I'm 60 years old, about 150 pounds, 5 feet 8 inches in height, and I ski on the average of 40 days a year. I demoed the Bandit XX - current model - in a 177 cm and hated it. At the insistence of the techie, I went out for a spin with the Rossignol Bandit XX in 170 cm, and I fell in love with it immediately. I bought a pair, but they were hard to find near the end of the season because so many stores were sold out of them. I've tested - and owned - a whole lotta skis, and the Rossignol Bandit XX is my all time favorite. I've also skied the Salomon Crossmax 10 Pilot, also in 170, and I also loved that. However, the Bandit XX is a more versatile ski and went through all manner of deeper snow easily, including heavy, cut up crud. I've never skied it in bottomless powder, but hell, I've skied in hip deep powder with folks on those old straight skis and they did fine. If I needed some other ski for bottomless powder, I'd rent it. The Bandit XX is so versatile that I rarely use my other skis except in pure ice situations [use Rossi T-Powers at 160 cm] or rock skis conditions. When I travel west, the XX will be the only pair I haul. I've never had a durability problem, but I know that folks who have agree that Roosignol has been excellent in replacement. I've heard one or another durability rumor about a number of different ski brands, so I wouldn't take this stuff too much to heart. If you buy the XX, I'm betting on your being happy with them. However, you may find that the XX also covers the performance envelope of the Crossmax, so there probably would be no need to own both, and the XX is the better for deeper snow. Amazingly, the XX also is a winner on hardpack. I myself live and ski in Vermont with the occaional western jaunt.
By the way, I mentioned the different reactions I had to the 177 and the 170. I'm told by a patroller who's skied on the Rossi Bandit XX's for years that many are skiing the current model XX in one size shorter than the older model.
[ September 02, 2002, 03:22 PM: Message edited by: oboe ]