The new board...
I'm looking around for my second board purchase. I currently have a 2008 Salomon Special 162, but it's sporting a few injuries and scars from my earlier learning days. I'd say I'm still a beginner/intermediate rider (11 weeks in the past 4 years). I'm 5 ft 9 about 200lbs and size 9.5 (US) boots.
What I like about my current board; Carving, stability at speed and pop.
I like just about everything on the mountain, park, rails (although not my strong point), powder, buttering, presses - general mucking about etc and charging down groomers.
I'm looking for another all-rounder (or as best I can). I would like something similar to my old board, but maybe a bit more playful.
I struggled a bit off-piste with the Special, but that might be more to do with my ability level and I would like something a bit easier to butter with (It would be great to hear from anyone who has ridden an old Special and what they thought of it). I was quite happy with the flex of the Special, but wondered if the size was playing a part and that maybe I should try a smaller board - 157-159 etc.
I've spoken to the guys in a few local shops and also the guys at the Good Ride.com (but I've heard some bad things about the reviews on here) and between them they have come up several different boards to check out - Lib Tech T.Rice, Ride Berzerker, Jones All Mountain Twin, Ride Machete GT, Ride DH2, Bataleon Evil Twin and the Burton Sherlock. Quite a list!
From my experience with the Special, I wouldn't mind having a look at the new Salomon Villain, which I can demo at a local indoor slope.
Does anyone have any opinions on the Villain or the others above? I want to test the board before I buy it, but just narrowing down the search would be a great help!