Ski: 2010-2011 ON3P Billy Goat, 186cm
Dimensions (mm): 140-116-125
Turn Radius: 24.4m
Actual Tip to Tail Length (straight tape pull): 186.25 cm
Boots / Bindings: Full Tilt Seth Morrison Pro Model / Marker Jester (DIN 10)
Mount Location: -1 (-8cm of true center)
Days Skied: 8
ON3P builds burly skis in Portland, Oregon, and in their first two seasons, they have established a bit of a cult following for their bomber construction and their new school graphics.
Plus, their founder, Scott Andrus, is one of the most interesting and transparent owners in the game today. (We’ll be posting an industry profile of Scott and ON3P soon, so more on this topic then.)
Two seasons ago, there was quite a bit of buzz surrounding their Billy Goat design, a 186cm, twin tip and pin tail ski that seemed like it might be a beefier, more stable, less expensive Rossignol S7. Given the popularity of the S7, some of us took note and were paying very close attention.
The first iteration of the Billy Goat, however, was a bit of a mixed bag (no surprise for a manufacturer’s first outing). Many people praised the Billy Goat for its stout construction and nimbleness in tight trees, but its hard pack performance was sometimes found to be a bit squirrely.
Last season, ON3P tweaked the Billy Goat by reducing the amount of camber underfoot, increasing the sidecut length, and widening the waist and tail. The result? According to ON3P, “the Billy Goat’s hardpack and all-mountain performance, along with its stability at speed, are much improved. Its tapered tip and tail and pintail design continues to allow it to excel in soft snow and tight spaces, while its progressive flex provides a solid platform to handle a variety of conditions.”
Yeah, I was salivating a little bit, too, as I called Scott last fall to order a pair.
Turns out, however, that there was a hitch: after four of us at BLISTER had tested the Billy Goats – and all of us found their hard pack performance to be erratic, we determined that the pair of skis we had received from ON3P were running base high (or convex).
It’s my fault for not catching this sooner. There had been reports of some uneven groomer behavior on the first generation, 09/10 Billy Goats, which had more camber and a narrower pin tail than the 10/11’s, and so we thought that we were simply experiencing more of the same. But the unpredictable hard pack performance of the skis made a lot more sense with the discovery of the convex bases.
I contacted Scott, and he was angry that a ski had managed to get sent out from the ON3P factory in this state. He immediately offered to pay for a base grind (which was the right thing to do), but the impressive part is that I later received a detailed explanation about what happened. (In short: it involved one aluminum true bar—a tool used to verify base flatness—that had become untrue; all of ON3P’s true bars are now steel.)
No ski manufacturer on the planet turns out perfect skis 100% of the time, and in any industry, you learn a lot about a company when you see how they handle such mistakes.
In this case, ON3P gets points for their customer service, and my sense is that most people who have purchased ON3P skis would tell you the same thing: you know you’re going to have your questions answered honestly and any problems addressed quickly.
I’ve held off on posting this review for months, since we’re not in a position to comment on the 10/11 Billy Goat’s hard pack performance. But so many people have written to ask about this ski, I decided to post and report on those aspects of the Billy Goat that I am able to, namely, its deep snow and chopped snow performance.