I’ve been hearing a lot about Arbor snowboards lately and although they’ve always appealed to me aesthetically with a lot of sexy woodgrain topsheets, I’ve never had a chance to ride one. This year at Test Fest I finally got a chance and started out with the Blacklist, a midwide true twin park-flexing all-mountain do-it-all board.
Board: 2013 Arbor Blacklist 157cm
Shape: Arbor’s “Park System”, true twin, parabolic rocker with Grip Tech
Bindings: Flux TT30
My stats: 6ft, 210 lbs
Stance: 24″ wide, 15/-15 regs.
Conditions: Bluebird skies, temps in the high 20s maybe 30 degrees firm snow/hardpack getting choppier in the afternoon but not icy. Basically ideal conditions to demo a variety of boards.
Flex: Stiffer through the middle than in the tips. Arbor says “medium soft”. Maybe like a 5.5/10 firmness if I had to rate it. I’d say yeah it’s soft for all mountain but still on the firmer side for park so bigger or more aggressive riders (I am bigger, but not super aggressive in the park) can definitely benefit from some versatility.
Pop: The Blacklist had good, consistent pop but it was not an insane amount of pop.
Playfulness: It’s a full rocker with park flex. Any questions? This board felt fairly damp so maybe expect a little less “feedback” from park features but you would get used to that in a few laps.
Handling: The edgehold with Grip Tech really is superb and didn’t give me any of that unexpected “grabby” MTX sensation. It is beast enough to rail a carve if you want it to, but shorter/quicker turns like through trees or dodging gapers shouldn’t pose any difficulty. It is nimble for a mid-wide but I also wear size 11 boots and am a bigger guy. If you’re smaller or have smaller feet, the Westmark might be a better option for you. If speed is your thing I had it up to 53MPH and I still didn’t doubt this board would eat anything I threw at it. Definitely damp enough to be stable at higher speeds or on choppy snow.
It is a true twin so switch riding is predictable (i.e., you can ride it switch as well as you can ride switch).
[buybtn brand=”Arbor” deck=”Blacklist” ptext=”MSRP of $419 but rumor has it Arbor might drop the price to around $400 for 2013.”]
Summing it up: Is this a quiver killer? Not sure if such a thing really exists but the Blacklist is damn close.
A lot of brands are now marketing “all mountain freestyle” boards. I think this one is more of an “all mountain park” board and that is really what I’ve been looking for. I hemmed and hawed over this board for the last week and finally ended up buying a 2012 since the spec didn’t change on this board. I recommend it for intermediate to advanced riders, bigger guys or those with a more aggressive skate-inspired approach to all-mountain freestyle, random laps through the park, the glades and natural features, this board will handle pretty much anything.