I manage a local shop in California, and this season me and about 6 of the other guys in the store convinced the owner we needed to really get into newschool skiing (he is kinda old fashioned, and all we had was a couple of pairs of old head madtrix in there up to this point). So... we had him buy 2 to 3 pairs of 6 ski brands.... Line, Armada, 4frnt, Salomon, Rossignol, Head, so that we could test which brands we wanted to carry for next season.
As the season is winding down here, I am comfortable calling this a full season of use. Anywho... each pair of ski had a rider of decent skill... hitting rails, doing pretty big airs and taking some good spills, on them for roughly 2 days a week. We would alternate skis as much as possible, because we wanted to see the damage each ski took, and also.. because it was sick to test out all of them. We each ski like 4 - 5 days a week, and at least 2 of those we had on a set of test skis, and they were never the same ski twice in a week. Here's what we found....
Line ( Skogen, 1260, EP pro) - These skis were sweet, I and a couple of others ride lines as our own skis, and they were a great all around ski, they didn't really seem to have a super high point, or a low point. The 1260's ripped in the pipe, skogens were just solid skis, and EP was crazy nice for landing switch. As far as durability, we were getting some delamming under the boots where we had cracked some edges that was kind of a pain as there was now water getting into the base, but ... we only actually blew out edges on the skogens, and that was because one of them tried disastering a flat down flat and caught a broken edge on the kink. So overall, Line's were a solid purchase, gonna be good for someone who likes all mountain riding without neccesarily having a specific focus in their skiing. Top pick for 2 of our riders.
Armada (ARV) - We had 2 sets of Armadas, and that is important. The one set, got absolutely beat to hell on the top sheet, granted that doesn't matter, but I know that skis take beatings, but these looked trashed. Maybe it was the color, but they got fucked on the top. We blew out an edge on one set, but had a lot of cracked edges on both skis, including some up in the nose from nose-sliding, which really didn't happen often. They were great in pow, and had a nice flex for landing switch. It was a great ski in the park and for big mountain, but the durability was suspect although Tyson has apparently taken steps to improve that. So good ride, just a little too fragile for every day riding. Top pick for 1 rider.
4Frnt (MSP) - The MSP's were the second most durable ski's we tested, They really didn't show too much damage considering. So for longevity they were banging. For riding , I liked them for rails and backcountry, but I personally found that on big airs ( 40 ft kickers and above) that they have sort of a slap to the landing, and I had problems landing big switch tricks, but... that wasn't the case for everyone who tried them out with us, so perhaps that was an isolated incident. They were the top pick for 2 of our constant testers.
Salomon (1080) - The wide base was nice, but we actually broke one of our 3 pairs. We snapped the tail off, that was a bad sign, and it wasn't on a grossly mislanded trick, just landed backseat, and it got rocked. Durability was ok other than that, thought they were maybe a little heavy. (All skis were mounted with the same bindings by the way all were center mounted) But overall I liked the ski, but when it got snapped so easy it makes me believe the core in them is pretty sketchy. Not recommended for anyone who will be putting a lot of stress on their skis.
Rossignol (Scratch FS) - Great all mountain ski, was quite durable, had was good on all aspects, I really liked their flex for landing switch and thought the base width was perfect for hitting rounded rails. Didn't see any glaring problems, had a lot of base damage on one set, although that may have been simply rider caused, and hell there is always P-Tex and epoxy. Seemed to be a good all around ski comprable to the Line skis we tested, although we chose the lines over the Rossi's simply because Line is a core company, but it was a very nice ski. Top pick of one rider.
Head (MadTrix) - as you have read on here... these things are fucking bomb proof. I swear to god, I was actually sitting there in the shop with a screwdriver trying to scratch the top sheet, and it just wasn't happening. They were great on rails. Only broke it in a couple of places, and had no blow outs. VERY VERY Little base damage. I liked them, they had sort of a soft flex i guess. which made pipe a little bit difficult, but not really a problem. GREAT GREAT every day ski, because it can take a beating... perfect for the mid skill rider who is gonna take some beatings on rails and hits but needs his ski to take that without breaking so he can continue to progress. Decent ski-ability, excellent durability. Top pick of 1 rider.
Best all mountain - Line 1260/Rossi Scratch FS
Best Park/Big Mountain - 4frnt MSP
Best Best Big Mountain - Armada ARV
Most Durable - Head Madtrix
Least Impressive - Salomon 1080
Best Pipe - Line 1260
That's what we found out... hope that helps with some ski purchase questions, or just as a little information about what we found in our very unscientific test.