I think it is time to post my initial thoughts on my 172 Prior Fissile XCK - custom narrowed by 1cm. Prior's description of the board is here
Weight: 177 lbs.
Boots: Salomon Synapse Wide
Bindings: Flux DM small (15, -12)
Boot size: 7w (feet actually measure 243mm but I refuse to get Rulers and the Synapse is not made in 6.5)
Skill: Advanced intermediate is probably the most accurate. I can and will ride most anything at a resort, but not always with advanced/expert skill, speed, and technique. I will also air out cliffs if the conditions are right, but that only takes balls, not skill!
Other boards: Burton Flight Attendant, previously Burton Custom Flying V, part of a season on a wide Burton Canyon, long ago Lib Tech Emma Peel, which was essentially what I learned on.
I only have three days on the board all in the east so far and nothing like the big mountain pow/free ride for which it is designed. I have gotten a couple pow shots and some other soft runs. I've also been out on plenty of ice - manmade and eastern blue.
The first day I rode the board conditions were standard eastern groomed and I rode my FA then switched to the Fissile. My immediate thought was "omg, what have I done, I'm in over my head." It. Was. STIFF. I wanted the carbon (XCK) because I thought narrowing the board might compromise the stiffness (pretty sure that thought was backwards) and I also wanted to reduce weight since I was going 172. I had to quickly adjust to the torsional stiffness because there was almost no give. It also wanted to go fast! Fresh from the factory the edgehold was great and once I got somewhat used to the stiffness the carving was excellent. It was also a lot of work and I definitely could not relax - it required a lot of concentration and plain aggressive riding.
Day 2 was approx. 6" of fresh cut up over eastern ice. Again I started with my FA and then switched. This time the change in stiffness was not too noticeable. The long nose was super awesome because when I'd plow into the soft pile there was no chance of going over the front, which happened a couple times on my too-short FA. Again the carving was excellent and the deep side cut led to some super fun soft turning. The float was clearly good when I hit a short section of actual pow. At the end of the day I ducked a rope and got a short section of almost true pow. Float was great and it was definitely a very fast, surfy feeling. I was riding alone and just rode nonstop for about four hours. My legs were definitely cooked. Still can't be lazy on this board, though in real pow (extrapolating from my one run) it would be super responsive and glide like a dream.
Day three was supposed to be 13" of fresh but was mostly piles of soft snow with icy moguls underneath and icy troughs. This became heavy chop as the day went on. We also rode plenty of shallower slopes where the soft snow was not as scraped off. Not quite hero snow, but pretty easy carving. I only rode the Fissile and never had the "too stiff" feeling. Perhaps the board is breaking in slightly or the conditions were different and my mindset has just changed. In the consistent soft the board was great, floated well and plowed through soft crud. Not as nimble as a shorter board, but with the float and the sidecut you can turn pretty damn quick if you want to work for it. Long, fast carves are still the easiest blasting through soft crud. The heavy crud was not as fun as the board will definitely kick up and over all the piles. The fat nose plays so it gets bouncy as the piles firm up. On the soft groomers it was great with fast long carves or super quick tight turns. Very fun.
I haven't really tried to ride switch much yet only because I have to focus and make that a point when I ride. The few turns I made were fine. I haven't done any jumps of note so no current thoughts on "pop." Because of the stiffness you feel the board a lot so I wouldn't call it damp, but that also means that it plows through anything soft so in those conditions it is still very smooth. Finally, even with the long nose it is not at all chattery, though I haven't been in conditions that made me feeling like going super fast.
Bottom line: I wanted a board for big mountain charging and pow surfing and I'm pretty sure I got exactly that, even if I didn't know quite what a big mountain pow board would actually feel like!
With the stiff carbon build it is not a board for relaxing, but it gives you back everything you put into it and then some. It is clearly a quiver board, but in the right conditions I think I'm going to be very, very happy with how it performs.
Photo with my wife's Dupraz.