The Chairman (the person) asked me to compare these two boards against one another specifically as applied to high speed stability. This is my first ever board review, so I don't have a specific format to follow.
I am going to update this with a review of the Chairman 160 when I ride that one and see if I can draw some comparisons. To get this started, though, I am going to put out my impressions of the Ripsaw first.
Some background: I have been riding a model year 2012 Never Summer Raptor 164 for a few years now. This was my first non-Burton, non-camber board since the mid-1990's (when I had a Sims Half-pipe). I had gotten very used to camber (was on a Burton T6 since 2006) and started migrating to a more directional stance. I had gotten by reasonable well in steeps and powder and backcountry with this stance, and have had some great days on the Raptor, including a heli-drop at Silverton and a snowcat tour- no complaints. I love powder like any rider, but when it's unavailable (which is the majority of the time), I ride groomers and steeps, but avoid bumps and park. My style tends toward soft boot carving and riding fast, long-radius turns on the groomers. A recent trip to Silverton found me transferring that same stance to another board, where it didn't translate very well and the board had too much "leverage" on me and I was not riding well (too much nose, not enough tail). The experience motivated me to re-examine my long held stance habits and try to get a little more centered and a little less forward rotation. This timing corresponded to picking up 3 boards from the Never Summer Factory:
a 2015/2016 NS Ripsaw 159
a 2015/2016 NS Chairman 160
a 2014/2015 NS Chairman 164
I decide to take the Ripsaw out first and got up to the area too late in the day to ride both boards. It was very crowded, with clear sunny skies. Seemed like a good day to ride the groomers with speed kept well under control and even make a foray into the bumps to avoid some of the crowds and to test this shorter board.
In the bumps, wow, this board did not disappoint! It was much easier to turn than my Raptor, but it may be comparing apples to oranges, given the length difference (164 vs 159)? I am not sure, but this board made the bumps almost fun. I am so not used to the bumps, so I wasn't charging them, but this board allowed me to pretty much go where I wanted to go and turn when I wanted to. The edge hold in the bumps was also suprisingly good. It would take some practice to get really good, since I have made a decision years ago to avoid moguls.
On groomers, the board felt quite different than what I am used to. The board feels wider than my Raptor and I had a hard time getting a really high-angle heelside carve due to that. It was slightly slower edge to edge than my Raptor, but edge hold was excellent. The board seems to do well with shorter radius carves than my old board, but that was perfect for the conditions being more crowded than I am used to. I even tried a little fakie riding, which is something I never do. I don't have the stance set up to do real well that way, but I was able to link turns fakie at slow to moderate speeds and felt the edgehold was great. This board does not accelerate quite as fast as my raptor, but I am not sure if that is due to the shorter length, or perhaps just the wax that was on it vs what I normally have. I don't think it is quite long enough for my style of riding to get it up to real fast speeds (probably did not get it up over 40 ??) but other riders may feel differently. All this is just after a half-day in crowded conditions, but I wanted to get those initial impressions written down while they are still fresh.
Here is a hash vid that at least shows some of the riding FWIW.
Back at Copper with a lot less crowding. Ridiculously warm temps. Time to take out the Chairman 160 CM.
This board is not a beginners board !!! It locks in the carves and was even a bit scary. I had to be assertive to disengage the carve if I needed to speed-check. But wow, the edge hold was insane-way more than my Raptor. It feels similar to the Ripsaw in that I am having a hard time really getting the board on a really steep angle out of the snow on heelside, but I am tweaking my stance to see if it helps. These boards are stiff, they don't have that "surfy" feel that I have with the Raptor, they really want to stay in the carve until it's natural transition to going back the other direction. It probably shows in the video, but I am not used to these boards. I did not venture off the groomers today, as things looked more than a bit crusty. Today was about high-speed stability.
These boards ride well when going fast edge to edge, but I still don't like flat-basing them at high speeds like I would do with a traditional camber board. There is something about both boards where I felt slightly at risk of getting slammed if I let the base run flat at anything over probably 50 MPH. I should add that top speed, in and of itself, is never a goal- but rather being able to go at a speed where things are at least reasonably well under control. The runs need to be nearly deserted and the visibility needs to be perfect. I would never ride recklessly for the sake of speed. Hitting an object (either a tree or another person) is not an option. There were many times when I wanted to open it up, but had to bail due to someone skiing/riding into my space cushion.
In doing these speed tests, I used a Garmin Etrex 30 GPS with Max Speed function. I reset the max speed before each section and simply held the GPS in my hand. I would take note of the speed after having stopped most times. Only rarely would I look at the screen while riding, but on this occasion, I was able to look down as I went into the turn. I was able to get the board into a toeside carve at about 65 MPH right at the bottom of the run with no hint of edge slippage. The caveat to this is the snow conditions were pretty soft due to the ridiculously warm temperatures at the area. Here is a pic of the arc in the snow and the speed I saw when initiating the turn.
Turning and riding uphill is a good way to scrub speed off without doing a hockey stop and spraying snow everywhere (not to mention grinding edges down). Fastest speed of the day was on the Chairman on Rosie's at about 66 MPH. fastest run on the Ripsaw was about 58 MPH on Ptarmigan. Overall speed is not a goal, but speed while being safe and stable is what I was going for. I did not feel super confident like I did on my old camber Burton with flat basing the board, but even on that, I only allow the board to do this for a few seconds.
Here is some footage of the Chairman. I definitely need more time to master this board!