Ok - I have returned to skiing the last 2 years for the first time in 15 years and I am ready to jump into buying a pair. I live in the bay area and will be skiing primarily at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. I spend most of my day on easy blues with my daughters but as I improve I would like a ski willing to get into the trees and be at least serviceable in the powder. I am not super aggressive, more interested in smooth wide turns and stability. Currently, riding 165cm but can feel that they are too short after this season and think the 170 range is best. I was thinking a width between 90-100 in an all mountain would make sense, but my God so many options, reviews, opinions. I was hoping someone who knows the area and understands my goals could help.
I am 42, 5'11", 200 and pretty fit. I would say I am a solid intermediate skier. If anything maybe skewed towards advanced, but not by much. I would like a ski that is easy to handle, can go most places (never going to have a "quiver"), and is fun to ride at the same time. Cost is not a huge factor as I see this as an investment in me doing something healthy.
After a couple of days I thought about Blizzard Brahmas, can't tell which Volkl makes sense (Mantra?), are any Kastle's worth my money for what I am looking to do?
Also, who's who in bindings and boots these days? I need some comfy boots. I come home every weekend with internally busted shins.
Moderator note: added to thread title because need boots first