2017-2018 Head Monster 108

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Brian Lindahl reviews the Head Monster 108 for Blister Gear Review.
Head Monster 108, 177 cm



Brian Lindahl reviews the Head Monster 108 for Blister Gear Review.
Head Monster 108



Brian Lindahl reviews the Head Monster 108 for Blister Gear Review.Brian Lindahl reviews the Head Monster 108 for Blister Gear Review.
Head Monster 108 – Tip Profile



Brian Lindahl reviews the Head Monster 108 for Blister Gear Review.
Head Monster 108 – Tip Profile (decambered)



Brian Lindahl reviews the Head Monster 108 for Blister Gear Review.
Head Monster 108 – Tail Profile



Brian Lindahl reviews the Head Monster 108 for Blister Gear Review.
Head Monster 108



Brian Lindahl reviews the Head Monster 108 for Blister Gear Review.
Head Monster 108 – Bases



27 comments on “2017-2018 Head Monster 108”

  1. I love when I read a review and can say with certainty “this isn’t the ski for me,” and this is one of those cases. Basically, it excels at maching through crud and not much else, and all that at a 108 width that’s not even good in powder. To each is own, but at least it’s clear, thanks for the excellent review. Even if you’re a rager, I would think a ski with most/much of the top end and more versatility would be welcome in most cases.

    • Hi, Squawbomber (and Tom below) – I’ve been thinking a lot about “versatile” vs “specialized” skis, so figured I’d share them:

      We are seeing the demise of skis built for maximum stability, and I don’t want to see these creatures go extinct. Good Lord, not every ski needs to be a Rossi Soul 7. That is a great ski for a lot of skiers, and the only thing I care about is that we keep seeing a great range of options — tools — for a broad range of applications.

      Of course, I’ve already given my take on the Monster 108, but the smoothness and stability of this ski is absolutely remarkable. Not everyone wants to ski at flat-out speeds, and that’s totally fine. But there are a lot of skiers who think that skiing at flat-out speeds is a super fun thing to do, and the options are becoming increasingly limited.

      HEAD positions this as a ski for open bowls, and on any terrain — on-piste or off-piste — where you have room to run, the Monster 108 is remarkable — and there are few skis on the market today that I would trust when skiing at terrifying speeds. I do trust this ski.

      Formerly, one could have reached for a 191 metal Katana. Or a LINE Mothership. Or the Dynastar Pro Rider (that was brought back for the 16/17 season, but that isn’t coming back again.)

      In other words, one-dimensional / not-versatile isn’t a criticism in my book if there aren’t other options out there that are equally as good in a given area — whether we’re talking about deep-powder performance (e.g., DPS Lotus 138), competition slope-style park skis (Salomon NFX), or maximum stability at top speeds, on-piste or off, and especially in variable conditions (Monster 108).

      As soon as we find 2 or 3 or 4 options out there that match the Monster 108’s prowess in this area, THEN there would be a lot less reason to talk about / celebrate / reach for the Monster 108.

      Of course, not everyone needs a super-stiff competition park ski, or a 138 powder ski, or a ski that will show you no speed limit. But for those who do love and depend on those tools … the “too one-dimensional” argument doesn’t hold any water.

      And not every ski needs to be or should be a Rossi Soul 7.

      I don’t think either of you guys would disagree with anything I’ve said here, but just wanted to put this on record.

      I think Brian did a good job on this review — and I think his review + my review should make very clear who should get on this ski and who shouldn’t (thanks for that feedback, Squawbomber).

      But fact is, the Monster 108 is special. And the construction of it — and all of the Monster skis — is absolutely gorgeous.


      Ok, now having said all that … do we think that you could keep 99% of the stability of the Monster 108, yet increase its versatility a bit?

      Yes, we do. And this is something that I am going to pose to HEAD.

