Pros: Soft, but with surprisingly good edgehold, Great pop for a reverse camber stick, Light
Cons: Topsheet takes damage easily (if you care), Not the fastest base, Doesn't come in larger sizes.
Me: 5'11, 195 lb, intermediate-advanced rider, so definitely on the bigger side for this board. I have to admit I was a little skeptical going in, but after demoing this board for a day I was convinced to sell another stick to make room for it in my quiver. It's RIDICULOUS soft and easy to press, yet still holds a very solid edge and is very poppy for a reverse camber board. Most reverse camber boards I've been on are pretty lacking in that department, but this one's no slouch. I took it everywhere from the park to hard-pack moguls to tree steeps in mostly crappy, bumpy snow and I had a blast. At speed, it wasn't the most stable board ever (like I said, I'm pretty heavy for the flex and size), but it was comfortable enough that I didn't have any issues. I loved it to the point that I went out and bought one as a screw-around board that still affords some versatility at speed and in trees. In the Midwest, that's all I need. If it came in a 160 (MORE SIZES, SIERRA!!!), I'd ride it everyday in bigger mountains. The only small real complaint I have is that the base is not the fastest; it's not slow by any means and I had no trouble in flats, but it doesn't accelerate as quickly as I'm used to (to be fair, I rode it right out of plastic on factory wax). Any level rider can appreciate this board. It's soft enough that a beginner would have no problem on it, but burly and versatile enough for more experienced riders.
Pros: Base rides surprisingly fast., Holds up surprisingly well for a park board.,
Cons: Sketch in steeps.,
Note: this review is for the older, cambered 2009 Youngblood, which is still available (it's the one with the yellow base, should be on the top right of the three options). I took this out at a Forum demo day. I enjoyed this board a lot while I had it. It had a nice pop to it and was surprisingly fun railing groomer turns at speed. The biggest issue I had with it was that when I took down some quite steep terrain (Lookout Mountain in Northstar) I was very sketched. However if you were a beginner or advanced park rider looking for a solid board that'll get you through 80% of riding days, this is a solid option.
Cons: Thumb holes / cuffs pretty burly, glove fit., VERY baggy if you get your usual size,
Fit: Too big
My Size: L
Fits Like: XL
Description: Tall, baggy.
To expound on what's been in other reviews, it fits huge. I'm 5'11 and 190 lbs with pretty broad shoulders, and I fit a medium perfectly. It's not tight, not baggy, just a decent fitted look. It still fits pretty long, like a tall-t (which I'm fine with, since I tuck into my pants as a base layer). Unless you're looking for gangsta steeze, size down.
It wicks nicely, has nice build quality, and is comfy. It's warm enough to layer with, but not so much that I can't see myself wearing it on its own on a milder (40+) day. It seems like it'll be much more durable than similar clothing items I've used.
It also has a non-stink antimicrobial finish, which seems to work, but those tend to wash out of synthetics... we'll see how that one holds up.
Only problem I have (and not for everyone) is that the thumb holes in the ribbed cuffs are pretty burly. If you have tighter glove fit, it might be a little uncomfortable.
In all, I really like it. It's a decent layering piece, I use it as an occasional work out shirt on cold days, and I even wear it to class. If you can get it at a discount, it's a great pick up.
P.S. the reason Gsrrr thinks a small would be too tight is because he's fat. Just FYI.
Cons: Liner velcro is a little annoying., Almost too lightweight for binding strap pressure.,
Shoe Size: 10.5
Boot Size: 10.5
I really, really like the flex of this boot. I ride pretty much everything and tend to like my boots at a stiffer than average flex for a supportive feel that still lets me flex the ankles. I really like the neoprene notch the boot has at the ankle. It does the same thing as an articulating cuff, causing less shell distortion when you flex the boot.
I dig Burton's Speed Zone lacing system a lot. Very thoughtfully designed, simple to use, and effective. It wraps tight and allows independent tightening of the upper and lower parts of the boot. The inner lace lock is also great, and never comes loose.
Burton claims these are comfort-optimized or some such nonsense (Total Comfort Construction) and will feel comfortable from day one... don't believe the marketing copy. These things killed my feet on day one and will do the same for you if you go for a tight performance fit. But after wearing them around the house a ton, they were very comfortable by the end of day two.
This boot has the EST sole, which is a thinner midsole that has less ramp angle than most snowboard boots (higher heel than toes to put you at a slight incline). I was worried I'd lose toeside power not being propped up onto the balls of my feet. However, I found I didn't notice any loss of power on toeside and felt much more locked in on heelside.
They are really great for hiking because they: A.) SUPER light, B.) have Vibram soles, and C.) the way the speed lace works, you can easily loosen the upper zone but keep your foot more or less secure by cranking the lower zone.
The only complaints I have is that I don't like Burton's dual velcro liner closure (I miss the strap they used to have there) and I can still feel some ankle strap pressure from the binding. Although this is true of just about every boot I've ever owned, it is a touch more noticeable with these because they are so low profile and lightweight.
All in all though, excellent boots and I look forward to seeing where they take me.
