Okay, here's the deal. Had the SC's (non-TI) out at Squaw all day today, all over the mountain. They are very good skis. Very stable at speed and with great edge grip. I had them up to about 47mph according to ski tracks and they felt rock solid at that speed and were ridiculously easy to scrub all that speed down to nothing almost very quickly. I've never felt so confident at that kind of speed before.
Yet, these skis are certainly not demanding in terms of needing to concentrate 100% of the time on what you are doing for fear of them getting out from under you, like I've heard about other GS skis (and the TI version of this same ski).
You can pretty much chill out at slower speeds (20-30mph) and they are happy to do what you ask of them, but don't expect a ski with much personality at these speeds--they do everything well, including short radius turms, but aren't particularly fun or playful. Once I got used to them, I found myself just opening up and straight lining icy blues 40mph+ with hardly a second thought and this is where they were happiest.
In comparison, my Bonifides are way more fun and playful at slower speeds and can certainly also Mach softer groomers, but I always found myself washing out when scrubbing speed in icier conditions, and getting nervous with the screaming banshee sound they make on ice (Kendo's also). The SC's were almost the opposite, void of personality at slower speeds, but very happy maching the iciest shit you can find in wide GS turn shapes at big edge angles (and they dont make that nails on a chalkboard sound on ice either). They are race skis after all, lol.
And, they ARE a stiff ski. This is not a playful or snappy ski in general, although the tail does have quite a bit of energy and pop which you really feel in shorter radius turns. Overall they are stiff, heavy and damp and mean business. I'm 6'3" and 235 lbs and they were always there for me when I needed them to be. NEVER found myself missing metal sheets or whatever. They did everything I asked of them, short radius turns, long turns, frozen crud, whatever. Yet they were still happiest on smooth, hard snow, going as fast as you're comfortable, preferably in as straight of a line as possible.
So all in all they are pretty much ideal for Squaw's current hard, icy groomer conditions. Yet, as soon as it snows again I'll still be back on my Bonafides in a heartbeat.
P.S. I wish I had my Kendos with me to compare them back to back, but I will say, I never once felt comfortable enough on the Kendos to just straight line an icy Squaw Creek like I did today, and on my Kendos I wanted to stop skiing as soon as everything was scraped off and icy, but on the SC's I never really even noticed the ice. That said, if the snow was soft everywhere (as in not icy) I'd definitely grab the Kendos (or better yet, the Bonafides) first.
So all in all, 400 bucks with bindings is an amazing deal for a ski of this caliber, but a ski of this caliber is certainly not for everybody. I thought that since this ski didn't have metal, it might make a decent all-mountain or even bump ski. Not.
Make no mistake, this is a serious GS "beer league" race ski that loves hard smooth snow going as fast as possible--it's not likely going to be a one ski quiver, or all-mountain ski ever...unless you are an Ice Coaster and are unfortunate enough to have the rare Squaw-like conditions we have right now, most of the year.
So, in short, I'd only recommend buying this ski if you plan on skiing at least 5-6 more days this season in boilerplate conditions, OR if you are a beer league racer. For myself, the former definitely applies, so I'm pretty happy with this purchase!
Edited by lovethesteeps - 2/4/12 at 7:22pm