Ron

Seeking the next best ski
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Posts
6,719
Location
Steamboat Springs, Co
Head Monster 83
Dimensions: 131-83-110
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 149, 156, 163, 170, 177
Size tested: 177
Design: New Construction

For 2019, Head revised the entire line of Monsters. I wish Head would rename the line as "Monster" really isn't accurate. A few iterations back, the Monsters were quite a bit more monster-ish, but now they are more refined and easier across the line. Some may say Head neutered the line, but I think they have been a work in progress (as seen by three revisions to the venerable 88 in four years). I think they got it right this time with tweaks to the shape and overall feel of the skis.

The new 83 is a fantastic ski, maybe my favorite ski of SIA. It always was a really good ski but now its a fantastic ski that should be a big hit. The 83 has a very nice even and smooth flex that engages very well. It performs so well that you might want to consider this ski when looking at wider carvers. It engages and pulls you into the turn taking skier input along the way. At the same time, it cranks out short- and medium-radius turns with aplomb and can be drifted very well. Its also quite stable and has a nice blend of dampness with enough energy and pop for fun (not as much pop as the Rossignol 84). The 83 is slightly more frontside oriented so it could be a superb East Coast all-mountain ski. I could own this for western skiing as well. Nice job Head!
  • Who is it for? East Coast all-mountain skiers; Western skiers looking for a high-performing frontside-oriented ski that can still take on a few inches of fresh and bumps.
  • Who is it not for? Not for the large or hard-charging skiers.
  • Insider tip: Include this ski if you are looking for a wider carver. While not a true carving ski, many will find it to do the job with some added versatility.

Head V-Shape V8

Dimensions: 130-75-112
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 149, 156, 163, 170, 177
Size tested: 170
Design: All New

Head V-Shape V10
Dimensions: 139-85-121
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 163, 170, 177, 184
Size tested: 170
Design: All New

It seems that Head is never satisfied to rest on the successes of current classics like the Supershape or Monster series, so for 2019, it is introducing a new classic: the new V-Shape series, which to me is reminiscent of the Rally and Titans but in "light " versions ... kinda.

At 76 mm underfoot, the V8 is a bit softer and more user-friendly than the Rally but still provides a huge bandwidth of performance. Head seems to have created a ski that does what few other skis can do; it super easy to ski but has a high level of performance and exactness. If you are a lighter skier or just don't want the ponies that are found in the Supershape series, put this ski as No. 1 on your demo list (next to the V10). Easy turn entry but still precise, the tail won't punish you but can hold a turn at speed. The V8 still packs tons o' fun and plenty of performance. I really liked how much fun this ski was while still able to dish out a high level of performance with plenty of stability.

The V10 is the wider version ski at 85 underfoot and is much easier than the Titan. I draw the comparison to the Titan only as a reference point for the width and some general commonalities. Like the V8, the V10 is super easy to ski but has a high level of performance and exactness. Compared to the Titan, it is much less demanding. It likes to turn even more and is much more playful but still provides a huge range of performance. If you are a lighter skier or just don't want the ponies that are found in the Supershape series, put this ski as No. 1 on your demo list (maybe along side the V8?). Easy turn entry but still precise, the tail won't punish you but can hold a turn at speed. It can be drifted too! The V10 still packs tons-o-fun and plenty of performance. I really liked how much fun this ski was while still able to dish out a high level of performance with plenty of stability. The V10 has a bit more all-mountain ability but not nearly as much as the new Monster 83 (see review). Of the two V-Series skis, I prefered the V10.
  • Who are they for? Lighter skiers or those who don't want a demanding ski but still want a something that is precise and skis like a much more serious ski.
  • Who are they not for? Probably not the best choice for Clydesdales, hard chargers, or those who don't like to have their skis on edge.
  • Insider tip: The V-Shapes deliver a surprising level of performance with considerable ease.

