Author Topic: Head iM78  (Read 1158 times)

Svend

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Head iM78
« on: May 02, 2010, 08:04:44 pm »
I had the good fortune of being near Banff this past week on project work (I'm still here, actually, enjoying the Rocky Mountain scenery....and working a little bit too... ;)), and so naturally took advantage of the proximity to some great skiing and hit the slopes yesterday.? Sunshine Mountain in Banff park still has excellent ski conditions because of its high elevation -- base 5400 ft; summit almost 9000 ft.? This is an amazing mountain, with vast terrain and incredible scenery.? Well worth a trip north... :)

I rented the iM78s, last year's model (same as the current Peak 78), in a 177 length.? The ski was a good choice as the conditions at Sunshine were a mixture of hard snow; ice with thin layer of fresh on top; and soft spring snow at lower elevations.? Unfortunately the skis had one of those terrible rental store tunes that just ruin the pleasure of being on some really great skis.? The edges were grabbing and catching, so much so that at least once in every second run one ski would catch an edge and take off in its own direction.? Nothing drastic, but VERY annoying.? Couldn't relax and enjoy the day.? It felt like the base bevel was zero, and side bevel was three -- Why can't the rental shops just get it right?

It took a few runs and some work with my gummy stone, but eventually figured out how to get the most of out them and not hurl myself over a precipice in the process. Then the skis showed some of the character that earn them such great reviews. Quick edge to edge (yes, Gary, the 78mm skis can be snappy-quick, to my pleasant surprise), great short turns, long turns, med turns. Very stable and smooth-running.? Near-perfect amount of energy and power in the tail for my size and weight (I'm liking that!!!), excellent combination of dampness, liveliness and power. Light-feeling underfoot, big sweet spot -- I never felt off-balance or in the back seat.? No speed limit -- really had them flying with wide GS turns on some open smooth runs -- totally calm and non-plussed. Very impressive.? Great handling in soft spring snow / hard snow / icy patches....all over the mountain, in other words.? My only quibble is that on occasion the tails felt like they didn't want to release me out of a turn, but that may be due more to the poor tune and less to the sidecut of the skis.

Bottom line:? These are very versatile skis, and with a good tune, they would be a ton of fun.? I could see why they rate so highly, and I would not hesitate to own them and make them my daily go-to ski for most conditions save deep snow.? Had I not skied the Progressor 9 and learned what a fantastic ski that is, I would likely be buying the iM78/Peak 78 now.? Makes me want to take the Watea 78 for a spin now, and see what they're made of.... 8)

Cheers,
Svend
« Last Edit: May 02, 2010, 08:11:20 pm by Svend »


jbotti

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2010, 10:41:46 pm »
The Watea 78 is not nearly the ski that the IM 78 is. I own these in the 177 size and mine are tuned well and they just rock. This ski will do it all, from tight carved turns to wider GS turns, to skiing bumps and even up to 18 inches of fresh powder. The beauty is the combination of real power and performance (huge rebund and pop when skied properly) and ease of use. I can also tell you that the tails release nicely and quickly on mine so your issue was the tune.

On tunes, I am among many that resists getting base grinds. I have had too many that come back wrong or problematic. Almost always when I get a bad basegrind, the skis want to rail. It's really painful and it takes all the fun out of skiing. I have been lucky enough to get to know Willi Wiltz who prepped skis for Tommy Moe and Darren Rahlves during their WC days. I just had Willi put base grinds on 4 sets of skis that weren't right. He is also coming out to Monatan to teach the guys in the shop at my home mountain how to put on a quality basegrind. He also took two pairs of skis that had extensive side edge damage (to the point that I thought they were only rock skis) and they came back looking like new!! High quality ski techs are hard to find. If you ski in Tahoe, Willi had a shop this past season at Sugar Bowl. Next seaosn he will be at Squaw. I know a lot of guys that send their skis away to have them base ground to the Race Place up in Oregon. I totally understand and I will be sending mine to Willi at Squaw if we can't get the techs in Montana up to speed.

I am pretty pumped about my newly ground skis. They look awesome and I am sure they will ski great.

Unfortunately most tunes and grinds on demo skis were put on by a guy who knows little and cares even less. Too bad because it often prevents people from liking  and not buying what is a very good ski.

Gary

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2010, 08:59:33 am »
SOunds like a great time and awesome conditions...Now... in the future....when you order your rental skis, tell the guys you expect the edges to be 1 and 3, the base flat cause you're bringing in your true bar....now they just may so "go  ...hit in your hat"  or hey...they just might do it.

