The question I will work up to is whether the Blizzard Brahma or Blizzard Bonafide would be a better purchase based the information below...
I am an advanced skier, 6'1, 185lbs, 42yo, and ski 50% piste and 50% off piste (narrow steep bowls, back country, trees, etc). I like slower technical runs in fluffy powder but also like fast groomed runs. I tend to have a mostly forward stance on my skis (pushing shins into boots). I am not an ultra expert adrenaline junky skier, and I just tinker in the parks on small jumps. I'll hesitantly drop 5 feet in the air off a sheer ledge, but that's the max. I'll ski double blacks if there is powder on them, but I try to avoid them when they are icy. I'm not very good at moguls, but can manage... I'm certainly not racing down the moguls.
I skied Sun Valley this year which had virtually no powder when I was there. It was icy to hard pack in the morning and crud/slush in the afternoon. I rented the 2014-2015 Blizzard Brahma 173cm and for the first time in my ski history I felt that I already knew the ski on my first run. I normally need several runs before getting comfortable on a ski. In the icy and crud conditions, this ski felt and behaved great, was forgiving and turned with little effort. I was very happy with it. I would also like to add that I recently have been skiing with shorter than normal skis for my height and skill level as I find shorter skis more nimble and less tiring at the end of the day. I find longer skis more clunky, require more effort to turn quickly in narrow steep bowls, and tire me out more.
I normally take ski trips to Colorado, Utah, or Wyoming (Park City, Deer Valley, Canyons, Snowbrid, Vail, Jackson Hole, etc) so I am used to more powder than I skied this year on the Brahmas... although I don't usually get lucky enough to see a lot of real deep power so I won't likely need real wide big mountain skis. In the off chance I was at a resort when there was a ton of powder I could rent a powder ski.
I don't have the luxury of demoing skis and trying a variety of brands before I purchase.
Question 1: I loved the 173cm Brahma in hard pack, ice, slush and crud, in icy bowls and groomed runs... but I normally ski in much better conditions. Assuming the 173cm Bonafide behaves similarly to the 173cm Brahma but with 10mm more width, would I be just as happy with the Bonafide in more fluffy power conditions in CO, UT, and WY as I was with the Brahma's in more hard pack and crud conditions in Sun Valley this year?
Question 2: With regards to length... do my arguments for a shorter ski such as 173cm for a 6'1 185lb male hold any logical grounds? Or am I just imagining it?