I swapped onto Franks virus UFC Universal freecarver 183cm.
conditions about 7-12" of powder.
Let's face it… most deep crud days on hardboots and decks that can really carve at speed just end up in massive shin bang. A horror show on a Madd 158 and quite a bit better on a Madd 170. But this Virus killed them both in powder.
I was on my 185 Kessler PGS. Which was a complete powder submarine. And with the flex pattern maximized for racing… was not forgiving at all in Powder. I really was about to switch to my Salomon Sick stick 160cm with softboots.
So I hop on this deck, swapped my Cateks onto it. I had to fiddle with the binding placement for a bit and found myself in the furthest setting in the rear insert pack and slightly forward of the most rearward insert pack of the front binding. For me the reference stance was too forward…but keep in mind I only had 3 runs on it. I moved the bindings about 5 times to find this spot. Which rewarded me in more edge grip as well as better powder handling characteristics- a real surprise as I expected a trade off…but was rewarded with the best performance.
So I go out… light snow…super crudded up run with piles of snow about 12-15 inches deep. Medium to steep pitch.
I point it straight downhill… let the speed gather..
Normally on any board with hardboots…even one of my favorites the Madd 170cm over 20 mph I start to get shin bang in these kind of condtions…
10mph… fine..20mph… fiine…25 mph (best ever so far…no pain) 30mph…no pain, 35 mph, no pain..I stopped somewhere between 40-45mph…mostly because it just would have been hairy to try to bleed off the speed.
EASILY- this is the best hardboot snowboard I have ever ridden with hardboots in powder. Hands down…no contest.
Its carving ability was excellent… and ridiculously damp…no chatter transmitted at any time. Turning radius for me was a bit wide… but again..I only had 3 runs. The Metal made it harder for me to "energize" but who cares? you just don't need to….just let the deck do its work…. extremely well designed- even the odd nose shape makes sense to me now after riding it.
Layovers… well I really couldn't test in these conditions…
If you find yourself frustrated because of powder days and hate soft boots..and have wide open trails…
buy this board…it might be the only board you would ever need. In terms of recreational fun in an all terrain freecarver… I think for a Metal board this is the funnest one out there. And don't for a second think this is a "lame freecarver" this board really performs.. it is not a "second class easy to ride board".. it delivers great performance and very predictable edge grip- gobs of grip.
In powder it simply dominated… It handled powder at speed straight-lining better than my Salomon Sick stick in softies. Though hardboots in Powder are a bit to lug around..Certainly…. if you are out carving and it starts snowing… you just wouldn't have to worry about switching decks.
Frank- you truly have a winner here. This is the only all mountain freecarver wide deck I have ever wanted to own for myself.
turn initiation is easy on this board- … but again… what is amazing is it's ability to handle varied conditions.
metal is damp- but can it plow through endless deep crud at speed without any shin bang? The board floats well too.
Yes..its a big one… too big for some smaller resorts and too much IMHO to do any tree bashing… but if you stay on the open slope- this board will handle just about anything you throw at it.
I certainly was baffled at how it ate up the crud- and I did not expect that nose slope to work as well as it did. Also…to note…. this was not a flappy nose.
I pushed this pretty hard with Cateks- and if you put a more forgiving binding on it like F2's it probably would just make the crud invisible. But the cool thing is… if you don't care about the weight of a Bomber or Catek- and want to add responsiveness…..and edge power on icy stuff….. the board is damp enough that you won't feel a need for F2's. Frank had F2's on it …so he would know better…I am just guessing at this. But then again..it certainly was not lacking in edge power..so perhaps any binding is enough….after all its 183cm and metal- with some carbon inserts.
So if you want a big deck with plenty of effective edge- that can go fast- and handle deep snow and of course- make small crud simply seem like it was not there at all…
I would be very surprised if anyone who rode this was disappointed in any of its performance parameters.
If you were to travel to larger resorts…realistically…you could bring one board.