Sorry, this gets a bit long and talkative.
So I need some new skis. My current skis are about 12 years old, and while they aren't in really bad shape, they are at very least well behind the technology curve and the bindings could probably use replacing and they were cheap skis to begin with. I took a long break off with very little skiing in the in-between time going to college and finding a decent job.
I think I'm a fairly intermediate skier in terms of skill set. I can't exactly charge down a steep black run but I can work my way down fairly quickly and consistently. And on groomers I can carve reasonable well, though at this point I'm questioning whether its a true carve or some bastardization. I'm planning on lessons this year to see where I really stand.
I'm about 5'9" and 150-155lbs.
Overall I'm looking for the elusive 1 quiver ski (will look at expanding it if I can consistently get to the slopes enough in a year to justify it) for the Salt Lake City and Jackson, Wy areas mostly. I don't think I need fat ski as even in the years when I could go a lot, I never found the places to ski really deep powder. I don't have the luxury of taking a day off to go skiing just because it snowed 2' the day before, so if I get truly fresh is just random chance. Though with my location I'm not usually skiing bad snow, just not piles of fresh powder. I prefer to ski bumps and trees and bowls and pretty much anything that isn't groomed.
The first question is ski length and width. I think I need to be in the 175-185 length range but then I read all sorts of things about ski X skiing longer or shorter then usual and rocker lets you go shorter.
As for width the bit of demoing I did do I liked the skinnier skies a bit more, but that was last weekend at the Canyons and they only had groomed runs open and they were pretty scrapped down and hard. But I don't think that really tells me much as that wasn't the conditions or terrain I wanted to ski in and did nothing to show the benefits of the skies in better situations. But in general I couldn't really tell much of a difference between most of the skies I tried, (other then the first pair I had feeling really heavy (Volk RTMs I think) but that may have been a case of my legs not really being warmed up yet) but I don't know if that was mostly due to the conditions or my ability or that there isn't a big difference between them. And some of the difference I could pick up was there I couldn't exactly pin point what that difference was, just that I could feel it (I'm sure skill related there). And being demos I have no idea how they compared in terms of waxing and tuning.
I'm thinking either the mid 80s or mid 90s versions of several skies. My feeling is that while the 90s are going to be better for the powder, the 80s are going to be better in general situations, especially the bumps and trees where you have less room. I'm also thinking that skinner tends to be better for carving and getting on edge in general, so if I do need to re-learn or simply refine those skills, the narrow ski might be more useful too, but I don't know how much of a difference there really is.
I didn't get a chance to demo the Dynastar Legends, but I did get the Rossignol E88s, Blizzard Bushwackers, and Salomon BBR 8.9s which are the primary skis I'm looking at. Of course the Legends could be the 85 or the 94, the E98 or E88, Bushwacker or Bodacious, or BBR 7.9 or 8.9.
And for the most part they all review very highly, with only the BBRs being really hit or miss with people. They are all closely priced.
I think they are all designed for much the same conditions. But most reviews I see almost only talk about deep powder or craving groomers, not a whole lot talk about bumps or limited spaces.
I have a feeling the answer is probably going to be "pick up the one you can find for the best price and you'll be fine" but I just want to make sure and try to figure out which length and width.
And its not a big deal, but I don't care for the graphics on the Blizzard skis, and while it won't stop me from buying them if they are the right ski, its going to give the tie breaker to the others. Hoping to pick them up fairly soon, as there are still some Christmas deals available and there are no demos coming up any time soon anyway and I think having consistent skis is important, and I might spend 2-3 more days (and 1/4 the price of the skis) demoing skis to find that they are all very similar and no real advantage to any one.
Quick questions on bindings. Would any of these skis need a riser or lift on the binding other then what they are base? For the most part there doesn't seem to be a lot of difference or preference for bindings, they pretty much all equal then? Seem to run about $190-250 for reasonable bindings? And the standard 12 bindings should be good for me, even if I progress skill wise a lot, because of my fairly low weight?
And since I'm here, quick pole safety question. Do you use the straps while skiing or not? Seems like the only reason they would be there, but I had one ski patrolled years ago say to not wear the straps while skiing in places where you could potentially get them caught on something like a tree as it could really mess up your shoulder and arm. Not sure if they were simply paranoid or what, so I figured I would ask.