K2 Super Charger

Dimensions: 127-76-107
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 168, 175, 181
Size tested: 175
Design: Carryover/NGT

Here's a secret, K2 is making some great skis that no one is skiing. The Super Charger is one of them, but is it for you? This is one of Phil's favorite carvers and when we were walking past the K2 tent, he asked if I had tested it..... I hadn't, so I clicked into this Formula 1 monster. The Super Charger reminds of one of those special-edition products into which the manufacturer throws every bell and whistle, knowing that very few will actually make it to the street (or snow or bike trail); Think Jeep SRT8 or Cannondale Black Ink models. This ski is superb but would I own it? No. Why not? I can appreciate all that this ski offers but frankly, it's just too much. I remember skiing this down a crisp blue run and where I was stopping was the slightest undulation, my tail decided that it didn't appreciate me skiing over less than perfect groomed terrain and let me know. I didn't fall, but it required a quick recovery plan. If you want a pro-level carver, feel like paying attention 100% of the time, and have the space and the legs for it (it wants to run), by all means, buy this ski.
  • Who is it for? Those looking for a full-time, no-compromises, race-level carver.
  • Who is it not for? Most. Bring the quads and mental focus.
  • Insider tip: Get it while you can if the above is you!

Liberty VMT V82
Dimensions: 129-82-110
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 165, 172, 179, 186
Size tested: 179
Design: All New

Liberty has been around for quite some time but, I have to admit, never on my radar. The Colorado-based brand just seemed too newschool freeskier to me. I was wrong. New for 2019, Liberty's new Vertical Metal Technology (VMT) stacks metal vertically in the ski, which is, if I am correct, a first. I first got on the VMT and was less than enamored, but after Phil discussed the tune with the national sales rep, they quickly prepped another pair for us to try. I mention this because Liberty cared about its skis where, sadly, others don't. That tells you something about the brand and the people behind it. Upon the re-test, I found the V82 to be a blast. The VMT has a feel that is very damp and connected to the snow. It engages very well and holds the turn consistently, without you having to steer or correct its path. At the same time, you can break the turn and go right into short- and medium-radius turns. This is a versatile ski that has a fun, energetic ride to it. I was quite surprised by this ski; it is another I could own.
  • Who is it for? Skiers looking for a versatile frontside carver that can dabble off piste, and who like a more damp feel with some pop and energy; early adopters.
  • Who is it not for? Those looking for a wide carver with race chops.
  • Insider tip: Don't overlook this brand! See www.skiessentials.com.

Nordica Navigator 80
Dimensions: 119-80-104
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 158, 165, 172, 179
Size tested: 179
Design: Carryover/NGT

This ski is a solid option for intermediates or those who are into cruising around the blues. That's not a bad thing at all, it's just that this ski doesn't ask or want to be driven or skied at 40 mph. Under the right conditions, it's a responsive ski that a skier can learn on or relax on. It has a nice relaxed feel but still solid edge hold; it's not a noodle and responds well to input. The Navigator can be purchased for $399, so for the money, it's hard to beat.
  • Who is it for? Low intermediates and up looking for a versatile ski that they can learn on or cruise on.
  • Who is it not for? Big guys and hard chargers.
  • Insider tip: Good performance at a bargain-basement price.

Rossignol Experience 84 Ai
Dimensions: 126-84-116
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 152, 160, 168, 176, 184
Size tested: 176
Design: All New

Rossignol went back to the drawing board for its classic Experience line for 2019. These new Experiences are a whole lot different ... in a good way. The prior Experience was decidedly oriented to firm snow, and the shape and flex just didn't work for me in soft snow or off piste. Rossi says this new line is for all-mountain use; you just need one look to see how much this ski has changed. The Experience has a new construction, progressive sidecut, Air Tip, and a new tapered tail. Most noticeable is the tapered tip and increased rocker profile Yep, it's a totally new ski.

The 84 should be a big hit for Rossi. My notes say, "Fun ski!" The popular mid-80s width has lot of competition, but I think the Rossi 84 can stand on its own. This is another easy ski; with nice smooth engagement and a light feel underfoot, it is capable of any turn shape and drifts very well but also has good edge hold. Lots of pop and energy too! Rossi clearly brought some of technology has over from the Sky and Soul 7 skis. I felt the ski was more soft snow oriented than the Head 83 but still held an edge very well. Overall, I really liked this ski. If I were looking for a mid-80s ski with an emphasis on soft snow performance, I might put this one ahead of the Head 83.
  • Who is it for? Intermediate to advanced skiers looking for a versatile ski biased to soft snow.
  • Who is it not for? Might not be the ticket for hard chargers.
  • Insider tip: Demo this back to back with the Head 83.

