About me: 47 years old, 44 years on skis, 30-40 days a year, 145 lbs. Raced a fair amount until I was 22. My kids race. I ski pretty fast, though at my weight I'm probably more of a "finesse" skier. I prefer short turns. I love every imaginable condition except dust on Eastern ice. Spending less time in the bumps as I age. I ski 85% New England (Berkshire East, Killington, Stratton) and 15% West (Alta, Powder Mtn., Aspen/Snowmass).
I ski Volkl Racetiger Speedwall SLs (160 cm) most days in the East, and love them. Out west I ski Kastle FX94s (166 cm), and love 'em. Perfect for Utah. I also ski the Kastles in New England when it snows or gets slushy. The problem is (I know, high class problem) that most soft Eastern days, and most Colorado days, I feel I could get a lot more out of an 80something ski. The FX94 stinks on hardpack (for me at least), and the Volkls trench and hang up in spring snow or powder that exceeds 3". Last year in Snowmass the conditions were quite firm, and the Kastles were a chore. Didn't have the Volkls.
The dream ski would be 80-85 mm and have a 14-16 m radius. Give it 90% of Volkl SL's hard snow/carving characteristics and 60% of the Kastle 's soft snow qualities. If I had to choose, I'd probably pick a ski biased towards hard snow and carving over powder/crud performance. I tend to like energetic and turny but stiff skis over damp and super stable skis.
I guess I really want a Volkl Speedwall SL that could hold it's own in crud and powder, up to a point. I could always rent beyond that point. For me this is a one ski Colorado quiver, barring the occasional big dump. Maybe a quicker FX94 with better edge hold would work too.
Skis I've demoed:
Blizzard Magnum 8.0 Ti (165 cm): Liked them OK but they felt a little sluggish, less high end potential than my Speedwalls. Couldn't get the same edge angles or rebound etc I get from the SL skis. They were OK in powder until 6" or so. Didn't hold steep ice nearly as well as the Volkls. In retrospect they felt kind of dead after switching back to my trusty Volkls. Though they were easier to ski in the sense that they seemed to consume less of my energy. Jack of all trades, master of none.
Head Rev Pro 85 (170 cm): Didn't like 'em. Too soft, less stable, less edge hold, less energy. Only got to ski them on nice groomed corduroy. They may be great in pow/crud, but their groomer characteristics eliminate them from consideration.
Kastle MX 88 (168 cm): Skied them at Alta, liked them a lot, but found them to be a little too damp, unwieldy, and "unturny" for me. I think my weight and ski style just isn't well suited to these skis. Liked the FX94s more.
Volkl AC 50: Skied these long ago and hated them. Couldn't bend them under 45 mph.
Skis I'm considering but haven't tried: Kastle MX83, Kastle FX 84, Head Titan, Head Rally.
I know I'm asking for a lot here, but I did find what I was looking for in the skinny and wide categories. I may just buy one since it's spring, deals are good, and no chance to demo. That's how I ended up with the FX94s. Any thoughts on these skis for me? Other suggestions? Lengths?