I'm also 34, and hit 185# at 5'6". Been riding mostly crowded PA resorts for the last 18 years. I ride alpine boards almost entirely, the shortest at 178, and only occassionally break out my soft setup. If I ever decide to replace my 163 freeride board (I weighed "a little less" when I bought it
), I'll be looking for something longer, in the neighborhood of 170cm. My 163, stiff as it is, isn't enough for me. It loose edges too easily and the nose is prone to folding and vaulting me over the handlebars if I get aggressive in half decent snow. For me, longer boards cut through crap alot better, have better edge hold, significantly less chatter, and handle speed much better. The only cost is losing some degree of ease in skidding turns (not carving), and tweakage for park/pipe stuff, which I rarely mess with.
If you're starting out, the 162 will probably work great. I think with your height / weight, as you get more experienced (or if you already are experienced) and if you focus mostly on freeriding, you may eventually want a longer board. In any case, I think switching up to the longer board for starters, was a good move.