This issue seems to come up from time to time. First, I would never again buy pure race stock without a demo. My last Mt Hood camp taught me that. They are different from retail skis, for good reason. They are intended for the elite few thousand souls who have the leg strength, stamina, technique, and level (FIS, high collegiate, National-level Masters and above)to benefit form the stiffness, torsional resistance, and energy these skis deliver. They ski poorly if you don't have all these attributes.
If it's GS, can you competently ski at 40-45 mph? Can you do a GS turn at that speed? How about 20 in a row at that speed? Still with me? Than yes race stock is probably right for you. Otherwise, you will be faster on retail race skis. That is because your less than FIS strength, ability, and technique will benefit from the slightly greater forgiveness of the sub-race stock. To ski race stock/race room when tired, of marginal race ability, or on too-icy unfamiliar courses will make you ski slower, since you will spend a lot of effort trying to stay balanced, keep your line, and manage a ski that is designed to react instantly to skill as well as error.
I ski Stockli GS and SL (2003) and am a fairly strong masters racer. These are pretty close to race stock, and sometimes run away from me. They are serious business skis. When not in the course, I'm on the Stormrider Fry, and enjoy them. I think about my instructor at camp with soft coach's boots, short old banged up Volkl P40's off the shelf, no speed suit, hacked up rental poles, who absolutely kicked all of our butts in the GS course with little apparent effort. Myself included, we all agonize too much about skiing what Hermann skis, and too little working on the skills and abilities required to actually ski fast in the course.
This reply is intended mostly for those who are contemplating true race stock, but have never spent a week skiing a pair. It seems logical that if retail race is good, than race room must be better. Not necessarily so for a given person. Be careful and demo, lest they end up on ebay.
P.S. By the way, SG and DH skis may seem relatively softer when flexed lengthwise, but torsionally they are stiffer. That means a rough ride for skiers not travelling over 55mph in near perfect carves on a course. Or so it seems to me.
[ October 07, 2002, 07:17 AM: Message edited by: TJazz ]