I was asked to post a review of my MX88s, explaining why I sold them. So:
I had a pair of 2013 168 cm MX88s (bought without prior demo) and ended up selling them. I could feel it was a quality ski -- it just didn't work for me. Part of the problem is that, at 5'7"/150#, the 168 felt short -- just to get it to be skiable for me, I needed to move the bindings back to -1.0 cm. In doing lots of demos this year, I've found I prefer my ~90+ mm skis to be closer to 180 (e.g., the following, all of which I tried, felt OK length-wise: 178 Steadfast, 177 Salomon Q90, 177 Rev 80, 180 Soul 7, 177 Vagabond, 180 Super 7, 177 Salomon Q115, 176 Volkl One, 176 Volkl Two).
But there's more to it than that -- when you move from an ~ 70 mm carving ski to something in the 90 mm range (like the MX88) you necessarily give up firm snow performance. So there's no point (at least for me) to a ski like the MX88 unless, in exchange, it gives significantly improved performance in crud and soft snow. And I found the 168 MX88 was too stiff (and too short) to work well for me in rough or 3D snow. In rough snow, at speed, I got tossed around. And in 3D snow, the ski didn't bend well, so I really had to work it. It was exhausting. Sure, I could move up the 178, which would give me more stability, but that would be designed for an even heavier skier, and thus likely would be even stiffer. Another example of a popular ski that I don't like for the same reason (too stiff for its extra width to provide me a benefit in soft snow) is the Volkl Mantra. I suspect someone that is heavier would like the MX88 (and the Mantra) much more than I. It did have a smooth feel, and carved very well for a ski of its width (hooking up nicely at the top of the turn and holding an edge if the snow wasn't too hard), so I can understand its appeal for a larger skier.
Bottom line: if you're a lighter skier that likes longer skis in rough snow and soft snow, the MX88 may be too stiff to work well for you in those conditions.
[Note: I had these tuned by Footloose to 1 base/3 side, to make sure the tune wasn't an issue; it did significantly improved how they skied. The above review was based on time on the ski after the tune.]
[Note 2: There's also the broader issue that the 80 - 90 mm range seems to be a bit of a no-man's land for me -- too wide to give really good groomer performance (relative to the standards set by the narrower skies), yet too narrow to give me notable benefit in soft snow. I'll address this in more detail elsewhere.]
Edited by chemist - 4/16/14 at 4:45pm