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Anyone who wishes to get into freeride competitions or just have a really fast ski to ride every day should definitely check out the Legend Pro. It's not the best powder ski, it doesn't have the best straightline stability, it isn't the best carving ski....but it's very close on all accounts. What you do get is something that will excel in any condition and push you beyond your limits in any situation you get yourself into. In my opinion, this is THE one-ski quiver for anyone who is into freeskiing.
To put it simply: This ski is by far the best thing I have ever ridden for big mountain (I have the 186, for reference).
When I first got these, I couldn't get over how quick they were in the trees. After that feeling got over (sort of) I took it upon myself to find their top speed. I have yet to find this speed, and I doubt I ever will. These skis are absolutely unflappable at any speed, and the only time I've gotten nervous on them is straightlining through chunky ice, which is quite the experience on any ski. When the time comes to leave the ground for a while, just stay centered and you don't even have to think about the landing--just worry about the run out.
I think Dynastar did a great job on this ski. Granted, they did have their problems the first couple runs with delams (this allowed me to pick up a $100 pair), but this has been remedied, and with the lifetime warranty it's really a non-issue.
As far as graphics go, I don't worry too much about how my skis look. But since this is a review, I suppose I will comment shortly on it. My favorite graphics have been for the first couple years they were out; plain and totally functional. Since then, Dynastar has really tried to make their skis more of a piece of art than what they really are--skis. Granted I do like some of the aspects of the new look, but what it all boils down to is that you're just buying them for how they ride, not how they look.
There aren't any skis I can think of in this niche that many people would call a value. However, I'm not most people, and this is a review, so here's my opinion.
Up until the 2006-2007 run, the Pro Riders were hand-built and could be found for under $600 new if you were patient. When you take into consideration how much they excel at hauling ass, this is a steal. However, starting in 2006 they started building these in the factory, the flex got a touch softer, and the price remained the same. Still worth it, but it's also worth your time to try to hunt down a pair of the sweet flourecent orange ones if you can.
Just like with any other ski, it all depends on the application. The 186 is surprisingly maneuverable and has incredible straightline stability for its length. This would be a good ski for more techincal mountains where you do a lot of smearing, quick turns, and drops with short run outs (like my home mountain of Bridger Bowl, for example). The 194 is more suitable for going ridiculous speeds on open terrain like you'd find at Big Sky or Jackson. The turn radius is different on lengths, so take that into consideration as well. I'm not going to comment on the 176 because that skis use is extremely limited in my opinion.
The flex is characteristic of any big mountain ski; stiff as hell. The tails are very unforgiving, and the flex balance is more neutral than most skis. This amounts to a very predictable ride that can do great things and also totally destroy you if you're not prepared.
I can't comment on the durability of the newer models, but I can assure you the old ones will take a beating. Obviously there were the delam issues I mentioned earlier, but this is an easy fix with ten cents worth of epoxy or a quick rivet job. The top sheets tend to chip fairly easily, but this is just the layer on top of two sheets of metal, so the only damage you can do is totally cosmetic. The skis have race bases, so if you don't take care of those you're going to have a slooowwww ride, and they're a little softer than traditional bases. If you take the time to wax them though, it's all worth it and then some. Aside from that, there's really nothing to worry about. This is a ski you can ride 200 days and it will still feel the same as the day they first touched the snow.