Stratton Demos: Gnu and Salomon Snowboards for 2016


Day 3 began with about another 10+ inches of snow that fell overnight and into the morning.  No surprise I only got through 4 boards, Gnu and Salomon snowboards, the entire day given all the fun to be had in the prime conditions.  I rode a lot in the trees and in the steeper sections of the mountain, as well as park jumps and the regular hard pack areas.

I wanted to ride the new Salomon Super 8 the previous day but it was taken every time I got to the tent.  I got an early jump on it for day 3 and was able to grab a 157.  The rest of the day was spent riding Gnu boards.  All of the boards I rode that day lent themselves well to the powdery conditions, and I was able to spent a little more time on each board than the previous day.

Salomon Super 8

The Salomon Super 8 is a directional twin, with a Quadratic sidecut and a Backseat Camber profile.  The Quadratic sidecut makes edge-to-edge turning really easy and fluid.  Salomon’s Backseat Camber is a hybrid design that puts positive camber underneath the back foot and then transitions to flat and then rocker toward the nose.  You get directional turning power from the camber and float in powder from the rocker.

The Salomon Super 8 is another really fun board like the Salomon Villain but with more of an attitude.  The Super 8 feels damp but is still very lively.   It’s a board that really wants you to get after it with big turns, and it offers a ton of control and feels right at home ripping around groomers and blasting through glades.  I took it through a few tree lines with 10 inches of fresh pow and it was fast, agile, and stable.  For the all-mountain guy who doesn’t want to throw down a ton of cash on a killer deck this would fit the bill.

Gnu Eco Impossible

The Gnu Eco Impossible has a lot of tech going on.  It has Smart A.S.S. Pickle tech which consists of a deeper and shorter heel side sidecut to facilitate easier heel side turns.  The Smart A.S.S. Tech also has a softer wood profile (Pickle Barrel Core) on the heel side, Asymmetrical tip and tail, and more aggressive Magne-Traction on the heel side and smoother Magne-Traction on the toe side.  All this works together to make heel side turning as easy and controllable as toe side turning.  The Eco-Impossible is EC2 BTX with rocker between the bindings and camber underneath.  The camber sections are less aggressive than regular C2 BTX.

The Impossible is made of very technical materials like liquid magnesium that make it really light and durable.  It is not an inexpensive board, and it doesn’t ride like one.  It feels buttery, but with a mid-flex that can rip it up all over the mountain.  I rode the 156 and it was hard to give it up.  The flex, twin shape, and snap off the tail made it feel loose and surfy but also really solid for hammering away in the trees and steeper sections of the mountain.  If you want one board that kills it everywhere- this board will get you very, very close.

gnu space out

Gnu Space Out

The Gnu Space Out is a directional C2 (a.k.a. DC2) board with a pointy nose, a very slightly tapered (3 millimeter) squared off tail, mid flex, and a 1 inch setback.  It looks like a rocket ship and rides like one.

I rode this mostly in powder but also on groomed sections with patches of ice.  This board rode so good in the pow and through the chop and trees I had to have it (and now I do).  The tail works seamlessly with the rest of the board so slashing, blasting in and out of side hits, whipping around the glades, and getting massive pop was unbelievably fun and easy.  It rides switch great, butters off the tail, and rides good on groomers.  Like most directional boards it works well with the bindings set back a bit.

Gnu Beast

The Gnu Beast is directional board with the more aggressive XC2 rocker/camber profile.  The tail is slightly tapered (3 millimeter) but it’s still easy to ride switch and the nose has a bit of uplift to help float in deep snow.  The graphics are sweet are a Pendleton collaboration honoring the 100th Anniversary of Rainier National Park with their classic blanket design.

As the name implies, the Gnu Beast is a “beast”.  I felt this board rode me instead of the other way around.  I had the 158, which is normally fine, but this one was definitely too much board for me to play around on.  It has a pretty stiff flex throughout, and the XC2 profile is really aggressive.  I’d say this one is for the big dude who’s going to strap in and blow up the mountain with some pretty high level technical skills.

And that was the last board I rode for the Stratton Demos 2016 offerings.  Once again, the weather and snow conditions were awesome and we got to try out wide variety of boards and bindings.  Special thanks to all reps that worked the booths and gave us suggestions and info on the new gear!

 



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