Snowboard Guru Edgar van Kooten from Frosty Snowboarding already got us excited about this board before we strapped it on. He presented it as one of his top picks for the season 2016-2017. So when the day came on the Hintertuxer Glacier that we could spend some time on the board I was quite excited. Even though normally I would not choose the Skate Banana as my own board.
Shape and board profile
The reason I would not immediately choose this board for myself, is that it has a very clear profile. The shape is geared very much towards providing maximum agility to move about on the piste and the park easily. Between the bindings there is a clear rocker shape, making turn initiation super easy, and below the bindings Libtech as added a mellow camber for a bit more grip and pop. This hybrid rocker profile aims at providing agility and stability.
But seeing as I love hard aggressive camber boards, I had to set my mind to trying to feel and ride this board like it should be ridden. To start with the latter, I am not that good a freestyler, if at all. On the one hand I love long mellow powder lines and on the other, charging down hard packed pistes, pressing into the g’s of sharp carves. The Libtech Skate Banana is not really made for either of the two. It is made for jibbing, rails and boxes and butters and what not. So if that is your thing and you are good or want to get really goo at it, that Skate Banana might be a really good choice.
Lacking the inclination and the skills to really appreciate that side of the board, I still had a lot of fun on it. Because what it did for me is that it asked me to look at these other ways of riding and other skill set, and invited me to try those. And so I veered out of my comfort zone and found how forgiving the Skate Banana was as I tried new little moves, and how it kept encouraging me to try more. It just turns so easily, there are so many directions it wants to go. Dizzying at times. Lovely. And I started really enjoying it, and questioning if I really just wanted to ride the long high speed lines or that I should start playing around more. And when I did go back to my comfort zone it was fun there as well.
It did provide much more grip than pure rocker boards would give, due partly to the mellow cambers under the binding. But also to the magne-traction technology on the edges of the board. The edge flows like a wave, the serrations providing extra pressure to press into hard packed snow and provide extra grip.
Sometimes really grippy edges also catch faster, but I didn’t notice it with on the Skate Banana. Another issue that you can face with really grippy edges is that it cuts so deeply into powder that it actually makes turns quite difficult. I did not notice this problem on the Skate Banana if anything I lacked a bit of float, but the board was a bit shorter than what I would normally ride, so I that would come into play as well. Having said that, it isn’t a pure powder board in the first place so you can’t expect heaps of float anyway.
Why buy the banana?
The Libtech Skate Banana has been around for 10 years, so Libtech is certainly doing something very right. What I think that is, is that you can strap this board under your feet on day way, and keep it there for many, many years. The board enables you to learn so much, and will be able to keep meeting the challenge of your growing skill set.