So....another 78 undefoot that has potential. Nice!
As far as that tail, sometimes a proper detune will allow that tail to release. I have gone to the extra effort with my drummel to round out those tails at the very outside tips even a wee bit more with great success.

As far as the Canadian Rockies....definete ly going there next season!

G

Svend

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2010, 08:30:31 pm »
John, you are absolutely right about rental shop tunes ruining a great ride.? It's a crying shame.? I come out west occasionally in winter on business, and I will just rent skis for a day or two rather than schlep mine all the way here (my boots come along as carry-on luggage, however...!!!).? In all the renting/demoing I have done, there have maybe been two pairs that were actually tuned well.? Pretty pathetic stats, eh?? And it's probably one of the reasons I didn't like the Contact 4x4s....although even with a bad tune, the iM78s were far better IMO....

Gary, I attacked the tips and tails of the iM78s with my gummy stone, and it helped a lot, but not enough.? I even dulled the entire side edges a little to ease the nasty ride (gasp - sacrilege! Drastic measures, I know).? But I know enough about rental shop tunes by now that I always carry my gummy stone in my boot bag.? ?::)? First run, and then I'm usually at the bottom of the lift filing away like a nutcase.

But even with the poor tune on the iM78s, I could still tell that there was a really great ski in there.? A winning combination of power, energy, stability, dampness, forgiveness, liveliness, edge hold, soft snow / hard snow / ice performance.....jus t an extremely good balance of attributes.? Man, if the tune had been right on, I would have had an epic day of it at Sunshine -- the perfect ski for that mountain.? If I lived here, I would own them, and a second pair that were 95mm+ for powder.?

Back to tuning......I am going to have to find a really good tuner that can do a proper base grind.? My wife's Supershape Speeds are in need, as the bases are getting pretty scratched up from all the ice in Ontario? ;D .? John, you are lucky to have someone like Willi.? There is a guy near our home hill that built his own monster grinder because the commercial ones didn't satisfy his criteria.? He says the stone on this thing runs at half the speed of others so that he can control the grind better and not overheat the base.? Once the base is flat, he does the rest of the tune by hand as per customer's needs.? He does a lot of racers.? I'll talk to him first....sounds like my kinda guy.

Cheers,
Svend
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 09:41:04 am by Svend »

LivingProof

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2010, 08:28:06 am »
Because of a pro PMTS bias, I would guess the IM78 has been skied by many who post here. I bought a pair fully intending to ski them this past season. I did spend one day on them at my local eastern mountain and thought the IM78  to be a very nice ski. A few days later, I did a demo day with Phil and was seduced by the Kastle MX88. Philpug had a customer very interested in the 78 and did a great trade to get me on the Kastle.

But back to the IM78, a ski somewhat dated by today's fascination with fatter skis and newer models. No longer any real buzz and it would be ho-humed in an Epic review. I bought mine for less than $200 on Epic and they were used for 2 days and perfect when I got them.

But it still skis great for someone interested in carving at some higher speed or in broken snow! Maybe not a true classic ski but they will be seen on the mountain for a long time. A great value ski.

We trash some fine equipment much too soon. I have a 20 year old touring bike and it works great riding trails or hills . I couldn't sell it on Craigslist for $150. I'm sure we all have similar equipment stories. It's shameful.

Ron

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2010, 02:35:44 pm »
its a good ski but it's boring. that's why so many get bought and dumped so quickly. I owned it for 2 runs.... The MX78 OTH, is a fun, energetic ski that can be skied in a wider variety with a much higher fun-factor. I don't think there's more to it. Its a good ski, just boring. my opinion only, your experience may vary and that's fine.

Svend

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2010, 09:03:42 pm »
There's an Alpine yodel echoing around in here, and the song has an Austrian accent...... ;)

Kastle....                 Kastle....                     Kastle.....                             Kastle....

« Last Edit: May 04, 2010, 09:23:02 pm by Svend »

Gary

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2010, 09:20:56 am »
Hey Svend....oh Might Viking...

There's a few Italians yodeling:

       Kastle my lovely,                    Kastle so precious,                      Kastle my sweet,

Same message with the Italian inflections...!!!!? ;)

Ron

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2010, 10:03:01 am »
best part is they rent space in the same facilities as head!

Svend

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2010, 08:48:51 am »
I'm getting a Head-ache..... :D

Ron

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2010, 08:51:03 am »
nice...... ;D

jbotti

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2010, 11:33:56 am »
Everyone here (and pretty much everywhere) knows that I am a huge fan of Head skis. I own many pairs and over the past 5 years they have made some awesome skis. I'm sure the fact that Kastle skis are made in Head facilities has a lot to do with how well they perform and are made (just like Scott Skis are made well by Fischer).

