Originally Posted by N8M
I was hoping you would chime in, and you make a great point. However, there are two pieces of information that I neglected to mention. First, is that I do plan on picking up a cheap pair of SL skis to bomb around on for those really, REALLY hard packed days. Second, i'm leaning towards the 98mm skis (and away from anything narrower) because my wife and I are moving west next summer.
Given this info, would a 98mm + 115mm quiver really be out of line?
I don't think so, although I don't care for most 98mm skis on the groomers or on firm days off-piste. Narrower stuff is more fun for me there, I can ski faster w/more confidence. It sounds like you have SL skis, but those aren't good off-piste either. I like narrower, high performance all-mountain skis for firmer stuff, and keep my 98mm skis for when the snow is soft, or I don't know what to expect. When I went to Snowbird recently, we skied hardpack to firm snow to ice the first couple of days, and I was skiing steep bumps the whole first day on my MX78's. 2nd day, it snowed 8-14 inches, depending on where you were, and I was on my 98's. In the deepest spots, I could have skied something wider, but it got skied out pretty quick, and I wouldn't have wanted to be on a wider ski in steep, sketchy terrain w/icy bumps underneath. For that 2nd day, the 98 was probably the best ski I could have asked for. On the first day, the 78 was ripping; it is my friend in steep bumps on firm snow.
Either way you are going to have compromises. Even living out West, I wouldn't want my 98mm ski to be my narrow ski. 85-90mm is much better on hardpack, and more than that, is just plain more fun. Plus, I can ski a good 90mm ski in moderate new snow (anything under 12" is pretty easy, less than 7" is cake) and pull the big boards out when it is deeper. My actual quiver will probably be 83/94/108/118 this year, but likely if it is an average year, the 83's will be skied 35%, the 94's 35%, the 108's 20%, and the 118's 10%. Last year, I had no need for anything wider than 108 (we didn't get much snow) and skied the 80-90mm skis most of the time. 2 years ago, I skied the 108's at least 35% of the time, and it was a huge year.
Ideally you would have 3 pairs? At least, that is what I would want to own. You have hardpack skis, you have enough float for mixed conditions, you have deep snow skis, and no compromises.