Update- Icelantic Demo Day Dec. 23, 2009
Well we managed to make it! A very cold and windy day with hard snow with some wind blown and crud. Not the best day, for sure, to compare the float of the Nomads with the Shaman; which was what I was most interested in. Unfortunately there were no Scouts to demo, and my wife never did get to try out the Pilgrims because a kid took them for the whole time we were there. We spied him and his family having lunch while the skis were in a rack outside for over an hour and a half. Finally we talked to them and they said they were going to return them, but as we waited at the demo tent they skied past us and on to the gondola. We didn't see the skis for the rest of the day. Pretty annoying to say the least.
Never-the-less, here are my impressions of the skis we did demo. My wife, who is not very comfortable on ungroomed trails or in moguls, has been skiing on 163 Atomic Sweet Daddys for several seasons. She is 5' 2" and 170 lbs. She chose to demo the 156 Nomad SFT. We skied Upper Perry Merrill to the Cliff Trail which was was ungroomed with variable conditions- wind blown, hard scraped up snow and chopped up bumps and crud. Just what my wife hates. I can report, however, she looked much better on the Nomads than I had ever seen her ski before. She absolutely loved them and is planning to try Pilgrims and Scouts.
Now for me. I am 5' 3" and 135 lbs. and my weapon of choice has been a 164 Stockli Stormrider. I was interested in comparing the 156 Nomad and Nomad SFT with the Shaman. As I mentioned above, not the appropriate conditions, but I must say I was very impressed with the edge hold and crud busting ability of the regular Nomad which I felt was a lot better than the Nomad SFT. The Nomad SFT, however, was much better in the bumps. Both skis felt a little too short, something I didn't feel about the 161Shamans. Unfortunately time ran out before I got to try the skis in the 168 length.
Remarkably we shared an enjoyable gondola ride with the bushwacker, whom my wife recognized, having had taken a lesson with him at Snowbird. He offered to take me into the woods so I could try the skis in soft snow, but as I wanted to see how my wife fared, and it was my first time on skis this year, I was reluctant to take him up on the generous offer. (I'll admit it- I was more than a little intimidated at the thought of sking with the bushwacker and didn't want embarrass myself and spoil his run!)
I must not forget to add that the Icelantic crew were great people!
Update: I now have eight days under my belt, and my wife and I are headed for Breckenridge next week. I hope we find a way to continue demoing Icelantic skis out there. Hopefully in perfect conditions!