I have 3 skis: Volkl Supersport Allstar, Nordica Steadfast and Icelantic Shaman, 68mm, 90mm, 110mm underfoot respectively. For the past year I've pretty much skied the Steadfast exclusively. I find the Volkls boring and Red Lodge Mountain has not really had enough snow to justify bringing out the Shamans, well maybe once this year but I managed just fine with the Steadfasts. I just spent two days at Snowbasin where I demoed 12 skis followed by yesterday at Big Sky where I demoed three more and have decided that I can more than just get by with a new two ski quiver. The two new skis are the Nordica Fire Arrow 84 EDT in a 168cm and the Atomic Ritual in a 182cm.
The conditions at Snowbasin were firm and I found the Fire Arrow to have tremendous edge grip(not surprising) with quick turn initiation and a huge fun factor. I enjoy bumps although I am only an average bump skier and the FA worked just fine for me. There some places on a few runs where the couple inches of fresh snow was piled up in sizable clumps and the FA just cruised right on through. It was very stable no matter how fast I was going. This would be my ski for hardpack and even up to a few inches of powder.
The Atomic Ritual is, of course, a very different ski, a twin tip with both tip and tail rocker and a little bit of camber. At 103mm underfoot it would be my ski for trees and any day with more than maybe 8-9" of powder. I demoed this ski at Big Sky and we found plenty of soft snow on a couple of runs and in the trees. The Ritual was great in the trees, whether bumped out or untracked, and it handled well on the hard groomers with piles of loose snow from the 4" overnight accumulation. It does not have the edge grip of the Steadfast or even the Shaman but it has enough. Turn initiation is quick and easy and it is very quick edge to edge considering the width. I ended up at the top of a pretty steep narrow chute with no real way out except down and it made the quick turns I needed to get down to where the run opened up. It was very stable blasting through the piles of loose snow and never once did I feel uneasy about just letting it run in those conditions.
So, that's where I'm heading, get rid of three skis and replace them with two. There was only one other ski that caused me to grin as much on the groomers at Snowbasin as the FA and that was an Elan Waveflex slalom race ski in a 155cm length. They were like being strapped to a pair of rockets and if I raced in a beer league I would snap them up, but as an everyday ski they just aren't what I want. They are not skis that you can ever relax on because they will punish you for mistakes to a higher level than the FA.
So, if anyone wants to poke holes in this, feel free to tell me why.
Edited by mtcyclist - 2/23/13 at 12:36pm