The Arbor Blacklist in a lot of ways is a mid/wide softer version of the Arbor Westmark. It’s a fun do anything park board that can also handle a little speed on the mountain. The Blacklist is going to be a fund board for those that want to have a lot of the all mountain freestyle qualities that the Westmark has. Arbor makes some of the better all conditions continuous rocker boards out there. The 2014 Arbor Blacklist hasn’t changed much from 2013. It’s still the same good ride it was before.
Conditions: Firm but fun to hard in the morning and soft in the afternoon.
Boots: Burton Imperial Size 9
Bindings: Fux DS30’s
Stance width – 23 inches centered
Stance Angles: 15 front -15 back
2012 vs. 2013 extruded vs sintered bases. There is a pretty bad stigma with extruded and I don’t really know why. Most all mountain riders don’t want an extruded base but this isn’t an all mountain board. It’s made for all mountain freestyle riding at best but it’s mainly for riding everywhere in the park. An extruded base makes sense for the Blacklist because they are focusing more on the park, it’s sturdy, doesn’t need to be waxed often and it’s great on rails/boxes. If they put an extruded base on the Element CX I’d have serious issues but I usually don’t even flinch when I hear a park board is extruded. So in conclusion everyone always freaks out when they hear that a base is extruded but the sad truth is often it’s like Vodka. Everyone says they can tell the difference but if you go buy them Sky on the rocks instead of Belvedere 8 out of 10 drinkers wont notice.
On Snow Feel: Continuous rocker is almost always pretty loose between the feet but arbor does something special with most of their continuous rocker boards that makes them a little more stable between the feet than other continuous rocker boards we have encountered. One footing and flat basing isn’t bad bad for this type of camber profile but it’s still not as stable between the feet as some hybrid shapes we have come across. It’s the kind of board that makes you want to butter and pop all over the mountain at slow to moderate speeds. It felt like a mid-wide Arbor Westmark.
Powder: If you compared this twin with a centered stance to a camber board of this size the rocker it has would blow it away. The Blacklist’s rocker points up instead of down so that always makes it easier.
Turn Initiation– The Blacklist had a nice easy turn initiation if you are someone with a bigger boot. If you aren’t the 25.9cm-26.2cm waist will be a little bit of work like it was with my size 9’s. Still I’m pretty sure that a larger boot would have almost the same fun as I did on the smaller waist Westmark. Short radius turns are fine, wide radius turns are pretty good but carving as you would expect isn’t there with a board with some camber somewhere in it. It’s one of the better continuous rocker carving boards. You can get by with a mellow carve which says a lot for it’s continuous rocker shape.
Speed: The speed is pretty good here but nothing to write home about. I liked the Westmark better here but it isn’t bad at all for it’s flex and shape.
Uneven Terrain: Let’s face it. Uneven snow sucks but the Medium/Soft flex and forgiving ride of the Blacklist helps you deal with those bumpy days on the hill. I experienced some soft snow later in the day that got pretty tracked up and it felt like an off road vehicle with lots of shock absorption. A mid/wide rider would love this board here but it’s a little more work than you would expect for a continuous rocker board if you are not sporting bigger feet. I much preferred the westmark here.
Weight– Not a featherweight but pretty light for a mid/wide. There is no tugging feeling when on a chair lift.
Edge Hold: The Grip Tech technology does a very good job with helping the edge hold on to the snow. Grip Tech is basically an extension of the edge at each binding. It doesn’t feel catchy but grips very well. It might be a step below Magnetraction in terms of edge hold but the ride has a more smooth traditional feel to it. It holds very well in hard snow but when the snow is soft doesn’t feel grabby. It’s not an ice specialist like some of the more aggressive magnetraction but there is enough grip for what most sane people want to ride.
Flex: The Blacklist is on the soft side of medium. That combined with the continuous rocker shape makes this easy to butter or press.
Switch: There was no noticeable difference riding either direction.
Rails/Jibbing: The blacklist is not bad in the jib park. It’s closer to the Draft than the Westmark here. You can get along pretty well with all but the really challenging technical rails would be better hit with the Draft thanks to the brass rails.
Pipe: The edge hold is great so it’s always ok to come into the pipe. It also has a nice forgiving feel to it but the only thing it’s lacking that some might want is the carving drive between walls that advanced to expert pipe riders require. I’m not a bomber pipe rider but it wasn’t bad for a size 9 foot rider to hit the pipe with. I could see a size 11+ rider having a really good time with this here.
Jumps: The Blacklist is a solid board when it comes to popping off natural terrain on the mountain and hitting small to large jumps in the park. It’s not as springy as the Coda but you sacrifice a little bit of pop for more stability at speed as a result. Also the Coda is a popaloptycus so it doesn’t mean this is dead by any means.
All in all this is a good mid/wide board that has a good check for most all mountain freestylers that want to ride in all conditions worthy of riding. My only issue is when it’s an all mountain freestyle board like this I’d like to have more carving power for the time spent on the mountain. Other than that one complaint it’s a good time board that many riders will appreciate. I have heard that some people recommend this board for riders of all size feet but I would only recommend this for Mid to Wide footed riders.