Thanks for the interesting responses. I'm not trying to belittle my wife's ability. In fact, the Viper's have been a huge change for her. This season she is doing her best skiing ever. This is first year where she is willing to ski in ahead of me because she is confident that she can ski fast enough to stay ahead of me (and it's great fun to follow her down the hill
I'm not entirely sure what quality of the Viper has made this breakthrough happen. Could be dropping from her 177 Volkl's to the 170 Vipers made the big difference, maybe it was going from a wood core (at least I think her Volkl's were a wood core ski) to a foam core, maybe it's the softer flex in the 'L' model. Dunno! Her only feedback at the moment is she loves the how light the ski is. I should add that her ski is the Mountain Viper XL of a couple of season's ago, not last year's Viper XL. Funny to me that the Mountain Viper X was one of Rossi's first attempts at an 'all-mountain' ski, one that would be equally adept off-piste as well as on the groomers. I also skied the MVX for a year and would consider it much more at home on the groomed than in the powder. Not too surprising for a 65mm waisted ski.
PM, I saw your thread on your daughter (great story, BTW). Again, I'm not saying my wife couldn't 'handle' a R:EX, for example, I just wonder if she would get much enjoyment out of them and if she would be able to realize the potential of those skis, given where and how she skis today. I'm sure Altagirl does great on her G4's. Having skied that ski, I wouldn't think of even having my wife demo them. On the other hand, I need to keep in mind that a 160 version of a ski might ski very differently than the 184 version that I skied.
Lisa & Phil, I know Volant makes a good ski, but they also have a reputation as a very heavy ski. If she doesn't like her ATL's because they are too heavy, I don't see the Volant's as an improvement.
Speaking of weight, her ATL's were demo skis and still have the demo bindings. Would swapping the bindings over to a 'fixed' set change the weight significantly?