I like wood core skis with metal in them.
I like basic sandwich skis with vertical sidewalls.
I like skis with low camber.
I like the simplicity of the IQ system.
I like the Duke type heel piece.
I find the Blizzard line the most organized and well defined so there was little involved in figuring out which model would do the job.
My old friend Weems said he was going to be on them this year.
The shape (123-72-105) is more extreme than any ski I've owned. The length (174) make this the shortest ski I've owned.
Would it be too unstable at speed or force me to make to make short radius turns all the time? I've been skiing on skis in the Volkl G40, G4, AX4, Explosiv, Mantra (love the 06-07 Mantra) lineage for quite a while and like the feel of those skis. With ex-Volkl engineers on board at Blizzard, my guess was that they would get it right. To put things in context, I'm not a fan of the Volkl AC3, AC30, AC40 genre. Too much camber, too heavy an edge for my tastes which (to me) limits their versatility. Also not a fan of the fan favorite Dynastar Legend 8000. Autodrive don't work for me.
Well groomed eastern snow.
First impressions: Very favorable. No weirdness. Comfortable and balanced from the first turn.
Second date: I skied on them twice this week and they've only gotten better. They are very predictable, or as my wife would say, "obedient." Like a faithful dog (dog in the good sense)they only want to please their master. Easy pressure and they turn easy. Quick carved turn? No problem. Stomp on the gas? They give you a strong, balanced platform to stand against. Dial up the speed and make big radius turns? They lay right down and hug the snow. The best thing is that they allow me relax and let the ski do the work. Get on them early in the turn and they take it from there. You can tighten up the radius with a little more pressure, or back off and let them run. There wasn't any super slick stuff, but they held and carved without protest on the hardest stuff I could find.
I have not skied them in anything but consistent, hard snow conditions, but my experience is that if they work well there, they'll work well anywhere.
Me: 6'0", 175 lbs. High level skier (don't know what those level numbers mean). Spend lots of time off piste and touring in the spring in Europe. Bought my first AT boots in '82.
Other rambling random observations: The past few years I've convinced myself that I can ski everything on 85 - 95 mm waisted skis. That's true up to a point, but getting on these makes me think that I've been missing out on a lot of fun. Bob Barnes has made some good comments here on how he uses his narrower Head skis at Jackson a lot and how he is still learning about all the things that he can do with them. All I know is that I can't wait to go skiing again.
Bottom line: Definitely worth a good hard look if you're thinking about something in that category. I'm betting that they work well pretty much anywhere, but time will tell.