Much of my time at the Stratton Demos last week was spent testing out the new Gnu and Roxy Snowboards.
I tried the
- Roxy Radiance
- Gnu Ladies Choice
- Gnu Girls’ Smart Pickle
- Roxy Torah Bright
- Gnu Gateway (a bindings mishap with this board makes my impressions pretty useless)
- Roxy Banana Smoothie
Gnu Girls’ Snowboards’ lineup is stacked and anyone who read my overview of the demos knows that the Gnu Ladies Choice was a pretty big hit with me. But here’s my take on the rest.
The Roxy Radiance takes the place of the Roxy Ollie Pop. Two years ago, the Ollie Pop was my favorite board at the demos. It is classic C2 BTX, a tried and true combination of rocker between the feet and camber outside. It is true twin and a little softer than mid flex but with the magnetraction and camber it is as happy around the rest of the mountain as it is in the park. The camber at the tip and tail give it great pop and stability and the flex makes it buttery. It is a great one-board quiver, and the graphics are killer with a clear bio bean topsheet that allows the wood core to show through. Best intended for intermediate to advanced riders, this board will take you wherever you want to go.
The Ladies Choice is my choice for next year and I was able to get myself one a little ahead of the curve. I rode this board at the demos on hardpack, in pow, on the tracked out pow at the end of the day, and the day after pow day. It was great in everything. It is considered a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. It is chock full of tech and is dubbed a freestyle board. It is the board of choice for Olympic Slopestyle Gold Medalist Jamie Anderson. The alphabet soup tech is EC2 with A.S.S. PBTX. What that all means is that you get rocker between your feet for a loose, playful feel and great float in pow. You get Eliptical Camber (a mild version of camber) outside of the bindings for stability and pop, but not too much camber so it’s still easy to turn and quick edge to edge. You get Asym Sym Sync Pickle (A.S.S.). The four features of this tech are:
- Deeper heelside sidecut
- Asym [asymmetrical]“Pickle Barrel” core with softer heelside than toeside flex
- Asym contact edges with shorter heelside edge contact
- Asym tip and tail shapes
And of course the board has magnetraction for bite on hardpack and ice. What this all means to you is that this board can do it all. It holds a great edge on hardpack. I tried to make it wash out on my heelside and it didn’t happen. It was super fun in powder. I know…everything is fun in powder…but this is really fun! It allows you to float on top of it, plow through stuff when you need to, and it’s a really stable platform to pop off of things and land soundly. If it’s your first foray into Pickle tech, it might take a little bit of getting used to, but if you like to hit the whole mountain on a midflex board that can do everything…you might want to consider the Ladies Choice.
The Gnu Girls’ Smart Pickle…the Smart Pickle has many of the same features as the Ladies Choice. It has the deeper heelside sidecut and the softer heelside core. It can be ridden a little bit smaller and has approximately the same flex. It is just a little more playful with the rocker and a little milder camber. And it has milder magnetraction on the toe side than the traditional magnetraction on the heelside. They feel very similar also. The Ladies Choice feels a little more solid to me and has a little less chatter. But if you blindfolded me and put me on both boards, I don’t know if I would be able to tell them apart. Then again I’d probably run into a tree and might not even be able to tell you my name.
Roxy Torah Bright…this board won the scariest ride of the week for me. It is a LOT of board. And you have to be on your game when you ride it. It wants to go fast. No, I mean REALLY FAST! It is new tech for Torah’s pipe board and it features XC2 BTX. It has a shortened rocker section between the feet and lengthened camber sections. It is a very aggressive board with all the pop you could want. It is not for the faint of heart, but if you have the confidence to bomb icy slopes and really rail through turns, this board might be for you. If you just like to cruise around, are beginner to intermediate, and/or you find yourself letting your guard down sometimes when you ride, this is not the board for you.
The Roxy Banana Smoothie…this board features EC2 BTX. That is rocker between the feet and elliptical camber at the tip and tail. This board is similar to the Radiance in a lot of ways though the camber is a little milder. I rode it on the powder day when it was getting bumped out…it is pretty much designed for powder, trees and anything else that comes up. The 153 felt a little big underfoot. It’s a nice, smooth board as the name implies and it handled the powder and tracks well. It was responsive but solid. It’s a nice ride, but to me it lacks the wow factor.
It’s tough to recap demos…they are just one person’s impressions of a few runs on a specific board on a specific day, so take it all with a grain of salt. Also keep in mind that while I dabble in all things not park, I am an intermediate rider who tends to prefer a slightly stiffer board for stability while chasing the guys down the mountain.
You have gotten the overview and the Gnu and Roxy roundup, stay tuned for…the rest.