try not to pre-judge or pre-purchase your boots.
They will be the most important part of your purchase/decision and will have the greatest effect on how you progress. Try to buy boots from a shop where you have a level of confidence that the fit you're getting will work for you all day, for mulitple days of skiing.
Boot Flex is a very variable thing and depends a lot on how well the boot wraps the foot properly. An ill fitting boot may feel too stiff just because it has hot spots and doesn't support evenly. Your weight and conditioning has a sizable effect on what equipment might suit you well.
Skis. Assuming you get something which suits your weight, you'll prolly find a good versatile ski from any manufacturer.
A good skier in well fitting boots can ski most anything well. The better they are the broader of ski types they'll feel comfortable on. They may have preferences that not all skis can fully meet, so we all make choices. But given a day, some snow and no lift lines, they'd have a ball on most anything. Same skier in poor fitting boots would have an awful day even if they had the mtn to themselves, 8 inches of pow with some corduroy in between.
The most important thing about skis is keeping them in good shape and tuned to the conditions you'll face. Even the best skis will ski less than optimally if they're not tuned after some days of skiing.
An intermediate is someone who should start learning to take care of their equipment.Course you could spend the money with a shop which does a nice tune, or you could learn directly how to do it and what works well for you on any given day or conditions.
Maybe not what you wanted to hear, but a sensible approach for any intermediate. One which hasn;t changed much over the years.