I had my doubts about wide waisted skis in the northeast. SierraJim sold me on the Nordica Afterburner for spring conditions in Tahoe. I tried them once at Gore just to see how they worked back here. I was blown away. They were so good, I sold my beloved Fischer RC4 WC RCs because the Fischers were not as versatile. They simply were not as good in crud, in the trees, in the moguls. On bulletproof packed pow
, the Fischers were better, but I really couldn't ski that fast in those conditions and I have my Dynamic VR17 Slalom Carvers for those days anyway.
The problem with the Nordicas is they're too stiff for deeper snow and since I got such a good deal on a pair of 191 cm Scott Punishers (90mm waist $208 including shipping on Tramdock), I took the bait and will report back this winter how they deal with the east conditions. I really got them for my trips to Tahoe and (hopefully) Utah. I'm guessing they will be awesome in their intended environment.
The Fischers and the Nordicas were very similar in length (175cm and 178 cm respectively) with almost identical turn radii. The Nordicas (84mm waist) blew the Fischers (66mm waist iirc) away in the crud department.
Saying that a SG ski will handle crud effectively is not a great point because 99% of the people that ski cannot freeski a SG ski. I used to freeski 217cm Elan Unilines but I can't say it was as enjoyable as skiing my Nordica Afterburners except in very limited applications (no crowds, impeccable grooming, sustained steep pitch). If you can ski them, good on ya, but there are better crud busters that are more versatile and can still carve GS turns on all but the hardest snow.