First post and must say I've appreciated all the info users have provided on the site. I'm currently looking to purchase my first pair of skis after renting all last year and would like to hear anybody's thoughts. Here's my situation...Last season was my first season ever skiing and unfortunately I think I'm hooked. I skied last year at Meadows on Hood and will spend this season there as well, although I may venture to Bachelor for a long weekend this winter. I'm 28 years old, a "retired" athlete trying something new after a lifetime in team sports, 6'3" and 245lbs. I rented gear all last year and I felt the rental gear to be a little limiting as I progressed through the season (I'm sure it was a combination of technique, my size, and equipment).
I would like to put a ski ability "level" down, but I've seen so many different descriptions I only think it's fair to describe how I ended last year. I finished last year being able to get down almost anything on the front side of Meadows. I can easily control speed, adjust turn length, and carve any of the blue runs on the mountain..I really worked and improved on carving and not skidding my turns. I am comfortable carving the easier blacks (if groomed). I started to struggle when we began exploring off piste going between runs (tips diving but this got better with practice even though it was definitely hard work) or in heavier chopped up snow. I definitely have the strength and ability to get down some of the steeper black runs but I'm not bombing them yet...same for bumps. I will most likely hit up a lesson this year to continue to improve in the steeps. I loved the progress I made last year and I want to make sure that I have the proper gear (and renting is a pain) so I can make as much progress this season as I did last season. My goals (in order) for this year are to hit the off piste and chopped stuff harder with more confidence, get more comfortable carving down the steeper blacks and bumps, get into the trees, and maybe venture into a couple of the wide open double blacks (I think I will spend more time in the trees then in the open bowls or the canyon).
So, I've reading a lot about different skis but there is obviously a large variety. The reality is I will probably spend this season roughly 70/30 on/off piste, although it would not surprise me if I spent more time off piste and in the trees later this season. I will definitely demo as many skis necessary before buying skis. That said, I would like to narrow my list before I go and try to demo everything. I'm currently looking at the following skis:
Line Prophet 90 @ 186
Line Prophet 100 @ 186
Rossi S86 Freeride @ 186
Salomon Lord @ 185
Salomon Sentinel @ 184
Dynastar Legend Sultan 85 @ 184
Dynastart Legend Sulat 94 @ 185
I love to hear any thoughts from anyone, especially anyone that is a similar size, of how these skis ride both on and off piste, in variable conditions, and in the trees. I'd also be interested if anyone has any other recommendations.