About me: 5 foot 8, 160 lbs, level 8/9, ski 35+ days/year.
Ski Tested: 2009 Rossignol CX80 170 CM w/ integrated plate and Look/Rossi Axial 140 Ti Binding
Conditions: groomed runs were hard/very hard underneath a 1-2” layer of loose snow that varied from granular sugar to packed powder; ungroomed runs exposed to the sun were quite hard and steep chutes that faced north/east remained fun with nice soft/chalky snow.
Pros: fast and very stable, skis responded well to high edge angle/modern technique in med/long radius turns; confidence building on very hard snow, I was able to hold an edge and maintain arcs through snow that varied from ice to hardpacked and back to ice, the thing that I really liked was that I felt confident with maintaining edge pressure even when the ski chattered in a turn on hard/very hard surfaces, I suspect that part of this is due to the weight of the skis helping to dampen the chatter. In steeper terrain/shorter radius turns the ski worked well. The 170 CM length was nice in steep narrow terrain that you can find at Squaw.
Also liked the pop coming out of the turn, not extreme/uncontrolled but definitely felt the rebound energy coming out of the turn into the next.
In softer snow, med/long radius turns were a lot of fun, skis felt really good on edge and rewarded edge pressure and speed with a really nice locked in feeling.
Cons: these skis don’t really like to run straight, always seem to want to be in a turn, especially on roads/cat tracks, I don’t mind this quality but others might find it a burden/hassle. They only come in 10cm size increments and you have to buy with the integrated binding setup noted above.
I wouldn’t use these skis in powder or tracked out powder (I have other skis for those situations). The skis need an aggressive, body forward/centered approach and cannot be skied from the back seat or off the tails. If you end up in the back seat (and I did a couple of times) they just want to keep going in whichever direction the tips happen to be pointed.
I cannot see this ski as a 1 ski quiver on the west coast in spite of the 80 mm width.
Summary: I ended up buying this ski in a 170. I really liked it, it did what I wanted and I also had some logistical/timing issues that limited my access to demo skis and other ski choices. My goal was to end up with a 2 ski quiver, 1 ski for hard conditions and 1 for soft snow/powder conditions and this one exceeded my expectations for hard snow.