Originally I thought this was going to be a powder day only ski. I didn't think the P4 was a good every day ski. First impressions can be deceiving. I am adding this follow up info on the Scott P4.
Current Alpine ski quiver: 191 Scott P4, 183 Head im103, 179 K2 PE,
188 Nordica Beast (AT ski)
Almost every day I drive to beaver I truck two skis with me, sometimes I ski all day on one and sometimes I switch. However so far at beaver, every time I have skied the Scott P4 I have noticed it was either the best ski for the conditions that day or as good as any of my other skis. So I am revising my earlier 1st impression. The P4 is a great every day ski for beaver mtn and it has become my defacto every day ski.
Beaver is pretty flat by UT standards. The steepest pitches in bounds are about 30 degrees. There are lift services BC runs off the backside which are about 35 degrees. The best skiing at the beav is off the backside and in the trees. They have some of the best tree skiing I have ever seen. When it dumps you want a ski with alot of float. Fresh lines can be found quite a while after a storm if a person poles around enough. I was skiing on a Sunday afternoon fresh tracks on snow that fell on Thursday night.
On open pow runs the P4 rocks. When the line is nice and open with deep fresh snow its a great ski to be on for that. You can rip at speed or go slow and milk it for face shots. Effortless, fun, definately my favorite application for this ski.
The P4 has a really soft easy going tail, but the tips and mid section are much stiffer. In pow the ski can easily be sent into a skid by rocking back a little and throwing the ski sideways. This is great for manuvering in tight lines with deep snow and all varieties of cut up. I have been getting used to this ability when skiing trees by making a series of medium turns through tight trees then suddenly changing direction and almost at will when the line closes out and I need to readjust my trajectory.
Originally I had alot of problems with this ski getting deflected in crud. But after practicing getting forward and staying forward all the time on my im103s I stated using that technique when skiing the P4s and it translated well.
Consider the stiff the stiff tips, add in the fact that the ski has sidewall construction, a metal layer in it for dampening and a nice long radius... The ski is basically half a big mountain charging ski and half a super noodley buttery jib ski. It all ads up to the fact that if I own the front seat the ski is actually very stable at some pretty high speeds.
Once I started getting forward on the P4s on every turn, The performance envelope of the ski increased dramatically. I can rip cruddy bumps covered with fairly thick cutup, sun effected, wind effected, with speed and confidence. When I want to go fast, I just get as far forward as possible and driving the tips in almost all conditions. Now that I have gotten the balance point the ski actually does a very good job on groomers even if its fairly hard or icy.
For charging, the P4 is not in the same league as my im103s in terms of crud performance, or overall speed / stability, or in being a total effing tank, but when skied aggressively it has more than enough performance for me.
For my size person about 200lbs, the P4 is pretty unsinkable, the tips almost always float up anytime I am skiing faster than say walking speed. Never had tip dive with this ski. I am thinking of remounting the ski perhaps 1-2 cm forward from its current position (which is 1cm behind the line).
Compared to the PEs:
When I ski aggressively the P4 is more stable at speed one groomers than My K2 PEs. It has better groomer grip in long turns and just feel better overall when maching groomers (which are just 179 but since this is the largest size and they have a good reputation for all mountain versatility I think this says something). They don't have as good turn shape versatility as the PE, but it seems that when you buy a 108mm wide 191cm long ski short turn performance has to be a the very bottom of the list. For me groomers are about getting to my line as fast as possible or getting back to the lift as fast as possible, the P4 is good for doing that.
When I am on my game In crud, pow, and most off piste conditions the PE is just more work than the P4 with no additional performance. The PE is IMO a ski that when I am skiing shitty (or injured) it props me up and makes me ski better, but when I am skiing great it requires too much micro management, too much thinking, gives too much feedback requires too much input and in general, isn't able to keep up. The P4 is a ski that when I am skiing shitty piles on more and when I am pwning just adds another level to what I can do. I am waiting for the spring bump season. I am betting that the PE makes a big come back in my quiver at that time.
Compared the the im103, the P4 is much more versatile, more relaxing, and less punishing, its also less performance at the top end when I am skiing big open lines. Each ski does different things great but both do everything I want a ski do do pretty well. They compliment each other well and the decision is more about how do I want to ski that day than where do I want to go.