Guy's thanks for the sound advice. Jim's right, I am going to have to use FIS legal skis as what I'm aiming to accomplish over the nxt few years is passing the Equivalence - a French speed test which European Instructors need to pass to get to the top level (in the UK our BASI Level 1 - International Ski Teacher Diploma). Maybe you race bears might be interested in the rules -
"The test is a giant slalom run within FIS regulations. Openers will have been calibrated at the start of the season and will each be issued with a coefficient for adjusting their times to 0 points. The openers will set a base time which is adjusted using the coefficient for each opener to 0 FIS points, the pass standard for men will be 0 FIS points + 18% and for women will be 0 FIS points + 24%".
Yip doing it in Europe, mix of training camps and finding races I can enter to get race experience - mix of Alps and Scottish Highlands (if we get another cracking season like the one just passed).
Atomicman many thanks for the detailed explanation on ski characteristics - v.insightful and I agree, I'd rather have a shorter, less "burly" ski to help me achieve a high line and "make" tricky gates.
Interesting also on the Dynastar ski perhaps being a bit more forgiving. I was in France recently and on a drive over to Courcheval passed the factory in Sallanches (massive) - which I think you can arrange to get skis from, which is handy.
Thanks again guys - top race forum.