Originally Posted by docmartin
+1, for half way serious Masters racing you want to be on race stock. Cheater radius is too small.
It depends, because the meaning of "race stock" has changed over the years as the FIS have messed around with the rules.
Up until '06 "race stock" GS skis often had sidecut in the mid 20s. For example my 185 Rossis are about 24-25 m. Those skis worked very well for "serious masters racers", and indeed a lot of masters racers stockpiled those skis when the rules changed and are still on them (and in some cases winning on them).
From '06 to '12 the minimum sidecut was 27 m, and most "race-stock" skis were in the 27-30 m range. At this point it becomes a question of the racer's weight, strength, and tactics. I weigh >200 lbs with a lot of that in the quads and hams, and use more classical (rounder) line/tactics. I actually prefer some of the the 27m GS skis to my 24m Rossis. The only reason I don't have a pair is because I haven't been an active racer in some time and have allocated my "spousal ski allowance" to other stuff.
As of last season the FIS minimum for GS is 35m. IMO those skis aren't ideal for anybody except Ted Ligety, who's actually faster on them than he was on his 29s. I don't think I've ever seen a masters racer with the right combination of strength, skills, and tactics for those skis. That includes some ex-WC guys who race masters. If you had to choose between those and, say, an 18m "cheater ski" you'd probably be better off on the latter even though neither is ideal.
In other words, for many serious master's racers the ideal would be a ski with race-stock construction but with a 24m radius or so. For others it would be last season's 27m skis. I don't think that the latest ones make sense for anybody at the masters level, though. It will be interesting to see how the manufacturers handle this. Head seems to be continuing to make both 27m and 35m flavors of the i.GS, which is good.