Pros: Great peripheral., Flexible frame (adjusts to your face)., Lens easy to switch.
Cons: Fits pretty large,
Great goggle, unfortunately they don't quite fit me. They fit more like a Prodigy (i.e. wide and large), whereas the I/OS fits more like a Phenom. The only slight knock I might have is that I'm not a big fan of the Sensor lenses, although Gold Sensor might be better. Not quite enough contrast for flat light, not quite enough LT% for night or storming.
Pros: Bonus second lens., Flexible frame., Easy to switch lenses
Love these goggles. Unfortunately I lost my pair otherwise I'd rock them for everything except storms and night. The only slight knock I might have is that I'm not a big fan of the Sensor lenses, although Gold Sensor might be better. Not quite enough contrast for flat light, not quite enough LT% for night or storming.
Name: 2012 Smith Variant Brim Snowboard Helmet Men's
Pros: Adjustable headband., Good aesthetic., Adjustable vents.
Cons: Not the lightest helmet.,
So I have this helmet and it is my back-up helmet when I'm back at my folk's place and don't have the luggage space for my maze. It's a nice little helmet. Fits snug and then holds even better once I put on the adjustable headband. The adjustable vents are very nice if you run hot or cold and are much superior to the maze and pretty much every other helmet I've ever used. However it is not nearly as light as the Maze (though few helmets are). Only real knock on it.
Pros: Great quasi-brimmed aesthetic., Protects your noggin.,
Cons: A little heavy., So-so venting., Lack of adjustability.
It's a nice helmet. Looks great with goggles, although it can make your head look massive. It is a bit heavy however and the venting isn't the great. I find the fit to be rather large... I'd say about half a size larger than you'd expect. Still, that's more about how it fits you head specifically. A little bit of adjustability like on the hustle would be great. However if it were up to me, I'd pay the extra premium for either the Hustle or the Maze (having owned all three).
Pros: REALLY light., Low profile., Sweet color schemes.
Cons: Relatively small vents., Low adjustability.,
I've owned a number of helmet and this is by far my favorite. This (at least as of two years ago) the lightest certified snowboard helmet on the market. It's a very simple helmet without many bells and whistles, but it'll protect your nogging quite nicely without making you look like an alien. My biggest concern with this helmet is the lack of venting. If you run really, really hot, you may want to look at a helmet with larger vents like say the Smith Variant. However, my head keeps cool long as I keep moving.
Pros: Poppy., Carves great, love the way it feels on edge., Flipping sweet graphic.
Cons: Not very damp.,
I had one of these several years ago, in the 160. Just a great feeling board. Great do everything board. It felt stable and aggressive, but not twitchy. Extremely poppy. Felt great in pow too, rode it in as much as 2 deep at Sierra-at-Tahoe WITHOUT setting it back (admittedly my leg was pretty burnt out at the end of the day). The one bump I have on it is that it's not a very damp board. It was my go to board in good snow conditions and an absolute dream in champagne pow, but I wasn't as big a fan of it in the crud. Other than that, my only complaint is that I had the 160 and wished I'd had the 158. If I'd own the puppy, I might have held onto this board strictly for sentimental value.
To be clear, since the product photo for this is very confusing, the movies in this set are: Neverland, Aesthetica, and For Right or Wrong. I own Neverland and Aesthetica, and watched For Right or Wrong for free when Burton streamed it online years ago. You can still actually find For Right or Wrong free if you google it. Even with that, the other two movies are worth it. Neither is mind-boggling, but both are fun backcountry / backcountry freestyle focused movies. Nico and T.Rice's parts in Neverland and Landvik's part and Torstein's extended shot Northstar park run in Aesthetica are standouts. And For Right or Wrong is an interesting movie for sure... shows a lot of character as much as riding. Really enjoyed Jeremy Jones' and Jake Burton Carpenter's insights. Bit too much Shaun White though. At this price, even if you just watch For Right or Wrong online, it's still worth it.
Pros: Comfy., Pitzips are a nice touch., Waterproof (unusual for a soft shell).
Cons: Not that breathable for a softshell., Not that windproof., Little bulky for a softshell.
Fit: Just right
My Size: L
Fits Like: L
Description: Solid. Loose, but not baggy. I'm a 42 chest, dress shirts usually 16.5, 32/32
So this jacket is very comfortable and reasonably . I THINK this thing has a waterproof laminate... which is a plus and a minus. Good, because it makes it more waterproof. A minus, because it takes away a bit of stretch, flexibility, and the general feel you get from soft shells. It also adds quite a bit of bulk and weight; I wasn't planning on going backpacking with it or anything, but I was always surprised at how much space it took up when I traveled with it. It's a good compromise if you plan on using it as an everyday jacket and live somewhere with relatively dry snow and not much rain. Personally, I found it to be kind of a tweener. Not quite waterproof enough for everyday wear, not breathable enough to be a midlayer piece. I would not pay full price for it.
Description: Fits great, but STRETCHES OUT. Consider sizing down.
