On a mixed snow demo day thought I'd mostly try out fat skis, a few mixed snow skis and a few Kastles.
If I couldn't be in pure powder, at least I could be in conditions roughly like I'd get on resort powder days by afternoon.
Of eight skis I tried in all, four I'd love to own, two more I enjoyed a lot, and two were, for me, the wrong ski for that day.
The ski companies seem more and more dialed in to what it takes to make a great ski! I can't remember really liking so much such a high percentage of skis.
(Warning: I've learned ski choices are very personal, and at 145 lbs. and 5' 10 1/2", my reactions are liable to be quirky!)
Ones I covet :
1) The newly redesigned 184 K2 Annex 118. r. 23. What a great ski! The first ski I tried, it's great in chop, light crud, mogels, steep ice, charging, making quick turns, and railing on groomers. Wonderful on edge. Damp and stable like a rock, but versatile, quick on edge when you want it to be. The only thing I couldn't test it in was unbroken powder, what it really was most designed for, I'd guess. Suspected it might be too much ski for me, but it wasn't.
A manager of one of the Denver Christy's stores who skied early season at A Basin was doing fast gs/sg groomer laps on this ski, and said it was his one ski quiver. Talking to him made me interested in it. Now I want to take it into rougher conditions and pure powder at Copper. The length seemed just right.
2) 179 K2 Shreditor (Petitor) 120. r. 22 @ 179. Ditto, another fun ski but different. The reviews call it "playful," but this ski has no speed limit I could find, charges soft bumps in the fall line, and is incredibly stable also. Easy. A joy. Can rail big turns too. Not twitchy on edge. I could not have imagined how this ski felt beforehand. A revelation. Another to try in pure powder and also rough conditions. The 179 felt too short, though.
3) 182 Atomic Automatic 109. r. 19. As good as Philpug (and others) said. Noticeably lighter than the previous two, this ski also was a keeper, for me. It had that characteristic Atomic feel, including a great 1/3 sort of edge with a light touch feathering capability--precise but ready to dance. In such mixed snow, the 109 felt a lot like a wider, more soft snow stable Atomic Ritual, except I didn't get to try it out on a real charging groomer or in pure powder to be sure. It handled everything well--bumps, ice, hardpan, steeps, chop, transitions, charging. Yay, Atomic.
4) 186 Volkl Gotama 107. r. 22. People have said this ski was good, but I was still surprised. It's been tweaked, I think, but is pretty much a full rocker, no or very little camber ski, without any greasy slip, as near as I could tell. Amazing ski also. The second Volkl in a row I've liked. It has a roundish, distinctive turn to it, really rhythmic, really enjoyable. Confidence-inspiring. Fast. I was surprised that the length was right--it felt short, if anything.
Next, two skis I liked very much but am not craving, given those semi-3D yet icy conditions, anyway:
5) 185 Line Sick Day 110. r. 18. A great round turn in the fall line, very stable, really fun powder and mixed ski, versatile. On any other demo day, this could easily have been my favorite ski of the day. Its edge on ice (and maybe hardpack) I'd have to adjust to, so I'd need more time to evaluate it for sure than the two runs I gave it and almost all the skis I tested. I did not notice it being especially light or twitchy, as I'd read in some reviews. Instead, it felt stable, just damp enough. Good length, for me.
6) 183 Kastle BMX 118 (Finndog's hot pink ski). r 33. I'd enjoy skiing this some more, really. Great edge, like a stable, flexible, fat racing ski. It skis with a lot of turn versatility, in spite of its r. 33. Good fast charging, in crud, taking fast lines--did I say super edge?--and I got used to it. But it made me work. It felt like it would have been better in near racing boots (like the Lange RS 130) rather than my more laid back pow boots. Not too long, just more one dimensional than some of the other skis I tested.
Last, two skis that, for me personally, did not work as well on that particular day:
7) 177 NRGy 90. r. 19.5. A disappointment, a real contrast to the previous six skis. It reminded me of other skis I've tried on other days, rather than being a great new experience like all of the previous 6 skis tested. At least in this kind of snow. A "no," at least until I can try it out in other conditions.
I'd wanted to try the NRGy100 as better for this particular snowy day, but all the demos of that were in use. Oh, well.
8) 184 Kastle FX 104. The shorter 174 length might have been better for me, don't know. I immediately regretted this was my last ski of the day instead of closer to my first, when my legs were fresher. Maybe I'd have done better with it.. This mostly 3D day, it felt like this ski was generally too much ski for me, maybe. I could handle it with effort, wish I were on near racing boots, learn to make it work and have fun; but I only had one run before closing time. I found myself immediately adjusting and working more than I wanted to on my last run of the day. Bet I'd like it as a groomer charger.
By contrast, a young Christy's employee I enjoyed skiing with at times, who was turning in that ski in ~194 or something as I was checking mine out, said the 104 was his favorite ski of the day! He is ~6'3", 190 lbs.
I wish I'd seen how he'd been skiing it, for future reference.
So that's it, personal choices, but so be it!