Firstly, I got the bug for new skis last year when my just returning to skiing brother started passing me when demoing skis. I was on my 8 or so year old Bandits at the time. I immediately went into the demo shop at Wachusett and started demoing some of the same skis he was on. I tried Rossignol E88, Nordica Steadfast and I believe Volkl Kendo last year. I like the Steadfast best, followed by the E88. I felt the Kendo was too much for me, although it was the last ski of the day and my legs were pretty tired.
I've sold the Bandits at a local swap, so I need new skis. Last Friday I did some demoing at Mt Snow. They just got snow the day before, so the conditions at the 9:00 am start were pretty nice. Unfortunately, there were only a handful of trails open, so conditions didn't stay great for long.
I started with the Nordica NRgy 90. This replaces the Steadfast, so I really wanted to like it, but I didn't. I can't really say exactly why, but I'll try. It lost the feeling of being on rails that I had when carving the Steadfast, but didn't gain a lot of playfulness. It just didn't wow me.
Next I tried the E88. I felt like this ski was not the same ski as last year. I know they supposedly didn't change it much, but it felt a good big heavier than last year's model. I liked it, but I wasn't ready to say this is it.
Next I tried the Head Rev85. This ski I liked a lot. I felt like it carved really well, although I had to really be careful about staying on top of it. Not quite as on rails as the Steadfast. But, it was much nicer about leaving the turn and jumping into a new one. Also the most easy going ski I tried Friday.
Last I tried the Blizzard Brahma. Too much ski for me. I wanted to try the Bushwacker also, as it seems on paper like that would be better for me. Alas, Mt. Snow's demo shop didn't have one.
That was all I was able to try Friday. My impressions were that I want something a little easier going than many of the "All Mountain" skis in the 88ish waist. So my question now is, should I start looking at some of the "Free Ride" skis? I do around 70% of my skiing on piste, aim to carve when the slopes are right for me. Still wind up skidding on steeper stuff. Like to try trees and bumps, both need to be ideal for me to have much fun. Really like trying powder when it's available.
I think I want to get to Wachusett and see what Salomon's they have, I'd really like to try both the X-Drive 88 and the Q90.
So, how does one decide whether to look at All Mountain vs. Free Ride? Is there a hard and fast rule? Am I looking at the wrong categories altogether?