I love Smartwool socks. This is part of the Ph.D line, which is more durable and comfortable than previous versions. They perform the same, which is say very, very well. They also don't smell, so I can rock 'em consecutive days. However, I had problems with slippage in smartwool socks because they'd stretch out. Over the course of the day, I'd feel them get looser, around the ankle especially. I combated this by going down a size, even though at 10.5 I'm well over the Medium/Large cutoff (8.5 I believe). However, it worked. I could honestly go either way, I just prefer the performance fit of the medium and don't think it's any less comfortable. Just a thought.
Pros: Material is tough., Compression straps make good handles.,
Cons: No wheels., Could use more padding., Lack of pockets.
Disclosure: I own the wheeled version of this bag. But aside of that, the bag is the same. I like the bag, however ended up switching it out for a Ride Sanitarium. My favorite feature on this bag is the two compression straps, which not only keep things tight, but as a LIFE saver for carrying if you have the space. Much more comfortable than the provided shoulder strap. I tend to use that when I'm climbing stairs in the airport, as I hate getting onto escalators with snowboard bags. However, while the material's tough, it could use a bit more padding. Additionally, there are no front pockets and while the interior space is plenty for a couple boards, bindings, boots, and maybe a helmet, you might be out of luck if you want to shove the bulk of your clothes in there. If you want something that'll (most likely) get your boards to your destination safely and can get a good price on this bag, go for it. I've travelled with it no problem. However I think there are better options on the market, especially since this particular version of the bag is without wheels.
I really like this bag. It's well valued compared to comparable Burton bags and has insane amounts of space. It's also extremely well padded and just has good feel floating through airports. The only reason it misses 5 stars is that I feel it could use compression straps to keep things tight. There are internal compression straps, but that still doesn't help if stuff is knocking out outside. I usually fill the bag with some clothes, so it's not that big a deal, but it would be nice. Come to think of it, it probably wouldn't be too hard to jury rig something.
"Good value on sale, would not pay full price for it." 9/22/2011
Name: 2009 Burton Deluxe Starter Kit
Pros: Tool is great., Lock is eh.,
Cons: Rest is garbage.,
The Burton tool is great. The lock works, but wouldn't be too hard to break. However having a deterrent is a bigger deal than actually having a foolproof device. Leash, stomp pads, and rub-on wax are garbage. If you can get it on a pretty good sale price, it might be worth it for the tool and lock, but I would not pay anywhere near retail for it.
Cons: Bits can occasionally pop loose from storage., Handle a little awkward.,
Solid tool. A little overpriced compared to others. Ratchet function is smooth. Relatively ergonomic, although the handle still feels a little awkward. Personally I prefer the Bakoda zackley driver, but like this tool as well. Life saver on the mountain when a binder starts wiggling.
Cons: Too much trick, next shot, trick, next shot, etc., Too many riders.,
I enjoyed this film. There are some really fun parts from the likes of Jeremy Jones, Devun Walsh, JP Walker, etc. However I have to admit I didn't really remember anything from it until I rewatched it not too long ago. I feel like they could have cut it down a bit. Fun movie, but doesn't really stick with you.
Solid flick. However I found the riding sections to be very uneven. Nico Mueller's opener is fantastic, as is Travis Rice's. The former Uninc guys had some great shots, I honestly am hard pressed to name another whole part that really blew me away. There were a lot of good ones, but also a lot of repetitive shots where I tuned out a little bit. The cinematography is generally great, I just feel the film is a little uneven (which is how I tend to feel about Absinthe movies). I tend to like videos that give you a sense of personality of the person riding, and Absinthes generally don't. I guess they leave that to their Flipside specials, but I'd like to see at least SOME in the movies.
Cons: Stuffy., Not that windproof., Fit was a little wonky.
Go with the Coal Ninja Clava instead, it's cheaper, nicer looking, and overall more comfortable. The main advantage of this one is that it has a perforated top, so if you wear it with a helmet it's a tad lower profile and you vent heat a little better. However it is less comfortable. The material isn't as nice as the Coal, and it feels much stuffier while breathing. It might be a tiny bit more windproof and warmer, but it's not nearly enough to overcome the shortcomings. I also found it to fit wonky over my head, not enough stretch in the material IMO.
Pros: Wolle's part., Mikey Leblanc ripping on a toboggan. , Nico's part.
Cons: Uneven (like most absinthe),
I like Absinthe movies, but do find them a little overrated. They always seem absolutely killer in trailers when you take the best shots, but they are, IMO, edited in a way that makes them seem really uneven. Cinematography's great, riding's great, filming's great, but somehow the movies don't click for me. I loved parts of this movie (especially those listed above) but overall it felt like less than the sum of its parts.
"Solid, but better options out there IMO." 9/20/2011
Name: 2011 Forum Shaka Snowboard Bindings Men's
Pros: See below.,
Cons: See below.,
I owned these for half a season. Can't quite put my finger on it, but I wasn't feeling them. They felt soft, but... somehow just off. I don't really know if it was the super soft straps, the relatively flexy highback, or the soft flex underfoot, I just wasn't feeling them. A couple times I wore them and it felt like my feet were getting exhausted, not sure if that's just because they were so soft or a function of the good vibes design. From a construction standpoint, they're not quite as light or cleverly put together as Rome 390s for various adjustment options. I don't hate 'em, but I certainly didn't love them either. Might just be my imagination, but the straps on the 2012s seem a bit beefier, so perhaps I'd be a bigger fan of those.
