The SLX RACE is a rediculously fast ski. The only ski out there presently that can match all of its qualities is the race stock Fischer ski, but the Fischer lacks the all out powerful feel that the Elan has. The Fischer feels like you can actually push it to it limit, while the SLX will keep giving back and gets faster the harder you ski it. Pay attention though - it WILL toss you. It is much softer than its retail counterpart, and is MUCH quicker edge to edge. The edgehold in both is similar, but the SLX RACE doesnt require as much effort as the retai ski in terms of edgehold - but you better stay centered. One thing i noticed about the Elan slalom skis is that they ski totally different from any other SL ski out there. The ski feels like you are getting edgehold from the entire edge - not just the part that is under your foot. This makes hooking up and linking turns effortless. The rebound in the ski is huge - but only if you put some effort into it. If youre instructing all day - the ski might be overkill - if you're coaching and/or racing i would get them. They arent that great for free skiing - infact i hate them in soft snow - even if its soft groomed snow. They are really meant for ice, and when you are on ice with them - you dont feel like you are on ice. It is hard to get the ski to slip when its in a carve. I've had all three pairs (all different versions) of mine out on nearly clear ice (think ice skating rink) and they never slipped once... of course they always have no more than a 2 or 3 day old tune on them. This yeah all but 3 people on my ski team are skiing on the SLX or some version of the SLX for slalom. In total we bought almost 15 pairs this year. The bottom line is if you are an EXTREMELY athletic skier and you ONLY like to ski on ice or spend about 90% of your time on ice or in gates, then get the ski. Otherwise, go with the retail model. If you need help getting the retail model of the ski, PM me. As a side note - i dont free ski on my SLX RACE skis - i free ski on the retail model SLX. Take it for what its worth, but i find the SLX RACE too demanding and too quick for skiing a 5 hour or more day.