I figured I would post reviews on the equipment I bought new for this season. I have been riding for about 4 or 5 seasons and am 45 years old (weigh around 200 - 210 and just over 6'). I used to ski but went to the "darkside"
since I knew my son (now 9 years old) would want to board vs. keep skiing. Both my kids started skiing when they were 3 and both switched to boarding at 7 years old. I freeride mostly but go into the terrain park with my son every once in awhile and do some "mild" jumps. I tried rails but my bones (already smashed up from years of moto-crossing) don't like the falls
First off - The Board!
NEVER SUMMER SL 161 -2008 model:
I switched from my first board which was a 167 Burton Baron Wide to the Never Summer. After my first ride I wished I bought it sooner! THIS BOARD ROCKS!! I find it much easier to turn (I am thinking since my last board was a wide board that has something to do with it) and the flex is really good yet at the same time the board is very stable. I can carve much better with this board when I am zooming down the hill and feel much more in control. It is also a lot easier when I am "waiting around" for my 7 year old daughter to be "in control" when she is going out of control - LOL (its her first season on a board). I spoke multiple times to NEVE SUMMER staff last year (they are amazing) and they helped me select the SL board over others they sell. I would recommend this board to any intermediate rider and it probably would have been a better first board then the one I was "sold" at my local shop. I didn't know any better at the time when I was told I would need a wide board and a 167 for my height (they never asked me about weight). They also set my bidings at about 19" apart which is WAY to narrow for my typical stance(I have very wide shoulders) and the type of riding I was doing. I am keeping my burton for when I do bigger mountains, lots of powder and can zip down the hill w/o waiting for my kids.
5/5 stars for the NEVER SUMMER SL
TARGA BINDINGS - 2008
I had Salomon SPX7 binding before (still on the burton). The Targas look cool and offer good support all around. My boots fit into them nicely and when I strap in I have no pressure points on my foot that I can feel. I had metal ratchets on my SPX7 and was worried about the plastic on the Targa but they have held up well. It tooks a while to adjust them to the way I liked but the process is quick and simple for adjustments. You can have the toe strap go over the toe of your boot (right at front) or the regular way that kind of straps at the start of your toes. I but the bindings on myself (with a little blue locktite) and have had no issues with the screws coming loose. The only thing I do not like is how there is a pice of fabric that thet the straps are supposed to go under when you strap in. Sometimes the strap (as you are ratcheting) gets caught because it didn't slide under the fabric. When that happens you have to pull the strap loose and start over again. Not a big deal but a little annoying. I never talked to ROME serice staff or reps so I cannot comment on their customer service.
Rating - 4.5/5
BOOTS - Burton IONs (2009)
My previous booots were 03/04 DC Phantoms
First off, I am not by any means a Burton fan. They have good stuff but I find you pay for the brand, and at the same price can find better quality elsewhere at the same price if you shop around. My wife on the other hand is a poster child for Burston and so are my kids for the most part.
I spent a lot of time just before the beginning of the season shopping for the "right bootS". I must have tried on about 30 different pairs! All makes, models, price points, etc...
I have a 10.5 foot and it is on the narrow side. I found a lot of the boots I was trying on were not giving me the heel support I wanted (slipping at the back heel). Other boots seemed to take forever to get on and some were almost impossible to get off once I had them on.
The ION fit really snug around my heel but was still super comfortable. The liner has velco on the sides to help hold it in place around you leg and the cushioning is REALLY comfortable. Its not to hard nor is it "furry". I actually got a pair of size 11 IONs and I have used them almost every weekend this season w/o them packing out larger. (personally, I think burtons fit a bit small - the 10.5 was WAY to tight on me). The spped lacing or whatever you call it is way better than my old DC's regular lace system. One cord tightens the bottom part of the boot and the other the upper part. They stay tightened up and do not come loose when you are on the hill but they loosen up very fast when you want to get your boots off at the end of day. They are also super light compared to my old DC Phantoms and are not as stiff (but still stiff enough for me). They keep my feet toasty warm and they have held up very well. The exterior shell is kind off rubbery and does not scuff easy. They cost a lot but I would say the definitely fit "MY" foot the best of all I tried. As a side, my sons feet were too wide for all the Burton Boots he tried on and he wears K2's. My point - get a boot that feels good on you.
RATING - 4.5 out of 5. They would have got a 5 if they were not so bloody expensive!