Over the years, there have been a number of threads on the topic, but as ski gear changes every year to some degree, I want to make sure I am getting the most up to date information.
My wife is about 5'5", approximately 108 lbs, and is in her mid-thirties. She has skied several days a season for the last six years. She describes herself as a light blue skier.
While she is cautious, she is not what I would call fearful. Her technique continues to improve. Her skis are typically matched through about 90% of the turn, meaning there is a bit of a wedge at initiation. She is working on continuing to generate rotary forces from her lower body rather than from her upper body, a pole touch was a new addition toward the end of last year, and she rarely has edge engagement above the fall line.
She generally skis on the groomed at moderate speeds, but is somewhat interested in venturing into broken snow and low-angle bumps some of the time. Though, she thinks that this year most of her time will still be on the groomed improving her overall technique. For the first time ever, most of her skiing this year will be in the east.
She has never owned her own skis. And, she will not spend a day demoing.
The 2012 skis we are considering are the following:
Dynastar Exclusive Active
Blizzard Viva 7.4
Atomic Affinity Pure
I didn't think it made sense at this point to go up a ski for some of these manufacturers, like to the Supersweet instead of the Superific.
My perspective is that at this price point and skill level and given that she will not do a demo day (or days), most of the manufacturers are providing a reasonable product, and almost any of these skis would be good options. It might be better to think about it from the perspective of does it make sense to rule any of these out.
I would plan to get a 2012 ski, unless I can get a great deal. Said another way, I would be open to doing something online that was meaningfully better than a 2012 ski, so long as it was enough to make up for the lack of tunes and service from the local shop that would come with buying skis from them and some amount to cover not supporting the local shop. I have found the 2011 Dynastar for about $180 less (today only on Evo) and the 2011 Blizzard and 2011 K2 True Luv for about $150 less than what we could get the above skis for. As always, when it comes to stuff for my wife, I do care less about price, and more about getting the right ski.
With respect to length, my plan was to go somewhere between 148 and 152, erring toward the lower side. Meaning if the options were a 146 or a 153, I would choose the 146. But, I feel like I might be underestimating on this point.
My personal perspective is go with the K2, as I have found that in recent years they have produced a product that a wide range of people like, and I think that the slight rocker that they have makes a great deal of sense for this level skier. I welcome input into which is the right ski here (or which ski(s) to rule out) and what is the right length. Thanks.
And, just to get this out of the way, yes, she does have well-fit boots.
Thanks in advance, Smiles.