Hello folks. I have been reading all sorts of forums and reviews and figured I would join and get some opinions on what would be a good ski for me to buy.
I'm 48 years old, 5' 9", 200 lbs..
I live in central NY. I join a local club annually which skis Saturdays at one of the small "mountains" south of Syracuse. When there are bumps to be found, that's where I spend most of my day. Usually I have to resort to skiing under the chair lift or on the sides of the trails where the grooming machines don't go. I'll ski the groomed trails for a break or when there's nothing else, or when I want some company, as most of the guys I ski with are older and spend their days flying down the groomers on slalom skis. I only go to the terrain park to watch my 15-year old son hit some jumps.
We usually take a trip out west for a week or so. The last few years we have been staying in Salt Lake City, skiing mainly Snowbird and Alta, sometimes with a side trip to Solitude. I like challenging myself on some steeper terrain (and deeper snow) than what we have at home. If you're familiar with Snowbird, I'll typically head back to Mineral Basin in the morning, and will often spend a whole afternoon on the Gad 2 chair, skiing Gadzooks (bumps) and STH (Steeper Than H***). I used to go to Vermont occasionally, but since I've been to Colorado and Utah I haven't bothered.
So, for the gear. I didn't ski for about 15 years after college. When I moved back to NY I decided to get back into it. When I discovered that the Olin Mark IV's I still had from high school weren't going to cut it, I bought a pair of Atomic C9:18's, 160cm. I don't even know how many years ago that was, but I figure I'm due for something new.
Given that I typically ski about 12-15 times a year, I really can't justify owning more than one pair of skis (other than maybe keeping the Atomics for days when the rocks are exposed here at home), and I wouldn't want to spend much more than $700 including bindings. I'd like something that will help me improve in the bumps, but isn't totally useless on the groomers (east or west) and the powder (west obviously, since it doesn't happen here!). If I had to sacrifice something it would be the powder. Fat skis aren't helpful here at home and I could always rent something in Utah for a heavy powder day.
I would really like to try something before I buy, as I don't really know the technical details of what I'm looking for. There's a demo day coming up here in a couple of weeks (assuming that we get some snow). Fischer, Blizzard and Volkl will be there. I have been looking at what they have have to offer and I've read all sorts of conflicting opinions about various skis. Do you think any of these would be a good fit?
Fischer Ranger 88 TI
Also, do you think I should go with a longer ski this time around? Something around 170cm?
Thanks for any suggestions!!