The Arbor Formula is a good and uniquie looking directional snowboard for those that are sick of renting and want a good board to learn the basics in the park. It’s stronger in the park but still fun on the mountain. The Arbor Formula is a pretty functional all conditions rocker snowboard for those entry level all mountain freestyle riders.
2014 to 2016 Arbor Formula Changes
The 2014 Arbor Formula changed up the design a little bit. It’s got a new slightly more blunted nose/tail as well as a normal 2 x 4 10 pack insert pattern making it much more easy to dial out for your stance width. The old Formula had a 2 x 4 8 Pack insert pattern. This doesn’t seem like much but the old 8 pack looked like the old boards from the early 2000’s and it was kind of a board from the distant past Snowboard years are like dog years and often times shit can completely change up in 1 year making last year looks complete. Last years forumula was hard to center up your stance and have the right stance width with some bindings like Burton Re:Flex that only allow you to align the discs perpendicular to the waist. The ride is still the same as the old formula and it makes for a pretty good beginner board especially for the $300 price tag.
So the board rides pretty much the same but the addition of a modern insert pattern makes this board a lot easier for a beginner/intermediate rider to get more comfortable. More comfort means more thought on actually learning. So if you want this board get only the 2014 model.
Conditions: Hard pack to soft and playful spring conditions.
Boots: Burton Imperial and Burton Ions
Bindings: Burton Cartel Re:Flex, Union Atlas.
Stance Width: Centered I think 22″ wide….can’t remember but it was more on the narrow side.
Stance Angles: 12 front -12 back
The Arbor Formula is a good beginner to intermediate all mountain freesyle board at a reasonable price. There is one thing we want to point out in the design of the Arbor Formula. It has less mounting options for your bindings than most snowboards do these days. It only has 4 mounting options per binding where most Arbor boards have 7.
On Snow Feel: The Arbor Formula is a good board for learning how to ride regular and switch on groomers. It’s got a moderately loose feel so it’s not going to have a tremendous amount of stability between the feet but that is great for the aspiring freestyle to all mountain freestyle rider. One footing and flat basing can be a little awkward for a beginning rider but it’s a lot harder to catch your edge here than other boards with some camber in them. It’s better than a lot of continuous rocker boards I have come across and it’s pretty stable for this type of board.
Powder: The float in powder of the Arbor Formula is better than camber so you won’t cartweel as much in the deeper stuff. This helps aspiring all mountain freestyle riders learn to ride regular or switch in the powder.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The turn initiation is easy so the beginner can turn without too much effort or catching an edge. If this board was a little lighter it might be super easy but I could feel the weight in the turning process. Most people who buy this board won’t be carving but when you get to that stage you will find it not as fun as other boards with some camber in them.
Speed: The heavy ride felt pretty damp but it’s still loose between the feet and a little bit chattery. I expected this to offer up speed similar to the Westmark but it didn’t. Still it’s not bad for a continuous rocker board.
Uneven Terrain: The flex here is a pretty solid medium and the board’s tech seems to be a bit on the low end so shock absorption in uneven terrain was not that strong. It passed a lot of the shock up through the bindings into my body. It’s good enough for learning how to ride but I’d get tired of this pretty quick if I constantly rode uneven terrain.
Approximate Weight– Pretty heavy but heavy means sturdy. It’s probably pound for pound the most heavy board in Arbor’s line.
Edge Hold: The system/grip tech side cut works very well to create a good grip without feeling overly grippy like some complain magnetraction can do. Even on a hard, cold and windy day that stripped off all the good snow to leave the cement like block beneath the Arbor Formula held it’s edge fine. I was happy to have it and I felt secure when it came to stopping and keeping control over my turns.
Flex: Pretty mid flexing board but because of the continuous rocker shape the board is pretty easy to butter and press.
Switch: It seemed very easy either way and it’s border line excellent. There is a slight difference in the flex between the nose and tail but otherwise it’s very easy.
Rails/Jibs– Very easy to jib and it can handle hard hits/mistakes in the jib park. It’s not an Arbor Draft but it can hang there for all day learning sessions.
Pipe: Great for beginning pipe sessions but not a board for the accomplished pipe rider. there is enough edge hold and a catch free ride that can handle the pipe in any condition.
Jumps: The pop is not bad but the weight makes it a little harder to leave the ground than it should be. Still its good for learning how to ollie and hit kickers in the park.
All in all this is a good beginner snowboard. Once you get better, the Arbor Formula will become obsolete but it’s a good place to start. Our only real complaints were the weight and the widely spaced inserts in the board.