I'm in the market for an all-mountain ski, and wanted get some thoughts from others to see if I'm on the right track. I've done plenty of research over the last several weeks (including much if it by reading forums on this site; thanks everyone) and have narrowed the selection down to Head 78's or Head 82's (either iM's if I end up getting an older version, or Peak if I decide to go new) that I am interested in. Not only have they gotten great reviews on this site, but seem to be just a good all around ski from what I can tell.
Let me tell you a little about myself, so you can get an idea of where I'm coming from: I'm 27 years old, 5'8", 160lbs, and would consider myself a solid level 7 skier with high aspirations. I live in Michgan, and grew up learning how to ski on the "hills" around here, but just started going out west a couple years ago to visit a friend who lived in Vail, and have skied all the surrounding mountains in that immediate area. Going out west really re-kindled my love for skiing, and I now look forward to at least getting out west (or east; another friend of mine just moved to Vermont) a couple times a year; we'll say maybe 10 days a year on the mountain. I'm planning on Park City at the end of January for 6 days this year, and wanted to grab new gear before then. I decided since this is something I'll be doing for the rest of my life, it'd be worth it to finally buy my own skis, and would pay for themselves in just a couple years. Up until this point, I've always rented.
I'm always trying to keep up with my buddies who live out west and ride all year long, who love the back country powder tree runs. It took me a few times to get used to it, but now I can hang with them threw the pow and tree's, the thought of which sometimes keeps me up at night with excitiment. These off-piste runs are what I look forward to skiing, and why I go out west in the first place, although blazing down the groomers is still fun to me too.
Like I said earlier, I'm liking the Head 78's or Head 82's, which seem to be a good all mountain ski. I like that Head is made in the USA (Right?), and although its not a huge factor, I like the graphics on the head more than other brands, and figure if I'm dropping $1000+ on gear, I should like how they look too.
Right now, the 78's seem to be the more logical choice to me, because although I wish I could have all powder days, the fact is that I only am gonna have limited time out west, and in reality, will probably only have a couple good powder days if I'm lucky. I want something that will stay up in the powder, but that also has some grip on the steeps. I also would like a ski thats not too stiff and hard to turn, but not flimsy either; but I know you can't have it all : )
I'm probably looking at getting a ski from the past season or two to save a little cash, so I'm looking more at the Monsters than the new peaks. I'd prefer to buy the skis with the bindings mounted, but it looks like I'll also need to buy those separate (I'm looking at mojo 11's to go with the head skis).
Although I'd love to demo the skis first, there just isn't many places around here in lower Michigan to do that, so odds are I'm just going to end up buying these skis online somewhere and hoping for the best.
Any advice that anyone has for me would be much appreciated; whether to just let me know that I'm on the right track, or make other reccomendations of gear for me to check out.
Thanks for taking the time to read this LONG post (I felt the more details, the better advice I'd get) and happy riding!!!