Well, back from Mt. Sunapee. Because it was school vacation week in Massachusetts (and for at least a portion of NH schools), and I hear it was vacation week for CT as well, the demo center was pretty low on skis. However, I did get to try several skis, so I thought I'd report for everyone who was helpful!
Note: the slope was windy (wind blowing uphill at about 20 mph, depending on where you were and what reports you believe.) Surface was hard packed powder--even at the trail edges, I found very, very little of the soft stuff. It was like skiing on cordouroy that had been spilled on, then dried out. Some people are great on that stuff, but it took me a while to get used to it, so my first few runs were rather conservative.
First--I took out the Volkl Gamma Supersports in 161 cm. I don't know if it was me getting used to the conditions, or the skis, but I kept catching the inside, back edge on one ski. Because of this, I kept slowing down and skiing more conservatively--which I think made me catch that edge even more, but I was too afraid of going fast and catching it and having a real wipeout. I did about 7 runs on them because I couldn't figure out the edge issue. The skis definitely perform better at higher speeds, but that edge really threw me off, so I'm not sure of my opinion on these. I'd have to try another pair on different conditions, I think.
Second, I picked up a pair of Atomic B7 Balanze in 148 cm. Too short for me, I think, but that's what was available. These were very easy to control and I could carve fairly well on them (esp. after I'd been so hesitant on the Volkls with that edge issue), but overall, I found them a bit of a boring ski.
Third were my fave pair of the day, Elan Fusion S8's in 160 cm. These just sang. Lots of control, not too stiff (but not too sproingy, either) and I was able to get good speed and really cruise along or take a nice, lazy run without feeling like they wanted to run away with me. I liked the length, the control, the entire feel of these.
Finally, I was tempted to try out the Volkls again to see if the edge issue was just a morning confidence thing, but the demo guy had just gotten in a pair of Fischer Vi30s in 155cm, and talked me into trying those. I'd rate these just below the Elans. They were fun and easy to control, but not as exciting as the Elans. Can't explain why--but then again, I was getting tired, as I used these for the last two hours of the day.
I'm going to try to demo one more time before I buy--maybe re-try the Volkls or get another pair of Volkls, maybe the 420s or the 724 just to check them out. But I really liked those Elans...