First of all, let me preface the question by saying that I have never skied on the Watea 94. I am a Level 8+ (in between L8/L9), 28 yo, 5' 8", 165-170 lbs. I am working on my bump skiing, and like to spend most of the day either in the bumps, bowls, or trees. I don't spend too much time on groomed slopes unless I am skiing with my girlfriend, in which case I am not going very fast anyway.
Last year was my first Colorado winter, so I just bought a pair of used 06/07 K2 Apache Outlaws with Marker M12 bindings (88mm underfoot) in 170 cm length as something to get me through. They are the first pair of fatter skis that I have owned or skied on, so I really have nothing to compare them to. I like the fact that the skis seem to be really stable (is that what everyone means by being damp?) in just about any condition that i have used them in. I really don't like the fact that it seems like they are really heavy (although maybe I just need to work on my leg strength) and don't seem to be all that nimble.
I had hoped to get some demo time of the Watea in before the end of the season but it just didn't happen. The only problem that I see with that is that these can be found really cheap new right now and I would hate to pass up a good deal. Based upon everything that I have read, it seems like a lot of people like this ski so even though I have never skied on it I am tempted to just buy it and go from there.
I would be looking to get the 178 cm length. I am looking for a ski that is somewhat similar to the Outlaw but just does it a little differently (as in hopefully lighter & more nimble). If I buy the Watea and it isn't as good on the groomers as the Outlaw, then if I plan a day to ski with the girl I would just take the Outlaws instead. I am will let my dad use the Outlaws when he comes to town, as he does not have a good Western ski and we have the same size boots (which would prevent him from having to rent and in turn would offset the cost of the new pair of skis in a season or two).
Finally, if I do buy them, does anyone have any binding recommendations?