Originally Posted by Paul Jones
If S4 then I say S5. It is an easy ski to ski and has great performance. That would be my pick.
The AC3 is a great ski but the S5 would help you get better faster. It rewards good technique and won't demoralize you when you screw up.
I wonder if you have skied the S5? I have, (alongside 20 other similar models) and I have to respectfully
disagree that it is an "easy" ski. Good ski?.....absolutely! Great ski?....maybe! But an easy ski for an Intermediate? I personally don't think so. The new S5 has way more grip and energy than the prior 5* this can be fatiguing and generally rough on an intermediate.
I try to keep in mind that a mid level skier needs a ski that he can feather and schmear easily as well as carve. The stiffer the ski, the rougher this is. I'm an expert level skier (5-10" 188) on anybody's scale but I am constantly amazed how great the mid level stuff is. A really good mid level ski is good enough for me at least 80% of the time and way easier going 100% of the time.
This is not a flame directed at you at all, this is just my (pretty experienced) opinion. "Growing into" todays crop of expert stuff can be a tall order given that most of the mid level skis are really as much or even more than necessary for most aspiring L-7 skiers. There is just no need to over-equip.
If I were ever to take another PSIA L-3 exam (god help me.....
: ) I would not choose a really agressive ski to do it on.