Hi - I'm vaguely the same size (6', 165), ski the same places and live in the same area. For your mission, and assuming you want to improve but aren't planning to take a bunch of lessons, I'd recommend something in the low to middle 80's in width and with some flex. On your budget, which I assume includes bindings, you might think about these: Fischer Motive 86 Ti, Blizzard XPower 8, Head REV85 Pro (from last season, plenty around), or Rossi E88, Kastle LX82 (either current or from last season, no change). If you're most up for handling firm back here, then the Blizzard will be slightly ahead, if you're more about those trips to Vail or slightly softer conditions back here, the REV85 or E88 will be a beat ahead, if you want something that does it all very well, but nothing perfectly, then the Fischer or Kastle. Not a Kendo fan for someone in your situation, but have been wrong before. Oh, and if you have access to indies, and are willing to go that direction, Armada is making some very nice skis, the Invictus 89 Ti comes to mind.