My current skis are 176/177, so not sure if I'd like the sudden loss of over half meter of skis. I'd ditch poles on those, but I do the same for a few runs on my current skis when there's no lift line so that's not a problem.
So should I bother?
You will give up top speed and some stability at speed, but if you can handle to fore/aft balance you will gain in mobility. But, you're not getting them for speed. I'm not sure that you really want to look for "mini skis", these tend to be poorly designed and cheaply manufactured,
Check out the,
Icelandic Scout 143cm
Summit Marauder 125 cm
Spruce Sherpa 130 cm
Theses are well made products with enough width to offset the shorter length. No, they're not snowblades.
It's OK, the credibility of shorter skis was tainted by the Salomon Blades a long time ago. The image of pivoting beginners on blades is a lot less common than backseat skidders on longer skis; but that seems to get overlooked. Shorter skis have been used for mountaineering and back country skiing for a long time. All the above boards are designed with ascents in mind and are capable of handling back country skiing conditions, including powder.
Skis have been getting shorter for a long time and that trend will continue. Resistance is futile.
Yeah, shorter, then longer, then shorter again. 10 years ago my go-to ski was a 180, then a 170, now back to a 180.
Don't see myself skiing anything shorter for at least a few years, but that's me.
Wayne Wong skis those shorter skis now I think, and when I get to be his age, it might make perfect sense to me.
He's got me by ten years but my knees feel older that. I left the goomers for the trees a long time ago and really enjoy the tighter turn radius.
Knowing 2 people who who broke their tibias on snoblades (they have 2 releases, spiral and compound) I'd definitely stay away from them. Big feet seem to be short enough to not have the same problems.
8-10 years ago our beginners rental shop had Rossi Cuts down to a 110. Designed to be an adult beginner ski they are a hoot and a half to play around on. With a 8 meter radius about 75mm underfoot they let let you know quickly if you are using both feet properly. Great for practicing getting smoothly, but quickly on and off edge as sudden moves make them squirreley above about 15 mph. Get them up to about 25 on a wideish trail and lay them over cleanly and you can do a "perfect circle" carve all the way through a 360, such fun. With the short radius it became a great game to carve in the bumps or make 2-3 turns on every bump. So much fun in fact that I bought a 5 pairs when we switched to Head. I gave 3 of them away, kept one alpine and, well my current backyard ski.......
Elan has been selling a 120 they market to instructors I have heard good things about, Head links used to be out there in shorter lengths. Check the rental shops where you ski. Try renting as short as you can. If you aren't having fun or don't wish to learn what they can teach you you're only out a days rental- or go in at lunch and ask if there is a performance rental you can upgrade to. If you do like them ask if they're rotating stock and would they sell you a pair at the end of the season, like right now, and can I apply the rental fee to the purchase. You may get a deal, you may get tossed.
Do not use a children's ski. Some of the junior bindings will take an adult boot, but they'll probably be too floppy to be much fun. The White Rossi Cut 110 (the generation before mine) was a children's ski with an adult core in it. It was awful. Too short to flex the ski but an adult would probably pull the bindings right out of the childrens ski core.
Obviously being shorter, they are safer. But putting non release bindings on the makes them much more dangerous.
Compared to skis, they can be much safer, or much more dangerous, depending on the set up and use.