The Arbor Westmark is a fun all conditions park ride as well as a pretty accomplished freestyle ride that’s also not bad on the mountain. The Arbor Westmark surprised us because we expected the Arbor Draft with steel edges. Instead it felt like there was a little more to it than that.
The 2014 and 2015 Arbor Westmark is pretty much the same great freestyle board it’s been for the last few years.
Size 153 and 156
Conditions: Snowment to hard pack to soft snow. Some shallow powder too.
Bindings: Rome 390 Boss, Burton Cartel Re:Flex, Flux DS30
Boots: Burton SLX, Burton Ion, Burton Imperial and Nike Kaiju
Stance Width: 22.5 inches centered and 23 inches centered.
Stance Angles: 15 front -15 back
The rocker on this board has a very small radius so between the feet it’s almost flat and then it curves up a little bit past the bindings. Still it’s a continuous rocker board but feels almost as stable as some flat to rocker boards with more rocker than flat. In 2010 the Arbor Westmark was a Mid/Wide board but 2011 forward the Westmark narrowed it’s waist to fit the average freestyle rider. The Arbor Westmark seems like it hasn’t changed much from 2011 to 2014 which is kind of funny that suddenly Transworld Snowboarding gave it a Good Wood Award for 2014.
On Snow Feel: Even though the westmark has a pretty loose playful feel it was surprising to find how stable it felt cruising around in good conditions for a continuous rocker board. They can get pretty loose and unstable. From very steep fast runs to almost flat track beginner runs the Arbor Westmark did a decent job and didn’t have that skate board with the loose trucks squirrely feel. In harder conditions you start to feel it a little less stable between the feet but still not that bad. One footing and flat basing is not that bad but most of us still prefer using a camber, hybrid camber and some flat to rocker boards more.
Powder: The Arbor Westmark’s rocker and fast base planed very well above the thick sierra cement for a freestyle continuous rocker twin. We had some powder experiences in the Arbor Westmark but nothing to write home about. It was mainly shallow thick powder. If you ride in light fluffy pow places you won’t have any issues and it’s far superior than most camber boards of similar shape. In thicker deeper snow in we’d rather be out on a bigger sized Coda or Element RX but it’s still not bad.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The Westmark 156 has a waist width of 25.1 which is about average for a park board of this size. The short radius turn initiation was quick but not super quick like some continuous rocker boars. You can get where you want to go in a hurry if you need to but it’s not as effortless as many continuous rocker boards. Wide radius turns are about the same and rather fun. This is one of the best experiences you can have with a continuous rocker snowboard when it comes to carving. That doesn’t mean it’s going to compete with boards that have camber somewhere in the profile but it’s bearable to carve if you make a gorrilla/shit stance to keep the outer edges of the board down and don’t lean into it too hard. It’s missing that springy feel that camber snowboards have or even some hybrid shapes with camber can generate. So we expected nothing when it came to carving and it actually gave us something.
Speed: At first we thought the 156 would not offer up a lot of speed based on our groups weight and somewhat strong riding style but it was more than enough board for both of us. Even though this base is extruded it was still surprising how well it handled chatter for a continuous rocker board. Even in the flats and on long traverses the 156 Arbor Westmark did a good job keeping speed. It didn’t blow minds but it sure did a good job. To sum it up the Westmark rides pretty big for it’s size and even with an extruded base it does well.
Uneven Terrain: It’s not ideal in the bumpy stuff but the medium flex absorbs end of the day terrain no problem. It’s when you get into really shitty bumpy snow that this can be a bit of a problem. Still it’s not terrible by any means.
Approximate Weight– Not a featherweight but it’s not a heavy weight either. There is no tugging feeling when on a chair lift.
Edge Hold: The Grip Tech technology does a very good job with helping your 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 minor step below Magnetraction in terms of edge hold but the ride has a more smooth traditional feel to it. Even on an icy pipe wall or hard pack the Arbor Westmark will hold it’s edge.
Flex: The Westmark is on the soft side of medium.
Switch: There was no noticeable difference riding either direction.
Rails/Jibbing: A little to stiff for full time rail/jib work but it isn’t bad for a visit. When it comes to playing around in the jib park it’s not great but isn’t terrible.
Pipe: This has an easy feel in the pipe that we liked. Something in the ride kept it from being excellent but it was a pretty fun board to stop in the pipe with. It’s forgiving and has good edge hold but it was missing some of the wall to wall drive we have experienced in other boards.
Jumps: The Arbor Westmark is a solid board when it comes to jumps. It’s not super springy but also isn’t dead. If you are hitting mainly mid sized jumps you will have a great time. It’s debatable as to if the Arbor Westmark will handle going really big. Yours Truly (editor) won’t be caught dead approaching a 60 foot kicker so that’s why we say it will be debatable. Some friends of The Good Ride who go big say it will be just fine and others prefer a camber or hybrid shape so there is some camber to help with off landings. So as always it’s personal preference.
All in all the Arbor Westmark was a nice surprise for a continuous rocker snowboard and should fit many park to all mountain freestyle snowboarders needs.
2014 Arbor Westmark
The factory changed up but most of the people that built Arbor boards at the old factory are building them at the new one. Because of that I’m not expecting the 2014 production model to change much from the boards we tried at the demo.
A quick look at the 2013 Arbor Westmark