First off, thanks to the folks who replied to the question of "why exactly is the Phoenix dated?". I know the ski is a few years old, and it's made by someone else. And (apparently) Hart as a company is on life support. I think Phil was saying in his original post the design of the Phoenix was dated - and perhaps by implication the style of skiing demanded by that design is dated - that's what I was thinking of, and that's what some of you weighed in on.
You make a good point. With regards to bikes and biking, that is. I think the salient point for me is that in the case above it is highly unlikely either guy is gonna end up on the other guy's turf, whereas in a lot of places people ski during a single day they may want to spend some time on groomers, some time in the bumps, some time in the trees, some time off piste in a few inches of fresh powder if they're lucky enough to get to it before it becomes a few inches of cut up crud. Then it does become a discussion of what's the best single tool to give a good experience bouncing around through all of those conditions. Seems to me like a narrower waist and modest sidecut might not be a bad choice.
> [Tog] They're very good learning to expert skis. There will certainly be "easier" skis, but learn to do railroad tracks on em and go from there.
I plead guilty to the charge of threadjacking; your salient point is actually my goal as well (see below), and why I have been following this thread with great interest. There probably wasn't any point at all to my previous post beyond typing out my own little 'a-ha' moment...
As it turns out, I am looking for the exact capabilities you describe: "some time on groomers, some time in the bumps, some time in the trees, some time off piste in a few inches of fresh powder if they're lucky enough to get to it before it becomes a few inches of cut up crud." My current tool for the job is 178cm MX88s. At 5'11" 185# it's nearly perfect...
...But I am wondering if the newer 75-78ish offerings from skinny side of SJs idea of frontside all-'rounders are slightly better for the above, more 70/30 than 50/50, perhaps. Skis like the Head Peak 78, MX78 (though I shudder at the cost of another pair of Kastle MXs), or Progressor 1000s, possibly even last year's Progressor 10+ at 73mm underfoot. Just the thing on hard snow, yet won't become a chore on those few inches of fresh, untracked or crudded up, like a mid-60 race stock ski might.