Day 3 was a powder day…what better way to start off than a powder board? In retrospect I can think of a lot of better ways than what I chose, but at the time, the Gnu Free Spirit seemed like the way to go. This is Jamie Anderson’s short, wide pow stick. It is Camber 3 so lots of camber, kind of stiff, and one of the weirdest things I have ever ridden. It is directional with a 3” setback. And it seemed like all I should have to do was lean back and enjoy the ride.
That’s not how it went down. I plowed more snow than a snowcat smoothing out a whale. The board kept nose-diving. And because it was stiff, it still didn’t really want to pop up when I leaned back. Leaning back only left this little tiny tail to steer with, so small, surfy movements were necessary, but I had absolutely no control. I fell in ways I haven’t fallen in years. When I got down to the groomed trails and only had 3-4” of snow, it was an absolute pleasure, but the nose-diving and snowplowing things were a real problem.
I couldn’t get it back fast enough and opted for the Klassy. This is a directional C2X profile designed for freeriding, pow, and carving. I had picked up the Flux GX hoping to put them on the Gnu Hyper Kyarve, but when the Klassy was available we put them on that. It’s a directional mid flex board and a bit of an aggressive ride. But boy was it fun! This board floats great in powder, steers easily around snow bumps, blasts them apart if that’s your pleasure, and pops off of them with nice, soft landings. The base is fast, and it easily handled the ice hiding beneath the fresh powder.
This was the first time I could really feel a binding. The highback on the GX is a little more aggressive than the GS and I could feel it when I pushed it on my heelside. I think the matchup was good, but there was a bit of calf bite from that highback.
Still waiting for the Hyper Kyarve to return, they talked me into taking the Torah Bright with Bent Metal bindings. This is the first year that Bent Metal has a women’s binding, so it was worth a shot. The Torah is a true twin C2x board. It’s a little north of mid flex and it is designed for all mountain freestyle with lots of pop, good edge hold, float in pow, and an all around fun ride. It delievered on all of that. I rode a 152- a little bigger than the 148-9 I’m used to, but the extra stability and length to deal with the powder was actually welcome. It was still really easy to maneuver and it felt like it was designed for those soft conditions even as the day wore on and things got bumped out.
The Bent Metal bindings felt like a nice match, and a good addition to the line. This pair was comfortable and plenty responsive.
When I got back the Hyper Kyarve was back. It had a different pair of Bent Metal bindings on it so they just adjusted the angles and sent me on my way. Totally different experience than the first day when I hopped on, and so loved ,this board. On day 3, the response lagged, and it felt sluggish zipping in and around the bumps. Also interesting was that the bottoms of my feet felt sore like there was no padding at all on the bindings. I didn’t notice any discomfort from the first pair, but the second pair felt very hard. I think they were what I did not like about the ride on Day 3 because they just didn’t feel right. So I’m sticking to my first impressions of the Hyperkyarve and think I’ll just have to ride it again (for longer) to break the tie.
There wasn’t really anything else that I was dying to ride so I put my NOWs back on my Proto Type Two and took that out for a couple more laps to end the day/week. The winners of the demos for me were the Gnu Hyper Kyarve, Capita Paradise, Flux GS (which I added to my own personal gear collection), and the Gnu Klassy. These are all pretty consistent with the type of boards I like to ride, but the sleeper hit had to be the Capita. For a price point board, I really feel like it deserves more attention than it gets.