Originally Posted by folkfan
I weigh 173, but am trying to lose a bit of weight. Does my weight give you any added info?
At this point, I could size up to the 181 cm Access for $200. I'm on the fence about whether to try out the 181s side by side with the 171 to see how they do OR go out to Colorado with the 171s and test out a bunch of powder skis out there. It'd be nice to have my skis all sorted for the start of next season.
At 5'9" and ~173, let's say you go down to ~165 you are still at a pretty good size to handle powder skis around the low 180s. Sometimes a "can't pass deal" won't help you much... also I don't think your access + $200 is such a good deal.
Try demo more skis, isn't there any demo day around this time in the areas you usually ski? Here is a list of skis you could take a look at, or at least what I'd take a look if I was your size
Line Mr Pollard Opus 185/178 (line skis are very short compared to stated size)
Line Influence 115 186/179 (line skis are very short compared to stated size)
Atomic Automatic 186/179
Blizzard Gunsmoke 186/179
Salomon Quest 115 188 ( I wouldn't be afraid to try the 188, I skied the past season on 178 and it was a great size for me)
Nordica Patron 185
Atomic Bent Chetler (current version 183, next year's version 185)
The above skis are big brand names and should be easy to find on any decent shop for demo, or demo day! Gunsmoke and Influence are going to be the most stable skis, the influence is probably the most stable due to the more subtle rocker. The Line Opus is probably the most easygoing of all of those.
If you live in Portland you could probably get some demos at ON3P, the skis are probably gonna be burlier than any of the above skis, and if you are looking for a bargain, it's not that easy to find. On ON3P you could try to find some deal on the current version of the Jeffrey, it's 110mm underfoot people say it's very stable and a twin tip ski with good rocker, might be a good start for a powder ski and you migh be able to find a good deal. You probably could go either 181 for a more powder oriented or 176 for a more all mountain but at 110 it will float quire well in powder.
There are many other different powder skis... those were the ones I could think of from top of my head!