Washington State-based Gnu is one of the oldest snowboard companies on the planet – and with its mission “to keep snowboarding weird”, is certainly among the most irreverent.
The brand has always had a strong range of women’s kit, and will no doubt be feeling the benefits of team riders Jamie Anderson and Kaitlyn Farrington both returning home from Sochi with golds. The B-Nice sits in Gnu’s ‘Magic’ collection, which is more freestyle-oriented than the ‘Wild’ line; indeed, it’s quite a soft true twin and so will be happiest when jumping on, off or over things. The ‘BTX’ profile combines between-the-feet rocker with very mellow camber sections. This might not give you quite as much carveability as some, but Gnu compensates with Mervin Manufacturing’s famous ‘Magne-Traction edges’; basically, a wavy edge that offers more contact points when turning, and therefore increased edge hold. The extruded base means that it won’t match the pace of its sintered sisters, but it can turn its hand to everything from rails to powder and is a dawdle to maintain. The topsheet graphic shown here is the work of fine artist Lisa Congdon, and is one of two designs that the B-Nice comes in this year.
“The B-Nice is soft and easy to manipulate, plus the BTX makes it catch-free – great for when you want to build up some confidence. I was surprised at how well it floated in powder, as the one I tested was smaller than what I’d usually ride. It lacks the response that you would get out of a higher-end girl’s board, especially at speed where I noticed that switching from edge to edge wasn’t as good as on some others I tried. However the serrated edges give you more grip which is definitely a bonus on those early-morning crusty laps!” – Lauren MacCallum