Dimensions (mm): 143-118-128
Turn Radius: 28.3 meters
Actual Tip to Tail Length (straight tape pull): 191.1cm
Weight Per Ski: 2420 grams / 5.3 pounds
Boots / Bindings: Salomon Falcon Pro CS / Marker Jester / (DIN) 9.5
Mount Location: Factory recommended (-9 cm from true center)
Test Location: Taos Ski Valley, Keystone
Days Skied: 4
Taos Ski Valley has had some of the best conditions in the U.S. all winter long, including back in early December. On the 10th, I, along with BLISTER’s Jonathan Ellsworth, Jed Doane, Justin Bobb, and Ryan Heffernan, took advantage of a recent 8” storm and newly opened terrain with a hike up Taos’ Highline Ridge. We put in laps off Kitchen Wall down into Corner Chute and Trescow where we found gorgeous, dense (by Taos standards) untracked pow.
My first line on the ON3P Billy Goats was down a short, mini-spine that ended in a small air along Kitchen wall. It wasn’t close to anything gnarly, but given that these were my first turns on the ski, I was a little unsure of what to expect from them. I had a feeling the Billy Goats would provide a stable platform for airs and drops, which was certainly the case. These skis are not light. They’re probably the last thing I would pick for a b.c. jib session, but sending cliffs is something the Billy Goats are happy to do.
(Next season, however, ON3P is offering a “Tour” version of the Billy Goat with a lighter composite core layup – more about this later.)
After Kitchen Wall, we made our way down through Corner Chute. With untouched conditions and moderately spaced trees that allowed for a variety of line choices, I felt confident in opening things up on the 191s.
Sure enough, with no mandatory, quick moves required, I had no problem following a fast, smooth route through the trees. Longer, smeared turns were comfortable running straight down the fall line (rather than tighter, pivoted ones).
What’s more, the Billy Goats’ shovels produce awesome float through any turn shape in fresh snow with no discernible tip dive or hookiness when laid out across the slope.
I have since found that all the above is true so long as you’re carrying a good deal of speed. At slower speeds, the Billy Goats become significantly less responsive, making things interesting in tight trees. Jonathan Ellsworth put time on the the 2010-2011 186cm Billy Goat, which he says is on par with the nimble S7 and Super 7 in terms of maneuverability in trees. I would hesitate to say the same about the newer 191, even on the feet of an accomplished skier. But ON3P designed the 191 to be “a more agressive version of the Billy Goat,” a stiffer, wider, version with a longer turn radius.” Mission accomplished.
The Billy Goats are a dedicated pow ski with a lengthy 28.3m turn radius, and there are other skis out there that float just as well in fresh, yet are far more lively on groomers (the 190cm Bibby Pro comes to mind). However, this is not to say that the hardpack performance of the Billy Goat is disappointing.
I haven’t skied previous versions of the Billy Goat, so I cannot speak to its handling on hard snow in comparison to past years. Nonetheless, considering the float and stability of the skis in fresh snow, not to mention their overall size, the 191 Billy Goats are pretty dependable on groomers. In reasonably soft snow the ski is capable of making monstrous, stable turns—though not exactly railed carves—with consistent & predictable edge hold.
The Billy Goat’s shovels want to bite and slow a little more than the tails do when shutting down speed on hard snow, but this is really quite manageable and easy to adjust to. I’m usually bothered by pin-tail designs because of the shovel’s tendency to bite and hook up, throwing the narrower tail out behind (which can be pretty obnoxious in crud and variable conditions if you’re not 100% ready for it).
With relatively little sidecut through the shovel, the Billy Goat doesn’t tend to do this as much as similarly shaped skis I’ve been on (namely the Squad 7 and the proto-version of the 196cm Moment Bibby Special), perhaps because of less splay and taper in the BG’s tail or a heavier swing weight.