Pros: High speed all-mountain fighter, stable in crud, quick edge to edge, possibly a one-quiver ski
Back from a stellar day at Northstar. It has been a week or so since they've seen any new snow (from the sky that is), so it was a hardpack groomer day for the most of the runs we were on. Lots of coverage meant almost no ice and generally excellent packed powder conditions, clear blue sky, 40ish deg F. Almost like a spring day.
If you are interested in this ski read this review first: http://homeboyski.com/2010/10/13/salomon-xw-enduro-ski-review/ My review is basically, "Ditto. What he said." Except for a couple points:
1. Based on his review I was ready for a brutish ski that was sluggish until I got it going, and would take some time in any case to feel comfortable on. Maybe it's because I have been such a big Salomon ski fan, but I felt at home pretty quickly on these boards (177cm - I'm 5'11", about 160#). I was especially wary of them in the 177 length, the wider overall cut, and less radical shape. I was really ready for a ski that would require some manhandling. Turns out this was not the case. On slower speed, flatter terrain I was able to turn these skis easily and quickly simply by rolling my foot. And as speed increased I found I was able to remain in a much more upright, neutral position, instead of hunkering down into my usual race/crank/carve crouch. This by itself was a huge change for me.
2. Agility in tight twisty stuff was, I think, even better (if you can imagine it) than on the Tornadoes. This blew me away. I dove into the trees (Martis Glade), which was all tracked out, and frozen into place to boot. With no obvious escape routes to the groomers I was committed to figuring out how to make my way down through the trees. I was absolutely shocked at how easily these big boys turned in the crud. If I sayed in the existing ruts I had no problem pivoting them around trees. But changing tracks was just as easy. They held their line, no caught edges/holy sh** moments. In fact they made what would otherwise be a rather painful descent fun. Unreal. Unfortunately my legs were not up to the task of navigating all the way to the bottom; so I traversed my way down and eventually found myself on a black groomer. Let em roll. Big fun.
3. Moguls/bumpies. Apart from the tree bumps, and a couple minor bump areas on some of the pitches I didn't take this ski into the bumps. Based on how they felt when I did navigate some short bump stretches, however, I would have no qualms at all about hitting a mogul field with these boards.
Overall this is a great all mountain ski. My boots are new Salomon Falcon CS Pros. Perhaps pairing them with an equally high performance boot is part of the secret here - can't say for sure. And I didn't get a chance to try them in deep stuff so that would be another area to consider if you're a big pow skier. They are wider than the XW Tornadoes (my usual choice) everywhere - and wider than most of the skis I saw as I rode up the lifts all day. If I had to choose between these and the Tornadoes I think I'd go with these because of their exceptional stability at high speeds - so planted and quick - and still able to handle tight, quick stuff when needed. Big Fun!!