Hey all, thought I would write up my take on the Jones, having ridden it enough to know that its not the deck I had hoped it would be!
Flagship 161 11/12 year, Ride Capo bindings, +15f and 0 rear goofy. 22" stance. Driver X boots, 8.5. Height 5'7" 168lbs. 180+ in riding gear.
Riding since the dawn of the sport, really! I was around when Jake was going shop to shop showing off his backhill! Pushing 40 now. First deck was a Performer Elite, chased the pow, did the carving thing, stayed out of the park, and now am back to mostly freeriding when I am not teaching the kiddies to ride!
What it does......and does not.
It rides very fast and very solid, when its in its element. Which is to say that it is no fun at all when you take it places it does not really want to go(like your girlfriend) For me, this meant it was not great in tight trees or loping along on the blues, sometimes it even felt unsure in the steeps. Tight techy stuff, with little forward speed makes it feel a little vague. Now I am sure you have all heard how crazy stiff this thing is, and yes its true its stiff, but when you compare it to other boards that are designed to do what this one does, its not out of the park at all. I used to ride A Head I.ct 162 and that thing was WAY stiffer, but easier to turn also. However, the stiffness balanced with the mellow mag, can and will give you a bit of confidence when things get dicey. The cool part is, you probably won't even notice it until you hear from your friends how bad they suffered in the same areas of ice and crust. Carving is amazing, it holds no matter what and the faster the better, but really, do you buy a Flagship to ride the corduroy?
I found that it excels at what it is designed to do, and that means go very fast in very steep wide open terrrain with good to great snow. To me it seems that they designed it for a limited set of conditions! I know I dream of those days, but in reality, I get about 4-5 of them a season......you know, the super hero days!!! Its not enough for me to endure the Flag the rest of the year.
Conditions I have ridden in were super varied, from groomer to powder days, and even a day on the cats in Squamish! Most of my time has been at Bridger Bowl, ridge days and play days. Even took it to Whistler for a few days. In the steeps, with nice powder, I can't really think of a board I would rather ride! Float is amazing, speed is great, stability is not even a thought you can go as fast as you want. Most of the time you will not even realize you are hauling!! Brings me back to the roots of snowboarding. Then the powder runs out, and the groomer and bumps hit, and the bumps make you want to cry. Damping is no where to be found on this deck. You will feel everything. So you run into the trees for safety, no luck, it makes you realize that unless you have powder under you to surf, turns are not very fluid when you try and link 'em through the forest. Chunder and bumps will beat you up, not much else to say, true of almost all snowboards, but this one is rough!
Now, I have to validate that last statemant, and here is how I can do it! I rode the new Never summer Premier F1 on the same days, same size, same conditions. My first thought was(and I was shocked) this thing is SO quiet!! I never realized when riding the Jones how physically and emotionally LOUD it was! Sounds strange I know. Then I realized I was making the same types of turns and riding the same trees but with much less effort and abuse. Pretty cool. Powder and steeps were a bit of another story, camber shapes aside, I did not have the confidence on the F1, I found I needed the feedback from the Jones to really know what was going on, Jones gives great feedback. I think its a by product of the less than ideal damping. The F1 needed a different riding position and style to achieve the same things......apples and oranges to each his own. Would I own the F1? Proably not. Cross the two(new Raptor maybe) and I would snatch up two or three of 'em!
If Jones could make this thing a bit more damp, smooth out the roughness, and make it a bit more nimble for normal humans it would be ideal for me! But then it would take away most of the mystique and aura of what this deck is supposed to be. So when you consider this one, ask yourself, is this who I am? or is this who I THINK I am?
As a big mountain quiver piece its great, and I have heard the new one is getting better. Quality and ride. Worth an upgrade? Hmmmm maybe. Too many rides, too little time. Hope this helps someone, if not, sorry!
Nice write up, I haven't ridden one but always wanted to... Guess I'll just be content with my Raptor