Rating: / 5
Waist Width: 83
Head's Monster collection includes four men's models built for everyday-conditions all-mountain freeriding, with waist widths ranging from 108 mm (Monster 108) down to 83 mm (Monster 83). For something wider, slashier, and less directional, check out the Freeski line (A-Star, Cyclic, Collective, and Venture, with waist widths from 118 down to 95 mm); for something narrower and groomer-oriented, see the Supershape collection of high-performance carvers. The wider Monsters (108 and 98) will be likely choices for everyday driving in Western locales, with enough width for powder yet enough edge grip and sidecut for softpack carving; the narrower ones (88 and 83) will suit the needs of Eastern freeskiers likely to spend more time on hardpack. All are identically constructed, and all except the Monster 83 are priced the same. Like all the men's skis in Head's collection, the Monsters now feature graphene reinforcement, which Head originally introduced in its women's skis. The super thin/strong Nobel-prize winning material adds strength without much extra weight or thickness, allowing Head to optimize ski profile thicknesses (thinner and more flexible underfoot, thicker and grippier tip and tail) and add more speed-loving metal. All Monsters are built with Head's World Cup Sandwich Cap construction: wood core for durability and responsiveness, metal laminates (plus vibration dampening strips over the edges) for high-speed calm and edge grip. The sidewalls are vertical and full-length, for maximum edge strength, but not quite full-height: the topsheet drapes over the top corners and rests on three-quarter-height sidewalls, making the ski both more forgiving and more resistant to damage from contact with the other ski's edge. All Monsters are sold flat (no binding). Head Skis is owned by a Dutch company that also owns Tyrolia bindings. Its factory headquarters are in Kennelbach, Austria; U.S. headquarters are in Boulder, Colo. Head was founded in 1950 by American recreational skier and aeronautical engineer Howard Head, who is acknowledged as the first ski designer to successfully combine metal and plastics in ski design. -J.C.