After reading a ton of reviews in the web and discussion in different forums, I just have to write to you guys and try to figure out few things.
For background information: I started skiing as a kid back in the 1980's in those neon colored overalls and straight skis which you were supposed to keep together and bounce the slopes down. Still gives me this mixed feeling of nostalgia and embarrassment to see someone ski like that... Between ages 7 and 15 I pretty much spent all winter in the local ski resort. Then there was a long long pause in the hobby until few years back I got the spark again. After skiing on rentals for the occasional trips, last winter I got my first skis for many years. I live in Finland (Europe, not Minnesota) and we have zero mountains here, thanks to the ice age. In Finland what you have is more like few hunded meters high rolling hills.
I also learned how to carve, which I really enjoy. My skis are the Elan Amphibio Waveflex 12, which work incredibly nicely here in Finland. In here I mostly ski on the groomers as the off-piste doesn't mean wide open powder fields, but more like huge amount of trees and rocks, from which I try to stay away from. And on groomers in the hills we have here, I have no complaints for the skis. They are easy to carve and work in the speeds that you can gather anyway. The snow conditions here are typically hard pack and packed powder, the slopes are continuously groomed and when there is fresh snow, it doesn't get that deep (typically few inches). So, the skis work well here.
The problems started when we wen't to the French Alps (Tignes) last spring. First of all, obviously the hills turned into mountains and that has some effect on the speed you can ski. Second thing was that the snow conditions varied from knee deep powder to crud, hard pack and moguls, and when they groomed them in the evening they turned into very icy surface for the next morning (if there were no new snow, which we had on half of the days). These conditions were on the slopes, as I didn't dare to go off-piste with my skills and gear.
The skis also feel too short for the speed, appearing very unstable especially when the powder turned into moguls during the day. On the ice they didn't grip all too well. The optimal condition was after the ice had softened a little so the skis started to grip, and before the snow was piled into moguls. On most slopes, this wasn't too many hours.
On one working trip to Vancouver, I wen't skiing to Whistler. Based on that I suppose the conditions in the Alps would be more on what you refer as "West" :) This panorama is from French Alps so if you've never been there, this is what is looks like: http://www.virtualvisit360.com/laplagne360/
So the Elan's are definitely keepers for the hills here, but now I need something different for the Alps. The new skis should work on the snow conditions described above, and if they weren't totally useless in the off-piste conditions, I'm sure I would enjoy skiing in the powder, too. For carving on the groomers my biggest concern is the stability in higher speeds and how the skis behave in moguls. Obviously I'm lacking also skills but I'm sure better suited skis would make the learning a more pleasant experience. What I think is "higher speed" surely isn't very high from the more experienced point of view, but generally I enjoy going as fast as my skills let... or a tad more.
The issue is that I can't demo any skis in the correct environment, so I pretty much have to get them based on Internet. :)
I'm 190 cm / 100 kg, or 6'3" / 220 lbs. I'm somewhat athletic due to years spent in the gym although I could use more aerobic endurance.
From what I've read, I now have two options in mind. Völkl RTM 84 and Blizzard Bonafide. I suppose both would suit the kind of mixed environment, with the Völkl more inclined towards carving on groomers and the Blizzard more to the off-piste or deeper powder conditions. I'm not exactly sure which I will eventually prefer more, but anyway I need more experience from the bigger mountains before I would go very far off-piste.
So I would appreciate comments on the skis above and how you think they would fit these requirements. I'd also like to hear comments about the ski length. From both skis I read raving comments and reviews, but from those it seems impossible to figure out which would suit my needs bets. Or, if you have a totally different option in mind, I'd love to hear them.