      We would be very curious to see what would happen if:
      (1) you SUBTLY increased the tip rocker on this ski — gave it a deeper tip rocker line, maybe didn’t change the amount of tip splay at all.
      (2) you SUBTLY decreased the camber on this ski — by 1 or 2 mm
      (3) you *maybe* softened up the tip / shovel of this ski — barely. Or not at all.
      (4) you left the weight of this ski exactly as it is.
      (5) you left the construction exactly as it is.
      (6) you left the tail exactly as it is.

      To be clear, the Monster 108 as it is performs so well that I don’t at all mean to suggest that you can just go slap up one or two of these changes without knocking that performance out of alignment. And I would assume that HEAD’s designers also didn’t simply just slap together the Monster 108 into its current form.

      But with that said, we think it would be worth experimenting with #1, namely to try to see if you can maintain the 108’s supreme stability while making it slightly more versatile.

      If you were seeing in prototyping that doing #2 or #3 was screwing up the overall feel, balance, and performance of the ski, then leave them as is. But I do imagine that through prototyping, you could introduce #1, at least, and that could be an interesting tweak.

      But after all of that speculation, it needs to be reiterated that the Monster 108 in its current form is badass and supremely good at what it was designed to do. And I personally think it’s wise to be slow to criticize excellence / absolute-best-in-class performance, whether in a ski, in music, in athletics.

      Anyway, sorry for the blog post / personal manifesto. Interesting stuff to think about.

      • I couldn’t agree more with Jonathan here. Both in his suggested changes to HEAD, and also with his wishes that this ski continues to exist. I spend a fair amount of time at Breckenridge in the upper alpine, and when it isn’t a powder day, the Monster 108 is awesome – the best ski I’ve ever been on. I’ll continue to hoard both pairs (16/17 and 17/18) until Jonathan pries them from my cold, dead hands. I love one-dimensional skis (when they are as successful at it as the Monster 108 is): I also have a 202 cm Lotus 138 and a custom extra-stiff 9lb 124mm touring ski (my ‘huck’ sticks).

  2. Great review. Love the “Zeus’s Pro Model” line.

    I want to want this ski. I’ve demoed the M88, and NEVER found a smoother ride for my decrepit knees. Maybe it was just the day I skied it, but it almost felt like the ski had some suspension.

    But the M108 does sound a bit one dimensional for a ski of this width.

    • Hi, Tom — if you got along well with the M88, you should check out the M108. We were just skiing both of these skis the past 3 days, and there is a big family resemblance. We’ll be posting our review of the new Monster 88 in a week or two, but it’s a nice a ski with a smooth, non-jarring ride.

      (Oh, and see my too-long note above for some thoughts on the “one-dimensional” question.)

      • Yes, the M88 is pretty much on the “buy for sure” list, though as a long-time Nordica fanboi, I’ll at least see what the Navigator 90 is all about.

        I’m just not so sure that what Ioved about the M88 makes sense in a 108. Kind of agree with your minor re-design recommendos to Head, especially the part about — and I paraphrase here — don’t eff around with that beautiful flat, fat, non-tapered tail!

  3. Nice review Brian and good follow up Jonathan.

    I ski most of my days at Crystal Mountain and Stevens Pass in Washington. The reality is regardless of the resort most skiing turns into skiing variable conditions, Good Pow get wiped out in 1 hour on a Pow day, groomers get beat up and rough, unless it’s a day with a small crowd(never on a Pow day). My point is a so called one dimensional ski like the Monster 108/98/88 is not really one dimensional at all, it is a precise tool for a good skier skiing 70 to 80% of what most folks truly ski in, unless you have the good fortune to live at a place like Snowbird/Alta.

    I spent 3 days skiing the Kastle MX 89, similar in construction to the Heads and with zero tip rocker and a flat tail. I did not expect to like them except on groomers, I was wrong and it is why I skied them 3 days vs. 1 day(I also had the FX 95 HP-Liked the MX better). I skied them on perfect groom-nailed it, Variable chop/Soft bumps -nailed it, Shin deep spring POW in Powder bowl at Crystal, thought I would hate them-Nope, loved them and kept asking myself- How does a ski with zero rocker that is stiff and seemingly unforgiving ski all of these conditions so damn good, I still can’t tell you but they just do and they don’t ski as stiff as they hand flex. One term Jonathan uses is suspension, I get it now and I think along with premium construction and the weight of the ski add up to a lot of fun and a pleasant surprise. My new skis next year will be the Monster 98 or the MX 89.

