Expert Review: GNU Rcc3 SnowboardPublished on 08/04/2022 · 10 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the snowboard, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2022.
All photos courtesy of Shane Holt
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the snowboard, which I purchased with my own money in February of 2022.
The GNU Riders Choice C3 is for the high-end all-mountain freestyle rider who craves predictability and precision from their board.
About the gear
- Model: 2021 GNU RCC3
- Size: 157.5cm
- Height: 5’9”
- Weight: 185 lbs
- Experience: 25 years of snowboarding
- When I bought these: February 2022
- Days tested: 18 days
- Mount position: Regular foot, 12 degrees front/8 degrees back. 23.25” 1” back from center
- Boots: 2020 Burton Ruler
- Boot Size: 10
- Bindings: 2019 Burton Mission
- Where I’ve used it: Beaver Creek, Park City, Vail, Breck, Beech Mountain.
- Terrain: Trees, Park, Groomers, Steeps.
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was on the hunt for a high-performance board that could be my daily driver, whether on a trip out West or slugging it through icy East Coast conditions. I wanted a board that could perform well in most terrain and handle whatever random feature strikes my fancy.
Why I chose this gear
The original GNU Riders Choice has received rave reviews since it came out a few years back. With its innovative asymmetrical design, riders have loved the board’s intuitive responsiveness that increases precision on the toe edge and allows for more power on the heels. The RCC3 added GNU’s C3 camber profile to make it even more responsive. I wanted an advanced, freestyle board with an aggressive sidecut and camber.
My previous board was a Lib Tech TRS, which I loved for many years. So, I wanted to stay within the same ballpark and stick with something in the freestyle category. Before I scooped up the RCC3, I demoed the Burton Process Camber, the Ride Benchwarmer, and the Jones Ultra Mountain Twin. These boards are high-performance twins with aggressive camber. They all have similar shapes and share several other riding characteristics. At the end of the day, the asymmetrical profile and Magne Track edges are the main reasons the RCC3 won out over the other boards.
What I love about it
- Speed: This board holds very well at increased speeds. The C3 camber profile keeps it engaged at high speeds and has a locked-in feel when I’m jetting down the slopes. The boys and I generally bomb groomers throughout the day, and whoever comes in last buys a round of drinks, so going fast is of utmost importance. The RCC3 never gets washy and holds tight when I’m flying down the mountain. This board feels extremely precise and will respond predictably no matter how fast I’m going.
- Edge hold: With a C3 camber profile and GNU’s Magne Trac rails, the RCC3 holds an edge like a knife. I never worry about sliding out on icy patches or hardpack landings. I can really rail through turns without coming unglued.
- Turns: Carving is where this board truly shines. The asymmetrical sidecut gives me a steeper activation angle on the toeside and more power on the heel side. A dedicated heelside and toeside edge compensate for our bodies’ anatomical differences, making the board more responsive and intuitive. This board has Magne-Traction, so it can get a little hooky on turns, but if one is a skilled carver, there won’t be any issues. Overall, this board locks into a carve and feels super secure, and I can drive it through turns. Whether I’m doing tight, controlled turns or long, drawn-out carves, this board hammers through anything.
- Groomers: The Riders Choice C3 eats groomers for breakfast. It’s hella fast, super stable, and responds instantly. I couldn’t ask for a better board for bombing runs.
- Trees: Trees are my jam! I easily spend 70-80% of my time in tree runs. In addition to better snow and fewer crowds, I love the technical aspect of finding the perfect line through trees. The RCC3 has the responsiveness of a Formula One race car and likes to go fast in the woods. The asymmetrical shape gives a noticeable advantage when quickly transitioning from edge to edge. It holds strong on tight, quick turns and predictably tracks where I expect it to. When riding trees, I want a board that feels like an extension of my body. The RCC3 is one of those boards I never even think about while riding. It responds immediately to the slightest adjustment and allows me to focus on the line ahead.
- Park: Being a freestyle-oriented board, the RCC3 is at home in the park. The C3 camber allows me to load up hard and has a predictable release that can handle jumps of any size. This isn’t the greatest board for jibbing, but it’ll get the job done. So, on rails, one will want to use more speed and press harder. However, on boardslides, the C3 camber locks in and hugs the rail. This board kind of forces me to have clean landings. There’s not a lot of room for error. So, if my landings aren’t clean, I can expect to skid out or potentially catch an edge.
- Durability: Mervin builds solid boards, and I’ve never had any problems with delams or breaks. I fully expect this board to hold up for many hard seasons. The core is a balsa, aspen, and paulowina wood layup that’s light, strong, and poppy. The fiberglass is a triax/biax weave with an eco-sublimated poly top. The board's sidewalls and tips set GNU and Lib Tech apart from most other snowboard brands. The metal edge stops past the board’s contact points instead of fully wrapping around the nose and tail. This makes the board extremely resistant to delamination at the tips when I run into trees or rocks. The tips and sidewalls are made of ultra-high molecular weight polyetherimide (UHMW), which is extremely durable and can take considerable punishment. With this feature, I don’t have to interrupt my day with a trip to the repair shop if I smash into a rock. The knife-cut sintered base is super fast, holds wax, and is very durable. Despite running over several rocks, the board didn’t get any major gouges or see many noticeable scratches.
