Take the Condors out when the snow is fresh

I was pumped to get ahold of a pair of 2014 Condors right before the start of last season, not only are the graphics killer but I was long overdue in having the legendary all mountain powder board in my quiver. Riding powder with finesse has always taken more skill and effort on skiboards, so to finally have boards designed for it in my hands felt like getting a car with 4-wheel drive. The first thing I noticed about the Condors was the sheer mass of the boards, they’re huge! At 16.5/13.7/16.5 there just isn’t a wider skiboard period. I ended up riding the Condors all the way through the peak of the season thanks to a handful of powder filled weeks. While not for everyone this board is definitely for anyone who is a semi to very aggressive rider looking to boldly shred lots of powder. They just handle it like a champ! The camber design means a slight lean back (keep your tips up) rule of thumb applies when entering a stash or hitting a steep pocket, standard technique but the float and power/stability of these boards is a feeling to behold. The boards have a bit of flex to them not really particularly stiff nor too soft. The combination of powder performance and softbooting is pure bliss and a good way to put your softboot binding setup/boot combo to the test. I hunted powder relentlessly and plunged into deep stashes with speed that I wouldn’t have taken on other boards, the performance increase in powder was that astonishing. I also had some of the smoothest drop landings ever with these, such a nice foot print for landing, and even being the widest model I never found myself stuck in any of the tree filled chutes I love to fly through.

I was actually quite surprised how well I could edge to edge in groomed to mildly hard conditions, at times the Condor felt like a DLP on steroids, but on the real hard to icy stuff the width wasn’t fun if not dangerous on the terrain I frequent. This kind of gets into the binding setup a bit, I can see how Line FF-Pros or RVL8 Receptors with hard ski boots would provide enough rigidity to compensate for the Condors gargantuan size in on-piste hard packed conditions. While the soft setup is a little more lose in the ride, perfect for powder, the Condor needs to be ridden with intention and concentration.

I’d stress only taking these out when the snow is fresh however, preferably deep. The one draw back is the mass of these boards can really work against you on hard pack, I really would not want to crash on hard stuff with a setup like this. Whip out your Revolts or DLP’s on those days. On a final note, softboot all mountain shredding in deep powder is a reality, and an absolute dream come true. The fun now is finding the end-all base binding and boot combo. Let the experiments begin!

Boots Used: 2013 Salomon Synapse Flex rating – 7
Base Binding: SnowJam Team Stark Pro binding (orange)
Binding Mod: Rvl8 Saavi Wing system
Riser: Missouri Riser
Mountain: Mt. Bohemia
Skill Level: Expert

Rider – George- Expert Rider

SkiboardMagazine Co-Founder Jason lays down the Spliff

The newest RVL8 offering, the Spliffs are the result of 4 years of experimentation with rocker skiboards. With a rocker-camber combo they lean more towards a traditional camber skiboard feel than RVL8’s previous rockered offerings, less of the “surf-like” feel than the Blunt XL skiboards.

This makes them a freerider’s one quiver dream, having a big performance envelope. They are fairly big skiboards, at 109cm long and 13cm wider underfoot, but the rockered tips make them feel and control much more like shorter skiboards on groomers, as the rocker elevates the tips out of the way. The rockered tips jump into play when pushed into carves and turns, giving them the edge control of the full 109cm when you need it. Like any wider skiboard they do take a bit more effort and are a little slower to get up on edge, but the rockered tips make initiating turns effortless, rarely catching an edge.

On piste, it takes a bit of time to get acquainted with the point at which skiboards are pushed enough for the tips to engage and the full edge length can be relied upon. I sometimes find myself thinking the tips will engage, when they don’t, or vice-verse, but this confusion has slowly eroded the more I ride them. The 6.5m turning radius is not out of the ordinary for the size, allowing for the deep short carves most skiboarders love. Thanks to the underfoot camber, skating around flats is a breeze, added bonus!

