Arbor’s range seems to be getting stronger every year, so I thought I’d take a run through the key freeride focused boards in their winter 2014 range. Timeless surf inspired graphics give Arbor a strong identity. These are highly desirable snowboards.
Winter 2014 is the second season that the Abacus Spilt has been in the range. It’s designed to offer performance across a variety of backcountry terrain and conditions, both on the descent and in the skin track. The Abacus is built around Arbor’s acclaimed parabolic rocker shape they call ‘The System’. The amount of rocker is greatest in the centre of the board and reduces towards the tip and tail. This gives a combination of float and edge hold. The ‘Grip Tech’ technology then adds another contact point to the sidecut, giving even more edge hold for hard snow or dicey situations. The Abacus Splitboard comes complete with Karakorum clips for the most secure connection available.
Despite it’s obvious freeride credentials the Abacus has a fully centered default stance and no taper whatsoever. The System rocker is designed to provide all the float required. And, because the Abacus has a twin shape, it’ll feel like a regular all mountain board and retain the tail power and stability that sometimes gets lost with traditional powder specific shapes.
The 2014 Wasteland is Arbor’s top of the range all mountain charger. It’s incredibly beautiful to look at too. This season it still features Arbor’s System rocker and Grip Tech technology for a nice combination of float and edge hold. It also has the new nose shape that Arbor seems to have rolled out across many of their boards this winter. The Wasteland looks like the kind of board that would work for the advanced rider who prefers to ride just the one board, whatever the terrain and conditions, both in resort and off piste.
A Frame and Watchtower
The A Frame (and Watchtower for riders with larger feet) is Arbor’s big gun. It’s the deck that will provide the aggressive big mountain rider with confidence on exposed terrain with big consequences. It’s should excel on committing lines in Alaska and The Alps. The A Frame also has a new tip and tail shape this year (Gentemstick anyone?), but still retains it’s fully cambered stability. No doubt it’ll carve a turn with style and I imagine beat most other boards to the bottom of the hill with ease.
New for this winter is the Steepwater. It’s designed by legendary shaper Steve Klassen and, if it’s anything like the boards he’s famous for, will be stiff and very fast. Arbor say to ‘expect Ferrari like acceleration and control’. It’s tempting to label a board like this as old school. However, without doubt a tonne of work and experience will have gone into creating the Steepwater and I imagine it would be mind-blowing to ride. Definitely not one for the freestyler though.
This year the Element comes in just a rockered shape, the cambered option that was available in recent years no longer exists. The Element has been in the Arbor range since the beginning and is an iconic snowboard. It’s an all mountain board for the rider looking to take it from the park to the steeps of the backcountry and everything in between. It’s a proper snowboarder’s snowboard and, in keeping with Arbor’s Roots line in general, has classic surfboard looks. Much like the Wasteland, the Element features the System rocker, Grip Tech for great edge hold and a twin shape for all mountain feel and performance.
Here’s a video from Arbor going into more detail about how ‘The System’ works:
All images Arbor Snowboards.