I have 5 snowboards but only ride on two of them regularly. Before Buying my Riders Choice, I really wanted a board to shred tree runs in. I’d been in Colorado the previous year. and my Burton Custom X wasn’t up to the challenge. The X was like a greased plank that wouldn’t turn. I needed something with maneuverability. So before my next trip into the mountains, I purchased a GNU Riders Choice.
I’d Like To Choose My Snowboard Like A Golfer Chooses A Club.
E. Sterling Founder Of SnoFall Gear/Totally In A Joking Manner
The Riders Choice is an all-mountain board with amazing flex, great pop, and Magne-Traction. It was the opposite style of board I was used to riding, and the board tech at the store warned that it was going to bite (in a good turning sort of way), and it did.
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2020 GNU Riders Choice Stat Breakdown
Terrain Type: The board is an all mountain board, it’ll go wherever you want it too.
Rider Ability: Intermediate To Advanced Riders Will Love This board. Beginners Might Have An Issue With Sensitivity.
Flex Scale: Medium
ASYM Scale: Level 2
What Is ASYM?
ASYM means asymmetric snowboard sidecuts. Generally speaking, it’s a way of making toe-side turns easier to accomplish. I’m still trying to learn all the ins and out of it, but recently I read a blog post that breaks it down.
To give a little background, my previous board was a Burton Custom X. That board can rip and sometimes I’ll still shred on it. However, the GNU has become my mainboard.
This is mostly because of the epic control, high speed, and general feel of the board.
The rider’s choice is fast, but its top speed is slightly slower than my Custom X. (I actually did a speed test) However what it loses in speed (and that isn’t much) it gains in maneuverability. The rider’s choice is the first board I’ve ever ridden with high dexterity and flexibility. I can literally turn on a dime on this thing, it’s smooth.
Every stat I see says the board is of average stiffness. On a scale of 1-10, it’s probably a 5. Since my other board is a plank it seems a lot softer to me.
The board tech who sold me the board gave a really good description of the difference between the two boards. My Custom X was like a corvette, she could accelerate but had trouble turning. On the other hand, my Riders choice was like an Audi A9 (or its comparable type). She could accelerate and maneuver.
The GNU Riders Choice; Terrain Types:
You could take the rider’s choice into the terrain park and it would do amazing, but its birthright is being an all-mountain board. My favorite place to shred on this board Is deep powder through the trees. It floats effortlessly with full control the whole way down, and almost reads my mind for directions.
In the park I’ve done awesome hitting jumps, its hybrid camber gives it excellent pop. I do lose control on boxes and rails. However, I can’t blame that on the board because it might be from my lack of doing them regularly.
From what I’ve read this board does almost as well in the park, as it does on the mountain.
GNU Riders Choice Skill Level:
If you’re new to snowboarding, I’d pass on the rider’s choice for a little while. While you can learn on it, you’ll have more fun on a board that isn’t as sensitive. The mange-traction alone can throw you for a loop. Give it a season or two (less if you shred a lot) and make your way back. You’ll be able to appreciate it better when you know what you’re doing.
GNU Riders Choice Camber:
If you’re new to snowboarding, I’d pass on the rider’s choice for a little while. While you can learn on it, you’ll have a better time on a board that isn’t as sensitive. The mange-traction alone can throw you for a loop. Give it a season or two (less if you shred a lot) and make your way back. You’ll be able to appreciate it better when you know what you’re doing.
The rider’s choice has a hybrid camber, which is a style that came out more than five years ago. it’s a combination of two other camber shapes. I like to say it’s new to the snowboard world, but after five years it really isn’t. It gives an excellent feel when you’re riding trees in deep powder, and maneuverability is unmatched.
To understand what a hybrid camber is, first you need to understand the terms camber and rocker.
Here are some definitions:
Camber: The original snowboard shape. If you lay it on flat ground (not carpet) The middle of the board, the nose, and tail will gradually rise, only the areas just outside the feet will be in contact with the ground.
This is very subtle, and hard to notice. If you’re looking for the first time, put your head to the ground and look at it sideways.
Rocker: The Exact Opposite of the camber, when you lay the board flat on the ground, the middle will be the only point touching the ground. The nose and tail will be rising up on a slope.
Flat: This isn’t part of the Riders Choice, but it’s another type of board shape. the flat board lays on the ground, totally flat. Just like the name says.
Hybrid Camber: On the rider’s choice the hybrid camber combines the best of both worlds. GNU claims it has the perfect rocker/camber hybrid for ripping everything. I would concur with that sentiment. It has excellent pop, and stability. All without sacrificing control or speed.
The Riders Choice Flex Rating:
There isn’t a lot to say about the flex scale. To me, it’s more of a personal preference. If this is a 5 on a 1-10 scale my Burton Custom X must be a 7 or 8. A softer flex board can be bent easier, helping you land more tricks because it’s more forgiving. A stiffer board will have greater stability at high speeds.
For example, I love to manual and butter, the rider’s choice makes doing those tricks super easy. On my other stiffer board, the buttering is super difficult.
The Edges: Magne-Traction
I used to hate Magne-traction. I felt like it slowed me down, and I never realized my setup was the culprit. Once I made a couple of binding adjustments, I was flying down the mountain in total control.
Magne-traction is serrated steak knife technology. When you have this on a board look at the edges from the top or bottom of the board. You’ll notice the traditional arc is broken up by extra edges that stick out. This is the Magne-traction edge, it adds extra contact points giving you extra turning ability.
I fell in love with it, once I learned to set my bindings properly, and in the trees, it’s a lifesaver.
Riders Choices Biding Setup
Towards the end of last season, I had a problem. The issue had been around for a while but it was finally noticeable. I couldn’t get any speed on my rider’s choice. Even on flat ground where I used to excel my buddies would fly past me.
It wasn’t from a lack of waxing my board, I’d taken care of that the night before. My frustration compiled when I busted out my Custom X and totally ripped it down a bowl run. I spoke with a board tech and received some bad advice. He told me the Magne-traction on the riders choice was too much, and often slowed people down. For some reason, I believed him, and for the rest of the season, I rode my Custom X. It was annoying.
GNU Edge Problem Solved
This year, I decided to become a snowboard instructor, while in this capacity I was able to meet a lot of people who’ve shredded for years. One of the people I’d met worked on snowboards at a few different resorts. I told him about the issue with my rider’s choice and he immediately diagnosed my problem, without ever seeing it.
After a couple of questions, he went through a checklist that I’ll post sometime soon. The main thing to look at was the stance. He said to make sure the bindings are even from nose to tail, and heel to toe. Then give it a shot and let him know. Once you’ve done that it should be awesome, but we can adjust more if you’d like.
I went home and realized what I’d done wrong, at the start of the season I was in Vail riding deep powder. I’d set my board to a setback stance, and that’s why there was no control. So I pulled the bindings off and made the adjustments. When I finished everything was symmetrical on my board, and the next day I went out and tore the mountain apart.
The right settings can make the worst board amazing, or the best board suck. Always check your gear, make sure you’ve got it set up for the right conditions. I lost a whole season and was mad at my rider’s choice. All because I’d forgotten to reset my stance.
Sometimes I’ll make a rookie mistake.
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