It's not that we need crutches as we get older, it's that we are less willing to put up with inadequacies.
As a young man, Canadian Club was good enough. Now I want Lagavulin.
The first brand new ski I bought was a Dynastar GS ski, a modern wood fibre-glass ski with built in edges. It was a step up from those too long wooden skis with screw-on edges and cable bindings (or no edges and bear trap bindings). I still keep it around for nostalgia. I quickly found that the ski was too short to be stable at speed and switched to longer and longer GS skis, until SG skis came along.
I still have an SG ski, which I keep in the quiver not just for nostalgia, but because it really does feel good at insane speeds. It's a little floppier than it used to be, sometimes rebounding with an extra flop from the tips after landing big air at speed, but nothing worrying (the worry is keeping them under me when the hit comes cause the landing is too flat).
When I first got those SG skis I was quite willing to use them everywhere. So they weren't the greatest in bumps, I could bull my way through them. So they were too stiff for powder, I didn't really have to turn sharp or even all that much. However that's where it started. I had to admit that the softer Dynastar GS skis of the day (in whatever the longest length I could find was) were easier to bend into a turn in deep snow and that stability wasn't that much of an issue with all that soft snow under foot (except for the steeper pitches that didn't hold snow, but a little more excitement was welcome to a young man, so long as no turns were involved). I actually rented GS skis when I owned perfectly good SG skis.
Then being stuck in the land of small hills, I had to admit that a short radius ski would make more sense. Enter the WC SC.
They could handle any speed the local hills could generate, but a day on the old SGs just for giggles, reminded how nice it is to arc a pure smooth LR turn. So I kept an eye open for a Longer radius ski.
Found the Machete G on sale, and it had a longer radius. Turns out it didn't have the ice-grip I wanted, but it sure is nice for deeper snow. It's fine on hardpack too, if you resign yourself to sliding across the ice patches and turning once you get to the other side of them, just not fine when it's all ice.
Got the P50 F1s. I like the radius, and I figure if I change the tuning to 0.5:3, I can get the ice grip I want. However I'm intrigued about keeping the factory tune and expanding my repertoire into speed-control skidded turns, and keeping the factory tune's 1:2 forgiving nature for moguls.
Active Quiver 4 Skis for 4 purposes: 165 cm WC SC short radius (13 m) , 188 cm Völkl P50 F1 medium radius (22 ish m) for higher speeds and Kästle SG Long radius (60 -70? m) skis for much higher speeds on hardpack. Only Volant Machete G medium radius (22 ish m) skis for deep, but I hardly ever see deep.
I'm sure if I lived out west I would have more and wider skis. If I was really into bumps I would likely want bump specific skis too, but the other skis (except for the SGs) work "well enough" for me there.
Edited by Ghost - 1/3/11 at 3:09pm