We got to try out a lot of boards and bindings at this year’s snowboard demos. We delved into some new brands and dug deeper into the brands that we already carry. Last we week I posted on the Lib Tech snowboards and Bent Metal bindings that I took out for a spin. This time it’s at the 2017 Stratton snowboard demo we rode Arbor and Gnu gear, including the Logic, one of Arbor’s first bindings!
Arbor Coda Camber System 153
I have a few Arbor rocker boards in my quiver that I use regularly, so checking out the camber version of one of my all-time favorite boards, the Coda, was a must. You can get Arbor snowboards either in the rocker or camber versions. The Coda 153 was a little undersized for me for an all-mountain board, but with the camber it felt stable and held a really good edge while travelling fast on icy hard packed runs. All of Arbor’s camber system boards have a parabolic design that makes you less likely to catch edge and take a slam.
The Coda has a medium to stiff flex with an Ash top sheet that helps dampen the bumps and crud. Compared to my rocker version, the cambered Coda had a lot more pop off the tail and felt a lot more at home railing through carves even on the icy stuff. I could feel the extra kick as I came out of a turn, although it was a little less quick edge to edge than the rocker version. This is the board to have for park jumps and everywhere else on the mountain, especially here in the northeast where conditions tend to be more unforgiving.
Arbor Relapse Premium 153
The Relapse is Arbor’s only traditional, old school camber board that does not have the parabolic design. It’s a true twin with a medium-soft flex, fast sintered base, and an absolutely stunning match booked gum tree top sheet. The board was light, fast, and held a great edge on the ice and hard pack snow. It popped off the tail exceptionally well as most camber boards do.
The flex on the Relapse was really playful and had me grinning ear to ear. I could butter off the nose, spin in and out of side hits and carve through switch turns without having to fight the board at all. After years of riding tons of different board profiles with crazy features it was a breath a fresh air to be back on a good old solid straight up camber board- and I’m sure the softer flex had something to do with that.
Arbor Hemlock Bindings
A mid soft flex binding with very comfortable rubber ankle strap and adjustable heel cup. The ankle strap has a weighted hinge that allow it to stay out of the way when you’re getting in. It’s a very comfortable binding that makes you forget they’re even there. These worked well with my style of riding even though I was on a camber, all mountain Coda. Energy transfer and transitioning from toe to heel felt seamless all the way through the turning arc.
Gnu Mullair 161
Nicholas Muller is a long time legend in the snowboarding world. He’s known for his unmistakable cat-like style of snowboarding especially in the backcountry. The Mullair is his pro model board. It’s a directional, all-mountain freestyle board with a 2” set back, medium-stiff flex, and C3 camber. C3 is Gnu and Lib Tech’s most aggressive profile that uses just a small amount of rocker in the middle of the board- the rest is camber.
I really had a blast on this board. The set back did not inhibit riding switch at all. And the big, long nose would definitely offer a lot of float in deep snow. It could butter, pop, and spin much like on a smaller board but with a lot more stability and edge hold even on the super icy terrain. This board feels right at home ripping around the mountain, but taking this baby out on natural backcountry terrain is where the fun will really start.
Gnu Space Case 153
The Space Case is a true twin, park-to-mountain board with a medium flex and the XC2 profile. XC2 has rocker in the middle of the board with more aggressive camber sections to the tip and tail giving it extra stability and edge hold in any type of terrain. The Space Case also has the Asym sidecut design making it easier to get on edge and hold a carve all the way through the turn.
The Space Case felt a little looser and more playful than the Lib Tech TRS that I rode the previous day. It felt more at home in the park buttering boxes and spinning off jumps. It still had great edge hold on the firm stuff and good pop in and out of side hits. This board felt really comfortable and well balanced at speed and in the air.
So that wraps up the 2017 Arbor and Gnu gear I rode at the demos this year. It’s pretty impressive the number of different shapes and profiles the brands are coming out with for next year. Whatever your riding style, skill level or ambitions are there’s not only a board best suited for you out there, but also one you’re probably really going to be stoked on.