Demo'd 90-Eights at Mt. Hood Meadows--Most fun on a ski, EVER!! I now own a pair.
Skis demo'd 12/18/16 before purchase: Volkl 90Eight (184), Rossignol Soul 7 (188) and Rossignol Sky 7 (188).
I'm 6'2" 235 advanced intermediate (like a 7.5).
The test run for each ski was the three plus mile run from the top of Cascade Express (7,300 ft.) down Elevator and Lower Elevator (blacks) down to the bottom of Hood River Express (4,500 ft.) (blues with some short detours into uncut snow in the trees at about 5,500 and some blue groomers with some quality blue-style moguls toward the bottom). Conditions were temps in the mid to low 20's with two feet of fresh snow having fallen a week ago--nothing since). Snow encountered was a patch or two of week old powder, packed powder, soft pack, crusty hard pack (but not east coast style hard pack), crud, and chopped up snow. My 15 year old son came along.
After the first run on the 90Eights, I could not wipe the smile off my face. I felt motivated for the first time in a decade to crank the buckles on my boots as tight as they would go. I had to wait for my son at each stop. And when he got to the bottom I said, "Holy sh## that was fun, let's do that again!" So we did, skiing a couple nice black mogul runs as we worked back up to the top. If I have one word for these skis it would be "effortless." They are stable, love to carve gs style (which is why I cranked my buckles down), gave me effortless traditional parallel turns, and effortless skid turns. They like edges, but don't need edges. I did a couple easy 180 and 360 skid turns on a smoother blue groomer just to confirm that. They were fun in the moguls (absolutely tore up the blue moguls, but on the black mogul runs I was initially concerned that they could have been a little quicker). After about an hour on these skis I vowed to never again ski on anything with less than a 98 mm waist, and that shocked me, because I thought wider skis would be harder, not easier. So, for my next ski, I thought if wide was good, wider still might even be better, so I switched to the Rossi Soul 7's.
The Soul 7's at 108 were easier in the bumps (which shocked me), as they were a little quicker and rotated effortlessly. They sucked at carving (I couldn't carve them at all), but they were pretty easy to skid and parallel. On the hard pack they were anything but effortless. They were a lot of work. My son had to wait for me at every stop, and was waiting for me at the bottom. I learned what the term "playful" means on the Soul 7's, and realized the Volkl's also had some playfulness, just perhaps not as much. I was happy to be one and done with the 188 Soul 7's. "Even wider" than 98-100 mm was not the way for this 53 year old advanced intermediate to go.
Next up we're the Rossignol Sin 7's. Driving up to the mountain I anticipated these were going to be my favorite and figured I'd be buying some Soul Sky HD 188's at the end of the day--Wrong! If I have one word for the 98 mm Rossignol Sin 7's it's "squirrely." They are extremely playful (if I got that term right), turn on a dime without effort, and were hands down my favorite in the moguls. But I couldn't get them to finish a carved turn to set up for the next one like I could without any effort on the 90Eights. It's like the back of the skis washed out on me, and I'd lose all the energy of a turn before I could finish it. I also was one and done with the Sin 7's. And perhaps the best gage is my 15 year old had to wait for me even longer at each stop and at the bottom. With the Volkl's, I was waiting on him. I wasn't willing to trust that the Sky 7's fixed the Sin's problems. With the Sin 7's I learned that "even more playful" is not a good thing (at least for me). I also knew I never had so much fun and confidence on a ski as I did with the 90Eights.
I'm going back up Christmas Eve, and my skis (and one boot) will be waiting for me.
If I had known the Performance Shop at Mt. Hood Meadows price matches with any local retailer as long as they have the item physically in stock (including REI and EVO) and refunds or partially refunds the demo fee if you purchase, I would have done this years ago.
mod note: language edited #