I'm going to be getting more seriously into mountain biking this season, so I'm probably going to get a new bike. (Presently, I've got a $250 dept. store bike which I've had for a few years.) My problem though, is that there's no single style that I want to stick to in particular. No need to warn me that there are no bikes that do it all; I've found that out on my own. Anyway, what appeals to me most is moderate freeriding, singletrack/trail, and once I improve, some North Shore style stuff. But I also want to be able to learn some urban-style stuff. Not hardcore trials, but I really want to learn some technical and balance-based tricks. Also, I'm absolutely certain that I want a hardtail.
I'm from the country and spent most of my time outdoors on a bike, but never took it seriously, so I'm probably biting off a bit more than I can chew. In any case, I've been looking at the GT Ruckus Shore:
I also liked most of what I read about the Norco Sasquatch, but a few people had said that due to the frame geometry, it was difficult to ride uphill.
I'd be glad to hear some opinions or recommendations. If it helps at all, I'm about 6' and 140 lbs, and can spend somewhere around $1000 (give or take, within reason).