In the hours since I found out that the bindings on my 160cm Atomic Beta Ride 9.22's are off of "the list" and cannot be adjusted to my new boots (Nordica Speedmachine 130), I've been lurking up a storm on this forum in search of some direction, as I don't see a reason to throw money at ~8 year old skis ("borrowed" from a family member who didn't like them and decided to rent). As I said in the topic, I live in the northeast within day trip distance of Hunter and Windham and weekend-trip distance of VT. I ski much less than I'd like to - it tends to fall under 10 days per year, with about 5 of those days out west and a few in NY/VT. (I'm also looking forward to a week in France this year, but that isn't the norm.)
I consider myself capable of handling most (but not all) terrain in NY/VT and most of what I've encountered in the west (steep, moguls, or powder have been fine), but I haven't spent much time in the trees or backcountry.
My plan had been to keep the Atomics around for skiing in the east and demo any time I'm separated from a mountain by a flight. Those skis were fine, but they did take a bit too much work when I first started using them (I got used to this and had no problem with time).
Last winter, at Vail, I demoed Volkl Mantras and had a great time on them, but my understanding is that they wouldn't do too well on the local ice rock moguls. Can anyone recommend a ski that would work well in some powder (if I faced several feet I would demo a real powder ski for a day, I suppose) but mostly anything else, including some speed/carving down smoother steep runs, and provide room for me to grow as a skier? I'm open to the idea of a wider ski as I certainly enjoyed the Mantras, and if I actually do buy skis I would want to feel comfortable traveling with them. If you need any more info from me to give a better answer to my question, please let me know - I've never *actually* shopped for new skis, and as you can see from the age of my previous pair, I wouldn't mind if they stay around for a while.
I'm 5'9" and 150lbs - is 175-180cm the right ball park for me for a wider ski and 170cm for a skinnier ski, or should I go longer?
And most importantly: is it worth spending much money on skis at all, given how little I go? Should I pick up a less expensive ski to kick around here and continue renting/demoing when I fly?
Thank you very much!