I am looking to buy my first pair of skis, and I need some advice. I have been skiing ten years or so with my family, and we usually get at least one week a year in the Alps (apparently they like sand over snow, the freaks). Anyhow, I have finally reached a point where my on-piste technique is as good as it ever will be (not perfect, but I can piste-bash pretty much any trail, and tend to do so quite quickly), and after spending a day with an off-piste guide on our VT trip last year, and discovering the feeling of true powder for the first time, I have decided I want to improve my off-piste skills as much as possible this time around. My plan is shortlist a few skis, try them out over the course of a week or so, and maybe buy a pair with some hard-mooched cash. I have done a lot of looking around for potential skis, as well as the concepts behind ski design, and settled on the all mountain variety. After reading reviews on Epicski, freeskier mag, and a few other places, as well as some youtube demos I found myself staring at the same sticks over and over. The Atomic Theory, and the Blizzard Bonafide (with maybe a Volkl Mantra as a wild card).
However, after the crucial back patting phase at a job well done, but before the ceremonial closing of the web browser, I had an epiphany. The reviews I had read were by people who were much better and more experienced than me, and all of a sudden phrases like "aggressive" and "high-performance" went from "Awww yeah" to "Awww sheeeit". The next day I returned to my PC looking for more calm skis with off-piste leanings but soon realized if I were to buy a ski, it would have to last through the timid bunny phase and into at least the beginnings of the rocket-on-coke phase.
So I find myself at a conundrum, and decided to cast this short note into the fires (with slain goat) of skiing forum gods:
220lb 5'9/ 100kg 176 cm teenage fatass (not unfit, I just like food) male, experienced and aggressive piste-basher with little real off-piste exp/ skill looking for a ski I can take down black groomers when I feel like it and that provides a decent learning platform for off-piste and powder conditions. Something that I can really explore with, maybe doing the first section of a groomer then just meandering around till I hit the lift I'm looking for. I'm not an expert skiier, and I could have better technique on groomers but I think I could better improve my technique with more challenging terrain/ snow. I'm not very park-oriented and have never skiied twintips, though I might be persuaded. I would ideally like a ski with heavy off-piste bias but that won't put me at a disadvantange skiing with the rest of the family on groomers, hence I am not interested in Epic's definition of "Big Mountains". Something different to frontside carvers but not so alien as to really throw me.
Feel free to drop suggestions, and I will compile a shortlist for the shop.