You indicate you're in the PNW, soooooooo:
1) Go to Whistler on demo weekend (or any other place that has a demo time).
2) Try lots and lots of skis (it's fun - really). You get to find what's accommodating to your style and what isn't (this isn't brain surgery - really).
3) find ones you really like
4) observe where the mounting point is if that's REALLY important to you (or do like me and put Griffon demos on everything), so you'll know exactly what you want when the skis get mounted.
5) wait for sales and buy the ones you really like.
Or, you can:
1) Buy all the ski magazines and try to figure out what's real and what isn't, and if 8 pages of advertising had anything to do with the suggestions of some people you wouldn't know from Adam.
2) Buy some skis based on someone's recommendation (I still remember the genius here that suggested AC30's for EVERYTHING - AC stands for "all conditions" right?).
3) When you find the skis suck (for you), return them to your friendly retailer saying you didn't like them (they do have a performance guarantee, right), then try something else. Keep doing this until you find something you like. No doubt Mr. Ski Retailer will remember your name
4) Guess where to place the bindings - if you're clueless about skis, you might as well be clueless about the best mounting point
5) Get all upset that you hate these skis, and that you'd wished you'd taken the time to find something you had a ball on by demoing.
OR - demo and find what you like and go for them.
C'mon - do you try the jacket on first? Make sure that the poles are the right size? Make sure that the (pick one - helmet, goggles, pack etc etc) fits right before you leave the store. Why in the world wouldn't you demo if available? Makes no sense whatsoever. None. You can come up with a thousand straw man arguments, but none hold water.
Sno, you clearly don't know my situation. I'm in the industry. I demo a lot of skis so I can make recommendations to clients, customers, etc... even folks here. Why would you think I'm not recommending people to demo some skis? I'm happy to help them narrow their search particularly if I know their skiing, venue, etc... From experience (my own included), people can over do it and sort of freak out about it... If someone demos a ski that sings to them even if they haven't demoed an entire fleet, don't worry about it and just get them. Odds are very very high they're the right ski.
Not against demoing at all, but there are much less expensive ways to demo than travelling several thousands of miles to premium destination resorts. But if someone has a trip planned, I'm all for them taking advantage of free demos. I've recommended this to clients of mine, and yes, those going to Whistler... two birds, one stone deal. Or folks can do it here for $20 at a couple of different events, and most retailers maintain demo fleets with fees reimbursed with a purchase. And yes, I do go to Whistler... on my own skis and time believe it or not. I'm even a UBC grad.
Edited by markojp - 8/3/15 at 7:00pm