"Sweet board, too bad they stopped making it." 9/20/2011
Name: 2009 Forum Symbol Snowboard Men's
Pros: Poppy, fast, carver.,
Cons: They don't make it any more.,
Ran this board at a forum demo... ended up spending probably half the day on it because I didn't want to switch out. I wouldn't buy it as a first board unless you're already comfortable with clean turns and at speed. It ran fast, had a nice aggressive (but not excessively tight sidecut), and railed turns. Stiff without feeling like a plank. Didn't take it in pow unfortunately, but had tons of fun on it. Would have bought one at the time if I had the funds, honestly. Added bonus, if you can find the 157 and the 160, that's the closest Jake Blauvelt (57) and John Jackson (60) came to true pro models from Forum (although JJ might have more opportunities).
Pros: Low profile (not a big deal for me)., Smooth, predictable, somewhat adjustable flex., Very well thought out design.
Cons: Little pricey.,
Shoe Size: 10.5
Boot Size: 10.5
Disclaimer: boots reviews are not useful for ascertaining fit, just experience. I really like these boots. Burton lists them at a 7/10 support, which I think is a little much. I'd say more like a 6 (although I'm a bigger dude at 195 lb). I LOVE the way they flex. Don't know how to explain it, but compared to other boots I've ridden they just seem to flex smoother. Also somewhat adjustable, because you can stiffen them up by cranking the upper zone. I really like the new redesign to speedzone... the new handles are more comfortable to pull, the lace is easier to wrap around handles, and it seems just very, very sturdy. The low profile is great and I'm enjoying the decreased ramp angle of the EST sole... just feel more balanced, especially on heelside. The break-in was a little brutal, but it only lasted a couple days and I didn't heat mold. All in all, IF IT FITS YOU FOOT, highly recommended. I look forward to continued shredding on these the next few seasons.
I agree with the other poster that boot fits are awesome. I wouldn't go as far as s/he does, but they are pretty sweet. However, I am not a fan of this particular product. They stink up a storm after just one day and are not terribly durable. More than that, I don't find them to be terribly comfortable... which is a problem since it's the first layer touching my skin. It's not unbearable mind you, but I've definitely worn much better. They're also not that warm. So when it gets chilly, I'd definitely switch out for something else... and when it's warm, I'd probably just rather wear boxers or basketball shorts. They don't quite fit in anywhere. I'd recommend spending the extra cash on merino wool base layer, or at least materials that have some sort of antimicrobial coating.
Name: 2010 Burton Expedition First Layer Pant Men's
Pros: Warm., Comfy., DOESN'T SMELL.
Cons: None to speak of.,
Fit: Just right
My Size: L
Fits Like: L
Description: Little bigger than most first layer pieces, but not baggy.
Not really sure where people are getting that these fit baggy. They are not as form fitting as say smartwool baselayers, but they're not gangsta sagging either. I'd say they're still tight, just not THAT tight. I am a merino guy most of the time, but these are the ones I put on for SUPER cold days. They also don't stink, even after multiple days of use, which is rare for synthetic materials in my experience. I have two pairs that I cycled through nearly every day for two Minnesota winters.
Pros: Lets your foot move naturally., Comfortable.,
Cons: Not terribly breathable (can stink)., Heel counter area can break in too much.,
Love these sandals. Their whole schtick is that they're sandals, not shoes, but really, they're shoes. They're just super comfortable, nontraditional shoes. I am a big fan of minimalist footwear (I once owned Vibram Five Fingers) and was looking for something along those lines that still worked for everyday wear. These fit the bill perfectly. They are flat and not terribly supportive, so they simulate the barefoot experience better than most modern shoes. I like the vulcanized rubber Sanuks because they're lower profile and more durable. Even though these shoes are skate-inspired, I wouldn't skate in them because they don't have laces (if you're lucky enough that they fit tight and are still comfortable, you might be able to get away with it).
This thing is great, I wish this gator stayed up on my face better when I wear it as such. It has a tendency to slip off my face and just settle around the neck. I have a pretty big head too. It's fantastic if you want it just as a neck warmer, but maybe look elsewhere if you want a bit more versatility.
I love this ninjaclava. I've used the Air Blaster Terryclava, and much prefer this one. Compared to the Terryclava especially, the material it uses is much softer and less abrasive on the skin. It's also a tighter weave, so it's a bit warmer than the Terryclava. It's thin enough that it fits under a very tight helmet for me. I wear it on the hill, running, and just around town in the Twin Cities when it gets chilly. All in all, a great buy.
Cons: Wonky fit., Cheap materials at pricepoint., Terrible feel.
