Alpine gear head here. Also love to skate ski, and have been doing xc of one sort or another casually almost my whole life. Never been much of an equipment geek in this area. I think that's part of the appeal for me - it's something that I can do at short notice locally, get outside, and get a great workout, without a lot of fuss or bother. If there's no snow locally, I generally just don't go. (If I'm going to drive two hours each way, I'm going to do alpine.) My nordic skiing for the past decade or so has been almost exclusively freestyle. I get out probably 10 - 15 days a year, depending on snow cover. I'm competent technically, and usually have some aerobics left over from bike season, but never really develop the upper body to where it should be for a skater. Whatever. If I pass people it's because I'm patient and precise with my stride and weight transfer. (And I'm not afraid of the downhills. ) If I don't, it's because I'm out of shape.
For the last 10 - 12 years I've been skiing on a pair of Atomic Vasa skates, 183cm, that I bought NOS. So I think they are circa 1999. I am 5'7", 135lbs. Always been happy with them, especially on firmer snow (which is mostly what we have here near the coast). Couple things are driving me to a new ski purchase this season, the simpler one of which is that the bases are peeling off at the tails again, and there is a big chunk out of p-tex gone on one edge underfoot. Just feels like it's time. I'd like to spend around $200 for a NOS or lightly used pair.
Looked around for quite a while. Had my eye on a lightly used pair of Atomic World Cup HTs (Hard Track) @ 185cm on eBay, with nominally perfect flex (based on the numbers printed on the topsheet, at least - the only mfr that seems to do this in a way that does not require calculus to interpret). Unfortunately life got in the way and I missed the bidding window. Crap. Anyway, cutting finally to the chase, I ended up with a pair of 08-09 (I think) NOS Rossi X-ium NIS 1s @ 181cm. There was a pair in the shop marked "racer weight 130 - 150" that was just ever so slightly stiffer than the ones I ended up buying . Got them home and am having some doubts about whether I made a good choice. Here are the reasons:
1) I've never skied on Rossi skate skis, and I've since read that they tend to be stiff at the extremities, with high final camber, and that this can make them slow in soft snow. Now, I know this is a hard-snow model, and I'm okay with that as far as it goes, but these are also going to be my only skis, so they can't be total one-trick ponies.
2) I always thought my Atomics were on the stiff side, based on informal brief excursions on friends' skis, but on comparing them with the Rossis by hand-flexing, I now see that they are significantly softer both underfoot (I can squeeze the bases together if I use both hands) and at the tips and tails than the x-iums. I never thought those skis were particularly good on a soft day, and now I'm concerned that with the Rossis I may have over-specialized in an attempt to go up a notch in performance and down a notch in weight.
I know I could consult with a high-end specialty shop, but I also know that the only real option there is to pay more or less full boat, and I really don't want to spend the next 5 years still / again on an entry-level ski, which is what I'd be stuck with, given my budget, at a place like that. Or maybe that's exactly what I want, given my overall approach to nordic.