I am a 40-year-old, PSIA-certified instructor and consider myself a good skier. I am not a racer, but the skis that I like tend to be race skis such as the Rossignol 9X 10.2. Will these be OK for everyday use?
Given your profession and the fact that you're not a racer, I'd say a more versatile ski would better suit you. Five years ago, I would have said that good skiers needed to look at race skis to get the kind of performance they wanted. Most experienced instructors, even if they rarely ran gates, tended to gravitate toward racing models. They freeskied and taught on them-even though their skis bore little relationship to the models their students were learning on. But times have changed.
The ski-design revolution of the past five years means there is great product out there for everyone, and there's no reason you can't find a ski that perfectly suits you; all you need to do is demo.
While modern race skis are becoming more and more specialized and "critical" (meaning they have precise sweetspots that are more difficult to balance on), many models in the All-Mountain Expert, All-Mountain Cruiser and Freeride categories are versatile, comfortable, forgiving and high-performing in a wide range of snow and terrain. Everything we thought we knew about waist width, sidecut, stiffness and ski length is out the window. Skis we would have considered too short, too wide and too soft five years ago now grip ice like claws. Try some of the mid-fat skis with underfoot widths between 66 and 72 mm.
With ski technology advancing so quickly, ski your buns off this season so you wear the skis out and can justify new ones next year. More important, by getting on a hot shaped ski you'll be on a souped-up version of the skis your students are using. They'll relate to you (and what you're teaching them) better, and vice versa. That's a good thing. -The Professor
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Write Stu Campbell at email@example.com.