I owned the previous year's version of this glove and got these on warranty. They are TERRIBLE. Beyond preferring the previous year's aesthetic, they downgraded the material from genuine leather to synthetic leather. They also increased the length of the fingers, so it fits more like an XL (or even XXL) than most L gloves; even when I wear liner gloves, it just feels off. The durability isn't that great and they have terrible feel. I am a fan of Celtek gloves generally, but they definitely dropped the ball on this one. They switched factories the following season, so hopefully their newer gloves are back on the right track.
Pros: Surprisingly good edgehold., Solid construction., TONS of fun in bumps.
Cons: Not THAT wide., Lack of snack and pop.,
I owned this board for about half a season. One thing, it's not THAT wide. The standard Destroyer is just very narrow, the Wide is more a midwide. It'll probably support up to size 11.5/12, any wider than that and you're probably booting out of turns. I actually really miss this board, but it ended up not fitting into my quiver. It would have been more of an everyday kind of board whereas I was looking for a park beater. It's stiffer than you probably think (Forum lists it at 5/10, but Forums are in general probably a bit stiffer than you'd expect). It didn't feel the best transitioning from turn to turn, but once it was in the turn... wow. Just held its edge real nicely and turned predictably. It was FANTASTIC in slush bumps when I took it out at snowboard, the reverse camber lifted it above the chop and make going from bump to bump very simple. It did feel a bit loose as reverse camber boards are wont to do and the pop in the tail wasn't the best. I would love to try the 2011 version, which has Pop in the tail (some kind of carbon array I would guess), but I really did enjoy this board while I had it.
Cons: Disastrous in chunks., Lacks snap in turns.,
I spent two days on Heroes. The first day I LOVED it. It could do no wrong, just seemed wonderfully free. It lacks snap and pop from carve to carve due to the true reverse camber, but it's a really fun super mellow board. It pressed out easier than any other board I've ever ridden. However I rode it a second day and absolutely HATED IT. I was ridden crappy, chunky snow and the board was not having any of it. Most Burtons I've ridden tend to not be quite damp enough for me, but this one was especially bad. I basically went from absolutely wanting to buy a Crew to thinking it was too one-dimensional a board for me. So it really depends on what you want.
"Solid board, but I'd probably get the crew." 9/17/2011
Name: 2010 Sierra Team Snowboard
Pros: Fast base., Easy to manipulate.,
Cons: Little squirrelly at speed.,
This is basically the same as an older Flow team without the carbon stringers. It's not soft, but the loss of those stringers definitely takes some snap out of the board. I would say it's a great first board because it's forgiving and holds up well except at pretty high speed. It's also a bit wider than a Crew, so gives you a nice platform to charge on. However overall I prefer a Crew because it's a bit more aggressive board and that suits me.
Cons: Heavier / bulky (not too bad), Ozone Speed Lace needs more locks,
Shoe Size: 11
Boot Size: 10-10.5
I have a duck foot: very wide in the front with narrow heels/ankles. These fit me great. I still get a tiny bit of heel lift, but I can probably get rid of it through custom boot fitting. I did not heat mold, had a bit of break in pain day one, by day two they were set. They balance comfort and performance very nicely (note: obviously this comes down to individual fit, so take it with a grain of salt).
I was looking for a slightly stiffer than average boot with an articulating cuff. I was afraid these would be too soft, but after initial break in from wearing around the house, I would say they actually run significantly stiffer than a 5. They're comparable to my old Forum Verdicts, which Forum listed as a 7. I'd agree with the other reviewer that they are a stiffer boot than you would think.
I also agree with the other reviewer that these are heavier and bulkier than other boots, but I don't think it's nearly as big an issue as made out. As far as front-to-back footprint is concerned, these are very comparable to a pair of 10.5 Forum Stunners, which are pretty low profile boots. MAYBE a quarter or half a size longer. The shell's definitely more voluminous, so you might have to avoid narrow heelcups and/or extend your straps, but at a 10.5 I fit medium Burton bindings without issue.
The only thing I'm concerned about is the Ozone lace. My first few days out, I had to tighten it up a few times. They only lock once, as opposed to several times on Burton/Forum boots. A few times for an full 8 hour day of riding hard isn't too bad, though. Pretty minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless.
In all, very pleased with my purchase. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on Celsius in the future.
Cons: Cushy straps means less supportive strap, Don't like ratchets (especially the toe),
I've been on Forces the past two seasons and am stoked on them, so I was interested to give these a shot. I found that they are quite softer than I prefer. If you like a soft binder, they're a great pick-up. They're comfortable, cushy, and quite forgiving, but when you are railing turns they were not my favorite. Most of the stuff I don't like about them (soft highback, soft baseplate, soft and not too supportive straps) are a preference thing, so I didn't dock them for that. What I did dock them for is ratchets. Union changed their ratchets this year and I prefer the old ones. The toe ratchet is weirdly shaped and while not difficult to disengage, it's a little awkward. The ankle ratchet is ok, except that the part that catches the ladder protrudes out further and can scuff up the side of the baseplate adjacent to the ladder (some pretty sizeable dents in mine). I'm kind of a borderline between a M/L and L/XL, so it may only be an issue for people in my situation. Overall, I'd recommend these if you are like or want to try out a soft pair of bindings, but they're not my personal cup of tea.
