Mind if I join in on the review of this ski? Okay, here goes. I have to say the Top Fuel is a fantastic ski. I bought the 178 length a couple months ago and this was the first time I had a chance to try them out. MAN WAS I HAPPY. I'm 6'3, 220 and enjoy a somewhat stiffer, slightly damp feeling ski and this fit the bill all the way. I demoed ski's in the first half of the day on Friday (Snowshoe, WV) that are in "similar" dimension ranges as the TF - Volkl AC4, Rossi B2, Atomic B5 and the K2 Recon. Of the five, I like the TF the best. It has an amazingly smooth on snow feel and obliterates crud with the greatest of ease. It feels similar to the B5 in my opinion but likes to make bigger turns. It can be made to turn medium to smaller radius ones but the B5 is certainly better for that. The binding system set up with this ski is the clincher. Maybe you don't like Marker, but you have to give these a chance. The NO312 Ti XB Bindings are the real deal. This X-Balance System sounded somewhat like a gimmick to me but after reading up on it in Popular Science (yeah, what?) I started to think there was something behind this. Well, I'm no great skier and this is the start of year 4 of my growing experience and I have to say I've never felt more solid on a ski. Occasionally I would get out of balance and there would be no price paid for the mistake. A couple of times I got a little into the back seat and I could actually feel the system working to keep the skis pressure point towards the tips. Fascinating. It got to the point where I was doing things on purpose to see what the limits were (eventually I found them, but that's another story about great wrecks). It just seems really hard to throw this thing out of balance. The second day I was on it (same day as the demos) there was a wide variety of conditions. Snowshoe ended up with what they said was 4 to 8 inches of snow. I'd say that was pretty consistent with what I experienced. Within an hour of the lift opening, there were some stashes of windblown pow to be found along the sides of some trails but conditions went from powder to chowder to chunky and finally to heavily scraped. Like my experience with the B5 last year in Aspen, the transition from one type of snow condition to the next was barely noticable under the TF's. The edge hold was extremely solid and I never felt like they would let go. As soon as you get these things into the fall line they want to get up and GO. This was the first time for me that I felt noticable acceleration taking place this quickly. I can't stress enough about how stable this ski felt to me. I had to choose between this ski and the B5. I'm not regretting this decision as the deal on it included the Hot Rod boot, which is really what I was after.
Of the other skis I demoed, the AC4 is going to be a "go to" ski for many skiers regardless of what side of the country you ski on. It has many pleasant similarities to the TF but is a few mm's wider yet equally as easy to turn and feels to have same kind of edge grip provided by my 5 Stars. It's good if you like your ski somewhat stiff - I tried it in a 170, which is probably why I didn't fully enjoy the ride like I did with the TF as the 175 or bigger would've been my choice.
The K2 Recon was a ski I had tried out before but wanted to go back and give another chance. It feels burly but I wasn't as happy with the flex and edge grip when compared to the TF, B5 and AC4.
The last ski I tried was the Rossi B2 in a 181(?) length. Perhaps it was the length and I'm not experienced enough yet, but I didn't enjoy this one very much. I felt it was soft and didn't have the same accelerating feel of the TF and B5. I didn't feel I was able to make the same type of quick turn transitions. Again, probably my inexperience here because I know ski rocks and have seen some of my friends really go on it.