Having said this, I really don't understand what Head is doing. They are spending huge sums of money on landing the biggest name WC skiers and at the same time they are cuttinng down the race ski lineup that they carry in the states. And whereas Head has made great race oriented and carving skis as well as traditional all mountain skis that are all great (like the Monster/Peak line) they have never had even a remotely decent ski in the true big mountain free ride category. Actually the old IM 103 was a monster, but so stiff that only real pros could ski it. The rest of this lineup has pretty much blown. I don't think they have gotten much traction with the Joe, John, Jimi (I think a Carlos is coming) and that's because they were just repackages of existing skis (save the Jimi which was a rocker intro).

So next year they are de-emphasizing ther strength, race oriented carving skis and ther other strength, strong and powerful all mountain skis, and moving to all mountain skis with flappy tips. I think this is a sure fire way to hurt your business. The rocker buyer is not looking at all at Head and won't for a long time until they have some innnovative product that gets talked about for a few years. Their traditional buyer is going to get quite frustrated.

LivingProof

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2010, 07:36:22 am »
its a good ski but it's boring. that's why so many get bought and dumped so quickly. I owned it for 2 runs.... The MX78 OTH, is a fun, energetic ski that can be skied in a wider variety with a much higher fun-factor. I don't think there's more to it. Its a good ski, just boring. my opinion only, your experience may vary and that's fine.

Borrowed from a current Epic thread:

quote: "I kinda got the same impressions re the 176 Kastle M78 in that it carved a little better than a 177 Head iM78, but was less forgiving and not as versatile in mixed conditions, esp. soft manky spring crud where the tips of the iM78 floated easier..
The Kastle was a handful whereas the Head was like-cheating-easy..
Also the M78 didn't ski at slow speeds nearly as well.
So YMMV on these 2 skis which perform at the top of their class."
quote ends

Wow, someone has the b_____s to compare the performance of the Head and Kastle 78 and give the edge, in some areas to the Head. Talk about unenlightend idiots!

But isn't "boring" a summary judgment of a lot individual factors, including the objectivity of the person making the observation. The Head 78 did not elicit a similar response from Sven in the OP. Of course, he was at the base of a really great mountain getting in some turns late in the season and just trying to live the moment. All I can say is "Carpe Diem".


Svend

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2010, 08:15:27 am »
I think we all know by now that one's impressions, and subsequent preferences, likes/dislikes of particular skis is entirely subjective.? There are a lot of factors and variables at work here. some tangible, some intangible.? The tangible ones are obvious -- skier weight, ski stiffness, ski dimensions, power and aggressiveness of the skier, skill level, etc......? The intangible ones are things like biases of the skier for or against a certain brand, graphics (yes, it matters, subtly perhaps), and the exclusivity or reputation of a brand in the ski world.

In my limited skiing life, I have been on skis that others have hated (too stiff, too damp...whatever), whereas I have loved them -- they work exceedingly well for me, but not for others (eg. my Mythic Riders).? Conversely, I have skied ones that I have hated, but others fawn over and write gushing reviews of (eg. Contact 4x4)....works well for some, but not for me.

My point is that it is inappropriate to pan or overtly c**p on another person's preferences for a certain ski or brand, just because it doesn't fit with one's own vision of the "ideal ski" or a "great ski".? If it works for someone, and they like its attributes and the performance suits their needs, weight, ability level and style, helps them become a better skier and enjoy more of the mountain, well then let them enjoy it.  Praise them for a choice well made, and just let them get out there and have fun with it.? Everyone is different, and there is no such thing as a single "Best Ski" for everyone.? Live and let live, and let's all enjoy this great sport and not try to foist our biases on others.

Hope I don't put anyone's nose out of joint with my comments.? No offense intended.? Just trying to put things here in a different perspective.....

Cheers,
Svend
« Last Edit: May 07, 2010, 08:17:59 am by Svend »

jim-ratliff

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Re: Head iM78
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2010, 08:31:32 am »
Well said, Svend.
And a key point in reading ski reviews is, I think, knowing whether or not your "skier profile" matches the reviewer.?

Skier, Know Thyself.

Svend doesn't match me, he's bigger than I.
Ron doesn't match me, he's younger than I and prefers skiing? different terrain than I.
Lynn doesn't match me, she's a better skier than I.
Etc. Etc. Etc.

Interestingly, Peter's "green skier icon" on the pay site does match me pretty well, and the combination of a "green skier icon" and the "blue skier icon" match me even better.? But if it has the "black skier icon" then it will be a stiffer ski than I like.
"If you're gonna play the game boy, ya gotta learn to play it right."