Been reading this forum for years but finally decided to bite the bullet and join the community. First off- Snowolf, you are the man and have handled what went down pretty darn well. You rock. Keep the good stuff comin!
Eagerly anticipating your review of the 2014 Raptor!
2013 Never Summer Raptor 164 Review:
First of all, my quick bio: I'm 6'3" - 195 lbs - size 10.5-11 boot - 22" stance - regular +18*, 0*. I'm an advanced 15 year rider and have spent the last 7 seasons on a 164 Burton Triumph. It is a tapered directional big mountain board that I have loved and thought was at the apex of the big mountain slaying boards... until now. I just spent my first day on the 2013 164 Raptor yesterday and all I can say is AMAZING. Conditions were 32-35* with 2-3 inches of fresh Utah snow on ten day old ice which led to soft, chopped up crud on with ice underneath. Others have compared the Raptor to a Ferarri or Lambo because you don't realize how fast you are going since the board is so stable at speed. That pretty much sums it up! Hard packed bowls were a breeze compared to my old 164 Burton Triumph. I was keeping up with my expert skier friends before... now I'm beating them down the mountain by a good margin. After 15 years of riding, this board has taught an old dog new tricks and improved my riding significantly. The board also worked WONDERS on my fatigue. I don't know if it is the dampening or the RC hybrid, but when I would usually be spent and need a break for my style of hard agressive riding, I was still going strong and my legs were still fresh. That alone made this board worth its weight in gold. I'm a weekend warrior so I have to make the most of my days on the mountain.
The RC hybrid led to effortless edge to edge transition while carving and incredible edge hold on the ice. I could feel the additional edge digging in when needed from the the rocker portion of the board that I was missing in my old cambered Burton. The Vario/RC combo makes this a viable alternative to magnetraction. Other boarders were sliding out on some bad patches of ice but the Raptor allowed to me to hit those areas with confidence. The dampening of the board was apparent while bombing some chopped up end-of-day groomers. The dampening allowed me to absorb much bigger bumps and moguls. That combined with the great edge hold made riding confidence soar. I'm going to have to careful with this badass board... I have a feeling that this is going to make me overconfident in my riding and get me hurt one day lol
I have the Raptor paired with 2013 Burton Cartel Bindings and 2009 Burton Ruler Boots. It makes for a versatile all mountatin/free ride setup that I like. I've been looking into a stiffer boot like the Malamute or Driver X though.
QUESTION for SnoWolf and you all
... I loved the board yesterday and can't wait to slay some powder with it. I'm still a little torn on the size though. Since my weight (195), height (6'3"), and boot size (10.5-11) are all in between sizes, I can't decide whether or not to swap the 164 regular out for a 165 wide Raptor X. Advice? I thought the 164 reg was great on-piste but I'm concerned about drag when I hit the powder. I know it boils down to trying it and personal preference but I want second, third and fourth opinions on this from you all.
Also, since I just got the board so late in the season I'm also anticipating Snowolf's review of the 2014 Raptor. I'm curious how the supposed increase in stiffness and dampness is going to affect it. Will this catapult the board further into freeride category and make it more one-sided? I'm totally sold on the Raptor... I just can't make my final final decision on 2013 Raptor or Raptor X or hold out for the 2014 Raptor/Raptor X. I do like the base Phoenix diecut on the 2014 replacing the NS text base but that does not affect the decision for me. I got the board on backcountry.com and they are great at returns so that isn't a concern. By the way - they have their entire 2013 NS lineup at 10% off right now. Feedback appreciated!