    Note: I am 58 years old, 5’11”, 185 LBS. If an old guy like me can rip these so can any decent skier with some weight. I ski the Fischer Motive 86(182)-great ski, the 2013 Cochise(185) love it, 2013 Atomic Automatic (193) love them in Pow, Dynastar Chrome 78 Pro (178) stiffest ski I own, it is a one dimensional groomer ski.


  4. How would you compare this to the Volkl katana for skiing powder? I have the 184 katana but am looking for something with more stability (sounds like it would be) and still be decent for powder up to more or less a foot. I’d probably go for the 191 as I’m 240 lbs and usually stick to the alpine terrain.

  5. Disclaimer! Only one and a half day on my Monster 98s, so no more than initial impressions. I did, however, feel that I got a very good idea of how and where these work.

    Conditions: Deep crud and tracked out heavy pow (2 feet of it), but also steep chalky chutes with smooth’ish windsift, and big open bowls with light windsift/pow up top and heavy pow lower down.

    Very, very smooth. Very, very damp. Extremely confidence inspiring when there aren’t big lumps of snow in the way. Variable snow was nothing to these, as long as you didn’t plow full speed into big pillows of heavy snow. In untracked heavy pow they were also a bit of a handful, but I hadn’t expected them to shine there.

    Through the Middle Basin chutes they felt very good at speed, and I had no issues throwing them sideways to instantly scrub off speed. I did have a couple of heel ejections hitting bigger lumps, and my guess is that that’s due to both the conditions, their abrupt tips, and me not being used to the skis. In the usual harder but smooth Craigieburn conditions, I expect the Monsters to absolutely shine.

    Where I could let them run through shallower bumps/tracks/crud, they felt like hot teflon, and so easy! In general, they were a lot less work than I expected, and even at 2380gr each and with STH16s, they did not feel the least bit heavy to ski. Did lots of 20-30min booting too, and the weight never worried me.

    A wider ski with more tip rocker would have been the logical choice on the day, but I was so keen to try the Monsters out, and I feel stupidly excited to ski them again. If I could change anything it would be to reduce the splay by 1cm and to subtly increase the rocker by 10cm or so. As mentioned in the review, the tips are stiff, and my guess is that they could be even better crud busters with less angle. Or maybe I just need to detune them a bit and man up…

  6. Thanks for this great review. I’m wondering how this ski would compare to the Stockli Stormrider 105. I don’t think I’ve seen any mention of Stockli skis on this site. Why is that?

    • I have never skied that ski, but my buddy owns the 2014ish Stormrider Pro (105 UF, so we’re probably talking about the same ski) and it is by far the closest I have seen to the Monster series. But I have heard the new Stockli lineup is nowhere near what it was 4-5 years ago as far as stiffness / stability.

  7. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned here, that I think deserves mentioning, is that it is better to have skis that perform well in less than ideal conditions i.e. make skiing difficult snow easier, rather than skis that perform well in ideal conditions where most any skis will be adequate…

  8. I’m curious what else is out there like this, but for bigger guys,
    I’m 6’1″, and 255lbs fully geared up. Not obese American, more like an out of shape ex-rugby player. I’m well insulated, but there is still some chiseled granite underneath..lol..

    I mostly ski in the PNW, so pow days get tracked out super fast, and after 11am, that pow has gotten wet in the sun and heavy..

    What else should I consider for a new snow day type of daily driver in the PNW? Something that can bull doze through and over chopped up heavy snow, but was fun and floaty before that.. And that is also suited for my mass.

    Have you guys ever heard of Lithic?

