2019-2020 Head Monster 88 Ti

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Head Monster 88 for Blister
18/19 Head Monster 88 Ti

Ski: 2019-2020 Head Monster 88 Ti, 184 cm

Available Lengths: 156, 163, 170, 177, 184 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 182.6 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2171 & 2176 grams

Stated Dimensions: 134-89-115 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133.4-88.1-114.3 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius: 18.9 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 53 mm / 20 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~4 mm

Core: Silver Fir + Titanal (2-layer) + Graphene Tips / Tails + Fiberglass Laminate

Base: Structured UHM C Base

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -13.0 cm from center; 78.3 cm from tail

Ski: 2019-2020 HEAD Monster 88, 184 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 182.1 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2200 & 2213 grams

Stated Dimensions: 134-89-115 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133-88-114

Stated Sidecut Radius: 18.9 meters

Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 58 mm / 17 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3 mm

Core Construction: Silver Fir + Titanal (2-layer) + Graphene Tips / Tails + Fiberglass Laminate

Base: Structured UHM C Base

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -12.7 cm from center; ~78.35 cm from tail

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 18/19 Monster 88 Ti, which was not changed for 19/20, apart from graphics.]


In our coverage of the OR / SIA trade show this year, we gave the Head Monster 98 and 108 our “Rest in Peace” award, since those Monsters are being put out to pasture, and aren’t in the 18/19 lineup. The Monster 98 and 108 were the strongest, most stable skis in their respective classes, and if supreme stability, composure, and a powerful carving style were what you value most in a ski, nothing did it better.

So as of the 18/19 season, the Monster 88 is now the widest ski in the Monster series.

But Head didn’t leave it alone, either. So what exactly did they change?

The 18/19 Head Monster Lineup & Name Changes

The 18/19 Monster series now consists of the Monster 88 Ti, Monster 83 Ti, and Monster 83 X. While the Monster 88 is now called the “Monster 88 Ti,” the core construction didn’t change. The name change is just meant to differentiate it and the Monster 83 Ti from the Monster 83 X, which doesn’t have any titanal in its core.

What Head says about the new Monster 88 Ti

“What skis do the World Cup Rebels use during their spare time? The Monster 88. Why? The race-type construction with an all mountain shape rocks.”

That description doesn’t shed a whole lot of light on the changes, but we at least know that Head doesn’t seem to be downplaying the new Monster 88 Ti’s stability or emphasizing its newfound accessibility (i.e., they aren’t saying that they dumbed this ski down). Cause if the Monster 88 Ti is good enough for their pro racers, it’s gotta be pretty strong, right?

Shape / Rocker Profile

The most notable change for the 18/19 Monster 88 Ti comes in its shape. Take a look at the two versions of the ski below:

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Head Monster 88 for Blister
18/19 Head Monster 88 Ti (left) and 17/18 Head Monster 88 (right)

The new Monster 88 Ti now looks a little bit more like a wider version of the Head Supershape iTitan (one of their dedicated carvers that we’ll be talking more about soon). The new Monster 88 Ti’s shovel goes slightly wider, the tip is also wider than the previous Monster 88, and the new Monster 88 Ti’s tip doesn’t come to as much of a point.

And while the 17/18 Monster 88’s tails had barely any taper to begin with, the new Monster 88 Ti has even less taper.

The two versions’ rocker profiles are pretty similar, with the new Monster 88 Ti having slightly less tip splay and slightly more tail splay.

The new Monster 88 Ti has a very slightly shallower tip rocker line, but neither ski has very deep rocker lines.

So what’s the punchline?

The new Monster 88 Ti now looks more like a wider, dedicated carving ski (big, wide tips and tails), whereas the 17/18 Monster 88 had a shape that was a bit more similar to many “all-mountain” skis on the market.

Flex Pattern

Here’s how we’d characterize the flex pattern of the new Monster 88 Ti:

Tips: 8
Shovels: 8.5
In Front of Toe Piece: 9
Underfoot: 10
Behind Heel Piece: 9-8.5
Tails: 9-9.5

The 17/18 and 18/19 Monster 88 have very similar flex patterns, and they’re both strong skis. As we noted in the 17/18 Monster 88 review, that ski is not unbendable, it’s just consistently strong throughout the entire length of the ski. And that — along with its pretty heavy weight — was a combination that amounted to a ski that had excellent suspension and best-in-class composure at speed.

