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Old 03-04-2013, 04:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
poutanen
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Calgary, AB
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Default REVIEW: 2013 Virus Avalanche FLP AFT

Here's my initial thoughts on this board a few months ago: http://www.snowboardingforum.com/boa...-thoughts.html

I won't expand in that thread anymore, so here's my "full" review of the board.

Specs:

- Virus Avalanche FLP AFT 160
- Built for a 170 rider
- Paired with Burton C60s for first 10 days, Burton Diodes for the next ten, Driver X boots for all testing
- Very long effective edge (143 cm or so)
- Long sidecut radius (I don't have the spec, but it looks to be in the low teens)
- Sintered race base with a fine diamond grind. Edges tuned at 0.5 deg base and 2 deg side from the factory
- Flex: It is thinner than both of my Burtons (T7 and Custom), but the stiffness would be in the middle of the two. I hate to give it a number, but it would be a 6-7 on Burtons scale
- Construction: Quadraxial FG, Carbon fibre layers, kevlar layers, etc. Even though it's thin, responsive would be an understatement for this board.

Conditions:

I've now had this out on pretty much EVERYTHING. Alberta light fluffy powder (up to 30" or so), various levels of groomed powder, hardpack, and extreme hardpack/ice, Vancouver slush, heavy packing snow, and Whistler powder. I've had it in trees at Fernie, Lake Louise, Cypress, Seymour, Whistler, and a bit at Nakiska. I've had it in the park at most of those resorts. I've had it on everything from long cat tracks, to wide open 30 deg carving runs, to steep and deep technical runs, drops, chutes, etc.

Been on it a total of 20 days so far.

Thoughts in a nutshell:

Wow. I almost don't want to write anything else, because this is going to seem extremely biased. If you want the coles notes version: For my style of riding, and the conditions I ride in, this is THE board for me. I even like it in the park, but I don't want to destroy a $1500 board.

If I had to pick one word for this board, and add 100 exclamation points after it, it would be CONFIDENT.

Positives:

Unreal edgehold. Likely due to the long effective edge and long sidecut radius. This has changed how I ride. I had my boarding graded recently by the Canadian Ski Patrollers and they said I was the top boarder of the group. I felt like I was cheating on this board. I always feel like I'm cheating on this board. High speed carving is a dream. There was one day when the groomed snow had frozen into VERY stiff hardpack. I was getting some chatter on my heelside, which I learned after was my style problem. Corrected my riding and it's chatter free. At any speed. On any surface. I'm not sure how much more I can say about carving, just the effective edge alone (20 cm or 8" longer than the same sized T7) makes a big difference. The long sidecut radius means that it has to be leaned more for the same turn, further helping with edgehold. Sorry magne-traction, the physics of this thing has you beat by a country mile.

Wide/long nose and early rise tip makes this very enjoyable in the powder. I haven't tried a dedicated powder board yet, but compared to any other board I've been on, it's better. We had a lot of snow two days ago, and I tried a Burton Custom 156 in the morning, and went running back to the base to get this board. It was surprising how big the difference was.

It's not TOO stiff. As previously mentioned, I've been on T6s and T7s for a few years now, and my play board is a Burton Custom. The Virus is mildly cambered, and mildly stiff, but it's not an extreme machine to handle.

Jumps. Because it's confident on all terrains, it's confident to jump. It's certainly not designed to be a park board, but I've done a couple spins, and a lot of bigger jumps (up to a 30 ft kicker) with comfort. It has plenty of pop being a relatively stiff, cambered board.

Good dampening. Comparing it to the T7 I'd say it's about equal in terms of how much energy gets transferred back to your legs. I haven't matched my longest day yet from last year on the T7, but I would say my body feels about the same amount of abuse at the end of the day.

Durability. I was worried when I first started riding this thing. The hefty price tag and long lead time means I probably wouldn't be able to get another one if I broke this one, at least not for a year or so. SO FAR, durability has been excellent... I haven't all out abused it, but I have hit trees with the base, slid over rocks, knuckled some big jumps, landed tail heavy, etc. and so far it's only got minor base damage. Coming from Burtons, the topsheet is actually stronger than what I'm used to. After 20 days I don't have any significant topsheet damage yet. In fact, the board looks nearly new still.

Negatives:

I'm clutching at straws here, but it is the longest board I've owned, and therefore is a little more work in the trees. There are times when the only way around an obstacle is a jump turn, although even the shorter Custom 156 would likely require a jump turn in those cases. It was also a little hard to ride for the first couple laps, took more dramatic input and I've caught an edge a few times on this board (that's a few times over approximately 700 km of riding).

Switch riding is also not what this board is designed for. The tail has enough of an upturn that you can ride it switch without worrying about digging in, but it's got a long nose, a healthy amount of taper, and it doesn't feel natural switch. I still ride switch on it to practice, but it certainly takes more effort than other boards I've been on.

Conclusion:

Before buying this board I was looking for a replacement for my Burton T7. The Burton had been a great step up board for really getting into the goods of the Canadian Rockies, but it was starting to get heavily worn, and I wanted another step up. Other frontrunners on my list were the Kessler Ride, Oxess Freeride, Prior Mens Freeride, or the Volkl Coal XT.

I wanted a board that could carve harder than any softboot board on the mountain. CHECK.

I wanted a board that would float in powder and be able to handle the steeps of the Rockies. CHECK.

I wanted a board that I could take into the park too. FAIL. (why fail? Yes the board can do it, but it's not good switch, and I don't want to break a $1500 board landing funny off a jump)

So overall: I think meatloaf said it best! Two out of three ain't bad!



Here's some random pics of the beast...







The nose is on the left...

Last edited by poutanen; 03-04-2013 at 04:15 PM. Reason: typos corrections etc.
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