Well, since I recently came back from a Tahoe trip, I think I can give my new setup a complete review. I reviewed the 2011 K2 Turbo Dream after a demo, but this one will be more comprehensive since it is my own setup and I got a chance to shred on some great conditions for three days. So let's get to it!
Here are my stats:
Boot Size: 9.5
Stance Width: 23.5"
Riding style: All-mountain freestyle
Experience: Advanced Intermediate - Advanced (noob in the park though)
2011 K2 Turbo Dream 156
K2 Turbo Dream Mens Snowboard 2011
What can I say about this board? It's fiendishly fast! It really did catch me off guard because the board I demoed wasn't as fast, but I equate that to poor demo board maintenance and ice coast conditions. I did not wax the board and rode it factory all three days. Edge to edge was superb. Transitioning from toe to heel felt natural and responsive even with my soft flexing boots. Out of turns, the board wasn't the snappiest, but it offered enough power and the torsional flex was solid so squirreliness(slang, I know) was non-existent. Speaking of squirrely, I can't praise K2's Harshmellow tech enough. It is a great piece of tech and not only does it dampen your landings, but also dampens the overall ride. Board chatter is an inherent fault in boards with rockers and Harshmellow is an excellent solution.
This board is not without its faults though. I did find a weakness. The first day out, conditions were hardpacked and icey. Obviously, being from Michigan, a black steep here is a blue steep in Tahoe. So what better than to bomb down some Tahoe steeps? Well, I ran into some ice patches. The TD didn't wash out, but it definitely struggled to hold its edge on the patches in a steep run. Going full speed and trying to edge on ice, I got the dreaded leg rocking scraping noises. Okay, so I'm being pretty dramatic. In reality, it wasn't enough to send me flying face/ass first, but this might not be the same case for some lesser experienced riders.
It's there... BurtonAvenger said it best in his review, it's enough to be satisfying. One thing though, my 390 Bosses definitely helped to juice as much pop as possible from this board. Mind you, I am a little spoiled by my main board, a 2007 Burton TWC. It's a posi camber with tons of pop.
Definitely a mid-stiff board. Torsionally, it is stiff. Again, because of my bindings, I was able to flex the board nicely. The flex is absolutely perfect for all-mountain freestyle with a bias towards the all-mountain side. Buttering was fun, but that has more to do with the rocker profile on this board. The TD features K2's All-Terrain Rocker which sees their Flatline camber between the bindings (70%) and rocker through tip and tails (30%). The tip has a medium rise rocker while the tail has a low one. This shape was great in the powder. I took it into some deep stuff. I purposely rode it into the side of one of the runs which had waist deep snow. Literally speaking, the TD disappeared through knee deep and rode out. I ended up coming out with a mound of snow on my board, but nothing a little jump didn't fix. I guarantee that I would have got stuck if I was on my posi cambered board in the same situation. Otherwise, the TD stayed on top of the pow and the only time it sunk was when I stopped (was riding with slower wifey and sis so slowing down was aplenty).
Through and through, I am very satisfied with this board. It is very versatile with very few minor faults. I do however recommend this board for the strong intermediate to advanced rider. New riders will likely find this board to be too fast for their comfort. Not a big deal though. If anything, it'll make you learn faster
2011 Rome 390 Boss L/XL
These are sick, sick bindings. The color, the comfort, the flex, everything about it is superb. I'll get right to the cant system... awesome! I did make one mistake though, I didn't bring my other sets and went on my trip with the 3.5's installed. At first, with my 23" stance, I found discomfort. Since I didn't have the other cants handy, I decided to cowboy my stance more to 23.5". Ahhh, much better. Still some discomfort so I will be changing to 2.5's, but way better than what I experienced initially. I can totally see this cant system being super comfortable for really wide stance riders.
Comfort aside, the cant system had another benefit. I had more leverage over the flex of my board. The mid-stiff TD flexed more like a mid flex when I wanted it to. This means I was able to get the most pop out of my board. Back to comfort now... I am a huge fan of Flow bindings and my NXT-FSE's are the most comfortable bindings I have ever owned. With that said, the Bosses are the most comfortable traditional strap bindings I have ridden or owned. The ankle straps are super cushy and boot conforming. The toe strap isn't the best out there, but the waffle design does a really great job conforming to the toe of my boot. The ratchets were easy to release, but I did have a minor issue while tightening them. While I was cranking the ankle ratchets down, sometimes they would tilt past the release tab causing the strap to release. Simple solution, don't crank them down so fast or vigorously
The base of the bindings were nice and cushy. This coupled with the TD's Harshmellow and the Hail's sole made for some really damp riding. Did I mention that these bindings are super comfy?
One more negative to mention... I had a helluva time setting these bindings up. I had to adjust the heel cup setting to small to accommodate my 9.5 boots. That part was not fun at all. The screws for the highback setting are awkward and tough to untighten. Design could have been better because I have in fact seen a lot better. The cant settings are super easy though
Rome 390 Boss Update
Just an update for you guys. I took my Boss setup back out on very icey conditions this time. Yes, I picked up more chips and no, I don't give two poop logs.
However, I came across another issue. Some of the harder landings or take-offs were causing my rear foot's toe strap to come off as well as my leading foot's ankle strap. From the start I have stated that I don't like their release system and it is probably the reason why the ankle strap was coming off. As for the toe strap, the inner ladder just won't lock into place so it gets loose here and there.
In Rome's defense, nobody is immune to defects. I am not going to warranty it just yet because there is another factor that's probably contributing to my problems. I have the Burton Hails and it has their shrinkage tech. When I bought the boots, I didn't think it would actually perform as they advertise: Shrinkage reduced the overall footprint by a full size. So I did what I always do and got large bindings. I ended up having to adjust all the settings to the lowest possible and as a result, my straps are practically on the very last steps of the ladder.
Another thing I found that helped was giving the release tab a slap down after strapping in to make sure it was locked. By design, it is very loose and super easy to release.
I'm going to play around with the bindings some more and I'll let you guys know what's up.
I will add my boot review later on...