Originally Posted by Jer
I've skied on only three pair of sub-180cm skis in my entire life: A pair of demo Elan SCXs, a friend's stubby Volkl super-sidecut-somethin'-or others and another friend's Atomic super-sidecut something-or others. They were good at one thing - low-speed short turns on groomed snow. They completely sucked in all other conditions. I'm sure they're great if you're a terminal intermediate who's content to meander down groomers all day, but I've never seen the attraction of that. Personally (even on groomers) I prefer to ski on my skis, not ride on them.
Perhaps I could throw out a recent experience as sort of a counter observation.
As some of you may know, my business partner is a former U S Ski Team member. A downhill specialist. Actually, a past U S Nationals champion. There is no one on this planet who could watch him ski and consider him to be intermediate and/or slow.
Two weeks ago, I skied for an afternoon with him and a former head guide for an Alaska heli operation. It was a "typical" Jackson Hole afternoon, which means we skied slushy crap on the some south faces, freezing crud on some north faces, and a few groomers and heinous mogul shots here and there to get from one place to another.
My partner is sponsored by Volkl and he wanted to demo some of this year's AC3's. The shop ONLY had a pair of 157cm's for him to try - all the other demos were out on the hill.
So, I spent the afternoon trying desperately to keep him in sight as he utterly tore up the hill in some of the most miserable conditions you could name. Conditions that most of the people on this forum would swear required fat and long skis. I take that back - conditions that most people probably wouldn't even try to ski. This was on a pair of 157cm skis in the low-70mms underfoot.
I repeat in case you missed it before:
Someone who is a GOOD skier can make any ski work.
After watching that, I've decided that anyone who tells me short skis and/or narrow skis suck has typically told me more about their own abilities than about the relative merits of different kinds of skis.