I concur w/brownie_bear.
adr5, I would recommend against purchasing those skis for several reasons:
1) In any vintage, the Atomic SL9 is a detuned slalom ski. Even though it is the easier-skiing version of the SL11, it is still not for a beginner of any sort. In addition, a slalom ski is a specialist ski that is limited in versatility relative to the great generalist skis that are available today that are much more appropriate for your first pair of skis.
2) The type and model of ski is actually secondary to a specification that you did not know to provide: ski length. There are many discussion threads on this board on the issue of ski length for a given a) skier weight, b) skier height, c) skier skill level, d) intended usage, and e) regional snow variation. Suffice it to say it’s not a simple issue, esp. when we’re talking about a skier who is advancing through skill levels, as you are. This is one reason why most people recommend to hold off buying skis until you’re at least a solid Intermediate. By that time you should have a good idea of how different ski lengths affect your skiing, and what your personal preferences are.
3) Just about all alpine bindings will work with all alpine boots.
4) Non-system bindings (“Fixed mounting”) can often be re-drilled to work with a different boot. There are some limits, though, as the newly-drilled bindings holes need to be a certain distance apart from existing holes. There is also some complexity in where to center the boot (fore-aft), but that’s not a necessary discussion right now.
5) System bindings can be adjusted for different boot sizes, but it is usually a tiny bit more involved than the single-button/level adjustment that you saw with your rental bindings, which are known as “demo/rental bindings”. However, it is still easy.
6) Skis are not hard to service by anybody with some mechanical aptitude, but certain operations are not worth the normal user’s time or tools involved to do it, much like installing a bike headset (which would require a reamer/facer, and press... you get the idea). Some operations are financially risky if you screw up (i.e. drilling/mounting non-system bindings). It is not worth it to pursue putting together your own skis if you’re a beginner. With enough experience owning modern skis and having seen exactly what shops do for you, more-seasoned skiers can pursue being self-sufficient.
My best advice would be to continue renting skis until you are a solid Intermediate. Meanwhile, pay attention to the length of the ski, perhaps even varying it up to (try different lengths) to figure out how they feel differently to you. It would even be advantageous to "demo" skis, that is, to rent higher-end skis (i.e. not ones from the general rental fleet) to feel out the different types of skis. Trust me, they can feel very
What you SHOULD spend your money on is to visit a well-regarded professional bootfitter (not just somebody who tells you he's a bootfitter, but rather somebody recommended by "Ask The Boot Guys" forum. Trust me, I've made that mistake.) Many beginners fail to see that the single most important piece of ski equipment is the link between you and the skis: the boots. Many beginners also make the mistake to think that the expensive services of a real bootfitter is a luxury that rich (and stupid) skiers use, but that they can do without, as they've been adept at sizing shoes, perhaps even with some inkling of foot biomechanics. This is a complete underestimation of the both the complexities of a ski boot and the almost night-and-day difference a well-fit boot can make to your skiing.
(Athletic) people have gone from Beginners to Advanced skiers in only a few days with the right-fit boots.
You may not save that much money with having your own properly-fit boots, but you will 1) be that much more comfortable, 2) progress much quicker in your improvement, and 3) not have to be grossed-out by rental boots.Edited by DtEW - 1/6/10 at 3:28pm