Hi all, just want to start by saying thanks to everyone who has posted so much great info on this site. I've read a bunch of reviews on both skis but would like to get some first hand impressions since I won't be able to demo either before I buy. I'm a college student so budget it first priority but its definitely time to upgrade my quiver. I've been on a pair of Blizzard Titan 8 169's for the last several years and I like them but I'm feeling the limitations in deep / off piste snow as well as getting them to bite on super hardpack and icier stuff.
I'm 5'9" and 170lbs, strong ex-racer but am NOT looking for a racing, ultra-stiff ski. I'm much more fun and relaxed now (after several REALLY bad crashes), but admittedly, still like to get after it every now and then. I like trees, pow, bowls, sidecountry, and fast GS turns back to the lift. Avoid bumps and big drops at all costs
My main mountain is Kirkwood but I also hit Sierra, Heavenly, and Sugar too. A local shop has both the Elan 999 and Head John 94s from last year at can't pass prices and I know I need to upgrade. Will either of these fit what I'm looking for? I demo'd the Elan 888 and loved em but think I might need something a bit wider for everyday boards. How does the 999 Alu ski compared to the 888, hardpack and carving in particular?
I will also have some extra money come February so I will be buying a dedicated pair of powder / deep snow boards with a AT setup so I'm not looking for a 1 ski quiver.
Oh, and two skis I demo's and didn't really like was the Blizzard Atlas and Volkl Mantra which were just too stiff for how I ski now.