6'0", 195lbs, Probably a level 8 I'd say
Ski's I've liked: Watea 94 (my daily driver), Obsethed, Nordica Afterburner
Ski I haven't liked: Rossi S5, Volkl Bridge
About the day:
Fairly firm groomers with about 3" of fresh that fell throughout the day keeping things a little soft and fun. The off trail stuff was pretty frozen and miserable in most places due to some warm daytime temps in the past 2 days, so I didn't get to test some of these skis in their best environment.
Just so you know, I'm not as eloquent a reviewer as some of the folks on here, and I don't get to ski on as many different skis. I don't do a good job of figuring out that a ski is stiff underfoot, torsionally stiff, things like that. I mostly figure out what a ski does well for me, and what it doesn't do well, and whether I like it because of that. So, take this for what it's worth. :)
Atomic Bent Chetler (183): I was really interested to get on this ski because the whole point of the hybrid shape like this, the JJ, etc., is make a ski that's still fun when conditions aren't ideal. And since conditions weren't ideal for this type of ski today... perfect! Well, it turns out that the ski *isn't* fun when the conditions aren't ideal. I just couldn't get the sidecut to work for me. I was mostly just skidding around on the groomers. Maybe I don't know how to ski a ski like this, but regardless of the cause, this was the least fun ski for me today.
Head Peak 88 (175?): I've never been on a Head before, so I don't know what the monsters used to ski like, but this just felt lifeless to me. I didn't feel like I was getting anything back from the ski in the turns. It wasn't so much that the ski was bad, just incredibly bland. I wasn't impressed with this one.
Blizzard Magnum 8.1 (179): This was much more fun than the Peak 88 (these were back to back, so I got a good comparison). A lot more energy in the ski, but still felt very stable. I did feel like this ski really wanted me to be in good form, on top of things at all times. Doesn't seem to like a lazy skier. I'll be honest, sometimes I like to get lazy, so I don't think this was the ski for me (not really in the market for something this narrow anyway), but it was much more fun to ski than the Peak.
Dynastar 6th Sense Big (186): This is the Big Trouble, just renamed. One word. Wow. This is the ski I should have bought instead of my Watea's, I think. This was a very fun ski. Handled well enough on the firmer sections as well as the piles of fresh snow that were building up. Felt very nimble and responsive, yet much more stable than my wateas when things were a little crunchy or uneven. Enough sidecut to come around quickly, but not squirrely at all when running flat. This just did everything I asked it to do, and felt comfortable and easy doing it. Now, I didn't get to test it in a very wide range of conditions, but today this was the winner.
Volkl Gotama (186): I've been on this year's gotama, and I don't think the rocker is an improvement. I feel like it's lost some of the life it had on groomed terrain. I bet it's better in softer snow than it used to be, but I can't help but think they kinda took the wind out of its sails, and made it less of a one ski quiver.
Atomic Snoop (185?): I was only on this for part of a run 'cause I swapped skis with a friend I was with. I immediately didn't like it. It felt very skittish and not stable at all whether I had it on edge or running flat. It would do the things I wanted it to, but never felt comfortable doing it. I immediately traded back 'cause I just didn't care for this one.
Dynastar 6th Sense Huge (185): Renamed Huge Trouble. Holy cow. This was way more fun than a ski this fat should have been on a day like today. Very stable, just smoothed out everything in its path. I took it into some of the frozen crud that was tripping me up earlier in the day, and it did markedly better. This ski feels like it could really make nasty snow ski like a dream. On the groomed stuff, you could definitely feel the width, it was a little slow obviously, but it still felt very normal. I think this would be a great ski for the conditions we get up here in the PNW. I'm *very* tempted right now by some of the used ones I see up for sale here currently.
Fischer Watea 94 (186): My ski, just the new version. Felt pretty much like my skis, no big surprise. This is when I realized that the extra stability from the Dynastar Big Trouble was missing from mine. When I opened up the watea's a little bit, they got knocked around more. I still like them more than most things out there that I've tried, but they have their limitations. And when the snow's a little softer than it was today, I don't notice the lack of stability in the watea's. It was the refrozen crud that they just couldn't deal with.
At the end of the day, I think I've just become a big Dynastar fan. Favorite 3 skis of the day were the Big Trouble, the Obsethed (I only took one run on this, I've already reviewed this recently, and I already knew I liked it), and the Huge Trouble. All three were very fun skis.