This has been an interesting discussion, but I can't help but think that some people may be arguing the obvious. Yes, the new skis CERTAINLY work BETTER than the old ones. But they do not work DIFFERENTLY. "Better" is a question of degree. They're better tools. Today's cars are faster, quieter, smoother, more nimble, more fuel-efficient, and cleaner than cars of yesterday. But they do essentially the same thing, in pretty much the same way. They're better tools.
Bicycles today, made of space-age carbon fiber, high-zoot aluminum, and titanium, and with as many as thirty gears to choose from, shifters at your finger tips, and clip-in pedals, are as much an improvement over the steel 10-speeds of twenty years ago as today's skis are over yesterday's. But are they really that different?
When the new supersidecut skis first came out, many skiers immediately loved them. I was one. I found that--WITH MY EXISTING TECHNIQUES, UNDERSTANDING, AND INTENTS--the new skis worked better. MUCH better. I had to change NOTHING, except to learn to deal with the higher performance and enhanced sensations and feedback they gave me. I had to rethink NOTHING, except to learn to trust the tools to work well in situations where the old ones simply wouldn't have done the job. For years prior, I'd been trying to hone my movements to get more performance out of my skis. I'd been trying to cut deep, clean trenches in the corduroy groomed snow. Finally, I could do it more consistently, more often, at more moderate speeds, and in tighter turns. And the g-forces were addictive! The tools are better. But they're better at the SAME THINGS.
I also had to rethink NOTHING in my teaching. Yes, to Si's point, the more obvious response and feedback from the new skis made teaching and learning good movements and tactics easier, more effective, but I did not have to teach some unique kind of movements specific to the new shapes. The new skis finally made it easy for lower level skiers to connect with expert-type movements. I loved them!
The new skis did give me more opportunities--more options in my teaching and skiing. But they made nothing obsolete. Tipping/edging drills made more "sense" to students at lower levels, because they could actually feel their skis carving and turning. The same exercises were valid before, but they didn't give the obvious feedback on the old skis that helped students connect.
That's not to say that many instructors and skiers did not find the new skis revolutionary. Those whose teaching and techniques were mostly based on defensive movements and forced skids, and who had never felt a ski carve, suddenly felt DIFFERENT things. Yes, they were things they SHOULD have felt all along, and should have understood all along, but that's another story, and certainly not their skis' fault. Yes, these instructors had to change everything, and they saw the new skis as entirely, qualitatively DIFFERENT, requiring DIFFERENT movements and teaching strategies.
But a personal revelation does not always constitute a change in the universe! I'm sure all of us can think of a time we made a "discovery" that finally brought us to an understanding of something that others already understood. It was exciting, perhaps even world-changing in our own little worlds. But other people probably wondered how we could have not known it in the first place! "You mean you finally get it? Where have you been...?"
Those who enthusiastically touted the new skis as revolutionary, requiring an all-new technique, and an all-new teaching methodology, really only announced to the world that they "finally got it." "Hey everyone--the world is NOT FLAT!" Yes, and Columbus "discovered" America too--to the amusement and later chagrin of those who already lived there!
Anyway, there's no question that the enhanced feedback from the supersidecut (I like that word better than "shaped" too) skis can help people learn more easily, with or without instruction. Feedback is basic and essential for learning--that's not a revolutionary concept either! The new skis REACT to skier input much more obviously than the old ones, and that reaction can certainly help us learn.
But the new skis will not make a defensive skier offensive. Indeed, for those who think of their turns as a way to slow down (the vast majority of recreational skiers), the feedback from the new skis is often NEGATIVE. Carving skis are FASTER than skidding skis, so the moment they make "good" movements, these skiers receive PUNISHMENT from their skis. Their intent was to SLOW DOWN, and the reaction of the skis is just the opposite. If you want to teach a rat to do something, you reward it when it does what you want. The feedback from the new skis, properly used, can be just the opposite, for those in search of the "comfort" of braking, skidding skis.
That's why so many skiers immediately DISLIKED the new skis. They work better, but better at just the opposite of what these skiers were trying to accomplish (whether they realized it or not).
They're better tools. That doesn't mean that there can't be pleasure in the craftsmanship and nostalgia of yesteryear. Some flyfishers love a fine old bamboo rod, even if they can't catch more fish with it. Other people restore ancient automobiles and wooden boats. Some carpenters like working with hand tools. Personally, I miss poma lifts and T-bars.
But I don't miss leather boots or straighter skis! Of course, they DO look good above the mantle....