Hi all. New to this site, so apologies if this is in the wrong place.
I'm looking for some new skis. I thought I'd share my demo experience so far, and ask for some guidance if anyone is inclined.
About me: 6", 160 lbs. without gear. Ski 90% ungroomed, about 50/50 bumps/trees. Love powder when I can get it. I'm an advanced skier, particularly in bumps, but don't like to go super fast.
I ski about 15 days/yr (would love to ski more). About 70% of my skiing is day trips to S VT, 20% trips to CO/UT, 10% N VT.
Because so much of my skiing is last minute day trips, I cherry pick the better days, so don't spend too much time on hard pack. As my kids age over the next few years, I expect my ski days will increase, but I will also have more runs on groomers and hard pack.
Currently I ski a Rossi B2 (174 CM), which I love in bumps, find OK in trees and chop, find really mediocre on anything remotely firm. I'm looking for something better in deeper snow and trees, and secondarily, with better edge grip.
I've tried the Dynastar Sultan 85 and Line Prophet 90 in conditions much firmer than my typical day. Skied the Rossi S3 on a lovely powder day. Here are my findings:
Dynastar Sultan 85 (172 CM):
Skied these on a dust on crust day with pockets of wind-blown powder. Performed fantastically and hardpack and in the deeper snow. Didn't even try trees as the thaw/freeze had made the snow ceramic. Did try them in some bumps, and got tossed around more than usual, but I'm not sure how much of this is because the bumps were so firm. Also, I had tweaked my back the day before, so I was a little tentative in bumps.
Line Prophet 90 (172 CM):
Tried these the next day. Conditions were still firm, but did find some softer packed powder bumps. I adored these skis on groomed hard pack and in PP bumps. I thought I might find the width cumbersome, but they seemed very nimble everywhere I tried them. They were as good as my B2s in bumps and much better at everything else I tried. I didn't get an opportunity to try them in trees or deeper snow.
Rossi S3 (178 CM):
Skied these in 7" of fresh snow. These were just awesome in soft bumps. In the woods, however, they were transformative. I can't overstate how much more aggressive lines through the trees I was able to take with these. I could pivot them with the slightest pressure, even in deep snow. Not sure why, but I could control my speed through much narrower corridors than I ever could with my B2s. I was finding fresh tracks all day because I could ski lines I would have never attempted on my B2s between the tracked out lanes. I kind of felt like everything was going by in slow motion. On groomed snow, they were just OK. Hard to describe, but they felt a little strange and sluggish, especially on gentle slopes, where it was a little cumbersome to change edges quickly. I'm not sure how much of this was because of the width and how much was the rocker. I expect that on steeper groomed slopes (hard to find in S VT), I wouldn't notice it as much.
Here are the questions I'm trying to answer. I know that I most of this I need to answer for myself by demoing more, but demoing is getting expensive and shops are starting to sell their demos. Any guidance is very much appreciated.
1) Should I still consider the Sultan 85? I suspect that my so-so experience with them in bumps was not representative, but I liked the P90 so much in bumps and groomers, I don't see the point of pursuing the Sultans unless they are likely to outshine the P90s off-piste. Are the Sultans likely to be better than the P90s in trees and deeper snow?
2) Should I be considering the Prophet Flite instead on the P90? I've read that the Flite is more flexible and livelier than the P90s, but doesn't give up too much on harder snow. They're cheaper, too. Given my skiing preferences (bumps, trees, deeper snow, not skiing fast), would the Flites probably be an even better match? Also, would a 179 CM be a better size?
3) Should I consider the Watea 84s? These seem great, but are hard to demo locally. Are they likely to be so much better for my than the above skis for me?
4) Here's the hardest question. What do I do about the S3? Could these (or something like them) be my everyday ski? Would they perform as well on a regular PP day, or would they only be much fun in fresh snow? I'm in a bind because I didn't get to try the Sultan 85 or P90 in trees, so I don't know if they would be much better than my B2s in trees, or if my epiphany on the S3s was unique to that style ski (98mm, double rise). I don't really have the budget for two pairs of skis, but I also can't live without skis that perform at least something like the S3s in those conditions. Would the Blizzard "The One" be a better fit?
By the way, many thanks to SierraJim, dawgcatching, BushwackerinPA, and many others for the reviews and advice. It's been extremely helpful in getting this far.