Pros: Fast base (surprisingly durable), Poppy, Versatile
Cons: Could be more centered, Not the dampest, Topsheet damages very easily.
Put a couple days on this board. It's currently my only cambered deck and the board I would go to on days when I'm primarily riding hardpacky/icy groomers. This thing rails pretty nicely. Very fast base, which is surprisingly durable too. I didn't quite clear a stair gap, came down just behind the binding, and there is a VERY minor scratch. I'd call it a bit more than mid-flex, although I suspect it'll break in to be softer. Very light, easy to throw around. Biggest complaint is that it's not a favorite in chopped up heavy snow... legs feel like they take quite a bit more of a beating from such conditions than on some burlier boards. That's a preference thing though, I prefer dampness. Minor complaint if you are concerned with aesthetics or resale value: the topsheet gets beat up pretty good. Not just the normal chips, but scratches show up pretty easily. Falls in line with my experience with Burtons. A non-issue to me, but something the prissy folk might want to know. And I do wish it was a bit more centered. It's pretty easy to set forward if you know what you're doing, but an inch setback is quite a lot for a non-freeride board. In all, a good value and a fun board.
Me: intermediate-advanced, riding 5 years, ~20-30 days per year. I have been between 190-200 this season and rode the 156W. The Destroyer Chilly is a really fun, versatile board. I have ridden a Banana and owned a TRS BTX and hands down prefer the Destroyer Chilly. It's pretty burly in the middle, but softer in the tips, so it holds a surprisingly solid edge at speed but is still plenty playful in the tips for butters and presses. I never rode it in powder, but being reverse camber I have little doubt that it'd perform well relative to size.
At my size I was pretty impressed at how well it held up at speed when I took it out to Snowbird and the Canyons in Utah, both in softer snow and hardpack/ice. It is an absolute BLAST in bumps at speed. I was pretty impressed at how it held edge without any sort of help from magnetration or similar kind of sidecut gimmicks.
The biggest weakness, like a lot of rockered sticks, is pop. It's better than a lot of reverse camber boards I've ridden, but nowhere close to a solid cambered stick. On the plus side, it's easier to kind snap an ollie since you don't have on the tail as you would a cambered board. So I'd say it's easier to pop small stuff, but you have to work it more to get a ton of boost.
I have the version from a couple years ago. I've tried these on and they are the same except for the color.
I wouldn't go as far as to say I enjoy these, but they get the job done and give me plenty of wrist support. They fit under most gloves I'd say, unless you have particularly tight glove fit to begin with.
On Dirty Dragon's comment that they don't seem that supportive, they are not as supportive as Dakine, Demon, or whomever else's rigid wrist guards. That's by design, as they are more comfortable and are less likely to displace a bad fracture up your forearm in case of a really bad fall. I much prefer them to any option I've tried on the market.
I knocked off a star because they do hurt my hand a bit at the webbing between my thumb and index fingers occasionally on my left hand. I have a bit of a callous building up there because of them. Not sure if it's something about the hand or that particular guard, since I have no problems on my right hand. In the end, it's a pretty small price to pay.
Pros: Adjustability, Durable, Good construction quality, Lightweight, Comfortable
Fit: fits fine
Very very comfortable and relatively stiff, responsive bindings. Shorter but stiffer highback, stiffer than average baseplate. The strap profiling is different from most other binding companies out there, as it is bulky as hell and almost feels like a big fluffy pillow for your ankle. It's different, but I had zero pressure points, which is very rare for me. I also like their toecap design quite a bit. Also easily adjusted.
Exceptional evolution in the progression of snowboarding. On a powder day at Northstar last season, I demoed a 160 Fish from the previous year (2008) and then a 156 of one of these, and the 156 killed the older version. The combination of the S-rocker and the swallow tail made it far simpler to center up your weight and do away with leg burn. My only complaint is that I wish they made bigger sizes for more big mountain-type riding.
Pros: Excellent jacket. Functional enough for the hill but low-key and aesthetically pleasing enough that you can rock it for everyday use. Water resistant. Warm enough for freezing temperatures with nothing but a midweight baselayer underneath. Low profile enough that you can layer with it easily. Pit zips for those days when you really need them. None of that hard shell crunching.
Cons: I'm pretty sure that the 20k waterproofing rating Burton purports is BS. But it has kept me dry so far, so whatever. Could use an audio pocket. Other than that, none; at least none that aren't related to the fact that it's a softshell.
I rode with this in some relatively harsh conditions (just under freezing, windy, and pellet-like snow fall) and didn't feel the need to get my hard shell. I would ride with this in every condition short of rain, extreme cold, and epic pow.
