Gnu Riders Choice Review
Holy leather jackets, Batman! Catching my first glimpse of the Gnu Riders Choice Snowboard actually gave me the urge to hop on a Harley and cruise down the highway into the sunset. The leatherworks depicted on the topsheet are just a hint as to how hardcore this board is. I wanted a ride that could handle anything I threw at it across the entire mountain, and the twin shape, C2 Power Banana/Camber Combo, and Magne-Traction all screamed with eagerness to be put to the ultimate test.
I have had the opportunity to try out previous versions of Gnu’s Riders Choice, and the 2011-2012 edition seems to be a bit lighter than those of the past. Thanks to the use of genetically altered wood and Quasi glass in the core, this board is definitely on the lightweight side of the spectrum. Since it is a rockered board, you can actually size down about 3 cm or so, which allows you to ride lighter than ever before.
Mervin Manufacturing uses a sustainable wood core for the Gnu Riders Choice. They have used a few new tricks to keep the board light, but super durable and able to put up with loads of abuse. The base is indestructible. I have accidentally stomped a few rocks and stumps, thanks to early season conditions, but the base shows no signs of the cruelty I’ve unleashed upon it. A sweet mix of C2 Power Banana and camber puts the super fun rocker, that we have all come to love, right between your feet, and a radial camber on the contact points. This emphasizes pressure near the feet for easy turning and float while still maintaining superior edge hold and stability. The one thing I don’t like is that the metal edge doesn’t continue all the way around the board, so the nose and tail are bare. Just be careful not to slam the ends into anything so you don’t blow it out.
This is a mid flex board which makes it a beast across the whole hill. It is soft, buttery and playful when you want to goof around, but stiff enough to hold up at high speeds and take the turns as tight as you’d like. It won’t give you any board chatter when conditions are icy either.
One of my favorite aspects of the Gnu Riders Choice is how easy it is to control. It’s almost effortless as the intuitive design just lets you do whatever you want. The banana shape gives you magical feeling float, but bite any time it is desired. Magne-Traction is one of the best things to ever happen to snowboarding as you can get a grip on any surface while your friends are slipping and flopping down the ice covered runs.
There is a surprising amount of pop packed into the Riders Choice. I was able to ollie in the flatland way better than other boards I’ve tried. It takes some getting used to though, because with a rockered board you need to load slightly sooner than you would with traditional camber. Once you get your load time dialed in though, the pop here is pretty impressive.
The Gnu Riders Choice brings a whole new meaning of fun to snowboarding. I absolutely love that it is truly an all-mountain board and can handle anything you throw at it with authority. It dominates pretty much every feature in the park. Not my favorite board for rails, but it holds just fine. Go as big as you like and you won’t have a problem sticking it when you come back to earth. Surrounded by powder? Get out to the backcountry and float it all like it’s your job. For fun, I even decided to enter a Boarder X competition and see what this board could do. It is safe to say that high speeds, gut wrenching turns, and victory are a specialty when it comes to the Riders Choice.
It is important to me that a board can perform no matter where I choose to ride it on the mountain, and that it will hold its own in any conditions. This board can do everything you demand of it and more. It was constantly surprising me with the amount of epicness it displayed. If you love snowboarding, there is no doubt you will love the Gnu Riders Choice.
The Gnu Riders Choice snowboard is currently on sale for $323.97 at backcountry.com