Let's factor out the known problem that skis tested on different days on different terrain in different weather and snow conditions will elicit different responses from the same skier. Not to mention other variables, like whether the tester is getting along with the spouse (boppy Bobby Burns mogul ski gets the thumbs up) or is in the doghouse (nonstop take-no-prisoners strike on an FIS GS board produces the first smile of the day). We all know that this is an issue that has to be taken into account.
Even with these things pushed aside, many ski review posts here make a specific assumption that I'm not sure is valid, namely that the skier is broadly consistent over the months and years with regard to what s/he responds to in a ski. I have come to realize that I'm not. As my skills and experience grow, and as ski technology & design alter my expectations, my tastes in skis change, and those changes affect how I "objectively" describe a ski's strengths and weaknesses. Doh!
What about the rest of you? Do you like the same things now that you liked five years ago?
Case in point: Late last season I took a run or two on a very familiar trail in pretty typical spring morning conditions, which is to say the same conditions that virtually always apply at Sunday River: hard manmade boilerplate alternating with just enough granulated sugar piles to challenge your fore-aft stability forty or fifty times a run. For complicated reasons I can't remember now, I gave my skis to someone else to try, and put on a pair I'd always really liked and which I fully expected to be better suited to the surface anyway. I had bought them several years earlier, after demoing them TWICE on different days in different sizes and being as sure as I've ever been that they were the ones I wanted. For two or three seasons they were my go-to ski for mixed conditions and I was always totally happy with them. On this occasion, though, I had not been on them for two years because they'd been on long-term loan to my teen-ager. They were well tuned, albeit maybe with 1 degree less side edge than what I'd been on earlier in the morning. I took a few dozen turns on them and thought, "Yuck! What did I ever see in these? I don't really like anything about them." Then I took more turns, and consciously tried to dial things in. Experimented all the way to the lodge, but never changed my mind about the day's initial impression: Yuck. In this particular case I speculate that I'd been spending time on longer, edgier skis (including the ones I'd just taken off) and had simply gotten used to having more of a platform under me when rolling along at a clip. Still, I would have thought that I would have been able to find the old spark in there somewhere, with some probing. Nope. Nothing.
At the same time I have a pair of Blizzard race-carvers that will be going into their seventh season this year and they still thrill me every time I tip them, so I'm not without loyalty or consistency in some cases.
I guess my point is that when I try to use experiences on specific skis that I had three or six or nine years ago as reference points, I may be fooling myself into thinking I have an objectivity that I just don't. (Did I really sing the praises of those skis? Jeez, I hope no one actually listened!) I understand that the idea is to be able to talk a little bit about how a ski behaves in general terms that leave personal preference out of it. (This one likes short locked-edge turns. This one releases easily but has no rebound. Etc.) But I have to wonder about my ability to do even the most basic job of that after the experience described above. Five years from now I will have had skiing experiences that will make certain things that I think I know now seem naive. I sure hope I have those experiences, anyway. I'll have to try to remember that next time I tell y'all how I well I think some ski works!