I have been riding for a little over 10 years. I'm experienced and feel 100% comfortable on the hill. I haven't rode much for the past 3 seasons though, but I'm getting a season's pass this year and plan to get back into things in a big way. I'm really excited and getting some new gear. I ride the smaller mountains near Whistler, BC like Cypress, Seymour and Hemlock Valley. We get some powder days, but it never gets terribly cold. It's not crazy icy very often. Usually just kind of in the middle in terms of conditions.
There are a lot of new board technologies that are coming out or starting to mature, that were not around when I got my last board. I have a Gnu Altered Genetics 158, from about 2005/06 I believe (I can't find the year it is online). It's a great deck, but it's getting dated. It has regular camber and I'm pretty sure an extruded base. Nothing too fancy except for the core materials and some other things. I just want something new to get me more excited.
First of all, what I like about my current deck:
- Responsive when carving
- Decent in powder
- Pretty good pop
- Feels good on jumps and landings
- decent all around
What I don't like:
- Feels just a touch stiff. This is good when I'm hauling ass, but I don't get a chance to do that often (see below)
- Feels a touch too big. Spinning feels a little like I'm lugging too much around
- It's not the easiest to maneuver when going slow. I'm talking buttering around and just messing around. I guess this is because of its stiffness.
I'm now married and will be riding with my wife this season. She's a beginner, so I'll be doing a lot of waiting and won't be able to go Mach-1 down the runs all the time. I don't really enjoy doing that anyways.
What I want in a new snowboard:
- Perform decent on pow days
- Handle hits and landings
- Go fast in straight line and in a carve
- Be agile / maneuverable / playful enough to let me mess around off the groomed while I wait for my wife. I want to be able to butter around a bit, hit some little things on the side (banked walls, etc.)
- I do not care about jibbing at all. But if it can do that too, it's a bonus
- I don't ride the park that much. I prefer natural features. I do occasionally. I NEVER ride pipe though.
I have done a ton of research, trying to figure out which boards would be best for how I want to ride. I have a special place in my heart for Gnu/Lib as well, but open to anything well made.
My research has lead me to the following:
Lib Tech Banana Magic
From what I read, this seems like it might be a little on the stiff side for what I want. Just a little. Or maybe not too stiff, but just more targeted to going fast and being stable. Not sure how it performs on jumps and messing around off the groomed. Not sure if it's easily maneuverable at slower speeds. This review says it's playful
... even more playful than an Attack Banana, which seems to conflict with how I understand the tech and designed purpose of both boards. Any feedback on this? I'm looking at the 2011 version, which is on sale (same price as 2012 Attack 'Nana) and the same as this year's. 157 should be the best size for me.
Lib Tech Attack Banana
This seems like it would be fun to mess around with. It won this year's best Good Wood from Transworld. Seems quite versatile and a cool balance of freestyle / all mountain. I'm worried that it might be TOO soft though (it's only rated .5 softer than Banana Magic on the Lib site)... or maybe just not stable enough when I do want to go fast. Seems like it would be OK in the pow. Not sure how fast it would be as it's an extruded base, but at least one review said it was pretty fast on the groomers. I was looking at the 156, but the 159 is a possibility as well. The 159 could possibly even things out and make it more stable, but still playful.
Rome Mod Rocker
I know the least about this one, but the reviews have been very positive, and the tech seems great. Awesome pop, a magne-traction sort of tech, and seems well suited for everything... leaning toward the freestyle end of the spectrum. I like that. Just seems like a great board. It's slightly more expensive for me than the other two though, but that's OK. To me, this seems comparable to an Attack Banana, but with faster base and maybe a little more stable going fast and doing hits + landings.
I am just a hair under 5'10" and my weight fluctuates between ~200 - 210lbs. I have size 11, 686 / New Balance boots that are relatively low profile. I haven't tried a reverse camber board yet, but I'm ready to try something new and feel confident I will figure it out without problems. I just hope their characteristics won't piss me off or anything.
I'm having a really hard time narrowing the list down further, and choosing the one that would be best for how I want to ride. I also need to match these up with a good binding. I was looking at the Flux TT30's or maybe Forum Republic's, both from 2011. I like the Flow NXT-AC-SE's but they are a bit pricey.
Sorry for the book, but I wanted to be as specific as possible. Does anyone have any feedback to give on these boards, based on real world personal experience or from a riding buddy? I'm looking to find out how they compare to each other, their pros and cons, etc.