- Price: £470 / $550
- Category: All-Mountain, Freeride/Powder
- Ability Level: Intermediate, Advanced
- Size: 143, 148
- Flex: 6.5-7/10
- Shape: Directional
- Profile: Hybrid
- Base: Sintered
Ever wondered what snowboard Olympic legend Jamie Anderson rides on a power day? Well this is it. The Gnu Free Spirit is a freeride surf stick and a real departure from her freestyle boards, with a directional shape and stiffer flex designed for perfect pow turns.
A quick look at the Free Spirit tells you what this board does best: its pointy nose and blunted tail giving it a classic freeride shape. The 3” set back and tapered tail help keep the nose up and out of trouble for the days when you pack the snorkel in you backpack.
“It blends traditional camber for the the length of the snowboard with a slight rocker section in the middle”
Balsa is added to the paulownia and aspen wood core to make it ligher and more buoyant without losing pop. Add to that its broader waist width and its dimensions start to bare more reemblance to a surfboard it’s so floaty. A short contact length and deep sidecut make it easy to turn and mean it feels at home in the trees as it is in an open powder field.
Gnu have gone with their C3 camber on the Free Spirit. That might not seem the obvious choice for a pow board as it blends traditional camber for the the length of the snowboard with a slight rocker section in the middle, so it rides similar to straight traditional camber boards. The directional shape takes care of any float you might loose from not having a rockered nose, and it’s here that it gains a tonne of grip and stability in chopped up snow as well as on the piste.
Just like all the Gnu boards, the Free Spirit has Magne-Traction. The metal edges on the board are wavy and act like a serrated knife cutting into hard-pack and icy snow to give you unbelievable grip. Keeping up with your mates won’t be a problem as it comes with a tough and fast sintered base with good wax retention.
Gnu’s green credentials are on show here to their max with ecologically minded processes used to assemble the board that produce zero hazardous waste. They use sustainably harvested wood and bio beans for the top sheet as well as powering their factory with renewable energy sources.