If cost is important to you, consider this - there are plenty of non-"AT" skis that will work just fine in the backcountry. I'm thinking of some of the more shapely skis (not full-blown shape skis) and earlier models with lots of sidecut that may be sitting in the 50% off sale rack right now. I saw some discounted skis last fall for $75 - $100 that would've worked beautifully as AT skis. If you know that flex characteristics you're looking for (soft shovel and tail) and how to size up a ski, there are a lot more options than a $400 pair of specialized boards.
I ski berthoud and the surrounding area quite a bit, and I find that skiing a foam core mid fat ski is pretty forgiving, quick and light. The pocket rocket, the bandit b3 or b4, or the Atomic ex are great skis, especially with freeride bindings. They make good tele skiis as well.
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