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Gear Review

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Get it wherever you can

As a frame of reference, I'm 6'3”, 225 w/o gear, wear size 13 boots and have a 23” with 18/-6 angles. I've definitely have had toe drag issues and have been using Palmer Shock risers on a 2005 Burton Baron ES 168 (26.4 waist). It's a nice stiff board that still has a lot of pop out of turns, but it felt squirrely at high speeds. I was looking for a board to take me to the next level offering more stability and dampening.

I found many great reviews on the Raptor X online and even rode a lift next to a person with one. I had trouble finding a 169... Let's say I had it in my BC shopping cart for a few hours and on checkout, it was sold out. The NS website order went through before it was canceled. I had a good talk with NS' Vince and almost went with the 165 until I found a 169. Lesson: pull the trigger on a NS board sooner than later.

First impression: I had to stare at the board for two weeks before being able to ride. The online images don't do the carbonium top sheet justice. It seemed grippy enough to avoid a stomp pad. The base graphic's yellow is somewhat see through and you can see carbon inserts. Looking down the side from nose to tail, the RC is trippy to look at. I was worried about the flex. As stiff as I've heard it was, the nose to tail flex wasn't stiff at all. I still have noticeable toe and heel overhang and went with the risers.

Adjusting to my first non-cambered board took about 2 runs. I was very surprised at how easy it was to turn and maneuver. For harder stops, I felt like I had to bring my knees in together more. A 22” stance width felt more comfortable, too. I don't get the pop out of each turn and have only been getting it randomly. Vince didn't recommend detuning and I didn't find that to be an issue.

After a few weeks, I'm in love with the board. Tahoe has already offered many conditions to try the board out in. In packed powder, turns were like butter. In spring like slush or clumpy snow, the dampening is very noticeable. In fresh powder, I felt very centered and it was so much fun. In heavy non-groomed stuff, it felt effortless. Trees are do-able, but you have to pick good lines. Ice is ice, but the edges held well. I've been ok w/o a stomp pad, too.

I did meet a guy with a new Heritage. He suggested that with the RC, I try 70% rear leg weight outside of powder runs. He also suggested that I may have to jump out of turns to get the pop. I'm not sure I have all that down without thinking about it, but I can give an update later.