Ahem! Why, YES! Thank you, MarkP!
The mid-season replacement for the Rossi Bandit XX is NOT the same ski, so please do not equate them. The new one, called the B2, is wider and MUCH more flexible. I'll get to ski it later this month but haven't yet.
I demoed the 2003/2003 Salomon Crossmax 10 Pilot and the 2002/2003 Rossi Bandit XX. Although they are not the same, I'm sure I would have been a happy skier on either model, so try not to lie awake at night worrying about this.
As a skier of modest ability only, skiing in Vermont but with western jaunts from time to time, I have found the 2002/2003 Rossi Bandit XX to be excellent in all conditions, from hardpack to untracked. However, the 2002/2003 interation is the end of the line for that model, so if you can snap up a pair, DO IT!
Also, the 2002/2003 Crossmax 10 Pilot is being replaced by a stiffer and more demanding ski, so if you like the current model, better get it now.
As many on this web site know, I am a dedicated fan of the XX. As many also know, I demo skis all year long, at the on snow trade show and all season thereafter. There's no question that skis can be very different from each other, and getting the wrong model or the wrong length can hamper your pleasure and learning. That said, the difference between the Salomon Crossmax 10 Pilot and the Rossignol Bandit XX [assuming you choose a length short enough for you to handle]is FAR less significant that the skills you learn. If you're ever fortunate enough to be a student at the EpicSki Academy, you'll become convinced of that. This year, I was at the Academy in a group lead by nolo. The group included me [oboe], Wear the fox hat?, sno'more, Bob the Builder and Springhill Crazie. We were, I think, very well matched as to level of ability - and we all were on different models of skis. In all conditions, the differences between us that may have developed, and the improvement in our skiing, had everything to do with learning improvemnts to our technique, and very little to do with our choice of equipment.
Choose your skis, get as good a deal on them as you can, and then come to the 2004 EpicSki Academy. Learn from THE BEST instructors on earth, and you'll ski any run better on any equipment. If you have any questions about the Academy, please contact me by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org[ February 18, 2003, 07:52 AM: Message edited by: oboe ]