Heelside turns and toeside turns are mechanically different, obviously. You get a lot of power on your heelside but more finesse from the toeside. Think of your hands to compare –your toeside is dexterous, like your fingers; your heelside is like the heel of your palm, powerful but not nearly as dexterous as your fingers.
That’s a long explanation for why companies like Gnu are using asymmetric sidecuts on some of their boards, including the Park Pickle. Simply put, there is a slightly tighter sidecut radius on the heelside than the toeside of the board. Mervin Manufacturing co-founder Pete Saari explains.
“Standing sideways on a snowboard your body is asymmetric from heel to toe and your turn mechanics are different on your heelside and toe side. Your heel takes power from your entire body and applies it directly to the edge but, you cannot tip the board on rail as steeply as your toeside allows. On your toe side your energy is run from your legs through the 90° angle of your ankle out to your toes and down to your edges…power is reduced but additional finesse is gained as your finger like toes allow fine tuned micro adjustments to your turn or control edge set. Gnu designs snowboards that balance natures asymmetry; deeper sidecuts on the heelside combined with cores tuned to work with the direct power of your heel and the finesse of your toes. Perfectly balanced asymmetry allowings complete freestyle freedom. Although invisible to the naked eye, the heel-side sidecut has a slightly tighter radius than toe-side. This is to help offset the difference in human heel and toe agility (ever notice that toe-side turns are easier than heel-side turns?). The Park Pickle also has a slightly softer/damper wood on the heel-side of the board to help achieve perfect turning balance.”