Well, since I brought it up: 1) Safe isn't a synonym for lazy.
2) I have made fun of the way that the Bone was/is held out as the best solution for all possible skiers, large, small, expert, intermediate, and so on. Do you see the difference between a ski being, on average, the best out there, and a ski being the best for each person? I have not made fun/scoffed at the ski itself, since I'm certain it's a damn fine ski, and has gotten consistently strong reviews from many besides you.
3) With all due respect, the fact that you, SJ, and Jackson Hogen all own Bonafides is largely irrelevant to whether it's the "safe" choice for everyone. It just means that the ski works well for the three of you. Are you really that different? While I don't know how much Hogen weighs, I do know that you are somewhere between 185 and 190, while SJ is well north of 190. And I know that you're all expert or north of that. Both you and SJ have characterized yourselves as finesse skiers, although I wonder if you use the term the same way as others here. Can't speak to Mr. Hogen, but apparently he really loves to carve.
So you'll have to explain to me how that makes your experience on the Bonafide relevant to someone 30 or 50 pounds lighter, say, or intermediate to advanced. Do you really know what it's like to ski the Bonafide or Soul at 160, or as an intermediate? Yet you've recommended the Bones to stated intermediates (and this on a site that has serious grade inflation) who weigh less than me. So again, does "safe" mean that it's literally the best choice for everyone? Or does it mean that if you randomly assigned the Bonafides to 100 skiers, a higher percentage of them would be happy than with another ski? There's a big difference, y'know. In the second case, you're working blind, just looking at the probability of a hit. And you might well be right. In the first, you have a lot of information. And you might be wrong.
4) No one has asked you to apologize, have they? And you've let us all know about your championing of The Ski, and your cheap picks, so we appreciate your heart is pure of any possible conflicts about recommendations. But it would be great if you could step back and realize that what's a great ski for you and Jim and Mr. Hogen may not be a great ski for all, and that conversely, that a ski you personally don't bond with can nonetheless be a great ski for others who are not built like you, or who don't ski like you. Or maybe even a few who do. Epic is a bigger guy, and a very good skier, and he has said several times that he thinks the Soul 7 is a great soft snow ski, loves it in bumps. Conversely, this year I noticed that a number of reviewers dinged the Bonafide for its maneuverability in tight places, which seems to me to be quite symmetrical with you dinging the Soul 7 for its still lacking stability when pushed hard.
5) Put another way, in the past few years, you seemed quite ready to note all the testers who liked the Bonafide, to site the overwhelming weight of numbers, but you do not seem so ready to acknowledge the equally large number of tests that made the Soul 7 the ski of the year and so on. Why? Is this about your personal likes, or is this about the best ski for the people who post here? Again, not the same thing...
1. In this context. Safe is a synonym for lazy.
2. You keep putting words in my mouth, I NEVER have said that the Bonafide was the best solution for everyone. In fact, I know I have given you many accounts where I have suggested a different ski over it. But for someone looking fora 98mm wide ski that is extremely versatile it is a very good option. As far as what would be good for 160lb intermediates and how I can put myself in their boots, I have skied enough skis, been with enough skiers, talked to enough product managers and worked with enough coaches to be able to discern the differences in a product. I recall being at a trade fair a few years back and one manufacture was having us try their new entry level ski that had full rocker. When I got off the chair, I did so in a manner that most new to the sport skiers would do, I stood up and got in a defensive position (leaning back) and as soon as I unloaded I spun around and was facing backwards right at the chair and in the way of the next group of people to unload, not good..scary. When I test intermediate skis, I start by skidding the turns, I lean back a little, I have my hands back all to see ow that ski will react to skiers that have less experience then I increase the technique and quite frankly there are some intermediate skis that have huge performance windows can ski well above their price point, this is how my "Steals & Deals" awards were started.
3. Yes, the three of us are very different, I am 5'10 190, SJ is about my height, and about 225, Jackson is over 6' and about 175-180 a pretty good range of sizes who all like the same ski. Please show me where I recommended the Bonafide to an intermediate and very well I will reclassify to you why I did, not that I need to justify my suggestion I make for someone else to you. Are there other skis that can do one or two things better than the Bonafide? Absolutely, but there is not e better balance nor versatile 98 than it. Are the E98 and Mantra better on firm snow than the Bone? Yeah but the Bonafide is better in bumps, trees, crud, spring condition powder, wind buff than those two. If someone wants a 98 that is good in firm conditions and NOT go in the other areas that I just mentioned, there are two great options. So, no I don't think the Bonafide is good for EVERYONE. I have suggested the Bonafide for some 150lb people and they have liked it, in many cases I have also suggested different skis, you see just a small sampling if skiers that I have worked with either publicly or privately.
4. I like The Ski and if you read my review, you will see that first and foremost it i admitted that an emotional connection of a review BUT I got the ski on others skiers who were different than myself and got their opinion on The Ski and all agreed what it's strengths and weaknesses were. I do not consider myself a "champion" of The Ski but there are certain cases where it is very well one of the best choices like if someone is looking for an all mountain ski that is very good in the bumps, it is one of the best options there, but not the only but one of the best.
Epic and I ski differently and for the most part have access to different terrain. With that said, I know the way Epic skis and if someone asked me if I thought he would like the Soul7, I would have said yes. because I know the way he skis. Do I know the way everyone who asks what ski to get skis? No but I can get a pretty good idea of what they want or need (two very different things) in a ski and discern what to suggest and if I am unsure, I will ask more questions. Are there also skis that people that I know (or think I know) get on and am I surprised that they like them? Sure. Are there skis that I suggest for people that they absolutely don't like? Yes there too. Would I have thought that Epic would like the Kastle FX104? No.
5. The Soul7 has had the benefit of having an early release late last year so it has come into this season with some momentum, I think thats where some of the accolades are coming from, more people have been on it so thats where some of the excitement has been slightly more than other skies. Again as I said earlier on, I don't suggest what I like in a ski but what might be for the person that is buying but skiing so many skis I can start discerning each of there strengths and weakeness I can then decipher who that ski is for, I don't just go by flexing the ski in a shop nor just deciding by the numbers or what brand the ski is, I make my own judgments and in the rare times that I cannot figure a ski out or who that ski in for, I will ask someones opinion who has skied it.
If you take 4 similar skis from any segment, all will do 6 out of 10 things pretty well identical, the other 4 is where the variables come in, most will do 2 out of the 4 well, but which two? And which 2 are you willing to work with and which 2 are YOUR weakness? Do you want those two to complement your strengths or assist you in your shortfalls? If you are lucky enough for that ski to meet 3 of the 4, they bingo we have a winner. This is where I think the Bonafide in a 9 out of 10 ski, while there are some skis that do 1..maybe..maybe 2 but most likely it is "as good as". But as with everything there are exceptions and we are dealing with variables, emotions and people who just want to be wet blankets and question everything just to be contradictory. Such as Epic who likes the Soul7 or a 150lb skier that liked the Bonafide more than the Bushwacker that was my first suggestion for him, its not science. It's just skiing, these are just skis and it is all fun to talk about to compare and contrast.