Ski: 2016-2017 Head Monster 88, 177 cm
Available Lengths (cm): 163, 170, 177, 184
Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 175.1 cm
Stated Dimensions (mm): 133-88-114
Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 132-87.5-113
Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2049 & 2063 grams
Stated Sidecut Radius (177 cm): 17.4 meters
Core Construction: Silver Fir + Titanal + Graphene Layer + Fiberglass Laminate
Tip / Tail Splay (ski decambered): ~59 mm / ~16 mm
Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm
Factory Recommended Line: -11.75 cm from center; 75.8 cm from tail
While we are supremely enjoying touring season, we’re still not quite ready to be done ripping the shit out of some groomers. So this weekend, we’ll be back at Arapahoe Basin riding chairs and getting a bit more time on the Head Monster 88 and 98. (Become a Blister Member to read our Flash Review of the Monster 98.)
Re: the Monster 88
Head describes the Monster 88 as “a tough, agile, and versatile all-mountain ski that powers through any condition.”
And given that both the Monster 98 and Monster 108 floored us with their power and GS-capabilities (both skis may well be the best carvers in their respective classes), we’re going in with high expectations for the narrower Monster 88.
Head also makes some additional comments about the intended use and audience for the Monster 88, and labels them as “Facts” about the skis — we would call them Fun Facts:
- SPEED: superfast
- TERRAIN: versatile, piste and off-piste
- SKILL: top skiers
- STYLE: excellent, sophisticated technique
Gotta say, I love that these skis, apparently, only go to 11 — “superfast.” (I also love that “superfast” is one word…)
So one of the things we’ll be reporting back on is whether / how well the Monster 88 works at slower speeds.
We’ll also be interested to see if this feels like a wide GS ski, or whether it is also willing to make shorter, quicker turns.
Rocker Profile of the Monster 88 (and whether or not this ski has “Tip Rocker”)
As a trend, we are seeing more and more tip rocker on skis in the ~88mm-wide category, and the skis are increasingly being heralded for their all-mountain performance. And while Head’s current marketing copy holds true to that trend for the Monster 88, the tip rocker profile of the 88 looks quite different from many of the other “all-mountain” ~88mm-wide skis out there, such as the Blizzard Brahma, Volkl Kendo, ON3P Wrenegade 88, or Fischer Motive 86 Ti. It is probably closest to the Salomon X-Drive 8.8 (which, by the way, is the ski that, on paper, would appear to be the most similar to the Monster 88).
There is virtually / basically / essentially no tip rocker on these things. In the old days (before rocker) skis still splayed up at the tip — just as the Monster 88 does. So whether or not a ski has “tip rocker” isn’t about whether or not a ski has tip splay (every ski in existence has tip splay), but instead, it has to do with how deep the tip rocker line is. (To freshen up on terms like rocker, splay, rocker lines, etc., see our ROCKER 101 piece.)
Again, if you compare this to the tip rocker profile pics of the other skis we’ve mentioned here, you’ll notice a big difference. The Monster 88 has a lot of effective edge, and given its weight and flex pattern, if this ski doesn’t offer the best performance on firm snow & ice of any “all mountain” ski we’ve ever reviewed, I’ll be quite surprised. And speaking of the Monster 88’s flex pattern…
I would categorize the Monster 88 like this:
Tips: 8 out of 10
My initial notes regarding the flex were exactly this, “Wow, there are no soft zones on this ski — the tips and shovels are only the slightest bit softer than the tails.”
We have every reason to expect that we’ll find a pretty powerful, traditional feel here (again, as opposed to many of the Monster 88’s more rockered competitors), but we’ll let you know.
Point is: for those of you who dislike tip rocker — or at least on your sub-90mm-wide skis, the Monster 88 should be on your radar.
NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics