BBV13, I bought the Contact 9 after much deliberation and demoing the 9, 10, and Limited. I ski in Michigan on small hills, am 5'-8" and go about 180 lbs., maybe a level 7 or 8. Working on carving arc-to-arc with modern technique, and was looking for a good groomer ski for this.
When I demoed I had my best run on the 172 and was sure I was going to buy it. However I also realized it was warm (probably 38F) day with soft snow, thus the 172 supported me better. After discussion with my "coach" (sounds better than instructor
) I made the decision to go with the 165 and have not regretted it one bit. His point is he hasn't put anyone on anything longer than 165 for at least 3 years, even 200 lb. plus guys . . . though I know many here would see the length issue differently. It was clear to me any lack of performance on the 165 was entirely skier related, not the ski lacking. Now that I've revamped my technique, gotten more ski days in (demoing was my second day on skis this year), and have skied the 9's 4 or 5 times, I'm happy with the 165. For small hill, eastern condition I think they will serve me fine.
The most noticeable characteristic to me of the ski is it's smoothness. Silky smooth compared to other skis I demoed. Great carving on groomed snow. Initiates turns very easily. Forgiving but not overly soft for my abilities. Handles the looser stuff later in the day just fine. I think songfta's description is accurate . . . for higher level skier than you or I they'd have to back off. I had a friend ski them last weekend . . . same size as me, less skill . . . he felt they weren't as effective until he got more speed and energy into the ski . . . kind of the opposite problem of songfta. Expertskier.com had great reviews on this ski. I chose it over the 10 and limited because I wanted a narrower wasted ski and felt it was quicker edge to edge.
The ski should be well discounted by this time of year. Dynastar discounted them to dealers about 3 weeks ago, and from what my dealer reports they are replacing the ski next year, so it will be no more. But I wouldn't let that stop you from buying it.