First of all, my quick bio: I'm 6'3" - 195 lbs - size 10.5-11 boot - 22" stance - regular +18*, 0*. I'm an advanced 15 year rider and have spent the last 7 seasons on a 164 Burton Triumph. It is a tapered directional big mountain board that I have loved and thought was at the apex of the big mountain slaying boards... until now. I just spent my first day on the 2013 164 Raptor yesterday and all I can say is AMAZING. Conditions were 32-35* with 2-3 inches of fresh Utah snow on ten day old ice which led to soft, chopped up crud on with ice underneath. Others have compared the Raptor to a Ferarri or Lambo because you don't realize how fast you are going since the board is so stable at speed. That pretty much sums it up! Hard packed bowls were a breeze compared to my old 164 Burton Triumph. I was keeping up with my expert skier friends before... now I'm beating them down the mountain by a good margin. After 15 years of riding, this board has taught an old dog new tricks and improved my riding significantly. The board also worked WONDERS on my fatigue. I don't know if it is the dampening or the RC hybrid, but when I would usually be spent and need a break for my style of hard agressive riding, I was still going strong and my legs were still fresh. That alone made this board worth its weight in gold. I'm a weekend warrior so I have to make the most of my days on the mountain.
The RC hybrid led to effortless edge to edge transition while carving and incredible edge hold on the ice. I could feel the additional edge digging in when needed from the the rocker portion of the board that I was missing in my old cambered Burton. The Vario/RC combo makes this a viable alternative to magnetraction. Other boarders were sliding out on some bad patches of ice but the Raptor allowed to me to hit those areas with confidence. The Raptor is a perfect board for me... an agressive hard charging free rider that doesn't hit the park.