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So, the post-season sales have started, and yesterday I pulled the trigger on a 162 FA with Cartels. I've been wanting to try a channel board for a while now, both out of simple curiosity and because of the purported ease of adjustment on the fly.

In fact, I had to test the ease of adjustment right away, as the salescritter set up my bindings just a little too far heelside. Not his fault, I didn't have my boots with me, so he set the bindings up centered. The bindings have a little readout on the footbed that allows you to see centering, angle, and stance width based on the reference stance. Since my FA has a ref stance of 22" and I use a 22.5" stance, the bindings were simply set up 1/4" outside the ref point. The centering readout is similarly easy. I moved the bindings 2 lines toeside and everything was good.

On the downside, you probably can't get at the bolts with most pocket toolkits. They're right up against the side of the binding, so you'll really need a screwdriver with some length. My mind, of course, immediately goes to getting into a bad tumble and stabbing myself with the screwdriver. :blush:

Anyway, on to riding impressions. FYI, my background consists of a bunch of NS boards with various rocker/camber configs, and one camber PYL. The FA is billed as "directional camber."

The first thing I noticed is that this is a heavy board. It feels heavy when you're carrying it, and it feels heavy when you're riding it. It's kind of like going from a street bike to a mountain bike. It's also very unforgiving of bindings that aren't set up properly. I've ridden my other boards with boots not centered properly and it didn't make a ton of difference. With the FA, I almost couldn't do toeside turns at all.

The board is more stable than my other boards when straightlining, especially on hardpack. It carves turns really well, although as mentioned above, it's a little more work to get it turning.

I didn't really buy this board for sunny day riding, though. This board is for fresh-snow days. The larger nose, greater length (I normally ride 158-160) and ability to modify the setback mean this will be the go-to board when there's a bunch of fresh snow. Burton bills it as a freeride board, stiff and aggressive, as well. I probably won't get a chance to test that until next season, though. :angry1:
 

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Donutz, what size is your PYL?

I'm curious to get your feedback on it vs the FA regarding how they compare on the fresh stuff.

Keep making offerings to Ullr. You might still get a day full of "freshies"

Cheers
 

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No real need to go with a FA having a PYL as well. They are both very similar. But in your case, the FA is pretty big, so definitely fits a very different purpose.

I have a 163 FA split, and that thing is so big hahahha

For tools, I have a Bakoda pocket tool which works perfectly. But, I never carry it, except when riding w a backpack. Also, the little pocket tool that comes with Spark and Hitchhiker split bindings works fine too. And of course all the regular screwdrivers on the mountain tool stations.....
 

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The PYL is a 159.

It def feels more lively than the FA.
 

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I had a 159 FA last season when I was 25 lbs heavier. I downsized to a 152 this season, based on Burton's weight vs board size recommendations.

So. Much. Fun.

The flex is similar relative to my weight (so Burton was good with their weight ratings) but it's much lighter (obviously) and narrow so it's lightning quick edge-to-edge. It's the narrowest board I own or have ever ridden as an adult (24.4 WW and I have size 9 boots). Edge-to-edge transitions are lightning-quick. Edge hold is excellent, even on hard snow.

A couple of seasons ago I thought I didn't like Burton boards much, but it turned out that I actually didn't like Burton bindings. I've been running Now bindings on almost everything for the last two seasons and for me they make all the difference with Burton boards. It's night vs day. I exclusively ride Now and Salomon bindings on all of my boards, now. Pilots are my go-to and I use Drives on more aggressive boards. From Salomon it's Quantums and Defenders. My FA is set up with Now Drive bindings.
 
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