So, back from a cold but very snowy Geilo in Norway and a few thoughts on the new Lib i rode as promised.
I've ridden a lot of snowboards over the years and seen some massive changes in the technology and thinking behind board design over that time. When i started, the cheap stuff really was pretty rubbish but now things are at a point where there arent really any truly bad boards at any price point. In fact i stoppped reading catalogs a while ago since if you believe what you read, every board anyone sells is perfect for everything! Lib have always stood out to me for their slightly counter culture stance and their willingness to do something different.
Just to recap, it's a 153 Lib Tech attack banana 2014 model sporting classic Mike Parillo Lib graphics. Its got what Lib call their EC2 banana tech which,if you strip off the marketing BS, means there's rocker between your bindings then camber from binding to tip with the apex of the camber moved towards the binding a little to mellow it. Lots of companies produce some kind of variation of this now and it is supposed to offer a mix of the forgiveness and "butterability" of rocker with a bit more of the edge hold and torsional stiffness to cope with speed that traditional camber board gives you. The board has Lib's "magnatraction" serrated edge which i definately feel gives better edge hold on icy piste from my experience.
Bottom line (first!) i really liked this board.
It's a twin shape thats a little narrower and more freeride oriented than the 156 skate banana that i had before. Despite being shorter and having less nose width it still floated plenty well enough in the pow although it definately needed to maintain a little more speed to keep the nose up compared to the skate banana. That said, it's only a 53 and at a comfortable off-piste pace it was happy to float and slash without inducing undue back leg burn. the slightly narrower width definately helped to change direction more quickly and it was easier to thread through the trees than my old board as a result.
On piste whether corduroy or crud, it held a really good edge at speed with plenty of pop. This is the camber working for you as well as the greater stiffness in the flex. An oft quoted criticism of the rocker only boards is their floppiness at speed or with big landings and that has been my main gripe with the skate banana. Lib seem to have got the flex just right with the ec2 banana, stiff enough to hold and inspire confidence blasting along the piste but flexy enough to butter around and enjoy popping off stuff at the piste edges. It certainly got me hitting some bigger jumps than i've done for a while.
It's a good compromise for the type of resort riding most of us do most often, alittle bit of everthing. Lib's more freeride oriented boards like the dark series are stiffer and feel amazing at full speed but need quite a bit of pace to wake them up, more pace than you might want to have if you are learning things or cruising with family. The skate banana is real fun in the park but shows it's limitations at speed and off piste. The attack banana sits in the middle, good enough at everthing to put a smile on your face and progress!
Super big thanks again to Stentiford Snowboarding for sorting it out and to Phil for the shamelessly self promoting pics of "dad awesomeness" ;-)