I've had the chance to take them out 10 times so far this season, and all I can say is: Where have you been all my life?
Some background about me: M 40, skiing since I was 12, live in the East, ski at Jay Peak and La Réserve. I spend all my time in the trees, I look for powder and usually find crud, I also do bumps very well. Rocks are just part of the picture, so I don't really care to go over them if they happen to be in my fall line. I'm 5'8" 180 lb, and very good looking.
I bought my Xplorers from Paul at the Austrian Ski Shop in Montreal. These guys are the tops! Although most Bears advised me to go longer, I decided that 170 would be best for my style.
Powder - although 84 at the waist and I also went short, they handled powder very well. I even go some flotation going when I was lucky enough to find fresh pow. The deepest I've gotten so far was about 12" of new snow so I can't really answer about how they would do in extra-deep Western stuff.
Trees - I did most of my skiing in the trees since it gave me the best chances of finding fresh snow. And I do go quite fast through those. So picture the scenario: You're at Jay Peak in an unmarked trail surrounded by trees that are quite close to each other. There's a combination of fresh pow, crud and bumps, and if you make a small mistake you easily hit a tree! Well the Xplorers did absolutely fantastic in those condition! Easy to turn, feel light yet bust through the crud and float throught the pow. I took me less than a full ski day before I got really comfortable with those skis, which means they were such a natural fit for me.
Bumps - You normally wouldn't be buying a 84 waist as a mogul ski for obvious reasons, but I'm very impressed by how the Xplorers were smooth and nimble through the bumps.
-Would I recommend to my best friend? Yes.
-Would I buy those again? You bet, and I may actually have to because I'm giving them a serious beating so I doubt they'll last more than a season or two.
-Would I change anything about them? A little early to tell. I'll like to compare those to 100's in the deep stuff and see what the tradeoffs would be.
- Any negative points? Well, If I was into carving and zooming through the groomers, I would get bored on these. They are not fast skis, they don't really have any spring or pop out of the curves and they probably don't have the best hold on ice (I can't know for sure since I didn,t have much ice to deal with this year). By the way, I switched skis for a run with my friend who has a much faster base on his Elan and I almost killed Myself in the tree runs.
Overall, they are the best skis I've owned. I you're like me (ok, so I lied on that last part of my description about my looks), then owning just this ski would probably handle 95% of your days. Then renting super fats for the super deep powder stuff if you are lucky enough to go cat skiing should handle the rest.