After only a morning on the Billy Goats in primarily treed terrain, one thing was certain: not only do these skis like big open spaces, they need them to perform well. It was time to lug the Billy Goats up Kachina Peak.
We dropped in high, above Mainstreet, to get the most vertical after the hike. The snow at the top of the run was 4” of older chop with some tricky wind effect in spots. Unsurprisingly, in more variable conditions that what we skied off Highline, at slower speeds I found I had to work to turn the Billy Goats across the fall line.
Looking for less tracked lines, we traversed skier’s right into Puppy Paws where the snow was slightly deeper and lighter. With the chance to open things up more and make my own longer turns wherever I wanted, the Billy Goat’s performance really improved. The splay in the ski’s rocker profile really is dialed for smoothing out the ride through chop and crud. With more speed I was able to initiate turns, albeit big ones, more quickly and naturally.
Negotiating tight spots farther down on Puppy Paws at Taos, and all over Keystone’s back bowl tree runs, the Billy Goats earned their name. Billygoating, chucking the skis around, is really the only way to move these boards at quite low speeds. Slow turns in fresh snow are still smooth and predictable (just as they are hauling ass), but required some work to pull off.
The Bottom Line:
As a strong skier, determining if the Billy Goat is a suitable ski for you will largely, if not entirely, depend on where you spend most of your time riding.
If you find yourself in situations where (except for on true pow days) the terrain and conditions largely dictate where and how you making quick, nimble moves (e.g., in monster mogul fields in the days and weeks following a big storm in Colorado, or anywhere with tight, lower-angle tree skiing), then a ski with a bit more sidecut, a more forward mount, and more symmetrical dimensions would be more suitable. Of course, trees and moguls can be skied on the BGs, but it can be done much more easily on similarly sized skis. Given this, I’m not surprised to have seen many more 190cm ON3P Caylors in Colorado than Billy Goats.
But, if the goal is to spend time lapping Taos’ Kachina Peak and Highline Ridge, or the Imperial lift at Breck, or skiing wide open lines in Las Leñas, Snowbird, or AK (and doing so at mach speeds) then the Billy Goat would be pretty ideal.
For that matter, if you happen to ride anywhere where moguls aren’t abundant and the great majority of the time you’re free to make your turns where and how you like, then the Billy Goat would make a lot of sense. Truth be told, it’s a killer ski, but it’s not for the casual skier who’s just kinda lookin’ for a floaty pow board.
ON3P plans to make a few subtle changes to the Billy Goat for the 2012/2013 season, all of which seem very well reasoned.
1cm more splay will be added to the tip’s rocker profile along with 1cm more depth in its rocker line. At the same time, the running length of the Billy Goat’s tail rocker will be shortened by 1cm so the ski’s total effective edge will be unchanged – simply shifted more through the tail of the ski. With more bite through the tail and a touch less in the shovel, it seems like the Billy Goat’s hardpack stability, versatility, and low speed maneuverability will be improved.
The ski’s tip shape will also be tweaked with an added 2mm of width. We’re told this will to improve the performance of ON3P’s Reverse Elliptical Sidecut (RES) which we’ve already found to work well in soft snow.
For the lighter “Tour” version of the Billy Goat, two full-width sheets of carbon fiber (placed above and below a slimmed down core) replace the 3″ stringer in the current model. The result: a Billy Goat that is a full pound lighter per ski than the stock version.
We’re definitely curious to see how these changes continue to push the evolution of the BG. Until we are able to get on the 12/13 version of the Billy Goat, Jonathan Ellsworth is going to be offering his take on the 11/12.
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