Originally Posted by D(C)
c) Quiver: Race stock slalom and GS that will be used most of the time, unless there's a reason not to; 185 1st generation Pocket Rockets in bad shape for rocks.
Because I'm basically jumping from a race stock 65ish waist to whatever I'd get, my thought is that the 82 wouldn't be wide enough to make a considerable difference, and that I might as well get the 88 to serve a wider range of conditions. I'd be looking to phase out my Pocket Rockets.
That helps a lot.
Phil is right that the Heads will be dramatically different from the Pocket Noodles. That said, you're comfortable with race stock stiffness already. If you're looking for that kind of performance in an all mountain, leaning towards soft snow, ski, either the Heads or certain Fischer options (maybe Atomic's "Daddy" series too, although I don't know much about them) may be just what you're looking for.
Even a stiff all-mountain with an 82mm waist will be dramatically different from a race stock 65mm-wide ski. By the waist numbers alone, that's a 25% jump, but there's more to an all mountain ski than waist width. Yes, wider will do better in soft snow, but there are always tradeoffs.
I take a different approach than most to building my quiver. Rather than demo extensively and then buy current season models, I tend to look for good deals, and when I find one that sounds like it might complement what I already have, I jump on it. That means that the only skis in my quiver that I purchased new and current season are my 188 PM Gear Bro Model Softs, with a 99mm waist. The rest of this past year's active-use quiver, from narrowest to widest waist:
- 200 Kastle Carvemachine National Team GS (100/65/86) (1999 model?): Bought used in early 2006 for $75 shipped, including bindings. For days when the hill is skiing like an icy race course, why not use a ski designed for it.
- 177 Volkl Vectris V20 (103/65/91) (2000 model): "Bought" used in late 2006 for $30 shipped, then mounted with Salomon 912s purchased from Steep & Cheap. I got them to see whether and how much I'd like a shorter carving ski, and found that for early season on-piste conditions (both my condition and the snow's), they were a blast -- they turn on a dime, and really helped me work on my carving technique. They don't have much base left, but I liked them so much that I picked up a pair of 178 Dynastar 4x4 Vertical Limiteds (2001 model, 103/67/88, basically a 4x4 ATV with a funky woodgrain surfboard-style topsheet) to replace or supplement them next season, at a net cost of $48 shipped including some tele bindings that I donated to a school in Vermont. Judging from the reviews of the ATV, these will probably be a bit more versatile, and should work reasonably well for short off-piste ventures even on groomer days.
- 186 Fischer Big Stix 84 (116/84/103) (2002 model): Traded a nice bottle of Bourbon for these in late 2006. I hated them the first two days I skied them, and even started trying to sell them off, but the third time was the charm. Once my technique and physique hit the mid-season and as I learned to ski these as they wanted to be skied -- fast, hard, and with proper/traditional weighting -- they became my go-to everyday ski this spring. They have enough width to harvest corn, but are stiff enough sidecut to blast the groomers and just enough sidecut to rail GS-style turns. I've been tempted to pick up another pair to hold in reserve for when they give up the ghost. From talking to friends who ski this ski's replacement, the Big Stix 8.6, it sounds like more of the same, just better.
So that's my dirtbag quiver. It's a boatload of fun and quite versatile. And I've gotten to play with them essentially risk-free, and get a much better sense of what I like.
Back to you. The Heads may be right up your alley, but they will be a dramatic difference from the Pocket Rockets. For this season, you might want to find yourself a good deal on something stiff with a waist in the 80s and see how you like it, then use that to focus your next purchase.
Just a thought.