(Ok, and I’ll add one other thing that is a little less easy to quantify about the nature of the flex pattern of both of these Monster 88s. Neither of these skis have brick-wall flex patterns. When you push on them — even with just a bit of pressure — there is some give and they bend. But they don’t bend much. I.e., they ramp up in stiffness pretty quickly, which is to say, you don’t initiate a flex … then simply continue to keep bending the ski and then bending it more. And in the 17/18 Monster 88 review I said that this flex pattern reminded me of the flex pattern of a great, solid, 130- or 140-flex ski boot — it’s not a brick wall right at the top, it’s actually fairly easy to initiate a bit of bend. But the harder you push, the more things start to ramp up and get supportive. I like boots that operate like that, and I think it’s a winning formula for skis, too.)

The new 18/19 Monster 88 Ti feels quite similar at the tip as the 17/18, but then a little deeper into the ski (past the “tips” and into the “shovels”) the 18/19 goes a bit softer than the 17/18.

But the tails of the two skis feel extremely similar. The new Monster 88 Ti still has stiffer shovels than the Blizzard Brahma, Renoun Z-Line 90, Armada Invictus 89 Ti, and Volkl Kendo.

So, no, Head didn’t dumb down the Monster 88 Ti.


While the new Monster 88 Ti lost a few grams, it’s still one of the heaviest skis in its class. And that makes us happy, and we will continue to be the lone (and lonely) voice in the wilderness willing to say that making every single piece of gear lighter is dumb, misdirected, and comes with performance tradeoffs and consequences. I.e., if you want to make a ski that has excellent suspension and high-speed stability, weight is your friend.

For reference, here are a few of our measured weights (per ski, in grams) for some notable skis. As always, keep in mind the length differences to keep things apples-to-apples.

1585 & 1586 Head Kore 93, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1790 & 1831 Salomon XDR 88 Ti, 186 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1818 & 1828 Liberty Origin 90, 186 cm (18/19)
1839 & 1842 Black Crows Orb, 178.3 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1864 & 1882 Armada Invictus 89Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
1869 & 1894 Atomic Vantage 90 Ti, 184 cm (18/19)
1920 & 1940 Volkl Kendo, 177 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1931 & 1932 DPS Foundation Cassiar 94, 185 cm (18/19)
1936 & 1954 Fischer Pro Mtn 86 Ti, 182 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1943 & 1968 Liberty V92, 186 cm (18/19)
1959 & 1985 Renoun Z-Line 90, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
1997 & 2001 Blizzard Brahma, 180 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2008 & 2015 Folsom Skis Spar 88, 182 cm (18/19)
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (18/19)
2062 & 2063 Rossignol Experience 94 Ti, 187 cm (18/19)
2114 & 2133 Nordica Enforcer 93, 185 cm (17/18, 18/19)
2171 & 2176 Head Monster 88, 184 cm (18/19)
2200 & 2213 Head Monster 88, 184 cm (17/18)

Again, this makes me happy. The damn ski is called The “Monster.” It is not called The Daffodil. Get off the couch and go get in decent shape before the season starts. Don’t be lazy, then go blame your equipment for being too demanding.

I love the fact that more and more equipment is being made that is very easy and accessible. More of that equipment exists than ever before. And, more than ever before, it’s easier for more people to find a ski that they can go have a pretty good time on.

But if we stop making the equipment that prioritizes stability and suspension, that’s a loss in the other direction.

Bottom Line (For Now)

The new Head Monster 88 Ti maintains a lot of what we loved about the previous version — a strong flex pattern, minimal rocker, and a good bit of weight. But its shape now looks more like a dedicated carver than the previous version. So what does all of this amount to on snow?

Blister members can check out our Flash Review linked below, and while we put together our full review, feel free to add in the Comments section below anything you’d like us to address.

Flash Review: Head Monster 88 Ti

Blister members can now read our initial on-snow impressions in our Flash Review of the Monster 88 Ti.

(Learn more about Blister Member benefits, and Become a Blister member)

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pics

6 comments on “2019-2020 Head Monster 88 Ti”

  1. Subscribed, eagerly. Top of my list for purchase this year. As a lover of the Titan, I think it may be a good choice.

    Demoed a pair a few years ago. Best suspension I’ve ever felt in a ski. Soft off the top, stiff at the bottom, like a good mtb!