Salomon S/Max 12
Dimensions: 121-70-106
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 160, 165, 170, 175, 180
Size tested: 175
Design: All New

For 2019, we are seeing an influx of hard-snow carvers. Salomon has revised its X-Max line, and the new S/Max ski is a welcome addition. At 72 underfoot, this ski likes to be on edge. The 12 is a lighter version of the Blast but still delivers a high level of carving prowess. This version is very quick edge to edge with a lot of snap, pop, and energy. It has a lighter and more spirited feel. I was surprised as to how much energy this ski has. It's a lot of fun. It's not overly demanding or overly stiff but please bring your skills to the snow; it's not for those who can't railroad a turn. It came up to speed quickly but didn't demand eye-watering speeds to come alive.
  • Who is it for? Those looking for precise, quick, and fun carver.
  • Who is it not for? Hard chargers, those who aren't looking for a ski that lives on its edges.
  • Insider tip: Demo this back to back with the Blast.

Salomon S/Max Blast

Dimensions: 121-72-106
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 155, 160, 165, 170
Size tested: 170
Design: All New

The Blast is the flagship version of Salomon's S/Max line, and it shows.This ski is almost identical to the S/Max 12 but has a decidedly damper, more glued to the snow feel. I prefer this version and unless you don't particularly care for the feel of this ski, the Blast is my choice of the two. The Blast has a higher speed limit but was compliant at slower speeds.
  • Who is it for? Skiers looking for quick and fun carver with more dampness and a more connected to the snow feel. This ski is more fun than the typical carver. Compare to more serious carvers to see what you think.
  • Who is it not for? Those who aren't looking for a ski that lives on its edges.
  • Insider tip: Demo this back to back against the S/Max 12.

Stöckli Laser SC
Dimensions: 123-72-104
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 149, 156, 163, 170, 177
Size tested: 170
Design: Carryover/NGT

Although I read comparisons to the Stöckli Laser AX, the SC is a step up in performance and certainly less versatile. "SC" stands for "slalom carver," and that description befits the ski perfectly. The SC is ultra-precise and ultra-fun. Just think about engaging the tip, and you're on your way to G-pulling turns and a huge grin. Despite this, it isn't overly stiff or brutish and can be skied by anyone with skills. I wouldn't want this ski for anything else but digging trenches, but it's also happy making GS turns or just playing around seeing how close you can get your hip to the ground. Smooth, damp, and stable. Got the chops? Buy it.
  • Who is it for? Racers or those with the technical skills worthy to ski it the way it begs to be skied.
  • Who is it not for? If in doubt, the answer is not you.
  • Insider tip: Do you want more carving and less versatility? SC. Do you want good carving and more versatility? AX.

Völkl Deacon 76
Dimensions: 122-76-103
Radius: [email protected]
Sizes: 171, 176, 181
Size tested: 176
Design: All New

I couldn't help but think of Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues" when I clicked into the new Volkl. Hmm, jazz and Völkl? Yeah, not so much but here's where they are similar, smooth, powerful, and exacting. I think there are some differing opinions amongst the testers, but I really like this ski. The 76 has a great on-snow feel. The tip engages so smoothly yet is precise; once engaged, it pulled me through the turn and I could feel the entire length of the ski. The tail is fairly stiff but was workable and when you wanted it to release, it was compliant. The 76 is damp, stable, and glued to the snow. It does like speed but is manageable and responsive enough at slower speeds. This ski has a lot of energy but it's not exactly a two-year-old golden retriever. It is much more serious in a very good way but still has enough "fun" to it. I could own this ski.
  • Who is it for? Those with skills who want a smooth, precise carver. Those who prefer a more calm and predictable ski capable of high speeds.
  • Who is it not for? Intermediates should go elsewhere, as those who are looking for pop and liveliness.
  • Insider tip: The 175 will be plenty of ski for most. This is a damn fine ski.
 

Josh Matta

Skiing the powder
Pass Pulled
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Posts
4,125
sadden me to read the Monter 83 is neutered. That ski (the old one)is so stiff you can be very lazy on it, and it still maintains grip.
 
