First post, so apologies for SO MANY WORDS. I moved to the upper Midwest about 10 years ago and dropped the sport cold. No weather pun intended. Prior to that, however, I was a New Englandah with parents who were ski patrollers, so I was on the hill more weekends than not, well into my 20s. I did not compete in HS or college (I was a 5-9, 125lb distance runner... gross right?) but my family did, and we were very aggressive, sunrise to sundown, all ice all the time, chowdah-heads.
This winter, in my annual seasonal mood crisis, I realized my 6 year old daughter would give skiing a shot, so we went to some local Wisconsin bumps and she was an instant natural. I was also surprised how much I loved getting back out there. Like a LOT. Like, close the office door so my boss didn't see how many trail maps I was looking at. Etc.
To the point - we made four Midwest trips in Michigan and Wisconsin this year and we're all in for 2016-17. I'm a competitive cyclist now so my fun budget goes to that, but I want to invest in my own ski equipment because there are great deals right now, and the rental stuff was giving me hives. I also have an ultra narrow foot, so the rental boots were like a salty ocean for me. However, I won't ask for boot opinions because I quickly see how that goes around here - I'll work with my local shop. (Tecnica Mach 1 120 LV please :-)
Me: 5-10, 155, late 30s, comfortable on the whole mountain but have only skied East Coast (22 years) and Midwest (1 year). I'm light, but my lower body is relatively strong thanks to 13+ years of bike racing. My upper body is a joke and has several titanium pieces (thanks bikes!).
It feels like the entire off-piste/freeski movement happened in the Northeast during my holdout and I'm very interested in getting on board. I hike often in the summer and earning turns seems like an attractive proposition. I was quickly back on the Midwest-version of black/double black (I cringe writing that) and I generally make longer GS turns, but have been working on my short game to make the silly-short runs around here last longer.
My plan is one holiday week in New England (Probably Stowe and Sunday River) with family, one late winter trip to Breckenridge/Vail next winter with Colorado locals, and some additional trips to Boyne, Crystal and Granite, etc, around here. I figure my ski should be more East-coast-centric. The Midwest conditions are 'whatever' but seem close to what I grew up on out East. When I go to Colorado I'll take my skis with me, but if there's 160 inches of fresh powder, I'll just demo something. My uncertainty is that I just can't quite visualize how the East Coast areas I want to return to might have changed, especially the off piste stuff, and which skis will give me the most options. I'm probably more rusty than I think I am, but I know I'll want to be aggressive going forward.
From research, reviews and reading posts on here, this is where I'm at on skis:
1. Blizzard Brahma, 180
2. Solomon X-Drive 8.8 176
3. Volkl Kendo 177cm
I rented both 166 and 176 this year and was more comfortable on the latter, but they were obviously very entry level.
Bindings I have no idea - The marker griffon seems ubiquitous, but I was looking at the Tyrolia Adrenaline 16, with the heel-lift feature for trekking uphill and that seems to provide some options. Very open to suggestions. Again, at 155 pounds, I won't need aggressive din.
Boots - Yeah, I know. But once I have fit dialed in, if you have opinions about weather walk features/tech compatibility would benefit someone like me, let me know. I assume at my weight, I might be staying away from 130 flex... but TBD.
TL;DR - Thanks all. Appreciate the help in advance - it's tough being a Maineah in Exile.