About me: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, fairly athletic skier, typically 50-60 days/year, can ski most conditions.
Ski reviewed: Elan 1010, the 2010 model, 183cm, mounted with demo SP130 bindings. The ski has a big tip, moderate flex, 2 sheets of metal, and a flat tail. Quite a bit of contact length for a wide ski such as this, so it skis true to length. 140/110/130, 23m radius.
Conditions: up to 8" of fresh, hard crust, firm bumps with soft snow in the troughs, some ice and death cookies, crud here and there.
Review: This ski feels like the big brother of the 888. It has that smooth, stable, responsive, somewhat energetic yet big-ski feel to it. Very good in variable snow conditions: it made me a better skier in dust on crust, as I wasn't breaking through and found the ski's response to death cookies to be very predictable. This is a great crud ski, it powers through it and makes skiing crud easy. Bumps are also very easy on this ski: it has a moderate flex and not much sidecut, so it bends up and is predictable. In the newer, deeper snow, it kept me up a bit more than a narrower ski would have done, and kept me floating. I found the initiation to be just as I would like: it turned when I asked it to, and didn't have the floppy tip feel of much of the rockered stuff. It just surfed up on top of the softer snow, and as soon as I was ready to relax and release, it floated through the transition and onto new edges. This isn't a back-seat driver's ski: it likes to run away from you if you aren't committed to the turn, and I wouldn't put lower level skiers on it. Definitely solid skills are required of this ski. Those who liked rockered stuff because they can get away with back-seat driving will hate this ski. This skis nothing like a rockered ski: It doesn't initiate automatically, but instead take a solid release to bring it from it's old edge set, so in that sense isn't as "easy" of a ski. But, it is more stable in variable snow and feels much more like a regular ski (which is a good thing, IMO) than any rocker I have yet tried (which tend to give up stability in crud and that feel of really engaging the tip and pulling you into the turn, in exchange for ease of use and a less demanding feel). I did take it on some wind-blown ice (left over from the last day's warm spell) and it is a poor ice ski. I could survive, but it doesn't rail like a narrower, more sporty ski, and isn't a whole lot of fun on ice. Not really a surprise.
Comparisons: being that I have skied somewhat similar skis recently, but they were all on different days, it is hard to say exactly how they line up. I can say that this ski impressed me greatly, and stability seemed on par with the Huge Trouble and Answer, maybe a bit ahead of the Sidestash. On less deep snow and variable conditions, this was up there with the HT, ahead of the others, and since I haven't tried it in truly deep snow, I can't say if it is better or worse there. But, I bet it would hold it's own.
Conclusion: this is a very, very good ski. They got the flex right, as well as the lateral stiffness, and it seems to be a very competent wide all-around ski for the good skier. Very versatile, and could be the wide ski of a 2-ski quiver, perfect for days of 6-8" of fresh and more. Kevin thought the 999 and 1010 were 2 of the best 5 skis he tried at the Snowbasin demo, and I can see why.