"Phenomenal binding, unbeatable at the pricepoint." 2/5/2009
Name: 2009 Union Force
Pros: Adjustability, Easy in & out, Boot hold, Durable, Good construction quality
Fit: fits fine
I owned a pair of 07 Union Datas (basically the same as a Force) a couple years ago but haven't been on Unions since. I jumped on a pair of these at a demo and was impressed enough that I immediately dropped by Sierra on the way home and picked up a pair. They offer excellent response without a ton of torsional rigidity. Compared to the 07s, they're much lighter, offer superior ankle strap adjustments, and have updated toe caps and ankle straps, both of which are improvements. Basically, Union took an awesome binding and took it to the next level. And from my previous experience, I can tell you that C3's customer service is excellent, so I don't have any fear of warrantying these bad boys (not that I think that I'll have to the way these things are built). Simply put, at $200 retail, you will not find a better binding on the market.
Pros: Aesthetically, they are extremeley unique looking. I personally dig them quite a bit. On the level of performance, the field of vision is unparalleled, and the visual acuity is great. The ignitor lens is one of the best all-around lenses on the market (and the Sensor lens is one of the most versatile high VLT % on the market). Swapping out lenses is quite easy. It also integrates exceptionally well with Smith helmets, as do all Smith goggles.
Cons: A rather large fit in the nose, similar to Oakley Wisdoms. I can fit a finger in the nose space with minimal resistance. No bueno for Asian faces. But if it fits your face, it's a great choice.
This comes with an extra lens (which retails for $45 separately) and a hard goggle case. Exceptional value.
There is also a smaller fit goggle called the I/O-S coming out next year. It fits pretty much exactly the same as the Phenom and is muy, muy bueno for those with smaller noses.
Pros: I own a pair of last year's in White and a pair of this year's in Blue/Tan Intersection. I find that they are great for Asian faces, which are flatter with smaller noses... they do not have excessive curvature, so they fit great. I've also found that they fit non-Asians quite well, so they don't appear to lose anything and fit a wide range of faces. I love that they are low profile, but still give exceptional peripheral vision. I have a pair with Sensor Mirror and a pair with the Ignitor Mirror. The Ignitor is an EXCEPTIONAL all around lens, since it is mirrored and low enough light transmissions that it's exceptional in low-light, but it increases contrast enough that it is still quite usable on overcast days and in the shadows. The Sensor mirror is great at night and still useable in the day, but I've found it not quite as all-around usable in the shadows and in white-out conditions.
Cons: None really. Occasionally the space between the lens fogs up, but I realize this only happens when I leave it overnight (or over extended periods) in a wet goggle bag. When I've taken proper care of the goggles, I've had no issues.
Pros: Adjustability, Boot hold, Good construction quality, Lightweight, Comfortable, Well known brand
Fit: fits fine
I didn't expect to like these, but I was impressed. A softer, comfortable binding with pretty good dampening and shock absorption. I wouldn't rock them everyday, but if you are a fan of softer bindings, then these are definitely worth look into.
Pros: Heel hold, Comfortable, Easy lacing, Traction, Good quality, Waterproofing, Easy in & out, Well known brand
Fit: heel is snug
I forgot my Sabbaths at Heavenly. I was tripping out a little until I noticed that they have a Burton Demo Center. Sweet! The Ozones were the stiffest boot they had, so I went with those. They were definitely packed out, but fit my foot comfortably (a little softer liner feel than my Sabbaths or Ions, but still solid). They feel really stiff out of the box (I've tried them on), but break in to about a mid-flex... definitely not the 4 Burton says, probably more between a 5 or 6. They worked great all around the mountain... the articulating cuff gives you a lot of front-back flex while maintaining side-side support. I barely noticed them and was having a ton of fun on the hill. However, I did notice that my ankle hurt a bit more after the day... I think the softer flex at my weight (about 195) and my relatively aggressive level of riding did take a bit of a toll. If they were a little more supportive, I'd definitely pick a pair up. Hell, if my Sabbaths don't break in faster, I may pick up a pair anyway...
Description: WEATHER: Blue Bird Powder Day, Cloudy and Cold, Cold and Blustery Day, Storming and White Out, LEG: Relaxed, WAIST: Feels true to size, INSEAM: Feels too long,
Super sick pants. Crosshatch pattern is sweet, great breathability, and waterproofing was top notch in somewhat slushy manmade early conditions.
Lot of little features that set it apart from most pants: little pulleys that lift your bottom cuffs (so you don't scuff them up too bad in the parking lot), a single continuous vent under the between the thighs, velcro'd gaiter hooks so you don't stab your feet while you're putting your pants on, and a D-ring for your keys in the left pocket. I'm sure there's a lot of other things I haven't discovered about the pants yet, but after one day on them I'm sold. Very good purchase.
One caveat, Sessions stuff in general fits rather baggy. I usually wear a Large in everything (I have about a 33-34" waist and a 32" inseam), these are a medium and they still hang off a bit. Unless you're into the sag look, I'd size down.
Pros: Extremely lightweight. Low profile. Exceptionally adjustable ventilation. Nice, tight fit for wider heads (Asians take note). Great fit with Smith goggles (and Von Zippers, not sure about other companies).
