The reason I'm interested is that I also am asking that question - in reverse. I'm a 63 year old guy, 5' 8" and 150 pounds, advanced intermediate on snow 8" deep or less, skiing Elan Fusion S12 in 160. From the demo skiing I've done, the S12 is roughly comparable to the 5*. I plan to demo the 168 Fusion S12, just to see what it's like.
My S12 Fusions are a great ski. They have superb grip, they're stable at speed on hard snow, they're not hard to turn. They are not nervous - or snappy - but very smooth. I feel confident sking on them more than other skis I've owned or tried. I chose them over last year's 5* because they hold as well but were less grabby.
Anyway, dneyadog, I'll be interested to read of any experience you have on shorter skis. Post here or e-mail me. Here's the address: firstname.lastname@example.org