Try to demo
I am re-posting my reviews below of back-to-back demos last April of the various 09 slalom skis; the full thread is here: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=65327
I also love the Atomic SL 9 (which I've been on for the past few years). I just bought the Blizzard SLRs and am itching to get out there.
Dude, I have to say that it is just so subjective. No one can really tell you which ones you are going to like the best. It depends on how you ski and what feels the best to you.
So I hope my review helps you, but if you can find an on-mountain demo outfit (like Stowe Toys at the base of the Mansfield chair - I have no connection to them btw), that's your best bet.
But bottom line, if you like SL skis, pretty much any of the new skis are gonna put a big ole
on your face!
Nordica Dobermann SL (165 13m)
Blizzard SLR Magnesium IQ (167 13.5m)
Volkl Racetiger SL (165 13m)
Blizzard GForce Sonic IQ (165 13m)
Nordica Speedmachine Mach (170 15m)
For reference, I am on a 160 cm Atomic SL9 that I love - makes great high speed short and med radius turns. Good in trees and light pow too. I am 160 lb male.
My sense is that the new SL race skis all ski similarly - very smooth, very fast, and hold like there's no tomorrow (having brand new skis with factory tune doesn't hurt, though :-) ). Totally confidence inspiring. Took about 5 seconds each to find the sweet spot on any of them. Can bang out tight radius turns as well as let em run for nice GS turns at speed. There are differences among the various SL skis, but they are much more subtle than I would have guessed.
For me, best of show was the Blizzard SLR 167, which was surprising, since I've never (ever) skied on Blizzards - I always liked Rossi and Dynastar, and now Atomics.
The Blizzard SLR was very SMOOOOTH throughout the entire turn. Nice round turns, holds on anything, very predictable, yet quick and lively.
The Volkls want to go mach speed (good). They are the most dynamic - exiting the turns it's easy to get airborne, which is alot of fun :-) , but just a bit different from the other skis. If I spent more time on these, I'd ease off on the turn completion and I'm sure I'd have no problem keeping them planted when I wanted to. But I'm guessing if you don't know how to ski slalom skis you're likely to end up in the trees on these. These are also VERY FAST :-)
The Nordicas were easiest to initiate, also a great ski, but did not seem as fast or smooth as the other two (this is really nitpicking because all three skis were awesome).
As I said in the intro, the differences between the 3 slaloms were subtle. I would happily take any of them, but for me, the best ride was the Blizzards.
I did not like the Nordica Mach 1, maybe because I spent the entire day on slaloms, and this was a 15m ski. Perhaps if I took them on a wide open trail and took a bit more time getting used to them I might have liked them.
And the Blizzard G-Force Sonic IQ were not really like the SLRs, surprisingly. I liked them least of the SLs. They were just not noteworthy compared with the other 3 SL Race skis. Not to say they're not good, but just tough for them to stand out in light of the other skis in the group.