Looking to narrow down 2 current pairs (Hart Phoenix and Stockli VXL) to 1 pair for Eastern (VT mainly with some mid-Atlantic) skiing and the primary snow surfaces we are most likely to face. Love both the Phoenix and VXL, but the last few seasons have taught me that I don't get out enough to merit both of these AND a post-storm wider pair for the East. Over the years I have also liked the Fischer RX Fire 8, the Blizzard Magnum 7.6, and the Kastle RX and MX 78 (although NOT looking to spend that kind of money this time!). Was NOT a big fan of the Head SS Magnum (a little too damp/burly) or the Blizzard Supersonics (great tip & rip, but a bit hooky/catchy for me in bumps).
Me: 5' 9 1/2", 165 lbs., 49 y.o., Entry/Low Level 8 skier, working more and more on ungroomed terrain, bumps and glades when available. This ski, however, must be able to handle most of the Eastern conditions that are typical to face. Looking for the flat out fun of the Phoenix with some of the additional versatility of the VXL. Settled on sub-80mm skis. Some possibilities include:
Blizzard Magnum 7.6 (demo'd)
Nordica FireArrow 74 (not tried)
Head i.Peak 78 Pro (not tried)
Would love recommendations/suggestions on these or others to try ... not looking for 2013 models. If all else is close to equal in terms of hardpack performance, would lean toward skis that are not a handful in the bumps.