While I was at the Baker Banked Slalom, I got a chance to demo some boards. The first one was this pretty little thing from Burton. I had it set up with Burton Triad EST Bindings. This was my first real try with the EST system. I took a lap on my friend's board with it once, but it wasn't set up for me, so it wasn't exactly a fair shake. This time I had the stance width and angles dialed in, so everything was comfy. Without turning this into a binding review, the system was good, but not amazing. I thought the straps were the best part. They seem to have gotten that part just right. I'd like to try it baseless or with the thinner Shredbeds. Preferably in powder.
Moving on to the board, my demo was a 164. Combine that length with a 10mm taper and that's a whole lotta board. Nevertheless my first impression with the thing dangling from my left foot on the lift was that it was quite light. Then I remembered what the rep said, " The 'X' means more stiff, more damp and more expensive." The price I can't change ($700), but I'll put the rest to the test. The runs at Baker that day were groomed and anywhere from soft to icy depending on the light. I was hoping for powder, which I think this board would excel at, but it wasn't happening in bounds that day.
The Supermodel X is nothing if not stiff. All the way around, it's the stiffest board I've ever ridden. Not that I've ridden that many boards to this point, but still. This lends to a responsive board, quick edge to edge, but not the most comfortable or forgiving on off-center landings. For all that stiffness, you might expect a lot of pop, but it was average at best.
Stability at speed is where this board shines. It tore through chop and bumps without hesitation. When it came time to turn, though, the edges weren't what I hoped for. Burton's edge technology is the pressure distribution edge. I gotta say, I didn't notice any benefit over a regular edge. It got into the turn quickly, but couldn't hold on. Granted, this was hardpack and ice, but the same conditions with Mervin's Magne-Traction or Never Summer's Vario Power Grip were far more manageable. Something to keep in mind.
In the end, I'll admit I rode the wrong size board. I would have like to ride the 156 in those conditions. Keep that in mind when I say this board just wasn't for me. I'm not sure where this board is supposed to fit in when Burton already has the Malolo and Fish that are tapered powder sticks. This board is less tapered and stiffer. It would probably do well in pow, but not as good as the other two. Maybe it's made for speedy, straight-line racing. Until I figure out where I would want to ride this 700-dollar board, I'm staying away. For all the gory details check out Burton's website.