Originally Posted by SierraJim
It is great that you demo'ed a ski and potentially helpful info that you didn't like like it much. The problem is that you haven't said why you didn't like the S3. These other suggestions are all over the map as far as characteristics and without more feedback on your S3 experience, they are completely worthless. (Rest assured there are another dozen or so I could recommend..........and they might be equally worthless as well)
So.......back up........tell us what length the S3 was that you demo'ed, what the broad range conditions were, and what you did like as well as what you didn't.
Or.......just take allllllll these other suggestions, pin 'em up on a wall and throw a dart.
I laughed aloud at that last bit....Damn, he's figured out my selection process!
I do appreciate anyone taking the time to consider this and respond, but I mentioned to a friend the responses were....ummm, broad.
O-K, I hope this clarification won't be so long as to put anyone into a coma....
I don't know if I have enough experience evaluating skies to pin down precisely what I found wanting in the S3. I didn't hate it, but maybe the hype had me expecting a ski that could leap buildings in a single bound? I was about 10 lbs lighter then(weight gain from quitting smoking hadn't fully appeared yet) at 5'10 and 155 or so and wanted to try the 168, but all they had was 178. I had been skiing on 2005 Rossi Zenith Z5 162cm daily during my 15-18 ski days yearly, which I still love. So, that S3 may have been a bit long, but it wasn't all that big a deal really. I think they just weren't well suited to the conditions that day; rock-hard groomers and I could only find breakable crust in the trees, which caused me to take an unusual spill...not exactly confidence-inspiring! The hard conditions made them not as responsive as I would've liked...I think. That's why I think I should try them again on a better day for them.
The irony is that the groomers were so hard...boilerplate in places...that I demoed a few hard snow skis as well. I loved the Atomic D2 VF 82 for those conditions, so I bought a pair in 166 for 1/2-price over the summer, and those are now my very hard snow skis. I still love my old Z5's for softer groomers and shallow soft crud days in the trees and bumps. But...I still need a ski for powder days and eventually short 1-day or less out-of-bounds tours to neighboring peaks. 3 years ago I was at Jackson Hole after a 12" dump and knew better than to take my 74mm Z5's out, so I asked the shop for a good powder rental. This was '08 or '09, and they gave me a Fischer Watea 98, which I hated. It was too "planky" and not very responsive to me. Lengths of that and the next one were maybe upper 160's. They then gave me a 92mm K2 Outlaw, which I really liked. I was comfy on it, it seemed "planted"(?), I took runs I typically wouldn't...skied down (skied, not hopped or side-slipped!) dbl-blk Expert Chutes for best run ever, before or since. In short, they instilled a LOT of confidence! I added those bits in case it's at all helpful for determining my current best option.
Background for me: I 1st skied at 17, then a few times in next 10 years as an excuse to do fun, cool stuff with buddies for a few days and drink. Gave it up for next 9 years, and when I picked it up again, it was fun, but I took it serious and determined to continue to improve each time. 15-18 days a year since...although only 3 last year...it sucked! Except for last year, took 1 private lesson each year, and liked being pushed and challenged. Moved to N. Idaho 20 miles from Schweitzer, have season pass, 13 days in already, which should be 60-70 by end of year each year from here on out. Am also starting a weekly 8-week clinic 01-07 for intermediate-advanced skiers. I'm realistic about my ability, which is a very strong level 6 flirting with level 7. An instructor from the upcoming clinic said most skiers of my ability tend to ski a little defensively on steeps with too much concern for speed control, and that's definitely me! I try to focus on proper technique, and can feel my confidence and ability improving just about daily now. Hit some steeper bump lines yesterday, and they were fun! Was on my easy-turning and idiot-proof Z5's...idiot-proof as long as you don't overski them anyway....
Lack of past exposure to it means powder is also a weak point. I don't want to get out of my comfort zone parameters for powder-oriented skis, which after scouring review sites, forums, and talking to shop reps, I've narrowed down to 98-105 in the waist, rockered tip, flat(ish) tail, on the lighter side, forgiving and at home in powder and soft crud, but at least comfortable on groomer glides back to the lift...doesn't punish occasional bouts of laziness at end of the day. Will be used exclusively for powder days, and really would like to try turn-earning with them sometime soon. I'm not a charging speed-demon and at my age likely wont become one even as I improve...I like savoring the run. Occasional speed needs fixed by just-for-fun NASTAR course runs or rocketing a blue groomer...but I have my Atomics for that. Am now 5'10 and 165 lbs. Based on all the above, the Coomback in 174 seemed like it would be a good fit...or maybe the B.D. Verdict, but I'm not enough of an authority on gear to know for sure. Any other ski that meets all or the vast majority of those criteria I would look at...the Line Influence 105 might be a good choice also, for example. The ability to demo is obviously a plus!
Sorry that was sooo long, but I hope it covers all the bases and is specific enough for more targeted recs.
Of course, there's still always the dart approach, I guess....
Thanks for reading it all and any input!
Edited by Skierish - 12/20/11 at 12:30am