I had a chance to demo this board for a few days
This is a f***ing man's board.
If you're faint of heart, or weak in the wrist, don't bother.
Very similar to the Kessler 185 - it's a race board, and Kessler is the one to catch. But in many way's I prefer this board for the type of riding I (like to) do. Here's why, in no particular order;
Make no false assumptions - this is a full on World Cup Race Board. This is no weekend warrior all-mountain free-carver you can go out and just have fun on. It is demanding. You have to be on it. When asked of, it delviers. Once you get tired and lazy, it kicks your a**. After a couple days of riding it on everything from perfect groom, to choppy slop, to crud, in Beaver Creek and Aspen, I was pretty beat up and sore. But I loved every second of it. I just about cried when I gave it back to Bola.
- The SG board has far better build quality. Kessler's are very nice, but they seem like they are made by a guy a in a shed. And they are (there's nothing wrong with that). SG's are make in the Elan factory, and build quality and finish is as good as it gets. The board feels very beefy, solid and stable. Just the sound of the board on the snow is different. There is no metal top sheet - it's got a real top sheet w/ the metal buried to protect it.
- The shape is more friendly to free carving. It's got slightly more turned up nose, about the same amount of rocker, seems to have slightly tighter radius in the nose - not so straight, and has more camber and a stiffer tail. More camber and a stiffer tail to me make the board have better edge hold after the apex of the turn and a bit more pop in turn transition.
- The board is stiffer overall, but easier to ride. The nose seems stiffer, and flubbers around less w/ the same amount of rocker. The tail is stiffer, which I like and works for me. I have a bad habit of washing out the end of heel side turns. On my Kessler, the board will lose edge hold and chatter down hill. On the SG, when I lose the edge and fall on my a**, the board holds the edge and drags me across the hill.
- The SG is more manageable and predictable. As free carvers, we make different turns than racers. The Kessler seeks the fall line and doesn't like to come across the hill naturally. On the SG, I found I could control the turn shape easier. Transitions were easier and smoother.