Pros: Stable, predictable, easy turning, solid at speed.
Cons: Haven't found any yet
Length skied: 181cm. Height: 6'. Weight: 185. Older expert skier, 50+ days per year. I do not knowingly go airborne. Skis set up with a Marker F12 tour binding. Boots are Dynafit Titans (bone stock), 3rd year.
I've been skiing on the Apex and like everything that that ski does. I'm looking to go wider with a ski that I can tour on and ski in resort. My current "wide" ski is a Volkl Mantra 177cm.(the older red ones). I had Explosiv's (190cm) before that. I ski mainly east coast. Mostly groomed. Hike and ski in the east when the conditions warrant or I feel like a workout but it's not an all the time thing. I do spend a few weeks a year (since the early 80's) touring and off piste skiing in Europe in the spring.
I got the Spire's this week and spent a few hours setting the base and side bevels. Filing and polishing the edges & waxing and mounting the binders. The skis came through in good shape. There's a thick glue line in the tip of one ski but that shouldn't be a factor.
My expectation was they would be a bit slower reacting (larger turn radius, 23meters), a little less stable (they are softer flexing), and slightly less solid on hard snow (wider skis don't work as well on hard snow), and a little less stable at speed (see softer flex), but would more than make up for any shortcomings by being a lot better in cruddier snow conditions. I only had hard snow to ski on and it turns out that my preconceptions were wrong pretty much across the board. To me, the Spire was better at speed than the Apex and held as well if not better on hard snow. It was very easy into the turn (a wee bit slower into the turn vs. Apex due to added girth) and very comfortable cruising through typical 2012 Vermont trail conditions today. I am interested in trying the Spire on powder, crud, and other mixed conditions. It performs well in conditions that one would expect to bring out its weaknesses, so I'm anticipating solid performance when it is in its element.
This will be the ski that I'll take to Austria in March to deal with piste skiing, off piste skiing, and touring. The downside is the weight of the ski (though light by 98mm ski standards) as a touring ski, but we're not going to be setting a torrid uphill pace and are only doing day trips with a light pack, so I will be able to manage that aspect just fine and get a better ride on the way down. I can't comment on durability but the Apex hasn't had any issues, so I'd say that the Spire should be okay as well. I have not skied any of the other current skis in the 98 category, and I'm sure that there are some stars in there. Elan has never had the sex appeal of a Volkl or some of the other demand brands/models, but these guys are innovative, know how to make really good skis, and they offer tremendous value. This is the after one day report so I'm no doubt trying to justify my purchase. I'll repost if things start to wear off after the honeymoon and/or buyer's remorse sets in.
Quick update. Have about 5 days on the Spires and still feel the same about the skis. Since I'm in Vermont, and there has been a paucity of snow in the last week (as well as the last three months), I haven't had the chance to ski them on anything other than pisted conditions.