My son and I did Demo Day at Whitetail this past Friday. It was our first one, and a real blast! We each skied half a dozen skis; each one for 2-3 runs. Here are my quick impressions of some of the skis. Not full reviews -- having played hooky on Friday, I have to work today. Think of this as more like a high school awards ceremony...
Me: 5'9", 147#, hard blues, blacks, bumps and trees. I own Blizzard Bushwackers (although I am not a Blizzard "groupie").
Whitetail on 1/9/15: temp in 20's, mostly man-made snow, groomed and crusty chunks, only one slope with any moguls (Bold Decision, a 2BD -- which might be a double blue or single BD at Jackson Hole).
Most Disappointing -- OK, this title here is a bit overstated, but I'd heard so much about the Nordica Soul Rider -- how amazingly versatile it is -- that when I finally got a chance to ski it, I was underwhelmed. Yes, it was light and maneuverable, but not great for Fridays' conditions at Whitetail. With softer snow, it might be better.
Most Improved -- I had demo'ed the Rossignal Sin 7 a year ago up at Sugarloaf over Xmas break (similar icy conditions, but more so). I liked it a lot, but it wasn't one of my finalists. For this year's model, they've added the waffle stuff to the front tip and concentrated the weight more in the centered (cambered) part. Noticeable improvement in how it skies. More maneuverable, and steadier on hard pack.
Nice Ski that I Won't Buy -- The Ramp 105 (I forget the actual name of this model) is a great ski for somebody, somewhere. But for me it was like getting a Chevy Tahoe at the car rental when all you need is a Toyota RAV. It was quite steady and stable, if also a bit ponderous. How many 147# skiers really need a 105 ski at Whitetail? I wanted to try the Ramp's 90-waist ski, but it was too popular -- it was checked out every time I looped back to the Ramp table.
Biggest Surprise -- I had not even heard of the Salomon X-Drive 8.8 before Friday. This was my favorite ski of the day! It is smooth and forgiving, and surprisingly maneuverable. Although stiffer than my BW, I didn't find it noticeably harder to handle (it was easier than the Brahma, for me -- which I demo'ed last year). It's name sounds like it would be a groomed-slope-only ski -- and indeed it was quite steady on hardpack -- but I tried it on the bumps on Bold Decision and it ate them up. This would be an excellent 1SQ for a lot of skiers, IMO.