I'm taking the liberty of posting in quotes a PM from a Bear about the XL's. I found it extremely helpful, and seems to correspond with what others here have said about Stormriders, only in far greater detail. I can only add that I've demoed both the 170 and 177 AC4, liked them both, but I fell between the cracks; the 170 got knocked around a little too much, while the 177 was stable but a little ponderous in heavy pow. Enjoy:
"To answer you up front --- Someone at 165lbs with what you describe should be OK on 2005-2006 or 2006-2007(slightly changed?) XL Stormriders lengths 174cm or 164cm. If you want versitility or bumpability go with 164cm. If you want better powder behaviour at higher speeds then 174.
The older XL stormriders (2004 -bright Blue ,red and white with the round compass like insignia at the tip) had a mostly foam core and were stiffer. They scared a lot of people. Especially since people went longer than needed.
Stockli changed the new ones-this is how:
Mostly wood core(Better feel), but the real change is in the extreme of the tip (and tail?). Mostly TIP.
The first 10-15cm of the tip is softer and is actually somewhat pliable. Then you have a huge, strong platform from there, running back underfoot to the tail. The tail again has been made to give a little, smoothing exit.(This is a little different from what you and I are used to in Volkl's which usually have pretty big snap off the tail if you load them. XL's are smoother release)
About the tip: It is the "giving" tip and the big platform that makes this ski.
If you can get your hands on one, try this you will see what I mean. Hold it at the waist in one hand and pull the tip towards you and let go ( Or hit it hard so it vibrates). Try the same with a Volkl or Atomic etc...
You will see that the first 10-15cm of XL's bends easily but when you let go it vibrates back and forth at a much slower frequency and stops quicker than other skis. You’ll see the Xl’s go back and forth 2-3 Slowwwly and stop. No vibrations.
This is because it still has metal and is damp, damp, damp!
The rest of the ski is really beefy.
What this does in real world is that the tip to act almost like shock absorber, smoothing out slop, crud, loose snow, small bumps, small children, or whatever else you might run over. Usually you’d hear soft tip associated with “tip gets deflected in chop”, ”tip flutter at speed” and “ski is imprecise”.
NOT so here because, it is so damp AND it gives you a huge platform also to work with. I think this is where there is some confusion. This ski isn't just fast (what you always hear about them), they are very fast because they are very efficient at absorption and damping (they are fast because they are smooth).
They do NOT behave like Super G on DH boards that plow through stuff but are stiff as rails unless you go 50+mph. they actually have better absorption of terrain (the tip) than Volkl AC3's or 6stars,etc... but are faster and a lot better in soupy, slushy, crud, or anything else you through at them.
I think some people ski these too long and that is when you get comments like " Fast & Smooth but difficult to Turn"
Yea you can get a 184cm and plow through pretty much anything on the mountain, but then you'll have trouble turning if you try to do a measly 3 turns in 500 verts instead of None! But is this all you want to do???
These skis have more to offer than being one-dimensional speed sleds, which is what some do with them.
I skied these (174cm) on hard pack, through GS course and at high speed and they were fast and just effortless. You can even get decent short turns out of them by pressuring a little in middle of turn. It is not automatic or their "natural" turn, but can be done without a lot of effort.
I also skied them in foot or two of powder (Whistler in morning) and they worked fine. They don't float as well as some others, but float is not be all and end all of powder. (Deep powder I'm sure would be better done with 85-100mm under foot widths any way). I also skied them through the same stuff 3 hours later (March in Whistler) when the powder was now melted to oatmeal consistency and they were even better. You could easily do long and medium turns without a hiccup through small bumps,and piles of gooo.( Rough snow? where?)
I also skied both the 164 and 174 in May20th Whistler conditions (Soft, loose snow, slush)
The 164cm will do short turns unendingly if you stay centered. It will bounce off the sides of tight gullies, will absorb bumps.
164’s Negative over 174cm: You lose float in deep stuff! (And the 174’s were really not made to float) Does it lose stability or trackability in sloppy crud? A little, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was very little. It still worked very well. This could be an issue if you think other skis you tried get bounced too much, but I also think the issue may be related to new ski designs (SEE BELOW) It’s hard to tell, you judge my comments below in point (2).
The weak point of these over other wider skis is they don’t float in powder. You are fine if it is not over a foot & half or 2 feet (there is still a platform in bottom) and they are perfect and a Blast for chopped up stuff, and especially heavier chop ( think whistler, sierra’s, sun baked fresh snow in pm after a foot or two fell, and now it is 35-40 degrees).
Overall, a couple points:
1) Stocklis have a gliding effortless feel that makes them feel like you are hovering over the snow (it is not just smoothness). I have not seen this in other skis. They are special in their feel. Volkl’s used to have a feel of their own in the years past. It was different from Stockli but their own feel also- but that has somewhat dissipated.
2) I do not know Fischers but I can make a couple of observations compared to Volkl and Atomic. 2007 Volkl AC3 felt beefy, with good flex, but it has become very heavy with the Double Grip and binding system. AC4 is similar, even though the are great skis, I think they are chasing after Atomic (Thick beefy profile, big sidecut) and at least the AC3’s become a little dead at longer lengths and a little boardy and can buck you in shorter lengths. Stockli’s are downright “Old school” compared to them and hence don’t score as well in tests, when the newest gizmo wins a lot of times. They are a flat sandwich ski that has less sidecut and likes to make smoother transitions from turn to turn, rather than the high edge angle from one side to high angle on the other that some of the newer “Fat Carver” all mountains (AC3, AC4, Atomic B5, your Fishers- judging from sidecut imensions etc.). If you compare the 6* to the old original 5* (with metal) you will see that the 5* was more playful than the 6*, the thicker core edges changed the 6*’s feel apart from other things. The new skis from Atomic, Volkl, etc are all going in that direction to an extreme. Stockli XL’s DO NOT. What you get with some of the NEWskis is extreme torsion, big sidecut and beefiness that makes them LOCK edge quickly and ride it. This actually combined with the shorter lengths makes them (to me) sometimes too 2x4 feeling in softer snow, and a little “Boxed in”. You have to go with what the sidecut gives you-that is it.. You lose a little of feathering in turns and changing radius (By the way this is wht I prefered the 175cm over the 168cm Volkl 6*).
This is were the Stocklis excel. You can “place them” in the beginning of the turn, and work with feeding in edge angles. They are happier going straight or in the fall line (old school) compared to the Super Super sidecuts Ala Atomic B5, (even maybe your Fischer somewhat?).
3) Please consider that XL’s are not powder skis (only 75 underfoot and narrower than your Fishers in tip and tail), but work well enough in powder, and are great in crud and chop.
4) If you want a lot of versatility and going to ski bumps, go short. I loved the 164 but don’t ski powder at higher speed. If you do 174 will do better in GS turns in powder. 174 will still give you ability to ski steeps, but is a bigger feeling ski."