Originally Posted by Rio
They are a high performance ski that doesn't bite you when you don't want them to.
Sounds perfect for what I want - performance on occasional trips out west and a crud performer for those freakish rare occasions when we have any depth that has escaped the swath of the groomers (back here in Ontario).
Originally Posted by SierraJim
For folks your size, and of average aggressiveness, I think the 168 is plenty.
My gut feel from everything that I have read here and elsewhere on the web is that Jim is right on the 168 cm.
The reason for my reservation with the 168cm is my experience on one of my current skis, 170cm Elan GX Fusion Pro. Most reviews describe it as a beefy, stable, smooth (ooh you better be really strong) - I did not think of it as a difficult ski at all, it is a carving blast. In fact in hindsight I wished I had bought it in a 178, because it felt a little hooky in house league GS (178 is actually what Dawgcatching recommended to me, but I went felt that might be too much ski because of all the other 'beefy' review comments). I since have purchased some 176cm 05/06 Atomic GS11m's to get a bigger radius for house league GS.
The rest of my quiver is:
Atomic SL9 160cm - 12m rad
Atomic GS11m 176cm - 18.5m rad
Elan Fusion GX Pro 170cm - 15.4m rad (wished I had bought 178's for GS)
(never thought I'd have a quiver, it kind a snuck up on me).
Looking at the rest of my skiis, the 168cm or the 176cm's would blend well.
I am guessing that the 176cm B3 would be softer that the Elan Fusion Pro GX (SW, wood + two layers titanium) and therefore more bump/crud friendly. I currently use the SL9's for slalom or bumps, I found the Elan's a little stiff for bumps.
Given that I now have the GS11m's, if I do buy B3's, the Elans may be for sale and I will go with the remaining three. If I wasn't in house league racing I would probably stick with the Elans and add the B3. But if you ski in Ontario and want to make some fun of it you either hit the gates or hit the terrain park, I chose gates so I guess I am keeping my Atomics.
I think I am back to my gut feel from all I have read that the 168 B3 would likely be the best fit for me to ski all day everywhere except absolute boiler plate ice in which case I would be on once of my current frontside skis.
I am a little dizzy from all I have written, I don't even know if there's a distinct question in this anymore. The mid-fat / fat category is so foreign to me that I may even actually demo before buying this time.
Thanks for the input everybody.