Kastle MX88, as mentioned above. That would be my pick of skis along the lines of your description, although you need some $$$. My notes for the 178cm ski are as follows:
This remains, in my opinion (and that of quite a few others), the best consumer-level ski on the market in this width category, i.e. skis with a mid-to-high-80mm width underfoot. Most skis in this category include some degree of early rise tip, and some go so far as to include early rise in the tail. This ski has neither. They’re a wood core, double-titanal, sandwich construction ski with rubber damping layers, standard camber, a flat tail and a high quality fit and finish.
On the snow the MX88 has a stable, smooth, relatively damp feel, whilst also providing terrific feel for the engagement of your edge and the snow underfoot. They’re both damp and alive at the same time; a neat trick. They’ll comfortably pull big, high-load GS turns, are entirely capable in shorter, tighter turns, and they’re as quick from edge to edge as anything in this width.
I already own the MX78. I thought that precluded me from owning the MX88. I was wrong. Both work nicely for Australian conditions, but the wider MX88 would be a better (perhaps the best) choice for overseas trips.
The FX94 is a very good ski. Slightly lighter and livelier in feel than the MX88. My notes again for the 176cm ski:
This year Kastle has increased the weight of metal in this model – moving from two layers of 0.3mm titanal to dual 0.4mm layers. They've also introduced subtle early rise in the tip and removed the Hollowtech insert from the tail of the ski. The changes should change the dynamics of the ski noticeably, but not materially.
On the snow these feel a little more light and lively than the MX88. Despite measuring only 2cm shorter they feel noticeably shorter as well. The early rise in the tip helps in crud, bumps and softer snow, and the slightly turned up, rounded tail helps facilitate release in those same conditions. Both aspects of the design contribute to the slightly shorter feel on the snow.
So, benchmarking off the MX88, these are: a little bit lighter in feel, a bit more lively, easier to pivot and break out of a carved turn, a little slower from edge to edge, but with similar levels of grip and stability. You don’t feel the engagement of the ski’s edge quite the same way as you do with the 88s. They don't pull you into a turn as the 88s do; you have to position the ski to initiate each turn. They still have a high level of overall grip, but the feel is a little lighter.
Volkl's Kendo is along a similar line as the MX88, although it too is a little less damp. Terrific ski.
The Elan Amphibio 88Xti is well and truly in your direction, having a damp and solid feel. It's well worth a try. Read up on the Amphibio treatment though so you know what you're buying.
I like the Rossi Experience 88, although opinions vary on that one. It feels damp until you really get it to flex, and then it seems to spring to life.
The Brahma has been heavily reviewed. We don't see them much down here, although I've demoed one in 173. That's at least one, and maybe two sizes short for me, so not a true indication.
When you're talking damp and stable, the Head line of skis is usually in the mix. The Rev 85 Pro should be considered. I also demoed the Rev 90 last winter and that was a fun, shapely all rounder that I'd happily own (or rent for a week or two).
Best of luck.
Edited by sinbad7 - 1/28/15 at 2:11pm