First, I would like to echo the others in thanking everyone responsible for setting up the demo opportunities. It turned out to be a great day for demoing, as there were many types of snow condition and terrain across the mountain.
About me: I don't demo a lot, so I'm not the best at picking out every little nuance. I have, though, skied and demoed a lot more skis this year than ever. I have been a shameless Blizzard fan since last season; I've really really liked everything I have skied, including Philpug's Bonafide and Bushwacker last May. My daily ski is a 177 Crush, and I also have a 184 DPS 112 hybrid, but I've skied it only 4 days (quite happily, however). I'm 5'9" and 140lb.
1. Blizzard Dakota (177). This is the ski I really wanted to try, and I wasn't disappointed. It is the new women's version of the Cochise, very slightly modified but not much. I skied it for several runs on Tuesday at Mt Rose, and found it to be comfortable in any type of soft snow, trees, moguls, etc. It lost some personality on groomers, however -- although I didn't spend much time figuring it out, so I can't say for sure. I think it would be best making big wide fast turns when on firmer snow, which I wasn't doing.
The best test, though, came courtesy of the Blizzard reps, who let me use it for the day at Squaw on Thursday (thanks!). It was so perfect I don't know how to describe it except to say I didn't even think about the ski all day, really, it was just an extension of my legs. Mostly we skied soft and deep snow in trees and chutes, not super tight but definitely not much wide open. I had little trouble with balance or quickness, they just skied. Whether untracked or not, didn't matter. No tip dive, no backseat, easy in moguls.
Friday, however, showed me that it is not made for conservative skiing. Unfortunately I woke up with a mildly gimpy knee, and felt the need to be much more cautious. After a few not-so-enjoyable runs on the Dakota, I switched back to the Crush, which proved to be a less demanding ski.
2. Blizzard Samba (173). This is the women's Bonafide, and if I'm not mistaken, this one has been softened up a bit. NIMBLE! I think "quick little bugger" were my words. Yet, when taken into the chutes, in some fairly steep and deep terrain, they stood up amazingly well. No tip dive, no instability, maybe a little too quick on the turns, but I could fix that with more time to adjust. I could picture replacing my Crushes with this as a daily driver.
3. Blizzard Gunsmoke (186). I was intrigued by this ski, really enjoyed it in open areas, whether groomed or not, but then I took it into trees, where it was too long for me. Especially on the last run of the day. Would like to try a shorter version.
4. Dynastar Cham 107 (184) (I think that was the length -- Philpug and I had traded skis during a run). I didn't spend too much time on this ski, but I found it easy on both groomed and in moguls and trees. I had trouble in the chutes, though, in very deep untracked. We had just been in a virtual minefield of rocks, where I crunched the demo (very sorry, Mr Kind Dynastar Rep), so I backed off and skied too carefully after that, and the tail wouldn't let me. I kept getting backseat and couldn't get out easily. I would like to try this one again, when I could get forward and ski with a little more confidence. I felt like the length was fine for me.
5. Head Rev 105 (181). I had skied a couple of 2013 Heads early in the year and was impressed, as I was with this ski. I only took it on one run, but it was smooooth! Handled everything with ease, although I didn't take into snow more than 6" deep. It also has some pretty conservative graphics, maybe a counterpoint for those who don't like bulls and glitter and scary clowns.
So yeah, I liked all the skis, except the one that punished operator error. :-) Also, I really wanted to get on some Nordicas, but I had bad timing at their tent. For whatever reason, I still am most comfortable with the feel of the Blizzards, both unisex and not. I will probably purchase a Dakota at some point. I want to support the companies who are making serious skis in long lengths for women, and will bring something bigger than a 163 to a consumer demo -- thank you Blizzard and Nordica. I don't really believe "women's" skis are necessary, to tell the truth, but as long as the companies are making "women's" skis, they should cover the gamut.