Ride DH 155: a quasi-review
I say quasi because I'm a beginner snowboarder, and am not qualified to really write a review, but thought my experience my be helpful to some other newbs. For those keeping score at home, I posted in the general section last week about having purchased a board that was over my head (Forum Warrior 158), before I'd ever ridden. After really getting my ass handed to me my 3rd time out, on some steeper slopes, I decided to look for another board. I scoured the internet, posted in forums, and went to as many shops as I could describing what I wanted. I'm 5'11", 145 lbs. Beginner looking for a forgiving board that was easier to initiate turns on than my other board. Presumably something softer and slightly shorter. I don't really have any park aspirations - just all mountain cruising and the occasional jump. I also wanted something I'd be happy with for at least a couple/few seasons.
A number of the suggestions I started getting were for Freestyle boards, which seemed odd to me, since I'd mentioned I didn't have any real interest in park riding. Most explained to me that freestyle boards did generally have a softer flex, but many could easily handle all mountain riding. I cross referenced all of my sources/reviews, and the board that popped up more than any others was the Ride DH, followed by the Never Summer SL. I went to my local shop with the intent to get the SL, due largely to the fact that I wanted to support a home grown operation, and secondly because those that ride them seem to swear by them (it didn't hurt that they look sick as well). Once there I did mention to the salesman that I'd heard NS boards tend to be a bit stiff, asking for his take on that. He backed up that assertion, and said (w/o me asking his opinion on the DH) that if he were in my position he'd get the DH. So, I walked out of the shop with an 07/08 155 DH DFC edition at 30% off.
I took the board out for the maiden voyage yesterday, and could not have been happier. This was my 4th time boarding, and by the end of the day I was able to keep up with my girl, who has been boarding for years, on relatively high speed runs down blues. It's so easy for me to initiate turns on this board. I also had a number of instances where I could feel myself starting to catch an edge, and I was able to maneuver out of it. On my other board I would have immediately been on the ground at those points. I also went down a few steep runs that were clearly over my head, but I was still able to get down with some modicum of control. Generally, with the other board, I felt like it took so much effort to initiate a turn, and once I got the turn started the board would take off downhill, before snapping around hard or skidding out at the end. With the DH I was able to make smooth, accurate turns all day. This probably sounds cliche, but I felt like I was controlling the board, whereas the other board was most certainly controlling me. I also made 30% - 40% more runs yesterday (product of going on a weekday), and felt like I could have kept going for hours, whereas previously I was spent (and beaten to a pulp) after a half day.
I know this is probably the longest non-technical review ever posted here, but I hope it helps some other newbies that might be looking for a board. The one thing I couldn't find when I was looking around was reviews from beginners about experiences on their new equipment.