Nordica Fire Arrow 84 EDT, 176 cm, 128/84/112.5, R=18.0
Bindings: NTN Freerides (telemark), red spring cartridges
Boot: Scarpa TX comps
Skier: 62, 6'1', 155 lbs, 50+ years on skis (30+ freeheel)
ski days: ~5
snow types: very firm to actual (really) packed/loose powder, all groomed (never off-piste)
Prior skis: Blizz Mags 8.7/8.1, Kastle MX 78
Something about the early reviews caught my attention - the perfect combination of lively finesse and carving power, but .... mounting my free-heel binding on the integral plate seemed impossible. Took a chance (what the heck, I'm not getting any younger, etc.) reserved a pair over the summer, and immediately stepped off the edge by ripping the entire mounting plate off, replacing it with my own HDPE shim (had to re-attach the carbon fiber plates). Nervous first day, bated breath and all that - all expectations/hopes exceeded! They blew my previous skis entirely out of the water: rock steady carve, easy/quick turn initiation and follow-through, effortless edge to edge, amazingly steady for what I consider to be a relatively short ski (much more so than the MX 78s in exactly the same length; comparable to the 8.7s in stability but much more lively and quick). Aside from the price, the only downside was the irresistible urge to squander my limited energy reserves all too quickly skiing non-stop at unrecommended speeds for aged, brittle bones.
Seriously, this the most stable ski I've ever ridden at speed free-heel - I'm sure there's other that would compare (MX 88? Stockli?),
but until I can try those (no rush - I'll listen to suggestions/testimonies), the FA 84 is the undisputed champion.