Gnu is part of Mervin Manufacturing, which also makes Lib Tech and Roxy snowboards. Mervin Snowboards has been around for 40+ years when Mike Olsen launched the Gnu brand in the early 80’s. Over the years, Mervin and Gnu have come up with some of the most innovative and creative snowboard designs in the industry. The Gnu 2016 snowboards line is diverse and unique with a whole range of materials, camber profiles, and some brand new designs you won’t find with any other company.
Gnu makes all of their own cores and is dedicated to minimizing their impact on the environment and their workers. They are constantly experimenting with different core compositions, and by making their own cores at their factory right here in the US, there is a lot of freedom of development. They can try new things and test new designs with a very quick turnaround. Everything from biobean topsheets, to soy-based sidewalls, to eco wood from renewable forests, to reusing and recycling sawdust and plastics, they have put thought into protecting workers and the environment while putting out top quality boards.
Gnu has broken down their camber/rocker profiles into three categories that range from least aggressive to most aggressive.
BTX is the least aggressive and this makes for a good all around park and freestyle snowboard. BTX boards have rocker between the bindings that transitions to the mild camber to the outside contact points near the tip and tail. Gnu calls it “easy, jibby”.
C2 BTX boards include three different profiles- EC2 BTX, C2 BTX, and XC2 BTX. EC2 is the “perfect easy”. It is the least aggressive of the three with rocker between the bindings that transitions to mellow, elliptical, camber through the tip and tail contact points. C2 has rocker between the bindings with normal camber to the contact points. They consider C2 to be the “perfect all terrain snowboard contour”. XC2 has a shortened rocker section between the bindings with aggressive camber to the contact points. That has earned XC2 the label of “perfect aggressive”.
C3 is the most aggressive profile in the line. It is “camber dominant, rocker submissive”. There is mild rocker between the bindings and full camber to the contact points. When the board is un-weighted the middle section rises off the ground like a normal camber board. This profile is NOT for the casual rider. Advanced, aggressive free riders, pipe riders, and backcountry riders should check out the C3 boards.
One of the cool releases for next year is the Zoid. The Zoid is a directional board with an asymmetrical trapezoid shape (see pics), EC2 rocker profile with A.S.S.(link to my post on that) and PBTX. There is a men’s Zoid 158 and a women’s 149. And it comes in regular and goofy. It is an A.S.S. EC2 PBTX board for progressive freestyle and freeriding. This is on the must try list…it’s too weird to pass up. And Gnu prides itself on its weirdness.
Another Mervin made board worth mentioning is the Lib Tech DUH. The DUH is unlike any other snowboard in that it has two additional edges running lengthwise down the inner section of the board. If you flip the board over to look at the base, the middle section running the length of the board is raised slightly and has it’s own metal edges giving the board. This gives the DUH better turning leverage and it is also said to be insanely fast and stable.
The DUH comes with the XC2 rocker profile making it good for guys who like to ride aggressively. Like the Zoid, it also comes in one size- 157.5. Lib Tech just needs to figure out how to tune the inner edges and this should be perfect for you speed demons out there.
Forrest Bailey has two signature boards out for 2016- the A.S.S. Space Case with EC2 and the Space Out with DC2. DC2 is Gnu’s aggressive directional rocket ship shaped board ideal for use in powder, or just ripping hard pack.
To go along with the throwback design of the Zoid, Gnu is bringing back the CC Original Swallow Tail Carver. These throwback shapes with new materials seem to be an industry trend right now. Snowboarding is getting back to the roots of it all while taking advantage of the benefits of new technology.
And lastly, as many of you know by now, Nicholas Muller is officially on the Gnu team. We can expect to see his pro model come out sometime between now and next season. No doubt, it should be a killer deck!