When I bought my first pair of skis, I read a lot of reviews to see what is decent for an lower intermediate skier who plans to grow a lot, then combed the internet to find the best deal I could for a decent ski (i.e. not a beginner ski) and bought those.
As for size, I am a similar size to you and I ski 160s. I wouldn't go below 150, but I guess that's preference speaking. The Lotta Luv is a beefy ski. I would go up in size and down in.. beefiness.
Here are some deals out there on good skis that are cheap, new, good quality and suitable for a beginner to grow on:
Fischer Vision Allures, 155cm for $225
K2 One Luv, 160cm for $229 (maybe a bit longer than need now, but you might grow into the length and end up liking it. Good ski.)
Dynastar Exclusive 8, 158cm for $139
Peruse theskidiva.com :-) Lots of good information there.
Edited by Memilyg - 2/20/2009 at 04:52 pm
Edited by Memilyg - 2/20/2009 at 04:50 pm