Boots 1st...Demo Lenghts...
if i were a friend of your's & you wanted to ski in jeans, i'd tell you to go home & put on some real ski gear...jeezzz, i'd be so embarrassed
as to the lesson, i whole heartedly agree
...it ain't your daddy's oldsmobile anymore
: cuz he's gotta brand new bag (thx for the memories, james brown).
if you haven't got your new booties yet, spend a coupla hrs in the boots forum...then pick a shop where you're gonna be spending the most time at & get to know the boot fitter real well...that person will make your resurgent ski life a whole lot easier.
and now to your ? of length...as you're gonna be out west, you're lookin' about 10cm+ longer than your eastern skis and generally a much softer flexing ski...when you go to demo, you're not just lookin' at different models/brands but lengths in the few skis you've narrowed your choice down to (2nd danglin' participle but just couldn't get it any clearer, ok). you'll be surprised at the difference in performance due to length (read my signature
as to the skis.com chart...imo it's not that good...my rule of thumb is:
(measured in street shoes standing straight or in ski boots w ankles/knees/waist bent in a ski stance)
short turn/racer (league not pro)...ski tips btwn chin to tip of nose
powder...btwn tip of nose to eyebrow
gs/racer (league not pro)...btwn eyebrow to top of head
understand this is a general guide line but i've found for the vast majority of non racers/pros this works quite well.
additionally, i'd not be in any rush to make a ski purchase at this time...just demo as much as possible...swap skis w your buddies...rent if need be but be patient, cause in the spring there'll be huge discounts on every ski, as well as, some excellent used demos and check out the gear forums here for reliable gear at great prices.
thx for listenin',