Hello and welcome to my GNU Banked Country review.
In this review, I will take a look at the Banked Country as a freeride snowboard.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Banked Country a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and see how it compares with other freeride snowboards.
Board: GNU Banked Country 2022
Flex Rating: Medium-Stiff
Flex Feel on Snow: Stiff (7.5/10)
Rating Score: 87.4/100
Compared to other Men’s Freeride Boards
Out of the 32 men’s freeride snowboards that I rated:
Overview of the Banked Country’s Specs
Check out the tables for the Banked Country’s specs and available sizes.
Hybrid Rocker - but predominantly camber (GNU's C3 Camber)
Setback 38mm (1.5")
Sintered (GNU's "Sintered Knife Cut")
Felt Heavier than Normal
Waist Width (mm)
Rec Rider Weight (lb)
Rec Rider Weight (kg)
Who is the Banked Country Most Suited To?
The Banked Country is for those who like to bomb and carve trenches on the groomers when there's nothing fresh - and then when the powder is calling, want to get off the groomer and get amongst it.
Definitely not for the beginner - this thing is quite the beast. Advanced and up rider's only for this one. And ideally relatively athletic or heavier too.
If all of the above is speaking to you and you tend to ride in hard/icy conditions quite often, then this should be a good match.
The Banked Country in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Banked Country is capable of.
Board: GNU Banked Country 2022, 159cm (254mm waist width)
Date: April 9, 2021
Conditions: Snowing! Visibility around 70%
Temperatute -4°C (25°F) - so quite cold for April!. -9°C (16°F) with wind chill.
15kph (10mph) winds.
24 hour snow: 15cm (6") (and more snow while we were testing)
7 day snow: 20cm (8")
On Groomer: Was a little crunchy and even icy in patches to start, which was really surprising given the snow. But it was good in other patches. Then as the day wore on, the snow got softer and softer.
Off Groomer: Pretty good but a little crunchy with some icy patches on steeper slopes to start. As the snow kept falling it got better and better though, until it felt like a proper pow day by the end.
Bindings angles: +15/-15
Stance width: 560mm (22″)
Stance Setback: Setback 38mm (1.5")
Width at Inserts: 265mm (10.43") at front insert and 263mm (10.35") at back insert
Rider Height: 6'0"
Rider Weight: 175lbs
Rider Boot Size: US9.5 Adidas Tactical ADV
Bindings Used: Burton Malavita M
Weight: 3140grams (6lbs 15oz)
Weight per cm: 19.75 grams/cm
Average Weight per cm: 18.43 grams/cm*
*based on a sample size of around 100 models that I’ve weighed in 2019, 2020, 2021 *& 2022 models. The Banked Country is quite a bit heavier than normal. And it felt that way on snow. For smashing through crud, this was a real advantage. But for things like easy air, it had it's downsides - and a downside if you're less athletic.
Damp or Chattery?
Really damp. This thing has very minimal chatter.
Smooth or Snappy?
Super smooth. Well down the smooth side of the scale.
Was a fun board to ride in powder. Was easy to float and didn't take too much effort to keep the nose from sinking.
It's predominantly camber and the taper is only subtle, so it's never going to be a powder specialist, but still really good - and the setback, directional shape, long nose and short tail certainly help it.
Carving & Turning
Carving: Carving machine for high speed long drawn out carves! Not quite as good for slower short sharp carves. But when you really commit to a carve on this thing, it rewards you with oodles of stoke!
Turning: You gotta put a bit of effort into this to get it to do regular turns. It's not a boat or anything, but it's not super effortless to turn either.
Maneuverability at slow speeds: Better than I though it would be, but you've still got to muscle it a bit.
Skidded Turns: Not un-skiddable, but you want to have good technique riding this thing and it will punish you if you get it too wrong.
Just really fast and super stable at speed, even in cruddy conditions. I found it had good glide as well - which is something that I only really notice when it's obviously better or obviously worse.
Crud: Absolutely smashes through crud like it's not there. Not something you want to try to dance around or over - just commit and smash through and it takes care of it. Probably not the easiest board to correct if it got bucked around but didn't experience that in the slightest, so can't say for sure. I think part of the Banked Country's ability to smash through crud is it's weight. Typically people don't look for heavier boards, but that extra weight is a real asset in this case.
Bumps: It was a little better weaving through bumps and maneuvering in trees than I had expected, but there was definitely some effort involved in doing it - not a effortlessly maneuverable and didn't hug bumps effortlessly when going over, but it did respond when you put the effort in. Could get tiring by the end of the day, but for a more athletic/fit rider, don't think it would be a problem.
That extra weight helps in crud for sure, but it's to its detriment for jumps.
Pop: It's there and actually pretty good, when you put the effort in, but it definitely takes some winding up to extract that pop.
Approach: Super stable for faster approaches, but not as easy to hit last minute side-hit sightings or for that maneuverability for adjusting your line last second.
Landing: Super solid landings when you stomp it. Not very forgiving of slightly off landings if you get it wrong though.
Side-hits: Not ideal, particularly for those with trickier approaches. That harder to access pop doesn't help and whilst the maneuverability isn't terrible, it's not super maneuverable either.
Small jumps/Big jumps: Big jumps for sure.
You can definitely ride it switch, but it's not ideally suited to it. It's quite directional.
A combination of not being super switch friendly for those 1s, 5s, etc, not having easy access pop and being quite heavy made it a bit of an effort for spinning.
Not it's forte for sure, but also definitely not made for it.
It takes quite some strength to butter this thing. It's not un-butterable, but it's certainly not easy to butter - not a lot of flex in that tip and tail.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
Contribution to Final Score
TOTAL after normalizing
Overall, the Banked Country is a beast. If bombing, carving trenches and finding powder is your go to and you're relatively athletic and an advanced rider, this thing should treat you well.
Also has great edge hold in hard/icy conditions.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you want to check out some other freeride snowboard options, or if you want to compare how the Banked Country compares to other freeride snowboards, then check out the next link.