GNU Park Pickle BTX Snowboard 2012

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This is a preview of the GNU Park Pickle 2012 Snowboard – written to help riders decide if this board is for you? It will take a look at the information out there, what riders are saying and what the board’s tech actually means…

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GNU’s aim – all mountain freestyle. Don’t let the name fool you, this is designed to be more than just a park board, the goal is all-mountain freestyle. As you’ll see, the park performance is well catered for, but if you’re looking for a board that has freestyle roots but won’t hold you up when you’re not jibbing, the key question is how well it performs elsewhere? Let’s deal with park first.

Park and freestyle performance. First up, it’s a true twin, which is a good start for a freestyle setup. The Park Pickle also has blunt tips, reducing the amount of material at the nose and tail, which reduces the swing weight of the board. This makes rotations that little bit easier, which is again good for freestyle riding.

The Park Pickle uses the BTX shape that’s shared between the GNU and Lib-Tech snowboards. BTX provides a rocker profile between your feet, with a flat-to-mild camber leading up to the contact points; as well as giving more float in powder, it’s a design well suited to butters and presses, and makes the board more “catch free”. All good stuff.

What about the flex of the board? Well, GNU rate it between 5.5 and 6.5, out of 10, depending on the length that you have. The longer Pickle’s are a little bit stiffer. You can see that it’s not designed to be a pure-jib board – it’s not that soft. This correlates with what riders think about the board – it’s good for intermediate to advanced park riders and it’s got a nice amount of pop. Good on kickers and jumps – overall a great option for a park board.

All-mountain “tech” that GNU have given the Park Pickle. As mentioned above, the predominant aspect of the BTX shape is rocker between your feet, which is going to help with float. Taking a look at the board lengths – the Park Pickle isn’t a particularly long board, it’s setup for freestyle and it’s twin. So it’s not a board that’s going to slay it in deep powder, but the BTX rocker will help.

The Pickle has a good, fast sintered base that’s going to improve the board’s performance around the mountain. Remember also that it’s not super soft, so it’s not going to wash out like a pure jib board would. The Park Pickle also has the magne-traction edges; serrated edges that are designed to give “unreal edge hold everywhere”. The magne-traction edges have been on GNU and Lib Tech boards for a while now; a gimmick wouldn’t have lasted this long, riders think they work well.

There’s also the asymmetric shape – “Pickle Tech”… One of the unique features of the Park Pickle is the asymmetric shape (and flex). The board is setup with a defined heel edge and consequently a defined toe edge. Being twin, this means that goofy snowboarders ride the board in one direction while regular snowboarders ride it in the other – and there’s no difference. The side-cut on the heel edge is shaped differently to the toe edge – the aim being to take into account the different dynamics used when turning on your toes and heels.

Surprisingly, not many reviews focus on this feature. Either the difference between the toe edge and heel edge is slight, or the asymmetric design feels natural to riders. Which ever it is, it’s not reported as being a bad design, so maybe the Park Pickle is on to something…

BTX vs. continuous rocker for all-mountain performance? Continuous rocker shapes tend to be more suited to powder than charging on tough pistes, so whilst continuous rocker boards can be good for edge to edge and turn initiation, they’re sometimes criticised for being less stable at speeds, poor edge hold and a little skittish on a flat base.

So how close is the BTX shape to a continuous rocker? Well, from your feet and the contact points, it’s between flat and mild-camber. So it’s not a full tip to tail rocker. You can see this by taking a look at the pressure diagrams for the different base profileson the Lib-Tech site; remember that Mervin make the boards for both GNU and Lib Tech, so the designs are shared.

If you take a look, they play as videos showing where the pressure is applied under the rider’s weight.

You can see in the pressure diagram that the rider’s weight distribution isn’t optimised for aggressive edge hold, but there is some control along the length of the edge. BTX “Banana Tech” isn’t an agressive, continuous rocker. Compare it with the TTTR shape – tip-to-tail-roker – which has reduced edge contact leading up to the tips…

This board isn’t going to wash out straight away; GNU have added some good tech that’s going to take you a good deal of the way when it comes to edge hold and control on pistes. But at the same time, it’s just not going to tear up tough terrain like some all-mountain boards.

What do riders say? “It’s a good park board and it’s not just for the park”. The Park Pickle is well regarded – for a start is was a 2012 Good Wood Winner. And previously, it also had awards in 2011 – 2011 TWSNOW Good Wood Winner and 2011 SNOWBOARDER Best of Test Winner.

 

GNU Park Pickle 2012 Overview

The following video gives a good overview of the board and it’s design features:

Summary – who’s the Park Pickle for?

It’s twin, duck inspired, so you’re a freestyle rider. It’s got tech for outside the park: good base, some powder float and magne-traction edge hold. But that BTX Banana Tech shape doesn’t have significant camber to add more power, stability and control to the board – you know you’re not getting an aggressive charger. A strong freestyle board at heart, with good accolades, that will take you some of the way outside jibbing and the park…

Get hooked up?

If you think that the Park Pickle is the board for you, check out Dogfunk.com, they stock the Pickle and have good customer service too…

If you’re in the UK – SS20 has the GNU Park Pickle. And Europe? You can get it from Blue Tomato – an awesome snowboard store.

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