Originally Posted by Metaphor_
Your ski looks pretty good for up to a couple of feet. On the other hand, if it dumps and you just want to go play without improving technique, a fat ski works.
A 78mm underfoot carver "good for up to a couple of feet." Come on. Let's give the OP real advice and keep personal biases out of it.
I don't intend to start up another fat/skinny, modern/old-school flame war here, and I don't want to tell anyone how to do it, or start up with the "your doing it wrong" nonsense that re-afflicts this board like a virus every few weeks. If someone wants to take skinny carvers up to Whistler, hike Spanky's Ladder, and do pedal turns and jump turns ala Scot Schmidt circa 1987 in 2 feet of powder - awesome, have fun. Skiing is fun and it was fun back in those days. Not saying you can't do it.
But OP came to this board seeking real advice - not a re-hash of personal biases.
And in light of the vast advances in ski technology, even in the last 5 years, it is disingenuous to suggest that OP's 78mm Nordies are "pretty good for up to a couple of feet" when OP is a high intermediate from West Virginia looking to improve the powder/off piste game on trips out west.
First of all - seriously, how many inbounds resort days, even at Whistler, Snowbird, Jackson are deeper than 2 feet? Unless you are skiing in Japan, 3 foot days are not the norm inbounds. By the "couple of feet" criteria, there would be almost no use for skis over 80mm according to the advice above, and that just doesn't compute with reality or the on-mountain experience of the vast majority of skiers (intermediate-expert-pro). Everyone can't possibly be wrong, or be stupid or just simply be less skilled than we were "back in the good old days."
I don't meet to say anything super shocking or controversial here, and this advice is more geared to the western trip than skiing the home mountain, but if OP is venturing anywhere off the groomers at a real western mountain, an 88 class/98 class ski would be noticeably better everywhere over the current Nordies, regardless of ability level. And after 4+ inches, OP would see a substantial improvement with a 88 class or 98 class ski in soft stuff and something like that would be fine-to-awesome in the more typical 6-12" you see on a western powder day. Over a foot, rent something fatter and give it a try.
The good advice in this thread - fly out west without skis, demo every day based on the conditions and decide for yourself. You may like something in the 88 class, 98 class, 1oh class - that's something only you can find out. If you get lucky and hit a powder day, rent something fat (110-125, your choice) and you decide for yourself what you prefer, what works best for you, in deep snow.
Good luck. And have fun trying stuff out.