Categories Don't Work
The categories that SKI Magazine uses from year to year simply do not work. SKIING and Ski Press have the categories selected much better in my opinion. SKI seems to make up colorful sounding classifications for skis, and then placing any ski they want into that category. You might find an Atomic GS:11 next to a Legend 8000 - or something to that effect. I prefer to classify skis by their actual purpose, waist width, sidecut, and ideal length... something like I put together here
in the Gear FAQ. Ski reviews that follow that type of classification are much easier to understand and comprehend... as well as easier to draw meaningful information from. If you have an 80mm waisted ski compared to a 66mm waisted ski you will end up with a real discrepancy between the two... and likely no real similarities accept they both slide on snow and might be designed for an 'expert' skier.
Regarding the ski magazines classifying certain models as expert skis can be misleading - especially if the ski that is being described as 'expert' is a short, narrow, soft all-mountain carver... I am not saying that experts won't ski on this kind of a ski - say a Volkl All-Star, but mot of the skiers you see on that kind of ski will not be experts and being an expert, while it will make the ski easier to use, is not a requirement for it's purchase (sadly). That is how ski companies make their money though. Skis that require that the skier actually be an expert or something close to an expert to pilot fall into the upper ends of the Freeride/Powder ski category and into the Race Stock ski category... Those skis really do require strong skills in order to ski on them in the conditions and terrain that they were meant for.
The real expert will not choose one ski over another because SKI Magazine put it in the All-Mountain Expert category and they classify themselves as all-mountain experts. The real expert skier will choose a ski based on how they ski and the terrain they like to ski on. A bump expert may likely choose a bump ski... a long turn speed freak like Highway Star
will choose something that resembles a SG ski crossed with a bulldozer and a 12" x 20' plywood beam (strength and stiffness to weight ratio higher than steel I-beams). My weapon of choice (in the east) is usually a 165cm stock slalom ski or a 180 to 185cm stock GS ski. Experts use the tools that they need/prefer though - not the tools that the SKI Magazine editors say they should use.
Also, I need to add a disclaimer. If you ski on a Metron (or similar) because that is the tool that you need/prefer - that does not make you an expert. It doesn't make you not an expert... but it doesn't automatically classify you as one either. If you ski on a Metron (or similar) because a SKI editor told you to... sadly you are probably not an expert either... [sorry to always pick on Metron skiers... it's not personal - Atomic just made it really easy - hate on them
]. I guess the same applies to the guy from Ohio who goes out an buys a pair of Mantras and skis blue groomers with the wife and kids every day while on vacation at Beaver Creek or Deer Valley.