I just got back from four days of skiing at Snowmass. Awesome place; great snow and skiing conditions. We had a blast. On our first day, last Friday, it snowed most of the day -- by the end of the day there wasn't a lot of "groomed" out there. I did fine, but felt I was getting thrown around a bit -- particulalry on real bumps -- and having to work hard on my 163 Volkl AC-20s (me: 5'9", 150 lbs). Yes, some of the "hard work" part can be explained by the fact that it was our first day and we'd just come from sea level.
After the lifts closed on Friday we went to a demo place where I had reserved skis for Saturday. Although I had pre-reserved Head Peak 78s and had spoken to them beforehand about a few other skis in the 75-80 waist range, when I got there the dudes strongly advised that, given the conditions, I should go wider. I started to demur diplomatically, but my son sided with them (and, also, what the heck do I know?) -- so I took their advice. They put me on Head Peak 88s. Also, they insisted that 164 length was what I needed -- I had been thinking I needed something in the 170 range.
I loved them! I ended up skiing on them for our remaining three days. My son took my Volkls (he has outgrown his Rossi youth 65 waist 155 length skis that we brought with us) and he didn't want to give them back. The Peak 88s were great on ungroomed, partially groomed, and mixed choppy stuff -- they just cut through it all without bucking me off. We also skied lots of moguls (e.g., Fast Draw, Wildcat, and Garrett Gulch -- the last of which I'd rate right up there with Nosedive at Stowe in difficulty). I would have thought that I'd need a narrower ski, but the Peak 88s didn't care whether they went over or around the bumps. We also skied lots of glades (Powerline, Sneaky's, and some unnamed areas). By the second or third day, a lot of the glade skiing was a tricky (for me) combination of narrow, packed down runs with untouched snow on either side. The 88s, no problem. And by Sunday/Monday, there were actually some interesting groomers to try -- Campground -- and the 88s just whaled down the slopes holding a carve.
I know this is beginning to sound like a commercial, but by the end of our stay we were calling these "Magic Skis".
So, here's my questions:
1. Should I buy these? Is this really an appropriate ski for me? Or just a great Western ski? Typically more than than half my skiing is East Coast slopes.
2. Did I love these so much just because I didn't demo anything else? You know, your first woman, first fat ski, etc.....)
3. Was 164 the right length? I mean, they felt fine, but should I have insisted on the next size up?
4. What do y'all think of buying an end-of-season demo rather than new? The specific pair I used looked to be in pretty good shape (however, see above, what do I know?) -- and there's no guarantee that I'd get that specific pair.
5. How competitive is this place's prices? They said they'd sell me demo Peak 88s for $400 (inc. bindings) or new ones for $725 (inc. binding and demo credit).
6. In either case, the bindings they said they'd put on would be Marker 11s. Are these any good? My demo skis had the demo version of Marker 11s and they seemed fine. My current skis have Markers (model?) and I have no complaints -- but, honestly, I know squat about bindings.
Thanks very much for any advice/insights.