Hello and welcome to my GNU Essential Service snowboard review.
In this review, I will take a look at the Essential Service as an all-mountain snowboard.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Essential Service a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and see how it compares with other all-mountain snowboards.
Board: GNU Essential Service 2022
Flex Rating: Medium (6/10)
Flex Feel on Snow: Medium bordering on mid-stiff (6.5/10)
Rating Score: 86.4/100
Compared to other Men’s All-Mountain Boards
Out of the 41 men’s all-mountain snowboards that I rated:
Overview of the Essential Service’s Specs
Check out the tables for the Essential Service’s specs and available sizes.
Hybird Rocker - GNU's C2 profile
Setback 0.5" (12.5mm)
Felt heavier than normal
Waist Width (mm)
Rec Rider Weight (lb)
Rec Rider Weight (kg)
Who is the Essential Service Most Suited To?
The Essential Service is a versatile all-mountain board that leans a little more towards freeride than freestyle. It's a little stiffer than average, but not super stiff - just a little stiffer than medium.
Not for a beginner, but good for intermediate and up rides looking for a daily driver that's a little more freeride than freestyle.
The Essential Service in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Essential Service is capable of.
Board: GNU Essential Service 2022, 159cm (257mm waist width)
Date: March 3, 2021
Conditions: Temp 0°C (32°F) but -6°C (21°F) with wind and that wind was quite chilly but not overly strong - 10kph (6mph)
Overcast but 90% visibility
24 snow: 0cm (0")
7 day snow: 24cm (9")
On groomer: Soft on top. Not slushy but kind of like when it's slushy but the snow wasn't wet. It's like it was ice overnight but softened up.
Off groomer: Very hard/crunchy.
Bindings angles: +15/-15
Stance width: 555mm (21.9″)
Stance Setback: Setback 0.5" (12.5mm)
Width at Front Insert: 265mm (10.43")
Width at Back Insert: 266mm (10.47")
Rider Height: 6'0"
Rider Weight: 175lbs
Rider Boot Size: US9.5 Adidas Tactical ADV
Bindings Used: Burton Malavita M
Weight: 3140grams (6lbs 13oz)
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 Essential Service is quite a bit heavier than most boards I've weighed. One of the heaviest, in fact. And you can feel that weight on snow - it feels heavier than normal. For some this is a big deal. Others like a bit of extra weight (can help with smashing through crud and not getting bucked around). More likely to be an issue for lighter riders or less athletic riders.
Damp or Chattery?
I wouldn't say it's ultra-damp but it's more damp than it is chattery for sure, and that extra weight has something to do with that - helps with that dampness.
Smooth or Snappy?
Just a little more smooth than it is snappy. Definitely not as snappy as my control board (Lib Tech Terrain Wrecker) but still has some snap to it. Close to the middle of the scale.
Didn't have any to test it in, but I would say, based on experience with other boards with similar specs, it would be good without being amazing.
It's got a small setback and a decent amount of rocker in the profile and that helps. But it's not tapered or anything. Better than average but not effortless float in deep powder.
Carving & Turning
Carving: You could lay into a pretty big carve on this board and it could handle it. Not quite the carve you would get out of it if it was something like GNU's C3 Camber, but you could still really dig that edge in and lay a good trench.
Turning: Not effortless to turn. Had to put it in, but not a boat either. Turn initiation not slow, but not fast either.
Maneuverability at slow speeds: Again it's not a boat, but it doesn't turn on a dime at slow speeds either.
Skidded Turns: I found it less forgiving/harder to skid turns on than my control board (Terrain Wrecker). Not super catchy or anything, but not super forgiving either.
Could put down some good speeds on this board without it getting twitchy. Handles speed really well.
Crud: It does well at smashing through crud - and I think that extra weight helps - doesn't get bucked around easily.
Bumps: Not nimble enough at slow speeds to be amazing for weaving between bumps, but also not horrible. Ditto in terms of hugging when going over bumps.
Really solid landings and decent overall pop without being amazing.
Pop: Pop is decent when you wind it up. But it's not super easy to access. It's not the hardest board ever to access either, but it's not effortless pop. Part of that is the weight, I would imagine.
Approach: Not ultra maneuverable for making slight adjustments but maneuverable enough. Really stable for those faster approaches.
Landing: Really solid landings.
Side-hits: Not bad but could be a bit more nimble and have slightly easier to access pop to be better.
Small jumps/Big jumps: Best for larger jumps where you need that stable approach and solid landing platform. Fine for medium too. Less suited to small jumps, particularly if you're just starting off with jumps.
Felt pretty good riding switch. It's not super-directional or anything so that was no surprise.
It's pretty good for setting up and landing switch and not super difficult to get it up and around to execute a spin. But it's not super easy either - part of that is the weight and slightly harder to access pop.
Not ideal for jibs. Not something that was super scary to approach jibs on, but not super confidence inducing either.
It was certainly harder to press than my control board (Terrain Wrecker) but that things quite buttery. The Essential Service is about middle of the road. It's not un-pressable, but you've got to put a bit more oomph in to get it to press.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
TOTAL after normalizing
Overall, the Essential Service is a really good all-rounder, that can tackle any part of the mountain and handle any type of condition.
It's on the more aggressive end of all-mountain boards, without being quite aggressive enough to put in my "aggressive all-mountain" category. That aggressive feeling comes mostly from it's flex and weight as it has quite a forgiving camber profile.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you want to check out some other all-mountain snowboard options, or if you want to compare how the Essential Service compares to other all-mountain snowboards, then check out the next link.