Thread Starter
TS
Ron

Ron

Seeking the next best ski
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Posts
6,719
Location
Steamboat Springs, Co
sadden me to read the Monter 83 is neutered. That ski (the old one)is so stiff you can be very lazy on it, and it still maintains grip.
its not a noodle by any means. I wouldn't' recommend to a #225 skier. its much less demanding than a Kastle MX84 for instance in a good way. The 83 is a fantastic ski and one of my top 3 favorites from the Demo.
 
Last edited:

ccsasuke

Booting up
Skier
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Posts
40
For the Stockli Laser AX, is anything changed in 2019 other than a NGT? I read a Google translated article sneak-peaking the 2019 Stocklis saying that the tip shape is slightly changed. Also, now it seems the Turtle Shell technology has two versions and the AX has the so-called Turtle Shell Comfort, which I assume makes it even softer at slower speeds?
None of these seem major though, I'm wondering whether there is any difference in reality between the 2018 and 2019 AXs?
 
Thread Starter
TS
Ron

Ron

Seeking the next best ski
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Posts
6,719
Location
Steamboat Springs, Co
the comfort probably applies to the light weight version "MX" I believe (please correct me if I'm wrong) but other than top sheet change (which they didnt even have) its unchanged as far as I know.
 

Tom K.

HRPufnStf
Skier
Joined
Dec 20, 2015
Posts
3,015
Great reviews, Ron. Thanks!

Head, are you listening?! Lots of us want a ski that is longer than 177! IMO, both my Titans and the new Monster 83 need to be offered in a 182-ish length.

Dang it!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ron

ccsasuke

Booting up
Skier
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Posts
40
the comfort probably applies to the light weight version "MX" I believe (please correct me if I'm wrong) but other than top sheet change (which they didnt even have) its unchanged as far as I know.
Just checked the official website: http://www.stoeckli.ch/inten/ski/ski/race/laser-ax-2018
and it seems the AX also got the Turtle Shell Comfort.

For the tip and tail shape change, I went ahead and used my "super-scientific" method of grabbing a 2018 AX image from Stockli.ch as well as a 2019 one, and overlay them together in Photoshop. Here's what I got:
upload_2018-4-12_20-55-23.png


The blue shades underneath pictures the 2019 AX (making it blue for better contrast). It seems the 19 AX is a tiny little bit wider at tip and tail (1mm wider on paper).
I have no idea if this nuance will make any difference at all when skied.

Did you get a chance on them? You didn't notice any change?
 

Jim McDonald

愛スキー
Skier
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Posts
1,584
Location
Tokyo
Ron, no look at the SR83?
 

pack21

La vita è bella, non sprecarla.
Skier
Joined
Mar 11, 2018
Posts
49
Location
Portugal
@Ron

Could you give us some comparison comments between the Fischer MTN PRO 86 and the V-10?

Which would you choose for Red/Blacks hard pack groomers in the morning and turned into bumps at afternoon.

Thx
 
Thread Starter
TS
Ron

Ron

Seeking the next best ski
Pugski Ski Tester
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Posts
6,719
Location
Steamboat Springs, Co
@Ron

Could you give us some comparison comments between the Fischer MTN PRO 86 and the V-10?

Which would you choose for Red/Blacks hard pack groomers in the morning and turned into bumps at afternoon.

Thx
very, very different skis! you could use either ski really but the V10 is the "Titan light" and does excel on groomed terrain. I would say if your emphasis is more on carving, go V10. The Fischer is such a great ski though and more versatile. Again, its decidely more "all mountain" than the V10.
 

cantunamunch

Meh
Skier
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Posts
9,071
When you get a chance try Atomic's 83TI.

Functionally (grip, engagement, turn shape) it's very like the old Monster 83; it is much lighter and nowhere near as damp, of course.
 
Last edited:

PinnacleJim

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Aug 21, 2017
Posts
468
Location
Killington/Pico, VT
Demoed the Head V8 today at the Killington Test Fest. I was impressed. Everything Ron said about it was spot on. I felt comfortable on it immediately. Great hard snow grip and yet not demanding. Immediately after demoing the V8, I grabbed a pair of Rallys to compare. I am a big fan of the Rally and it did not disappoint. But after the V8, the Rally was just more work. Two great skis in the mid-70s width from Head.
 
Top