|Riding Style||All Mountain|
|Riding Level||Intermediate - Expert|
|Fits Boot size (US)||< 8, 8-10, > 12|
|Manufactured in||USA by Gilson|
|Camber Profile||Mostly Camber|
|Approx. Weight||Feels Heavy|
|On Snow Feel|
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Gilson Pioneer 2020 Review by The Good Ride
The Gilson Pioneer has a very unique base with a lifted channel on the sides that acts like a soft edge. It makes the board feel very different than other boards like it. Some could really get into it and others might not.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. We do make money from the “Where To Buy” links, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
How This Review Happened: We borrowed this for an extended demo and then returned it.
Conditions: Some wet thick powder and then hard to good spring conditions.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-195lbs)
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV
Bindings: Union Atlas, Union Strata
Set-Up: 22” Wide. Close to Reference and Set as far back as I could go. 15 front -15 back. 18 front -9 back.
Approximate Weight: Feels heavy. It doesn’t come into play riding and it feels damp but its a deal-breaker for those that like a very light board.
Sizing: The 155 felt just right for my specs. It goes from narrow/women/men sub size 8 us in the smaller sizes to 8-10 in the middle sizing, then seems to skip mid/wide and go straight to full-on wide with the 165w.
Flex/Buttering: So the Gilson Pioneer has a really easy bend in the middle and butters were super easy. The tip/tail didn’t seem to give much. It’s a little on the rubbery side and you feel all that extra base going on with their soft-edge/pow channel thing going on. It makes it feel a little more rubbery and damp but it still pops pretty well for those that like a mellow flexing board between the feet. It’s an easy board to ollie.
On Snow Feel/Ability Level/Skidded Turns: The soft channel on the base lifts the edges off the snow and makes it a lot more catch free than you would think for a board with camber from tip to tail. It’s pretty forgiving but it tracks different than any board I’ve tried. In soft snow, it tracks well and feels like it’s lifting you out of the snow a bit. It was a cool feeling. However, in hard snow, the personality underfoot changes a lot. It semi tracks well on the soft edge and feels sort of loose. It’s not like rocker dominant boards that auto-spin but more like it skids a bit and then fights to get back on track. It is a weird feeling and it takes some time to get used to. When you lay the edge into the snow it takes a little more of a lean than regular boards but once the edge engages it turns like a normal snowboard. Other than harder snow it was really easy to get used to the feel.
Edge Hold: Pretty good edge hold.
Turn Initiation: Pretty quick edge to edge but not super quick.
Turning Experience/Carving: It is pretty soft in the middle and we felt less spring out of the turn but the Gilson Pioneer can carve well and it was pretty fun to turn.
Powder: I had barely a powder day on the Pioneer. It was pretty thick wet snow but I could feel the Pow Channel in the base lift the board up and it helped with float for sure. I just wish I could set it back more. The inserts seem to be too wide to get good set back on board which is a shame with 7×2 per binding.
Speed: Way damper than I thought it would be for the flex. Maybe all that extra base material helps dampen it.
Uneven Terrain: Great weaving around bumps in softer snow and decent powering over em. In hard snow, the feeling underfoot made it weird turning but it dampened out small hard bumps on groomers that didn’t set ride before they got super hard.
Switch: Very doable either way and it rode switch really well.
Getting Air/Park: I felt like I could jib with the Gilson Pioneer. I’m no jibber but that soft edge lifting the hard edge off the snow made it very forgiving on the few little jibs I hit. The pipe was ok but I wasn’t feeling the soft edge in the semi-hard pipe.
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