want to carve powerful mid radius turns, this ski should be quite fun.

 

This review reflects the OPINION of our testers based on their personal experience with a particular product. We do not guarantee that you will have the same experience with, or opinion of, a product as our testers did. This review 
should only be used as a general guide.

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Approx. Weight

Feels Normal

Skier Level

Advanced - Expert

Ski Style

All-Mountain Frontside

Ski Width

Regular

Ski Shape

Directional

Camber Profile

Rocker/Camber/Rocker

Core Material

Graphene

Turning Radius

17.4m @ 177cm

Manufactured in

On Snow Feel

Stable

Turn Initiation

Moderate

Flex

Stiff

Edge Hold

Hard Snow

Versatility

Some

Playfulness

Some

Powder

Average

Carving

Great

Speed

Great

Uneven Terrain

Good

Switch

Poor

Moguls

Average

Trees

Average

Jumps

Good

Jibbing

Poor

Pipe

Poor