Originally Posted by skicol
My son is 14 years old, 135 lbs and 5'10.
He is an aggressive advanced skier who likes to carve fast GS turns on the groomers but would also like to be able to use the skis in the side country on occassional powder days. We live in the Midwest (ski about 10-12 days per year) and also take an annual trip out West (5-6 days).
Your challenge here is that most skis that are the right length for someone 5' 10" will have a flex designed for a 185lb man, not a 135lb boy. I would say the Steadfasts would likely have that issue at 178cm, especially for someone who only skis 15 days a year. I wouldn't go there - that's my amateur opinion (albeit as someone who has a similarly proportioned kid and is a lightweight himself). So IMHO you want to be looking for skis that are on the less stiff side. Something like this 177cm Nordica Soul Rider would be fun if you want to err in the direction of something fat and playful that can still carve. I have not been on this ski myself but it has been very well received by many here and elsewhere (and won this year's "value" award from Ski magazine, for what that's worth).
If you are looking for something more groomer-oriented that would have more grip on those hard midwestern days, I'd be thinking of something more like the Burner (narrower Steadfast, if you will) in a shorter length. Start Haus still appears to have a blem in this ski @ $269 for the 170cm, which is nominally a bit short for his height, but as a groomer ski for a 135lb person in the mid west is just about spot on.
In between those two would be something like a Blizzard Bushwacker, which is an easy-going ski that tons of people who are not big or hard-core skiers like as an all purpose ride for a variety of conditions that are neither rock-hard groomers nor deep pow.
I'm sure others will come up with different ideas too. My basic perspective is that it would be a mistake to get him something that requires too much growing into, simply because he is what he is, not what he will be.