Originally Posted by Passionate Skier
Thanks a lot Barrettsvc, Liam, dawgcatching, I really appreciate the comments. You guys have opened up my eyes a little bit. You all do have a point, but given the fact I've never skied anything wider then 79 under foot, am I gonna be able to adjust to 82-88 waist? Most of the shops out here don't even carry as wide the skis which means I may be forced to buy without demoing first. Now if you don't mind one more question, what exactly are you referring to as a frontside ski? I apologize for asking this probably stupid question, but I'd like to be able to understand that well. Thanks again!
Yes, you may be able to adjust, and the wider skis will be much better in the crud, both due to waist width and overall ski design with regards to sidecut and flex pattern.
It really depends on your preferred terrain. Yesterday, I was skiing 3 different skis at 76mm, 78mm, and 82mm underfoot on rock-hard snow (rain-infused concrete) and the differences, while not huge, were noticeable. The 82mm, when put up onto edge and driven into a tight arc, wanted to cut out and chatter more than the 76mm and 78mm skis. And, once into the turn, the narrower skis pulled you through a bit cleaner. I was skiing the iM78, Cool Heat, and Cold Heat, so they are at the top of their respective line's and should all be adequte in terms of lateral stiffness. For a carver, anything over 80mm, in my experience, just isn't in the same league as something narrower, but on the other hand, is much more versatile in softer snow and can hold well on softer groomers. Here in the Northwest, we don't often get this hard of snow, and therefore, I could get away with something wider much of the time, even on the groomers. But, for days like yesterday, I would have my GSX Fusion Pro's mounted up, or a pair of Progressors if I had the money.
To answer your question: you will be able to adjust, and since you are looking at 2 pair of skis, you will want something wider to compliment your narrower ski. If it was a 1-ski quiver, it would be a tougher choice, as would trade off hard snow performance for soft snow performance, or vise versa, depending on your preferred terrain.