- Weight: This board has GNU’s G3 Eco Core, their lightest, most reactive layup. Basalt alloy infused with the board’s glass improves durability while cutting weight. I’m not sure what the board weighs, but it feels lighter than most boards I’ve ridden. Some ultra-high-end boards on the market use a lot of carbon fiber and space-aged tech. They may weigh a few ounces less but also cost over $1,000.
- Switch riding: The RCC3 is a true twin, so it rides the same switch as it does regular. Since it’s an asymmetrical shape, there is a defined heel and toe edge. Snowboarders should ensure they follow the board's markings while setting it up, and they're good to go.
- Stability: The GNU RCC3 is very damp and stable. It’s one of those boards I can charge with, and I don’t have to worry about getting bucked around. There’s very little chatter, but it’s also not dead. It has the perfect balance of damp to lively feel. As far as loading, this board has great snap and pop. It loads similar to traditional camber, but once I find the right load point, it’s easier to engage. The RCC3 is built for jumps and can easily handle anything from tiny side hits to large park ramps. The sweet spot in the nose and tail isn’t crazy big, but once I located it, I could get it locked in for decent butters. The board tends to fight me a bit, and the additional contact points from having Magne-Traction means it’ll hang up if I’m not perfectly in position. If one’s into buttering more than jumps, the original Rider’s Choice will feel slightly more comfortable with its C2 camber profile.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Powder: This is not a powder board. It’s far better suited for groomed runs or a few inches of freshie. That said, I took it out on a 10” powder day and had a blast. To get better float, I set my stance back 3” to give the board more nose. With that adjustment, the board performed fine in deep patches, but I kept my speed to avoid sinking. For being a freestyle-focused board, the RCC3 handles powder pretty darn well. Using it as my daily driver, I don’t feel a need to switchboards when the snow starts dropping. Excellent all-around board, but if someone is mostly looking to ride on pow days, tons of board options would be better suited.
- Moguls: Most snowboarders don’t like moguls, but there are always occasions when they’ve got to cross a bumpy field. This board is super quick edge to edge and can hold a line well, so it’ll get them through it. The 6/10 flex makes it a bit too stiff to absorb major impacts without bucking, but it’s not so stiff that I find it impossible to run through a set of moguls. For riders who seek out bumpy hills, some other boards may be better suited to handle skier terrain.
- Backcountry: The RCC3 is by no means a backcountry board. It’s more at home riding in bounds at a resort. The narrow waist width and tapered ends mean it won’t float super well in deep pow. But if one’s setting up a backcountry kicker and wants a freestyle board under their feet, this board will do the job perfectly.
- Any workarounds: Set stances back a couple of inches on pow days. That’ll give the board a bit more nose and help it float better through the deep stuff.
Favorite moment with this gear
I spent my first three days riding this board in Colorado on packed powder and sparse snow conditions in the trees. We woke up to 6-8” of fresh powder on the fourth day, plenty enough to liven up the tree runs. I was apprehensive about how the RCC3 would perform in the knee-deep snow. Freestyle boards tend to bog down and hang up on turns when blasting through pow. After my first run, I knew this board would be my weapon of choice for the next several seasons. It releases well out of turns and transitions quickly edge to edge, even in deeper spots.
Once I got locked-in riding powder, I completely forgot about the board. It responds so intuitively that maneuvering involves no pre-planning or thought. The fresh snow conditions unlocking the entire mountain’s terrain made me feel like I was playing a video game all day. The RCC3 felt like an extension of my body and let me push my riding to the limits all day long!
Value for the money vs. other options
As the top end of GNU’s board offerings, the RCC3 is one of the more expensive boards in their line. That said, most of the boards I would compare it to in other companies’ lines are significantly more expensive. GNU keeps their boards priced extremely well. I get a lot of bang for my buck with this one, and I think it’s very well priced for all the advanced tech they’ve managed to cram into this board. The RCC3 is cheaper than many comparable boards for hard-chargers who appreciate cutting-edge design. The Jones Ultra Mountain Twin and the Burton Custom X are the two that I’d most closely compare this board to. Since one can scoop it at a lower price than the other two, I put my money on the Rider’s Choice C3 any day of the week.
This board really opened my mind to what an asymmetrical shape can do. I think I’ll start seeing a lot more asymmetrical shapes pop up in the future, and this board shows how much a funky shape can improve riding. It handles well on pretty much any terrain and in various conditions. The board truly shines at resorts and makes the entire mountain a playground. The GNU RCC3 is a serious board for serious riding. Hard chargers will love this one!