Originally Posted by vwluke
i would say i am low intermidiate
mostly east coast skiing but i am flying out to Utah to ski Alta most likely in January.
Alta is a different story. If you can afford it, I believe I'd rent demo skis there.
Again, I'm no gear expert, but I'd be surprised if you didn't get a reasonable season out of the Atomics. You can try them out your first days, and if you hate them, you can likely sell them on Ebay as nearly new, skied only X days, and get a fair deal. (Just avoid rocks until you're sure you like them -- rock damage will lower their resale value.)
Whatever you do, I'd avoid going huge long. I don't know the Panic, but 181 sounds pretty long at your level. I get the stability point, and in a twin tip, as you get to be a stronger skier, it could make sense (I skied a 180 Sin 7 in Colorado last year -- definitely skied short, and it was fine for a deeper day).
Take a few lessons, too -- it's amazing what that will do for your skiing. At the end of the season, trade up.
Just my advice, based on conservative, limited information. See what other, better informed posters suggest.