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)
Test Location: Alta Ski Area, Taos Ski Valley
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.
18 comments on “2010-2011 ON3P Billy Goat, 186cm”
Between these two, the Armada AK JJs and the Atomic Bent Chetler which do you prefer and why? Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it.
Hi John, let me ask you: prefer for what? One ski to do everything? Dedicated pow ski? Also, if you’re in the market for one of these, give me some info (height, weight, level, where you ski, etc.). Thanks.
Last season a friend of mine let me borrow his Bibby Pro’s for a few days, and got me hooked on rocker technology. I was considering buying a pair of Bibby’s, but I’m from Oregon and would like to support a local manufacturer. I’m curious how similar the Billy Goats would be to the Bibby’s in terms of charge-ability and crud-chopping. I ski backcountry and trees often, but also spend time on groomers when I ride with less aggressive skiers. I realize that these ski’s aren’t designed for groomers, I just want to make sure I don’t buy a pair of skis that makes those groomer days horrible. Thanks!
If you would like, we offer free demos of our entire lineup at our Portland factory. I’m not sure if you are local to Portland, but if so, your best bet is to come and take a few pairs out to see which you prefer.
If not, you are welcomed to give the factory a call and we’ll be happy to give you some more details about the BG vs other skis and help you figure out what ski would work best for you.
Factory line = 503-206-5909. You can always reach us by email as well. Thanks!
Well, then, Bryant. That sounds like an offer you shouldn’t refuse.
I was just writing up a response to your question, when Scott posted his reply. Long and short, I’ve been fondling the new 191 Billy Goats that just arrived, and comparing them to the 190 Bibby Pros. These are looking like pretty similar shapes – the BGs are, in fact, a full centimeter longer – more like 2cm longer, actually – and have less tip splay than the Bibby’s. The Bibbys have a touch more camber underfoot. Both skis are making me absolutely giddy.
Given my experience with our 10/11 pair of BGs, I’d have to give the nod to the 10/11, 184cm Bibbys in terms of hard pack performance. But I wouldn’t generalize that preference to the 11/12 186cm BGs before skiing it, and definitely not to the 191 BGs, which have a bit of a different profile than the 186 BGs.
I would think that we would be in a position to compare these two skis by late November, but if you can go demo the 191s or 186cm BGs (or Jeffreys, or Wrenegades….), you might find a ski that does everything you want it to, and you might not care to look any further.
Whatever you decide to do, be sure to let us know!
Great review! Will you be reviewing the 2012 191 Billy Goats in comparison to the Super S7. I think that would make for a great comparison.
Jeff – I skied the 188cm Super 7 last year, but I haven’t been on the 195cm Super 7 since the year before that. So I can say a bit, but I’d need to get back on the 195 Super 7 to do it right.
I also picked up the 2010/11 Billy Goat and definitely noticed the erratic behavior of the downhill ski on hardpack… Scott and Jonathan, what do you guys recommend to fix it? Should I get a base grind? I love them everywhere else (pow, crud & chop) but get spooked on hardpack when the lower ski wanders off in the middle of a turn.
My buddy just ordered the 2011/2012 Billy Goat today. Will he have a similar problem? Thanks!
Ari, you – or your local shop – can take a true bar to check to see if the bases are flat. If they aren’t, then yes, a base grind ought to help. If the bases are true, then you might try detuning the tips about an inch below the widest part of the shovel.
As for the 11/12 Billy Goats, I’ve been able to get 1 day on the 191 BGs, though it was an early season pow day so I didn’t get to ski them on hardpack. But, for what it’s worth, I wasn’t getting any erratic behavior.
Thanks! I’ll take them to a shop to check it out and report back.
What’s the word on the 2012 191 BG’s?
Word is coming soon. I’m just finishing up right now a review of the Blizzard Cochise, then I’ll finish up thoughts on the 191 BGs, should be up in the next couple of days.
Little late on this one, but I also experienced tip dive on my 10-11 186 BGs in deep, heavier Cascade powder. I also found myself riding the tails often. I moved the bindings back -1 cm from the recommended line and this mostly took care of the problem. I have them mounted with tele bindings.
Would ever review Billy Goat 186 this year? Is there any changes in the ski? Also, could you, if you have any info, compare BG to Praxis GPO?
I’m at work, thinking about picking up a set of used 2011 Billy Goats, and your talk of a stupid good powder day got me all flustered. How am I supposed to work now??
I remember a day like that at Crested Butte back in February 2014. All time. You remember those days for life.
Thanks for the great review.
Hey Jonathan. I just bought a used pair of these. I am normally skiing 183 Bentchetlers (’13/14). I usually start the day with a couple fast groomers to get the legs going, and then stick to steeps and bumps. The Bentchetlers have been surprisingly good in all of this, even bumps. The only thing they don’t seem great at is crud, so I was looking for something stiffer, longer, narrower for steeps, so I could round out my quiver. Enter the 186 Billy Goats.
My question is, should I be de-tuning them at all, as you noted in your article? The guy I bought them from said he had 15 days on them. They are pretty clean and have storage wax on them at the moment.
With 15 days on them already, I think you could go ski them first and see what you think. And if something feels off about them, you could then do some tuning or detuning.