I am a retired 67 year old former athlete (5'8", 165 pounds with an artificial right hip) who has taken up skiing. I spend my winters in Park City UT and have skied 250 days in the past three seasons. I spent much of the first of my three season on groomers, but after attending four John Clendennin bump clinics in Park City, I stay on the bump runs and pretty much avoid groomers. I don't ski very fast, and try to be slow, smooth, and graceful in the bumps. I want to do better in the bumps when the conditions are harder and less forgiving and I would like to become comfortable in the trees.
After trying many free Rossi demos at Deer Valley during my first season, I ended up with 186 cm S3s as my daily driver and 188 cm S7s for powder days. John Clendennin was all over me for my skis being too long, so I got a pair of 159 cm S3s at the Park City swap meet, and they have been my every day ski, except for powder days when I use the S7s. While the 159 cm S3s have been instrumental in my improvement in the bumps, they are obviously too short and I am looking for something longer. Also, neither pair of my S3s seem to like hard conditions, which have become more common in Utah the past two seasons.
Since I am relatively inexperienced but avoid groomed trails, I think that forgiveness, quickness, and ability to ski crud are the most important characteristics for me. After spending the past several days reading posts and reviews, I am thinking of getting 173 cm Kabookies/Sambas. As a daily driver in Utah, I like that they are 98 underfoot as opposed to 90 for the Bushwacker, Prophet 90, and Steadfast and are fairly soft and forgiving. However, the 2013 Buyers Guide in Ski Magazine describes the Samba as not very forgiving, which seems contradictory. Since the Samba/Kabookie is a Bonafide w/o the metal and the Bonafide gets good marks for forgiveness, I am confused.
My son is a former mogul racer on the Park City Freestyle team, and kids me about already having too much gear. He tells me that it's the Indian, not the bow and arrow that matters. As I have improved, I have started using the 186 cm S3s and the 188 cm S7s more often. Will staying with my current gear limit my improvement? If I do get skis, is a pair of 173 cm Kabookie/Sambas a good choice for me? Despite what the review in the 2013 Buyers Guide in Ski Magazine, are they forgiving enough for someone like me?