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The Rossignol S3 is a well made east coast all mountain ski. Snatch one up, if you can afford it.
My entire December and Janurary were spent skiing 10 to 20 inches of fresh, EC powpow. They were really enjoyable in the 10-15 inch range, but in deeper snow than that, they were a little short and too light to stay afloat without leanig too far back for ultimate comfort. It's not a very big deal. Feburary was warm, so that was the first solid month of park skiing. I had skiied symmetrical, 100% park skis for the previous two seasons so I was used to more surface area when I was sliding rails. Because of the rocker on the S3, you don't get as much ski on the rail when tail pressing or whatnot. I didn't like it too much, but if you're used to wider, slightly rockered skis already, it wouldn't bother you. They felt great off of jumps, very easy to spin.
Everyone I rode with were in awe at the beauty of them. I didn't find them very attractive, so I guess I just have bad taste or something.
$500 seems high to me. I would put it more in the $350-$400 range.
I was happy takeing the 159. I'm 5'7 now. Over the course of the winter I've outgrown them a little. Luckily, a lot of my winter was spent in deep snow, so 5 or 6 cm of extra length wouldn't have made a huge difference in performance. They're very light and sometimes easy to over-ski, though, so if you enjoy charging groomers and moguls, longer would be better.
This is by far the funnest flex pattern in a ski that I've ever played around on. Slight rocker in the tip and tail makes it so manuverable, but never once this year did I overpower the ski and wash out on backseat landings. They carved well, edge to edge with ease.
There were many, many times when I cringed at the sound of a rock under my skis. I skiied over rocks, stumps, Budwieser cans, shutgun shells, and an array of other objects that you can find on the slopes of West Virginia mountains. But at the end of every run, I popped 'em off to find no substantial damage.