Finally after a few seasons of listening to the hype about Kesslers I got the chance to use a 185 (thanks Billy and Dave at Hardbooter.com). My first reaction by the time I got down to the lift was “Holy Hell!” Here are my stats so you can gauge this review. Riding alpine for over 20 years, 5’8”, 165lbs, goofy foot, with angles of 55 in the front and 50 in the back. I have raced at all levels but much preferred to freeride. I used to get anywhere from 250-300 days a year on snow but now down to about 50 depending on work. The board was set-up with a Vist plate and F2 bindings.
Now on to the important part: the review. I have been riding this board now for about 6 days on snow and this is a beefy, powerful snowboard. Carving performance was unreal, to say the least. Power, energy, no speed limit. For those who are looking for tremendous “pop” from the tail then this isn’t for you but if you really load up the tail then you do get that sensation, just not like an old school glass board. I am not a huge fan of “popping” off the tail and getting sent into the woods so I like softer tail that gives some forgiveness. This is a straight up race board but not like the old race boards that kicked your ass every time you weren’t spot on, it is very forgiving. This combination of power and forgiveness lets you ride anything with confidence. On the first day it was perfect groomers and this board I could relax, or be aggressive, and it responded well to both styles. We ripped race inspired GS turns top to bottom and even through in some Eurocarves for good measure…not to mention some switch riding. The problem with such perfect conditions I can’t fully put this through the paces and it left me wishing that I was back at Whiteface on a blue ice day. On New Years Eve we got up to Snowbasin, which is usually perfect but that it definitely wasn’t that day. My friends from out here said they hit some ice but I just called it good ole hardpack. Coming down the “iciest” part of the run this Kessler didn’t skid a bit, made me feel like Jean Nerva in Chill “you carve, you carve, you carve, you carve…no skid even if it’s icy”
If I hade to have one board this would be it, no doubt. This is especially true with the Vist plate on it. I am going to throw that Vist plate on a Prior very soon to see exactly how much of the feel is influenced by it. I know some freeriders don’t want to ride the Vist or Hangel due to the weight or for whatever other reason but I can tell you that I love the Vist (easier to move from one board to the next) and don’t want to ride without some type of plate system.
This weekend I will be shooting some video to go along with this review and a Park City Mountain Resort review. I was supposed to get some videoing done last week but that didn’t work out. Look for the video being posted over at the Hardbooter.com blog site plus I will try to post it here. Again, a huge thanks to Dave and Billy. See ya on the snow.