The Spliffs shine in deep snow and off-piste. I felt not acquaintance time here, they just perform. The rockered tips aided by their width give a great amount of lift in soft deep snow with that lively pop from the camber. The flex range that the rocker-camber provides feels amazing. I feel like I have butterfly wings under my feet feeling poppy and light, with a large reach of support and lift. I find a 2-4cm setback is preferable for powder to put more weight on the tails and prop the front tips up and found myself leaving them setback without noticeable difference in performance on groomed snow.

I have had virtually no issues with tail support like I felt on zero-camber rockered skiboards. I can count on the tails to support me, rarely feeling like they will slip out from under me. Landing drops and pressing the tails rarely feeling the need to hold back thanks to the extra support the extension of the under foot camber provides.

They are not undefeated however. On a very heavy concrete sticky powder day, I found myself wishing for a pair of Blunt XL’s, struggling to keep the tips up, heavier and taller riders might have less of an issue with that as their extra leverage could more easily bring the tips up in these conditions, and in such harsh conditions its hard to expect miracles anyways.

Being pretty big skiboards, freestylers, park rats, and fancy foot-workers will feel the size and they can be a lot to throw around without the precise edge of fully cambered skiboards. This is where they felt the most rocker “surf-like”, by not being able to rely heavier on the full pop and full edge control of the 109cm length. They aren’t terrible, in the park, just a little confusing, as the rockered tips rarely engage enough in the park unless pushing a deep carve off a kicker or fully pressing down on the tips. They do however feel less sloppy than fully rockered skiboards in the park. That said, these favor freeriders, and the rockered tips are super fun and effortless to press around, doing butters and presses over hips even in powder, hitting choppy banks and natural features, in a more freeride style and knowing the support of that wide range, rocker-camber tail will catch you on the way down!

These have been by far what I consider to be the best freeride skiboards I’ve tried, impressive for a sub-110cm category, skiboard. Thanks to the rocker-camber combo, they have a huge performance envelope, but they need to be ridden fairly aggressively in order for them to show their true potential, being geared towards intermediates to advanced riders, heavier and taller riders, those looking at going off-piste looking for steep and deep, while still maintaining very decent on-piste performance. Beginner and non-aggressive riders don’t stand to gain much from riding the Spliffs over other options.

I would love to see variations in length for this rocker-camber combination. The point at which these skiboards are pushed enough for the tips to engage enough and the full edge can be relied upon is very subjective to the rider. Chopping 10cm off the length while keeping the same rocker-camber ratio and same width would give lighter and shorter their own freeride possibilities, (or even adding an extra 10cm for even larger riders!)

Rider – Jason Roussel Co-Founder SkiboardReview.com – Expert Skiboarder

Skiboardreview.com’s Editor Andrew tackles the RVL8 KTP’s

Over the years I have tried many different boards and have found I really enjoy a stiff board as I sit back seat when I ride. For the past few seasons I’ve been using the Loken CT8’s which are 99cm and super stiff. I’ve always been told to try out the RVL8 KTP for that reason, as it’s just a bit longer than the CT8’s and they are nice and stiff.

I had my opportunity at the 2015 Midwest Meet in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at Mount Bohemia, which is all backcountry tree skiing. The width and stiffness of the boards is what I noticed right off the bat. Several times I found myself sitting too far backseat and on softer boards I would have went down, but not on the KTP’s.

The boards are just .5cm larger at the tip and the tail than the CT8’s but the extra length and 1cm larger at the waist made them feel much larger. The width did surprise me at first and it took a good day of riding to get used to them, but by day 2 it had all come together.

Taking quick turns through the dense areas of Bohemia wasn’t a chore once I got used to these. I was able to point downhill and just go, and not stop or scrub speed. I’m in my mid 30’s and there have been times in years past I wasn’t able to keep up with the youngsters in our group, this year I did a lot better job of keeping up, and even over taking some.

The KTP’s were there pushing me to do more, pushing me to go faster, to cut turns sharper, to slide through that narrow tree opening, to take that steeper elevation with more aggression than I had in years past.

I’m not a cliff dropper or a park rat, I don’t grind anything, so I don’t need the KTP’s to do that for me, I was looking for responsiveness and stiffness to allow me to move seamlessly through the glades and to allow me to sit back seat and float if we get some Londer (Inside joke, but that’s referring to powder at Bohemia). We didn’t run into much der when we were there, but what we did find I floated nicely through.

