I've got to get back to cleaning, and I want to properly break in the board before I give a full review. I'll aim to do a full review sometime in the new year after getting it on all types of terrain. But I wanted to give those who are curious a "first impression" review of the board...
This is from an e-mail I typed to other members of my group buy:
As to the break in period: It already feels amazing after a couple days so far on the FLP AFT. The effective edge is MASSIVE compared to any traditional shaped freeride board I've ever been on. There is also significantly more surface area and the upturned nose should make it float more in fresh powder than my old board. The only time I think I'm going to have to work more is in the trees when I'm trying to manhandle the board around. I'm used to jump turning for short quick turns anyway, so it may become natural once I'm used to it. At this point I see it as significantly better than my old board at carving, likely to be significantly better in deep powder, and likely more work in tighter trees. As I do a fair amount of my riding in the trees, we'll see how this plays out in the future. I will say one thing, I have never been so excited to ride a board! Buying my T7 was a blast a few years ago but riding this makes me want to ride more and more...
Just measured my current Burton T7 159, the Virus Avalanche FLP 156 , and the FLP AFT 160:
Measurement (cm) - T7 159 - FLP 156 - AFT 160
Length - 157.3 - 153.0 - 158.0
Effective Edge - 124.5 - 123.0 - 141.0
Nose Width - 29.1 - 30.0 - 29.5
Waist Width - 24.8 - 25.2 - 25.0
Tail Width - 29.2 - 30.0 - 27.8
Weight - 11.4 lb - 7.2 lb - 11.4 lb (measured AFT at 7.0 lb w/o bindings, both my boards had Burton C60 bindings on them)
So the FLP is very similar in to a Burton T7 in general. Slightly wider waist, significantly wider tip and tail, almost the same effective edge despite the board being 4+ cm shorter. Should have the carving ability of a longer board but the playfulness of a mid-150 cm board.
The AFT is more similar in raw dimensions to my T7 than it seems when you look at it. It FELT lighter to me, but it's not significantly lighter. The glaring difference is the effective edge, and the fact that the AFT has taper while the T7 does not.
Where the specs really paint the picture is when you realize the tip and tail are the same widths but MUCH closer to the ends of the board. The sidecut radius is longer, and when first riding it I felt like it wanted to run straighter than the T7.
Judging from the available sizes for the FLP (150, 156 162, 168) vs. the AFT (160, 168, 176) I think it's safe to assume that Frank intended the FLP as a stiffer, exotic traditional shape board, and the AFT as a sort of hybrid between a freeride boards width, and a carving boards effective edge and length. I think it's aimed at a softboot carving market whether on-piste or off... Can't wait to full flex it's muscle!!!
First run it felt significantly different than the T7 underfoot... The T7 sidecut means that I could flick the board around under my hips and make quick sharp carves. The AFT feels like it wants more dramatic input to get it really turning.
Once I had a few runs on it, I started leaning over harder and getting my edge up more. The board HOOKS. I had it on hardpack and it HOOKED.
I started to gain trust in it's edgehold and started to lean more and more. Finally I was flying along with my upper body a couple feet from the snow on my toeside, and I was able to run my hand on the snow without having to reach out for it during a turn. Remember that the T7 is no slouch in the carving department, but this board is clearly on another planet.
I did get into trouble a few times when I asked it to do something and it didn't. It isn't any stiffer than the T7, I expect it to be slightly softer once broken in, and it's got almost the same amount of camber when unloaded. But the shape had me guessing a few times.
I tried it in a little two week old powder at Lake Louise but there wasn't enough snow or sunlight for me to really let loose. It felt okay on the soft stuff, but uneasy again as it's not a shape I'm used to. I'm heading to Fernie this week and depending on the amount of cover I may ride this board there. I'm not going to kill it on rocks on it's 3rd and 4th day out. I'll probably explore the mountain on my now rock veteran T7 and if all's clear I'll take the Avalanche AFT out for a spin in the powder and trees. Don't want to rush it but it's a VERY rewarding board to carve on, so I can't wait to see if it's the quiver killer I'm hoping for...
From the board porn thread: