As far as the SC97, it is definitely stiff, and keeps me on my toes for sure! I skied the SC87 during a demo day of lots of skis and liked it a lot, so I figured the 97 would be the same but just a bit wider (same construction, etc). Not completely sold yet, but I got them super cheap, so....
Re the longer S3. I think that the higher rise will certainly make the 186 better in deeper snow and be a push on hard snow but for many skiers will it make the ski less versatile in the scheme of "everything else". I have discovered that for my own tastes a low rise frees up the tip during initiation but still keeps the tip stable in the context of mixed and variable conditions (such as described above) The higher and/or longer the tip rise is....the more vulnerable to deflection the ski seems to be in those conditions..................Another tradeoff.
Re: The SC97. I skied it last year and decided not to carry it b/c it felt too planky to gain wide acceptance. It would be fine for those with a taste for stiffer skis, but I already had several other options there so it it was not a fit for our product mix.