Hi guys! It's been at least 10 years since I last posted here! But it's time - way past time - for new skis, so ... (Oops - can't edit the title typo!) [Mod Note: fixed it for you.]
I'm 65, 5'7", 165 lbs, and I started skiing in 1960. I only get to ski 5 or 6 days a year now, exclusively in NH and VT. I bought Atomic BetaRace 920's (180/62) in 2000, and I've been skiing on them since then. Best skis I've ever owned. In the last month I've demoed a few pairs of new skis - never did that before - what fun! I was told that I should be looking at all-mountain skis for more versatility. The BR920's are (still) great carving at moderately high speed on smooth, steep hardpack - which is mostly what I do, but they're a bit of a chore in mixed terrain and snow conditions. These demos were conducted on moderately steep, smooth, and quite firm groomers - again, my normal environment.
Blizzard Brahma (173/88): Nice skis, and the added width didn't throw me as much as I had expected, but they seemed to have a too low a speed limit on very firm snow. I was a bit puzzled, because they are highly regarded. Maybe I was skiing them 'wrong', but whatever - not the ski for me.
Nordica NRGy80 (169/80): Only got to do one run. Very easy to turn, but I really didn't get a chance to get a feel for how they perform when skied aggressively.
Fischer Motive 86 (175/86): Not even on my radar prior to testing, but I liked these the best. They felt like wider softer GS skis. Nice rebound from the tail. Best of the day at high-speed stability and hard snow edge grip. (I think I like skis with some metal in them; they were also the longest I tried.)
Nordica Steadfast (170/90): Becuase on paper they seemed like the one to get, and since they (being last year's model) weren't available on the day of the demos, I rented a pair for a day 2 weeks later. They did everything I asked them to do, but they didn't seem to be particularly enthusiastic about it. Aptly named, I'd say, very businesslike. If I had them I'd keep them, but I didn't want to buy them. So, I figured I'd go with the Fischer Motive 86s in 175. (168 would be too short.)
Then it hit me – why was I focusing on all-mountain skis? While I’d like a bit more mixed-snow versatility than my current skis, I do ski 80% of the time on smooth, steep, hardpack. I don’t do the bumps, and I rarely do trees, but I like speed and precision. I actually want a ski that can carve a variety of turn shapes and feels like a detuned racing ski on the hardpack, but isn’t total basket case in crud or shallow powder. So, without having tried them, I’m convinced that I want a pair of Fischer Progressor 900’s (170/75), which I'd actually identified a year ago as likely being my next pair of skis.
So that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it! (And, alas, I won't be able to demo anything else before I buy.) But go ahead - take your best shot - it looks like I won't be able to find a pair of 2014-15's (the newer ones have a touch of tip rocker) to buy until the fall anyway!