I agree with most of the reviews here. Awesome and quick ski in bumps, groomed, mixed and even light crud. Less responsive than the Pocket Rocket/Explosives in heavier crud/deep powder. The trade off is this -- how often do you spend the entire day in deep powder or heavy crud? If the answer (be truthful here, folks) is less than 25 - 35%, then this ski is the one ski for you. Let's face it, unless you are heli-skiing, you will not find yourself in completely untracked all day unless you are trapped at Alta/Snowbird on a day when the canyon closes. Most powder gets skiied up pretty quick. The T50 Five * does just fine in medium to light crud. Heavy/sticky crud is less fun with this ski. Use your heavier GS ski to power through this stuff, or go with the PR/Explosive fat boys and float on top.
There is no such thing as THE ONE SKI that does everyting better than any other ski. That said, and having recently demo'ed almost every Atomic, Dynastar, Rossi, Volant, and Volkl on the market, this ski stood out in a class by itself as a ski that does almost everything some of the other specialty skis do. For instance:
* the Atomic SL:11 is one of the top three short turn carving skis on planet earth. Period. If you get late in a gate, you can drop your rear end down to binding level, lay these things over on their side and get back on the line. Unbelievable. The T50 is not the SL:11, but it carves incredibly well and kills the SL in the bumps with a slightly softer (perhaps an understatement) flex -- especially in the tail. This is also the case when carving up the steeps. The T50 is more forgiving.
* the Dynastar SC10 is an incredibly smooth GS ski. Great dampening. Beautiful long arc geometry turns. Ski it to believe it. However, at slower speeds and for shorter turns, the ski requires alot of effort. The T50 is very, very stable at speed and at lesser speeds that GS skis cannot match.
* the Volant skis are typically great crud busters with their stiffer steel cap design. The T50, while not a Volant, does pretty darn well in mixed snow, crud and less-than-the-really-nasty crud.
I would also recommend that T50 demo'ers go shorter rather than longer. Want a killer pure powder ski? Get the Explosive or the PR in 180 cm and float like mad. Want a ski that, even in a short legnth can float through the powder pretty darn well and out carve the hell out of the fat boys? Go with the T50 in a shorter length and use it for what it was designed for -- carving, short turns, off-piste traction/edge, quickness in the trees, tremendous grip on groomed, quickness in the bumps with a little less stiffness, etc.
No such thing as THE ONE. In my tests of over a half dozen recent, top-of-the-line skis, the Volkl T 50 5 Star is about as close as it gets to the ONE.
My humble opinion. I now ski on a 188 cm Volant Machete McG that I love to death in the groomed and in heavy crud, but will not miss in the pow, bumps, or heavy duty steeps. I skied the T 50 in the 168 and the 175. Liked the 168 better as it felt lighter, faster, quicker and more responsive in all conditions. Less float in the powder? Sure, the math says so, but as one poster here noted, the 168 feels maybe 5% less effective in powder than the 175. That said, the 168 felt much quicker and easier to steer in a powder/dense trees scenario. I will take the quicker steerage over increased float ANY DAY in the trees.
5 foot 11 inches tall. 180 pounds. Expert skier on most days (tired as heck on some others).