Originally Posted by MJB
Don't waste your time and money demoing skis. You know what you've skied before and what you liked. Ask some questions, then buy some skis and ski them. Your relationship with a ski will never get more serious than dating because a better one will always come along. This is different than the relationship you have with your boots - you marry them.
I disagree totally. A few skiers are so good, such great natural athletes, that they can ski well on anything and have fun doing it.
For the rest of us, the difference in skis can make a huge difference in our skiing accomplishments and pleasure. Just considering my own quiver, I like them all a lot, some are more demanding to ski well and give more performance, some are less demanding but fun on more types of snow, and some really do best on certain types of snow.
Do all the research you can to figure out a list of skis that suit your skiing ability, skiing style, and local availability. With help, figure out the ski length* that best suits your height, weight, and ability. I like Peter Keelty's ski reviews on Real Skiers
the best. The $20 is money very well spent. As suggested above, try to find either a demo day or a shop that will let you exchange skis during the day. You will find that different makes and models of skis, all suited for your criteria listed above, will ski very differently. Some will be work. Some will be fun. One will put the biggest smile on your face. That's the one that is right for YOU!
*The fad is for long, fat, rather straight skis. Don't fall for the fad. I'm 6', 200#, very good medium speed skier, and I like high performance 170 cm skis with a 66mm waist width and 12 meter radius sidecut. (Longer and fatter in deep snow, though.) You will want lower performance skis that I like, do try some with lots of sidecut, and understand that as skis are made longer, they're proportionally stiffer--don't go too long/stiff nor too short/soft.