There used to be (time warp to about 1968) a divide between metal skis (more stable at speed, better gliding) and fiberglass skis (quicker, lighter, better on hard snow). This was evidenced in racing where downhill and gs skis were metal (Head, Fischer Alu, Allais Major, Dynastar MV2) and slalom skis were fiberglass (Dynamic VR17, Rossignol Strato). In 1970, fiberglass skis outsold metal skis for the first time on the strength of the Rossignol Strato and the Fischer Superglass. For a long time ('70's, 80's, into the 90's), fiberglass was seen as the superior laminate due to it's ability to generate better edge hold on hard snow. Metal was reserved for speed skis. Somewhere along the line, metal started to creep into slalom skis. Volkl, in particular, was producing skis with a torsionbox/metal laminate combination that were a step above the rest in terms of performance on hard snow and everywhere else. My guess is that various types of improved alloys and adhesives were coming available that made metal work better than it had before. This allowed skis to be softer and easier skiing but still have the edgehold and stability that skiers needed. As skis got wider, metal was a good choice to keep the performance high. Skis like the Volkl Explosiv, and it's heirs, Snow Ranger, G40/41, Mantra, and Gotama put race ski performance on a wide platform and opened up new terrain and snow conditions to less skilled skiers.
For lift served skiing and higher performance on hard snow metal seems to remain a good choice. It can be (but doesn't have to be) a more demanding ride but delivers higher performance to stronger, more skilled skiers. I think we are seeing a swing back to more fiberglass and carbon fiber laminates amongst performance skis. As skiers are venturing father afield via side country and full on touring gear they need light weight skis and bindings that can still deliver top performance in and out of resort. We are going to be seeing more skis coming to market at or above the 100mm waist dimension that feature super light constructions along with very high performance. You already have mainstream skis like the Blizzard Kabookie that offer performance virtually on par with their metal laminated brethren. These will morph into even lighter models with a corresponding uptick in performance. Mate these with a Marker Kingpin and an even lighter Cochise boot variant you've taken another big step towards the ultimate do it all package. I see less need for metal in this very popular category. However, for hard snow and precision, race ski inspired constructions using metal still seems to win the day.
The industry's marketing message to the high end skier focuses on hiking or skinning beyond the gate to find the sublime powder run. That's why I saw so many younger folks skidding around on 100mm+ waist skis on a few narrow strips of man made snow at Killington a week ago. In their brains they were arcing new tracks in pristine conditions. In reality, something else was going on. The ski industry has always been about selling the dream, so I can't fault anyone for that. The coming wave of lighter skis, boots and bindings will continue to advance the equipment state of the art and make skiing easier and more enjoyable for more people.