Day 2 we were lucky enough to get a couple additional inches of snow so everything was nice and soft. These are not exactly ideal conditions for demoing products for use on the east cost. But they sure were fun!
On the docket for day 2
- Hel Yes 149
- Roxy Radiance 151
- Gnu Beauty 149
- Monument District 149
- Marhar Aura 149
Everything was ridden with the original NOW IPO’s in medium unless otherwise noted.The Hel Yes was the board that haunted me since last year’s demo. It was “the one that got away”, the board I tested and wished I had spent more time with. It didn’t disappoint this year either. It is Camrock like the Jones Twin Sister, camber between the feet and rocker outside. It has “underbite” which is an extra contact point just outside of the inserts to give extra “bite” on hard pack and icy terrain. It’s similar to the Twin Sister, but a little bit stiffer, faster, and more aggressive. It’s a little less playful than the Twin Sister, but for a girl who wants to charge down the mountain without apology, this is a great platform for it. It’s quick edge to edge, it’s super stable and it blasts through crud while still surfing through soft stuff. It’s easy to get a lot of speed on it, but I never felt out of control. Having realized the difference the right sized binding can make, I added the NOW Vetta bindings from Day 1.
Can bindings make a board faster? Don’t know, but that is certainly what it felt like. Like the Twin Sister, this board/binding pair is like peanut butter and jelly…made for each other. It was a great ride, but I had to stay on guard so the board wouldn’t get away from me. It didn’t, but it’s probably a little less forgiving than what I would want for my everyday board.
The Roxy Radiance is another of Mervin’s C2 BTX boards. With the introduction of C3 and XC2 over the past couple of years, C2 seems to have taken a back seat, so it was exciting to have it back in the lineup. Last year I was underwhelmed by the Radiance. It was fine, but didn’t excite me. The Radiance got a new core this year, so I was excited to see how it has changed. Unfortunately it just didn’t do it for me this year either. The new core seems to have stiffened it up leaving me unsure where the Radiance fits into this lineup, it’s definitely on the aggressive end. It just didn’t feel fun or at all playful and, for me, it lacked the balance of the Gnu Klassy from day 1.
Gnu Beauty…this was a strange one. While returning the Radiance I told the rep it felt a little stiffer than last year, and it just didn’t do anything for me. He suggested the Beauty. It is XC2, which features a shortened rocker section between the feet and more pronounced camber sections outside each binding, and it is directional. XC2 is considered “aggressive perfect” on Mervin’s rocker/camber spectrum. Last year when I rode the XC2 Torah Bright it was a little too much board for me. It wanted to go fast…really, really fast. And I have a mental aversion to directional boards based on a very stiff directional board that I tried a few years ago and couldn’t turn, so it seemed an unlikely fit. But we were there to try stuff out, so why not?
It was a little softer than I expected given the profile both tip to tail and torsionally. Halfway down the first run I said to Mark “I don’t know what to make of this board. I don’t even know how to write anything about it”. So I took it up again. By the second run, I was figuring it out. It was pretty cool. It is quick edge to edge, it goes through crud, or nimbly around it, it was fun popping off of little snow pillows and the little side hits of powder were so smooth. I even rode it switch a little. Pretty sure I had a ridiculous smile on my face the whole time. In addition to all the fun, it was very stable and easy to control on the groomers, and it kind of hauls ass. This board was the surprise of the demos for me.
The MNMT (Monument) District, our buddy Conrad reps Monument snowboards and has been hitting us up to test out their boards for a couple of seasons. We finally got our chance. This is a flat board. Flat boards aren’t hugely my thing. I don’t get the same lively, fun feeling that I get from a lot of hybrid boards. This was no exception for me. It felt a little stiff torsionally. I tend to initiate turns with my feet and a little twist of the board, so torsionally stiff boards just cause my feet to get tired. It also felt a little grabby to me. It is considered a jib board, and I am not a jibber, so that could be why it wasn’t a favorite. For someone who likes the flat profile, I imagine it would be a good board, especially given its modest pricepoint.
Marhar Aura, this is an all mountain, freestyle rocker board with extra contact points called Attack Arc. It felt very much like my Arbor Swoon from last season. It was a nice board, but I got tossed around a LOT on the tracked out snow. It was kind of tiring to ride because it didn’t go through anything…it just bounced around on top of it all. The same thing happened on the Swoon. But it was a great board to ride around in typical east coast conditions of very firm, ice, and occasional snow. It is a better pricepoint than the Swoon and feels a little less aggressive than the Swoon, so I should appeal to someone who hits the whole mountain and wants a nice, versatile ride at a good price point. Marhar has some very attractive boards too. I’m not really “on board” with all of the pink out there for next year, but this is a pretty board.
Still to come….day 3.