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!
The Villain is a killer board. Talking to the rep I guess a lot of the company guys that had been riding the Grip cause the Drift Rocker just wasn't enough board are riding the Villain now.
The Good Ride is more or less just unreliable cause they don't seem to be able to say anything just sucks at something. For instance, they gave the Capita Horror and Arbor Draft Good rating for jumps and Average ratings for Pipe. Really? Cause I've ridden both and would never choose to take either of any jump bigger than 20ft or into a pipe with walls taller than I am. Also they lump 3 stage rocker and zero cam into "flat camber". Those are two completely different rides.
The Machete GT is a twin freeride board. No way around that, its a gnar stick. T.Rice is a freestyle/freeride deck. Pain in the ass to jib. Same goes for the Berzerker and DH2. The Sherlock is one of the best options out there if you have decent snow or better all year. Hardpack it kinda lacks. Same goes for the Jones. Not for lack of grip, but Jones boards are just characteristically harsh riding. So unless you have good snow you'll need some damn good dampening in your boots and bindings to compensate.
From Ride look at the Buckwild. From Lib I guess the TRS. From Burton the Parkitect (at least on paper). I would also take a look at the Flow Drifter or for true twin the Shifty or Quantum. For some good classic snowboard feel look into the Signal OG Flat. I can take that board from rails at Bear to trees in CO. Someone will inevitably mention the NS Proto. If you don't mind the steep price, from NS that is your best bet. For the asym charge, the YES Greats for 2013 is just fantasmic. Rome Mod Rocker is another. And if you want to be uber unique on the mountain riding something probably no one else will be, the Endeavor Live Reverse. And lastly for some looser camber goodness, Bataleon Goliath.
Some of those are going to be different than what you have. But, they all are capable at high speeds, all will do well in pow and on groomers laying carves, and all have good to great snap.
I'll be sure to check out the Villain and try some of the others you mention.
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