  2. I just came back from my trip to Jackson Hole with my newly purchased 18-19 Monster 88. I used to racer and coaching racing teams for so long, in my later 40s, and skied on race skis (non-FIS) for last 30 years. I was looking for all mountain skis which would give me closer feel and performance of race skis, I tried few all mountain skis and got very disappointed with their performance on frontside, so I decided to go with Head Monster 88 after reading your review and doing my own research and I have to say I couldn’t be more pleased with my decision. The skis are versatile and perform well in off piste and boot deep powder and it gives comparable performance to GS race skis (again, non-FIS) on hard packed groomed snow. You can make high angle carving turns on Monster 88 on hard packed snow without worrying about losing your grip. My only complain is as one of your reviews says it really need some speed to become alive and it is not easy to carve on lower speeds and make short carving turns. No problem making skidding short turns though. All that said, I loved skiing on them and highly recommend it for someone looking for stiff all mountain skis with more weight toward frontside performance.

  3. I was bent on picking up a pair of these. I’ve owned the ‘16 m83 and ‘16 m98. I’m sorry, but there is no way the new 88 is a mere 10% softer in the tips than the 16 and 17 models (which were identical and I’ve flexed and they felt every bit as very stiff as my 83’s).

    I’ve not had a chance to fondle the ‘18 88’s but Head says 10% softer and this review says 19 is similar to 18….they are at least 20% softer in tips (to ‘16 and ‘17s) based on my highly accurate hand flexing meter. It’s staggering. I’m in disbelief. There is no way (NO WAY) this ski can have close to the chops of its predicessor. I’ll have to see if I can try a pair.

    Anyway, just saying. I was expecting a very similar, albeit a bit softer, flex. That was not the case.

  4. I just spent 4 solid hours on a
    pair of these in 177. I’m 5’10” and 165lbs and ski the 16 m83 and 16 m98 both in 177.

    I may have been a bit off above: maybe the flex of the forebody is only about 10% softer than the pre-18 models. Maybe I was just surprised to have it flex as much as it did relative to the lack of flex of the ‘16’s. And I know not apples to apples but the flex of the old 83 and 88 feel same bloody stiff to me.

    To me the new ‘19 skis just like a monster, but I think Head was smart. They took a ski tbat really nobody (no mortal anyway) would be able to top out and reeled that in a bit, making it more useable across a broader rangeof conditions. I actually think it’s better.

    You can navigate huge, shitty, all over the place bumps on the nastiest runs with these far better than on my 83’s. Why? Simply because there is some compliance to the ski in front of the toe piece. The 83’s (and my 98’s for that matter) are akin to putting a binding on a 177cm 2×4 and bumping that. I love bumps and do not suck at them, for what it’s worth, but in super tight, huge troughed out bumps the old monsters are real handfuls I would think to anyone.

    It carves like a monster and it is exactly like the poster above put it: they really do not excel until you get them moving and bending them into varied radiuses is not something they do.

  5. Semi off topic- I’m wondering if anyone has info on the Monster 83 x?
    Not much online about them but it looks like an interesting ski- a bit of a mystery.

    I’ve been on Elan Ripticks for tours and resort for a while and am finding that the light weight is not a limitation for my current resort skiing (the hardest of East Coast hardpack)- improved technique, keeping them on high edge makes these things incredibly capable and they rail terrible ice so well that ice becomes surprisingly satisfying to ski on.
    Looking for a similarly light ski that’s piste/carving oriented and lacks the “Amphibio” design (it works so well that I think I’m getting lazy…!) Would be great to expand the quiver to include non Amphibio again while keeping weight down.

    Thanks for any input.

  6. I got a pair of unused 2019’s this year. I used to have Kore 93’s, mantras, kastles tx, 724 ax, t50s, super sports… The 88 monsters are a lot of fun. Lots of energy return. They carve short arc at speed very well. High speed, say above 60 or 70, they aren’t as confidence inspiring, but still very skiable. I have 177’s and am 5’10. A longer ski might help. Bumps are good, they ski skinny. They are also fine for off piste aggression. Not for butter, great for toast.

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