Since the thread is about "brands", I voted for Elan, Nordica, Head, and Volkl. I voted for Elan, Head, and Nordica because the 3 pairs of skis that I ski most of the time are made by those manufacturers, and I enjoy all of them.
Last year I skied 3 different models of Nordica skis and was pleased with all of them. Recent years I've demoed numerous Volkls (724 Pro, Allstars, 5-Stars, Gotamas, Mantras, & AC40's) and was never disappointed, so I voted for Volkl, too.
None of the K2's or Salomon skis I've demoed recently have really thrilled me.
Kudos to those who try the small brands like Line, Black Diamond, Fat-ypus, etc. Tried a pair of Armanda's last season and didn't like them. Will continue, however, to look for skis from the smaller companies.
If I were buying a new pair of skis for off-piste skiing (my main interest, but not a powder specialty ski), I'd be looking at the new Elan 888's, Nordica Hellcats, Atomic Crimson, and Head iM 88. The 85mm - 95mm skis seem to be today's midfats.