I'm a big fan of freestyle, but every once in a while it's fun to just take a board and ride your butt off down a huge mountainside. There's no greater rush than to get going in speed straight down a mountain that you've never been down, the fresh powder spewing out all around you, creating a massive cloud in your wake. But in order to handle all this fresh powder, you need a board that has an impressive cutting edge, so that you can maneuver though the unpacked snow without getting too weighted down in it. It's far too easy to sink into the unpacked snow, get caught, and get injured petty bad, because of it. So it is VERY important that you have a quality freeride board in order to make it through.
When I do freeride, I generally go with a bigger board, with the Arbor A-Frame, I go with a HUGE 170 cm board, which is the biggest that they make. This board is extremely awkward, but it's incredible for building up speed and cutting through the fresh powder on big mountains, especially after a recent snowfall. For most people, I would say that the 166 cm board is more than enough to accomplish the same effect, but I prefer the bigger board, as I feel there's less chance of injury for myself at higher speeds with a bigger board. I lose my responsiveness, but I'm capable of gliding over a lot of the traps that my friends get caught in on their multi-purpose boards.
This board is made with incredible cutting edges so that you have the highest cornering ability possible. The board is also strong enough to be able to handle the rigors of taking on small jumps, although a little too heavy and unflexible in order to truly gain any real height.
If you are considering trying this board out for some freestyle trickery, don't, you'll end up injuring yourself. This is a fairly stiff board, it has great shock absorption, but it is extremely stiff in comparison to a freestyle board, and since it is much bigger it's harder to rotate the board fast enough to be able to pull off big tricks. You'll find, especially if you are used to a freestyle board that you will need far more time to make your tricks, and you'll get far less air than you would with a quality freestyle board.
This board is one of the best made on the market. In fact, I would have to say that there probably aren't any boards that are going to hold up any better than an Arbor snowboard in general. The A-Frame is no exception to this rule. The board is made out of a 50/50 blend of paulownia wood and poplar, which essentially makes a blend that is somewhat similar to Aspen. This makes for an extremely lightweight board, while not sacrificing durability.
I have never seen anyone damage an Arbor board yet, and I ride with a pretty substantial group of boarders, so I would have seen something by this point in time, if there were any issues with the board. The group that I ride with is extremely pro-Arbor and the large majority of us, have at least one of the Arbor boards in our collections. I have a good 15 boards in my collection, and two of those are Arbor boards. But with all of us boarding together all the time, we haven't seen a single incident of the Arbor board, bowing, losing lamination, cracking, warping, anything... the boards are built solid and last a long time.
The A-Frame is a freeride specific carver for riders who want more on-edge performance. It's designed to lock into and hold a deeply cut line, provide tight edge control in the steeps, generate on-demand stability, and deliver effortless performance. The A-Frame's powerhouse tail creates the landing platform and edge-to-edge torque required for a true big-mountain gun.
# Ride Style: Freeride
# Lightweight, blended paulownia wood core that has a 50-50 ratio of paulownia wood and poplar. Paulownia is strong like such core woods as aspen, allowing weight reduction while maintaining a high level of durability.
# 2x4 14-pack inserts provide a huge stance range, while preserving micro-adjustability.
# Sintered P-Tex- Pioneered by Never-Summer, sintered p-tex sidewalls provide maximum durability and edge control.
# A triple radius sidecut that provides speed and landing stability, with improved turn/spin initiation
# Sintered base- An advanced UHMW sintered compound that provides unmatched durability, wax absorption, and speed.
# Gallium-Indium additives help eliminate the static electricity that is generated between a board and snow, conducting heat from the base and improving the friction ratio and further increases speed in all types of snow.
# Detailed die-cut
# StrucTurn finish builds structure into the board's running surface, significantly increasing turn-ability and acceleration.
# Factory wax
# Carbor fiber reinforcing
# Quadrax fiberglass
# Durafilm to protect wood topsheet
If you are looking for a great mountain board, this is probably one of the best on the market. I wouldn't really use it for the purpose of snowboarding off of a groomed mountain, because of it's huge size, but it works great in the back country and is the only board that I would realistically use for the purpose of boarding on large amounts of fresh powder.
If you are using this board at a highly used mountainside, you will find that it's quite scary with how fast you pick up speed and could end up causing more injury than entertainment, unless you are a fairly skilled rider. Even myself, I wouldn't use this board on a groomed mountainside, because the amount of speed gained just isn't worth the risk. The board has a great cutting edge so you can avoid moguls and the like, but you can get it going so fast sometimes, that you just don't have the reaction time to be able to make a quality move without throwing yourself incredibly out of balance at the same time. This could prove extremely painful for the inexperienced rider.
Overall however this board is great for the intermediate to advanced rider that really wants to have the stability and performance going down a mountain. It can be a whole lot of fun and will hold up to anything that you can throw at it.