I liked them and I really dig the EST/ICS connection. The only issue is that they are a softer binding that I like. And I really, really, REALLY hate the way Burton used to do the old B3 heel gel patch. Made it feel like jelly underfoot. They seem to have altered that across the line for 09, so I'm looking forward to seeing what tweaks they've made.
Pros: Keeps boards stationary when laid down flat, makes waxing and especially SCRAPING a hell of a lot easier.
Cons: Rather than having clamps to keep the board stationary when positioned vertically (edge down), there is a slot in the center of each piece. Running up-down each side is a ridge in the plastic where the mold must have closed. It's rather sharp and can cut into topsheets. I wrapped mine in shipping tape to take the edge off of it. Either way, it wasn't the best at keeping boards stationary when using the slots.
It's expensive for what it is. You can get the exact same thing from Griptopper for $30 less. Or you can get a "real" vise from Toko for $20 more.
If you look at other tuning vices from Swix or Toko, this is really basic. It's a great help when I'm waxing because it keeps the board reasonably stationary, but I don't trust it AT ALL when using the center slots. In general, I'd save my money unless you can get a good price on it.
Pros: Compact, convenient, strong ratchet. Exceptional functionality for what it is.
Cons: Mine rusted after a bit (purely cosmetic). Could be a touch lighter. I agree with taiguy, it feels a little funny when it's torqued, the handle just feels a little clumsy.
Great tool and compact. If you fall on it, it might leave a bullet-tool shaped bruise, but it's not going to bust something if you fall on it the wrong way. A must have for those on-mountain adjustments.
Pros: Exceptional ventilation. Good peripheral vision. Small fit across the nose (GREAT FOR ASIANS). Good availability of replacement lenses. Hop-up kits (removable colored plastic pieces) are a neat touch for a bit of aesthetic customization.
Cons: FREAKING HUGE.
They're big. But they're solid. I own a pair as a back-up set of goggles and am fond of them.
Pros: lightweight, Easy to carve, poppy, Popular model, Soft, Well known brand
Cons: Top sheet scratches
Sick board. It's designed and marketed more as an advanced park board, but I think it's a solid choice for an intermediate all-mountain board. Light, poppy, very easily pressible with a smooth and mellow flex, but holds a great edge for how soft a board it is. Not a eurocarver's board, but as an intermediate-ish rider I didn't have any issues with it at speed.
The only complaint I have with it is that it didn't seem to hold up to damage as well as other boards I've had, but Burton's customer service was prompt and got me taken care of.
Pros: Comfy, not abrasive like many other base layers. Boot fit cut makes pulling socks over base layers much quicker and easier. Reasonably cheap. Solid build quality. A built-in fly for easy junk access when you got to whiz.
Cons: Starts to stink up right quick, but that's true of most all synthetic base layers I've encountered. Other than that, no cons to speak of.
Pros: Poppy, fast, damp, carves like a dream. ERA allows for decent maneuverability at slower speeds as well as stability and dampness at higher speeds. Twin-nish enough to ride decent switch. Great off kickers.
Cons: A bit twitchy when flat boarding. Not a board you can really take your eye off of at higher speeds, since it is rather aggressive. Definitely not the best on jibs, definitely.
Just a disclaimer, the above comments are based on the 07.
Also, wait profiles are super weird, going from crazy narrow on the 156 and below to about normal on the 159 and almost midwide on the 162. Definitely watch out for that.
"Overhyped (for my tastes), but still a solid binder" 2/17/2008
Name: 2008 Rome 390
Pros: The straps are great, cushy, and solid feeling. The Conformist toe strap doesn't look like much, but it is IMO way better than Burton's top of the line capstrap, with better hold (even with Burton boots), a more versatile fit, and the ability to go over the boot. These bindings are a techie's dream, with an insane number of ways to adjust things and super clever design features.
Cons: I've been told that they are a great all-mountain binder, but they were just too freestyle-oriented for me. The highbacks are built great, but they run SUPER flat; I had to put the Forward Lean to max to get them where I wanted them (and I don't ride with that much lean, usually F2 or F3). Also didn't like the feel of the baseplate... while carpet boarding I noticed they have a lot of vertical travel. Not sure if that's because of the rubber dampening pad or what.
After demoing both companies, I prefer Unions since they are built with burlier baseplates. If you like softer baseplates and are looking for a freestyle binder, these are a sick option. For me, they lean a bit much towards park. On the flip side, the Targas are a bit aggressive for me... I'm hoping next year Rome will have something in between the two for me.
"Best non-special order wrist guard on the market" 2/12/2008
Name: 2008 RED Wrist Guard
Pros: Comfy, fits under my relatively tight gloves no problem. I love that they are flexible, I barely even realize that they're there. Burton also made some design improvements this year, slimming them down a bit.
Cons: Because they are not rigid, they give you a bit less support and I suspect make you more liable to a sprain. They are also a bit more expensive than other products in the same category (Burton's M.O.). However, I think the added comfort and specialized design is worth it.
Take a look at this site: http://www.ski-injury.com/wrist.htm and see what short, rigid wrist guards can do to you-- no thanks.