Cutting through trees quickly and easily was the name of the game, and the KTP’s shined at every turn. I had borrowed a pair of 2011’s at the meet, but no more than 2 days after I returned I put in my order for 2015’s, which have arrived.

The length is right on, the width is big, but very manageable and the stiffness is where I need it. I don’t have any complaints about these boards, they are now going to be my go to board. For me, these boards are exactly what I was needing in a skiboard.

That’s my opinion, what’s yours?

Rider – Andrew Deehr – Editor of Skiboardreview.com

Fast and smooth RVL8 Blunt XL

It hasn’t snowed in two weeks in Tahoe. Temps were in the 20’s in the morning. They stayed pretty cold all day. Heavenly did a nice job of grooming, but there was lots of ice under the broken up stuff… very fast smooth icy groomers. Kirkwood did a crappy job of grooming so lots more faster steeper ice there. I had a great time on the XL’s. The boards pack a lot of performance in a very small package. As a dedicated long board and short ski rider, I don’t like many short skiboards.

This one is different and a lot of fun. The boards felt so light on my feet. The ride feel comes very close to the Groove Taxis I used to have. However, it’s much more stable. The board’s ride feel is like no other board I own. The board is very easy to turn and control. It does not carve like a Sherpa or LE in that I could not lock an edge. It is very comfortable going fast down a run with the tips pointed sideways slarving or pointed straight down the run. I could do a hard hockey stop without any chatter on these runs. This is the kind of hard run the Sherpa would have chattered on. The edge is most easily engaged with pressure a little forward. I found it easiest to do this by reaching with a pole forward to initiate the turn. This would keep the tips alternating back and forth as I reached, but the tips would be consistently pointed down hill. If I skied more upright, the tips wander, but they don’t wobble at all. The short flat spot and rocker on this base does not let the edges alternately catch and release which usually generates the wobble on many skiboards skied flat.

This board would not wobble no matter how it is skied. I felt that grip is not huge, but there is enough there that I never felt like I was going to slide out. In some spots that were so steep and icy, all I could do was hang on. I never slid out today. I had no problem with tail support. There is plenty. On the short mogul run we did, I really liked how fast and smooth turn can be done on the XL. With all the ice, I expected more difficulty. With the soft edge, slipping over a mogul is very easy. This same edge though I think would make a skier used to a solid edge feel that they have not control. I don’t think a skier will like this board. I give this board a big thumb’s up. I can’t wait to ride it in good conditions. Kudos to Greco and Jeff for giving us another great board to ride.

Rider – Wendell Jeong – Expert Skiboarder

2015 RVL8 Blunt XL

Loving the DLP’s

I ended up buying the DLPs. Love them!! The Pros out weigh the Cons but here’s some info so you can decide for yourself.
Pros: Great in Powder and crud. Good in the glades. Great in the Park: unlike most skiboards you can land these things anywhere. Fast, quick turns. good in moguls. Love them for skiing with the kids: no poles to carry and if they need a push or help no long skis to get in the way. ALL ski instructors should have them.
Cons: Not great hold when conditions are hard. Make sure you file down top edge of skis or they will chip. Research or get custom bindings, the brakes I got with mine stick out and are always ripping up my pants(really annoying).

Grade: B+
Bottom Line: I’m not even a “Park guy” anymore, too old yet they are incredible in the park. The landing for such a short ski is amazing. I feel more comfortable off kickers on these then my 165mm skis. Great all mountain ski too.

Rider – Kurt

Skiboardmagazine’s Jason lays down the R8 Blunt XL review…

This was my first time riding rockered skiboards and immediately I felt comfortable with them. My first impression was this felt a lot more like I was “surfing” on the snow, initiating turns was effortless. I was pleasantly surprised and that the edges hold up very well for a wide library of turns, from slow to fairly high speed carves. They don’t pop out of turns, but this is to be expected without and camber to spring them out of turns, making them much more of a easy going kind of ride, even at high speeds.

