I'm planning a trip to Mt. Bachelor this spring, during the first week or two of May. It will be the first time I've skied out West (I live in New England), and I'm pretty sure my current gear isn't optimal for the conditions I'm likely to encounter. Also, I'd like to avoid checking my skis thru on the plane. As a final bonus, it would be nice to have an excuse to add a second set of skis to my quiver for future use in New England.
I'm 6', 150 lbs., 53 years old. I'm an "advanced" skier, but no expert. I can get down pretty much anything in New England, other than Tucks, but I prefer carving on blue and single-black cruisers, or tree skiing on those rare days where we get some powder. I tend to favor short-radius, carved turns (rather than the skidded windshield-wiper turns that seem so prevalent at New England resorts). I'm lucky if I get 20-25 days per season on snow, and I tend to prefer spring skiing to mid-winter, as I'd rather deal with big piles of slush than big patches of ice.
At Bachelor, it looks like I'll spend most of my time on the front side, and only venture onto the back-side (but inbounds) runs on "hero-snow" days. I assume there won't be any true powder days, and that I'll mostly be on corn (with maybe some crusty, wind-packed crud in the mornings).
My current skis are 167cm K2 Apache V's, a pretty narrow-waisted ski (111/70/101). They're great on hardpack groomers, but in full-on spring conditions I tend to get thrown around a bit. Just to clarify, we hardly ever get the kind of silky-smooth corn conditions that I've heard about out West: Our spring conditions tend to involve large piles of mashed potatoes and other crud, particularly by the end of the day. My boots are Lange Comp 120's.
I'm assuming that I might be better served at Bachelor with a slightly fatter ski, perhaps with a bit more rocker in the tip. (My Apaches are 8+ years old, so they are old-style cambered (but shaped) skis, with no rocker other than the traditional upturn at the tip). I'm hoping to find something suitable for less than $700, as I'm primarily picking up these skis for this specific trip. Having said that, it might be nice to have a slightly fatter ski in my quiver for future spring seasons in New England, so I definitely don't want to buy a big-mountain specialist ski that would only be usable out West (and probably wouldn't fit my style of skiing).
It looks like the on-mountain ski shop at Bachelor has the following brands available for demo:
I'm assuming that there are some ski shops in Bend, as well, although the demo logistics might be a bit awkward. Finally, if there's a clear-cut first choice, I might be willing to buy here at home (or via mail-order), without a demo, and have the skis shipped to Oregon before I arrive.
I'd be interested in hearing any advice that any of you can offer, either on specific skis or -- probably more usefully -- what kinds of general characteristics I should be looking for in a ski for this purpose.
Thanks in advance for the help!