Gonzo, this comment
"Ryan, IMHO most folks who say a ski is "too soft" are playing the Macho Card. Saying the ski is "too soft" has become a bad shortand for "I'm such a burly and powerful skier that I need the stiffest boards available."
... is why I came out of hiding to post. You posted this, that's why the post was addressed to you. (I regret I even bothered in the first place, but I'm not sheathing any sword at this point)
I just used Keelty's review as an example. I don't agree with a lot of his reviews either. I put that up there hoping you would explain why he'd say something like that. What would make him say the X isn't suitable for an expert? While I was looking for a technical explanation, you would have probably just said your coach could kick his ass.
Nord, ski stiffness is a tricky thing. It all depends on what you want to do. A softer flex usually initiates turns easier at slower speeds. The ski decambers easier and just moves into that turn quicker. Stiffer skis need more speed and energy input before they want to initiate. Is the "modern ski" one that initiates carves at slow speeds? That seems to be what the average joe skier is looking for. In which case, these skis are great.
The very best example of this is the Axis X and Axis X Pro. They're basically the same ski with different flex profiles and construction. The Pro uses metal and a fiberglass layup. Demo them both back to back the same day. See what works for you and your technique. If you ski at higher speeds, you'll appreciate what the Pro offers over the X. If you like shorter radius turns, you'll find the X fires them off a little faster and at a slower speed.
Well if joe skier wants the softer ski, what does the expert want? Its all personal preference. However, the Pro is not hard to ski well. These things can crank short radius carved turns too. If an expert can handle the Pro in that regard, you're rewarded with a ski that has a few other tricks up its sleeve - crud busting power, higher speed limit, better edge hold, and more.
What's interesting is where this is going in the future. Rossi, who I've blasted in the past, really nailed it this year. The new Bandits have what Rossi calls a "V profile". The front section is stiffer to handle crud busting, with a softer tail for all mountain forgiveness. It's basically the reverse of the X-Scream. The new XX is fantastic. Another funny thing is Salomon Pocket Rocket. They have very soft tips and tails along with a firm mid section. These things are wild in the pow. I wouldn't really want them as an all mountain ski, but they rule the pow. The softer tips float right up in deep snow where other stiffer fats like a G4 don't. As far as that Rossi race stock slalom goes, maybe they went softer so athletes could initiate turns faster?
That post by Red Sled is the best example of how to handle all this. Go out and demo a ton of skis. Find what works for you and what doesn't.