Acrophobia--I'm not sure if you're disagreeing with me or not. You take lessons, as I've suggested, and I'm sure it makes you appreciate your gear and enjoy the sport more than if you did not. I'm sure you would not trade back any of your hard-earned skill for a new pair of skis.
Your friend seems to eat a lot of snow. The skis he was on work fine in that kind of stuff--which is not to say that other skis might not work even better. But I'll bet I could get him to eat less snow with a lesson than with a new pair of skis. You say he's "technically much better" than you, and perhaps you're right. But if he's "face-planting" that much on those skis, he could surely stand to gain from a lesson.
You are right that "instructor quality varies"--and that is an understatement if I ever heard one. But outstanding instructors can be found with a little research and asking around. The industry has done all it can to destroy the profession of ski instruction, much to my dismay (and astonishment, since it hardly benefits any resort to have inexperienced, poorly trained, hobbiest non-pros turning their guests off from lessons and from truly connecting with the sport--but that's another story!).
Real, competent, passionate, inspiring ski pros are out there, eager to help you. Sounds liike you know that! I do not recommend just going to a ski school desk and signing up for "a lesson," though. Your odds of getting a great lesson that way are truly dismal. Seek a great pro and take a private lesson. If that's out of the question economically (remember what that new pair of skis cost, though!), at least Insist on an experienced, certified, current pro.for your group lesson. Tell them you won't take a lesson without that guarantee. And when it's over, give feedback--positive or negative--to the ski school supervisor or director. If it wasn't a brilliant lesson, complain! The only thing that will reverse the decline of quality ski instruction is skiers speaking with their wallets, their voices, and their keyboards (or pens). Ski instruction does vary in quality. But that need not matter to you, if you don't let it.
Either way, to those gear heads who invest more in your equipment than in how to use it--new equipment or not, regardless of the snow conditions, and regardless of your level of skill (which is NOT necessarily a reflection of the quality of your technique!), remember that there are always a few of those "elitist" instructors and other savvy skiers watching incredulously as you make the same mistakes over and over and over! They'd love to guide you to the next level, and you'll gain their respect instantly, the moment you ask for help and make a real effort to improve. And your skiing will never be the same!
what acrophobia speaks of is so true.
Thier are examiners at snowbird that could not ski as long, fast or as 'hard" as me. According to the PSIA they are more technically skilled than me, I mean they are examiners right? I know its not a really a far comparision considering most are double my age, but still never skiing on anything over 80-85mm underfoot at snowbird will truly limit what type of turns you can make. Even on so called hardpack days skiing off trail fast required big longer skis. On powder days keeping up with the best skiers on the hill required not only great skills but the right skis as well.
skill goes along away though, I skied many a powder turn on my undersize 170 instructor skis, tons of work not so much fun.
I hate skis that dictate what type of skiing I have to do that day. So I dont freeski carvers. I understand all the weird things I do in my skiing from skiing wider skis all the time. I over angulate, tend to have large unweighting movements, and a frame. I am ok with that because there is much more stuff I can do on them. I get to dictate to the mountain and skis what I want to do and not the other way around.