I've been snowboarding a good 20-30 days per season now for the past 5+ years... I love my K2 Nemesis but after having it waxed and tuned soo many times, there really isn't too much life left in her. We've been through a lot together, seen a lot of mtns together -- and it is sad to move on... At least she retires with honor.
I telemark ski'd a fair amount this year, partly because it was challenging and fun to be on a steep learning curve again.. Also because the edge on my old snowboard could not hold too well in classic new england icy conditions. So for my next board I really wanted something that could potentially bite into the hardpack a bit more... After doing some research, I discovered that LibTech and GNU make boards with a technology called MagneTraction(MTX), at this point its all hype and marketing in my mind and I'll need to prove or disprove that hype next season.... The board has a wavering edge which can be compared with a serated knife -- it can cut into icy conditions better than a traditionally edged board or butter knife would.
I decided on a 162 GNU Altered Genetics snowboard.... Although several others were strong in the running, a 164.5 LibTech T-rice, a 162 LibTech TRS, a 164 K2 Zeppelin, a 164W Burton Custom X, and several others from K2, GNU, Ride and Burton... I followed my philosphy of buying winter gear in the off-season, but seeing the flip-side to that -- boards that you want may not be there... Luckily the prices were about 40-50% off, and there still is a lot of great gear out there if you look hard enough.
The GNU Altered Genetics supposedly is made with a blend of Bamboo, Aspen and Balsa, which translates to light and strong to me. It also employs some 'Vectran liquid crystal polymer' in the foundation to increase strength.. The top sheet is made from beans, an earth friendly bio-polymer with a very strong strength to weight ratio. The bottom is shaped like other LibTech/GNU Banana Traction (BTX) boards, in a way traditional to a boats bottom -- it will hopefully float a bit better in the deeper snow, while it may not be as stable as a traditional reverse-cambered board. The 162 size is a bit smaller than the 165 I currently ride, so I hope that will gain me some more manueverability in moguls and tight situations. The board is also a bit lighter, which I hope will ease my mid-air transitional rotations and give me the confidence to get past 180's and into 360 territory comfortably. This board is full of tech, and took a fair amount of research to take it all in -- and I definately enjoy that the GNU name is often used within hi-tech as well :) after all, GNU's Not Unix, it's a snowboard!!
I'll let you know how it rocks in a few months!!
Another GNU board I considered was the Riders Choice.