Ah, I was in your same shoes last year! I had a pair of (beginner) Rossignol Cut10.4L's that I was skiing the heck out of, and realized I needed a new ski.
So I demo'd, and demo'd some more. My first demo was the K2 T:9 Spire. I thought that was my ski-- so easy to carve, and held up fine on our NE bulletproof. But a little skittish in the late-day crud. Then we went out to Killington for a couple days, I skied the Salomon Crossmax..9 (I think), upon recommendation from the ski shop. It took some getting used to. Maybe the freezing rain & sleet was a factor as well. By the end of the day I was fairly comfortable with them, but not ecstatic.
Back to NY for more demos. Took out the Volant V66 next. Hated it. Fell twice on a green slope-- the skis seemed too heavy to get out of their own way. I took out the K2 Axis X in a 167 length, because my husband had a pair and liked them for long turns. Yep, they were good on long turns, and thru the crud. Didn't want to make short turns, though. Back to the demo lodge. Then, I took out one more ski-- read about it in the mags, and it sounded intriguing. It was the Atomic R:10, size 160cm. (I'm 5'3" & 130lbs). Bingo! From the first time out, I felt like that ski was made for my feet. I didn't have to adjust my technique or do anything weird to get the ski to respond. And when I pushed hard on a steep, icy slope, the skis held. When I ran them over the late-day crud piles, the skis held. I ran them as fast (as I dared) down a slope, and they never chattered. I told my husband that "I found MY speed limit, but not the skis speed limit!" I ended up buying a pair that day (March '03), and haven't looked back since.
Long turns, short turns (yep, they can turn short!), crud, ice, it's all good. Haven't had a chance to really run them in any serious powder (yet!). But I wouldn't hesistate to recommend them to an aspiring-advanced skier. I've become much more confident in my skiing, knowing that these skis can handle whatever I throw at them. Dang, that sounds like an ad for Atomic! But really, I'm very happy with them.