The Burton Branch Manager has a lot of good things going like lot’s of directional float, nice pop off the tail but also carves up groomers really well. It’s another not just a powder board powder board that we had a great time with. After riding the Burton Skeleton Key the Branch Manager got slightly edged out as a favorite but it’s still a great board that’s highly recommendable.
Jimbo and Peter’s take on the 155 Burton Branch manager
My (James Biesty) take on the 159 Burton Branch Manager.
Size: 155 and 159
Conditions: One day with some soft light CO snow and another day with harder UT snow.
Riders: James, Peter, Jimbo, Tim
Boots: Burton SLX, Burton Imperial, Nike Lunarendore
Bindings: Burton Genesis, Burton Genesis X
Set Up: 23″ wide -15 front -3 back.
Approximate Weight: Felt on the lighter side of normal and nothing bad under foot on the chair.
Flex: Yeah the medium/stiff flex they say it has feels about right on snow and off.
On Snow Feel: It’s a snow surfer for sure that’s tapered and set back but still doesn’t feel like those twitchy tapered boards of old. There is a lot more of a double ender feel to it and it makes me pretty happy. This is more of a powder board first so for day in day out directional mountain riding I’d prefer the Flight Attendant but for powder I’d prefer the Branch Manager. It’s got more of a camber feel but isn’t quite as catchy as camber boards out there today thanks the the mellow early rise in the tail and long nose after some early rise in the tip.
Edge Hold: In the hard conditions it held well enough and was on par with the Landlord and Flight Attendant but I think all of us except for Tim would like to see a little more. Still it’s not that important because this board is mainly for good condition riding and it can hang ok in harder snow.
Turn Initiation: Ok despite the weight rating which is always an issue for Me (190lbs) with any board suggests that the 159 would be my board but the waist width of the 155 is better suited for my boot size. The Flight Attendant 159 and Landlord 159 are a better fit for Peter and my boot size but the 159 Burton Branch Manager is more for riders with size 10ish boots. So the 159 didn’t turn as fast as the boards mentioned above but based on how Peter described the 155 it’s a very fast turner.
Skidded Turns: It’s ok but not ideal and more for the rider that’s had some camber experience. If you are coming from rocker or hybrid rocker there will be some adjustment.
Carving: When I found some soft patches there was a good carve underfoot and it’s very rewarding for such a surfy powder/freeride kind of board. It didn’t have that old school tail wash like a lot of freeride boards use to. That’s what makes this such a recommendable board for riding powder because it’s also fun when there isn’t powder.
Speed: Both boards aren’t on the big racing side but both sizes have a good glide in the flats and both sizes have minimal chatter.
Uneven Terrain: That 155 could weave in and out of any messy situation for us and the 159 could be pretty good for a rider with a bigger foot too. I think the only other board I’d rather be on for snapping turns through bumps would be the CK Nug.
Powder: It’s got a decent nose width, pretty good taper and a good set back on effective edge/side cut. The Burton Branch Manager has a -25 mm set back on effective edge but there is more set back on board than many other Burton Freeride/Powder boards. For example the Set Back On Board of the 155 Burton Branch Manager is -15 cm on the reference stance. If we set all the way back with a 58 cm stance width we can get -20.5 cm back on board. That’s a massive set back on board and -12.5 mm further than the 157 Burton Barracuda and -7 cm further back than the 159 Flight Attendant. The Barracuda has a set back on effective edge of -50 mm and the Flight Attendant of -35 mm compared to -25 mm for the Branch Manager. Even if you are a guy like Peter who is 180 lbs, 5’11” and riding a 155 you have more of the front end of the board floating than these others. It’s also got a more mellow rise in the nose/tail so it planes better than the more abrupt rise of the Flight Attendant. With the Barracuda it’s a little closer because of the extra rocker but I’d still prefer the Branch Manager over it because of the extra set back and less of an abrupt rise in the nose tail. Also it’s more fun on groomers than the Barracuda because of that extra camber. So to sum it up we would rather be on the 155 branch Manager than the 159 Flight Attendent or 157 Barracuda when it dumps so don’t let the -25 mm set back on effective edge let you think it’s not as far back as the others.
Switch: More doable than you would think but you really feel that big nose when it becomes your tail.
Does the rest really matter? I don’t think so but it might be a fun board to slash pipe walls with and it’s got great pop off the tail for directional air.
So all in all the Burton Branch Manager gave us all stoke right off the chair and it’s a board we now have in our quiver.