  9. James, I live in the PNW, you can read my May 17,2017 comments above. I bought the Monster 88 in a 184, was going to get the 98 but I also have the Head KORE 105 and I wanted more separation in waist width. If you want a daily driver for the PNW and it is your one ski I would go Monster 98 in a 184, it’s what I would have bought if I did not have the KORE 105, I have the 88 and have skied the 98(not the 108), Jonathan’s review is spot on. You could probably find a new pair by doing a Google search at a big discount. Last time I was at World Cup Skier Service in Bellevue they had one pair
    of the Monster 98 for under $300, don’t know if they still have them.


  10. I have yet to find a real replacement for my long-in-the-tooth Motherships, so I was stoked to try someone’s 177 monster 108s recently. I’m 175lbs and 6′ tall with a racing background, and wanted to try the 184 but that wasn’t an option.

    At first, I was stoked by the skis’ groomer performance. They engaged from their tips easily, held a very solid edge, and were quite damp. Big edge angles! After some time in increasingly wet, cut up crud, my enthusiasm dwindled. Perhaps I would have liked the 184 more, but the 177s were very ready to squirt out from under me; the tails just didn’t offer that much support in cut up snow. If I skied at a moderate pace, the skis took some work but eradicated the chop and were fun. At higher speeds in open terrain with slush bumps, the skis didn’t offer enough fore-aft support. Landing significant air and straightlining seemed like losing propositions. The skis were very damp, but I couldn’t let them run in lumpy snow the way longer skis can.

    For my taste, these don’t replace the old Motherships. The Monster 108’s initiate carved turns a bit more eagerly and hold better (but only by a bit!), and they’re less work to ski than the Motherships, but are significantly less versatile in terms of terrain in which they excel. Maybe the 184 would have felt more supportive, but for now the hunt for a substitute ‘ship continues.

  11. found a pair of the 98s and 108s,so now my monster quiver is complete. 88,98, 108. And im in heaven. 88s have been my perfect no snow ski since they came out and always thought I needed something different for wider skis. Well now I know I don’t(beside my full blow pow ski). I was afraid of the long turn radius and it’s versatility. But in reality, these skis are very versatile. With insane edge hold, dampness, and stability ina package that is wide enough to blow through everything, the question is what can’t it do? I skied it without fresh snow, off piste, groomers, and bumps. not ideal, but I was curious. not as fast edge to edge as the 98s, but performed well nonetheless.Would probably be a bit tough in tight trees but otherwise handles it all well. And I would argue that with its immediate tip hookup and grip, it is more versatile than ; most skis this wide have too much rocker/tsk to initiate turns immediately. In the real world of not deep pow that’s what I want , predictable traddional feel with a tail that releases and is not punishing. my fear of a long turn radius was unfounded as the immediate hookup is what I need, not necccessarily a short turn radius. And now I have the same predictable feel between most of my quiver which adds more predictability and confidence to my skiing. anyone else make a quiver or one line of skis. Enforcer 88, 100 and 110.

    One last lesson here for me, i bought the 88 5 years ago as my first 177 from my usual 185. I instantly skied bumps better and didn’t miss the length monsters are so stable. The 98s and 108s I also bought the 177s. And even more so with the longer turn radius and a possible more stability and beefiness in the wider sizes, it’s all I need. in a 177, the 98s and 108s ski bumps easily and have all the stability I would ever need. FYI, im 5’11” 165 and avg 55 days/yr on my home mountian(s) of Aspen. From this experience, I think many people buy and ski skis one size longer than they need. now only my pow ski is a 185. Just my thoughts on my favorite line of skis ever. I’m not sure what I’ll do when they need replacement.

  12. My 177’s are coming soon. Going on 67 with a few surgeries and metal hip parts so not hard to think I benefit from a softer / easier ski. F that, these reviews and the ski’s stability in a variety of conditions took any trepidation away. In their environment, certain to be a good ride. Lord, don’t let me fall on these sucka’s cuz I’m going too fast!

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