Kevin is representing our shop over at Snowbasin this week, for the dealer demo show. He is 6 foot 1 and 195lbs, level 9 skill, likes to ski fast. He is a good skier (about the same skill level as I am) but with more of a cross-under technique (he grew up skiing moguls in the east) whereas I am more of a cross-over skier (but smoothing that out, see last season's MA and follow-up). Since I am not there (I won't be skiing for another 2 weeks), I am posing his impressions. More to follow on the 4th and 5th. FWIW, some of his current favorite skis are the Head iM88, Watea 94, Elan 82ti, all in the 185-ish lengths.
Conditions: mostly hardpack bumps, some soft crud, some soft groomers.
Blizzard Atlas: 94mm underfoot, new ski for 2009: one of his top 2 skis of the day. Super versatile: fun pretty much everywhere, bends nicely in the bumps, stable at speed, good energy for a wide ski. Can pretty much do it all. As nice or nicer than the Watea 94.
Blizzard Magnum 8.7: great carver, lacking a bit of versatility. Great energy out of the turn, springs you from turn to turn, a bit of a challenge off-piste. A little stiff for bumps. Reminds him of the 82Xti, but even a little more demanding.
Elan Magfire 82Xti: Another great hard snow ski, really fun everywhere at speed, but a handful in bumps. Holds well on groomers, decently relaxing off-piste, slightly favored over the Magnum 8.7. Likes the 82ti over both the Magnum 8.7 and Xti: more versatile w/o a loss in performance.
Head Peak 88: replaces the 88, but without metal: felt like a Mojo 94 but slightly narrower. No energy, no power, no 'nuthin. Really underwhelmed.
Fischer Watea 101: weird feeling ski for hardpack, wants to do it's own thing. Doesn't want to turn, doesn't absorb rough snow well, only marginal holding power on solid snow. Definitely a soft snow ski, lacking the 94's versatility.
Elan 999: tied with the Blizzard Atlas as his favorite of the day. Said it felt like a 888, only wider (supposedly, that is exactly what the re-designed 999 is). No speed limit, soft enough tip for any snow condition, great in bumps, superb carver, tons of energy for a ski of this type. He said that this or the 888 could be his everyday ski.
I will have some more reviews tomorrow.