I am trying to decide between a few skis and it is proving quite difficult; if I had more time I would demo them all, but I do not.
First, I cannot seem to decide between a 88-90 mm waist, and a 98-ish waist. I live on the West Coast of British Columbia, and love to rip in the glades. I am 6'2" and 175 lbs, and a confident skier. I currently have 181 Salomon Ten Eighties (http://www.backcountry.com/salomon-teneighty-ski). I find them a bit too narrow for the snow out here. I still like to be able to carve hard on piste, but comfortably enjoy the wonderful off-piste conditions we have here.
Enough back story. I am looking at (in the 88-90 mm range): K2 Sideshow, Volkl Kendo and Rossi Experience 88. And in the 98mm range, the K2 Hardside, Volkl Mantra, and Rossi Experience 98.
I would appreciate any thoughts you might have. I am worried about making too big of a jump from my Ten Eighties in the waist, but as long as it is controllable, particularly in the trees, I will be happy.
If you are looking to ski both on and off piste, the Blizzard Bonafide (98mm) is the best choice. It has just the right amount of rocker/camber mix, a great flex profile, is very stable at speed, and rails on the groomers for a ski that wide. The mantra and Rossi E98 are both stiffer, more frontside oriented skis. The Bonafide is also much more nimble than you would expect from a 98mm waisted ski. I wouldn't definitely recommend going with the 98mm range, you will get increased float in soft snow and stability in crud, without sacrifices much on hard snow. You won't regret it.
My friend and I just concluded our searches for a good 50/50 ski. I ended up with the Hardsides, he ended up with the Bonafides. Both are more than competent on hardpack. I like the 23 m radius of the hardside. Bonafide is shorter i believe. Managed to find some light pow and the K2s performed well but i've yet to really push them into anything truly deep. They manage bumps well too. Havent hit the woods yet, not enough snow out here.
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on top of the bonafide, I'd recommend you look into the Nordica Hell and Back, they are fairly light, yet incredibly strong on the hardpack, and super fun in the steep, bumps, and 1 foot to 1.5 foot of pow (recently skied week old stashes of powder around Alta, and they managed really well). I have them in a 185 size.
I had the opportunity to try both the Blizzard and the Nordica last year on the same day, and found the Bonafide too heavy for me, and i couldn't quite find the right way of using them. On the contrary, the Hell and Back seemed more "natural" to me, and I instantaneously felt at ease with them, thus my choice!
sideshow. K2 is coming back in a good big way.
alllll on K2 and i think the company realized there mistakes and learned and improved the procuct. great ski get the volkl, only cause thats less people with the hardside:)
i dont like a tail rocker, i ski forwards, i like stif stifff stiff stiff tails and super stiff skis overall. the hardsides are that. my boards in pic below