They did not feel as cumbersome as other wide boards I’ve tried, holding up on ice better than I thought they would and easier to get up on edge thanks to the rocker. The interesting thing about the rocker is that the boards are always ready to be put up on edge and carve no matter the speed or conditions.

The combination of width and rocker is a dream in powder and soft snow, and they were easy to pull up over the snow when I felt I was sinking. They handled wonderfully center mounted in some light powder and even better set back when I hit deeper stuff, but I kept on wishing the tails were a little stiffer to give more support when the noses needed to be pulled up like drops or when coming into soft snow and crud, especially when riding them set back. I was falling back seat pretty frequently even after adjusting my riding. Their mid size makes them enjoyable in glades, able to pick tight turns in trees.

The rocker unfortunately doesn’t help much for skating around on the flats, and I felt the boards seemed slower to pick up speed than cambered skiboards.

For park I had to adjust my riding much more. These skiboards where not really conceived for park of course but I tried them out anyways. Without the pop of the tails take off on lips feels a little dull, I needed to pick up more speed to hit features and initiate spins. But once I adjusted it was an interesting feeling as if I was “surfing” off jumps and lips. The rocker on rails really was no fun, sloppy and easily falling off. But they are incredible fun to butter and press around on, never catching and edge when pivoting on the tails or nose.

If you’re looking for a powder board that doesn’t compromise too much on the rest of the mountain and if you’re into cruising around effortlessly these are wonderful. Best for freeriding down steeps, powder, and glades, and after mellow carves on the lower mountain back to the chair.

Rider – Jason Roussel – Expert Skiboarder Co-Founder of Skiboardmagazine.com

Eliot gets comfortable on the RVL8 Revolts…

So I’ve been a snowboarder for year but have always been an aggressive rollerblader and proficient ice skater so i decided to get some skiboards. Rvl8 seemed like the best brand and since I’m 6’3″ 160lb I went for the 105cm Revolts. I rode all groomers and park this week in the UP Michigan. I was comfortable right away and had a ton of fun. By the end of the second day I was going down switch for entire blue runs, bombing black diamonds and doing some decently sized 180s. I haven’t had experience with any other board lengths or companies but the boards were great. I would recommend skiboarding to anyone looking for a lot of fun all over the hill. I’d be interested to see how shorter boards would feel, but I think the 105’s are perfect for someone of my height.
Rider – Eliot – Beginning Skiboarder

Sarah takes on the 2013 RVL8 Tansho’s…

I am a 5’2″ 145 lb non-athletic female from a skiing background. I was an intermediate level skier years ago, and decided to pick up some skiboards now that I live close to a ski resort.

I have a pair of 2013 Tansho’s with the Spruce risers and release bindings. I have taken them out 3 times now, and I absolutely love them. They are very maneuverable and I felt pretty confident with them even on steep blue runs that would have given me trouble with traditional skis.

The only place I had trouble with them was on the flats in choppy snow. I usually relax and stand up when I am tracking through a flat area, and in the choppy snow, there was a tendency for one of the ski edges to grab and run away from me. So I had to always pay attention or try to stay on edges in the flats as much as possible.

I am very pleased with these boards, and I would recommend them to any beginner skiboarder who is a similar height to me.

Rider – Sarah Fields (2013 Tansho)- Beginning Skiboarder

Revolts are awesome for riding the mountain…

This is a review of the 2013 Revolt Trees, I have these mounted with the Receptor Snowboard risers and I use Union Force snowboard bindings. I used these skis at Whiteface in NY for the first time last weekend. Conditions were primarily packed powder and loose granular. I can honestly say that this skiboard can handle anything. It was quick and stable through the moguls, held a great edge on the hard pack and handled well on the jumps. It was stable at high speeds and performed very well on all open trails. Unfortunately due to a low snowpack, I was unable to test the ski boards on the slides at Whiteface or in the trees. The flex on this skiboard was perfect for all mountain riding. This is an awesome skiboard for riding the mountain and handled great even with the soft boot setup!
Rider – Kevin – Expert Skiboarder (2013 Tree model)