A friend's wife asked me to help her purchase a ski for him as a surprise for his birthday (great wife!). I've only ever purchased racing skis, so my familiarity with all-mountain skis is almost non-existent. I think she'll looking to keep the ski/binding package under $1k or so, but otherwise she has no idea what to get.
They're located here in the Boston area, so an east coast ski with a biased toward groomers and harder snow might be best. But I know he'll also be motivated to hit the slopes during those rare powder days. He's probably not very interested in hitting the bumps or tearing it up in the terrain park.
I've search around and noticed very high praise for the Head Rev 85, which I was tempted to recommend to her. However, that's rated as an expert level ski and here's the hard part: I've never skied with this guy. He just got back into skiing this year and apparently he skied regularly 10+ years ago, but I don't think he'd consider himself "expert". He's probably somewhere in the intermediate range, even after getting most of his former skill-set back.
So I have a few questions:
1) Is the Head Rev 85 a poor choice for someone in the "intermediate" range of ability, or is it something that he could enjoy growing into? This is less about saving money and more about finding a great ski for him. I've never looked at the numerical "rating" for skiers, but I suppose I could guestimate his if necessary.
2) What other recommendations would you have for a ski that fits this criteria?
3) He's about 5'10" and a heavier fellow (maybe 220lb, hard to say for sure). What length would be recommended here. Again, my experience is with racing skis so I have no idea how they size all-mountains.
Thanks in advance for any guidance that you may have!