The Burrton Skeleton Key is a board I’ve wanted to try since it came out but didn’t get to. Dan, a guy I met on the chair, let me try it so thanks Dan! It was pretty much everything I was hoping it would be and now I’m not sure if I like the Branch Manager as much as this. After riding this I straight up bought one. I would say go Branch Manager if you can’t find the Skeleton Key and it’s really close but I like the Burton Skeleton Key better. . It really is a great way to surf powder but it’s also got the ability to ride groomers.
Conditions: About 2 feet of powder with some groomers on the way to the chairs. Pretty stormy.
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV
Bindings: Burton Mission
Set Up: about 12 front -12 back and about 22″ wide
Approximate Weight: Felt normal bordering on light
Flex: Nice flex that feels pretty firm between the feet but it was pretty easy to butter the tail.
On Snow Feel: The Burton Skeleton Key got that same great stable feel that so many of the Family Tree tapered directional boards have. I wouldn’t of thought that it had 10 mm of taper. It’s not wash proof but a lot less washy than you would think for a tapered board. It’s a very off the tail kind of surfy ride that’s got a super quick lively feel underfoot. It’s just pure powder surfing fun.
Edge Hold: Didn’t really get to test this out but my guess is it’s like all the Burton Family Tree boards that border on being good in hard snow but really shine in good conditions.
Turn Initiation: So quick and snappy edge to edge. It’s like the Branch Manager and a real tree cheetah. It’s super quick in tight situations and I could react so quickly that it made me feel like I was a better tree rider. The board just went where you wanted it to go with minimal effort. With other boards I could do the same line but often there is an awkward moment getting the board where you want it and I loose my poise but with the Skeleton Key I felt like it was setting me up to be cooler than I am on every turn.
Skidded Turns: Not ideal but not as bad as camber. You really want to know the mechanics of turning otherwise you could catch an edge on the tail if you get off your game. Still its pretty forgiving for having this much camber going on.
Carving: Nice springy surfy carve with the Burton Skeleton Key. I could really lay it out as long as I put a little more weight on the back foot. It would be great for groomer riding after the storm is passed.
Speed: It could handle some decent speed but it’s not quite a bomber. I rode the Burton Flight Attendant after and I could feel that offer up a much more damp ride.
Uneven Terrain: Just about perfect and I could hammer turns in moguls all day. The only minor complaint is it’s a little bucky if you try to power over bumps instead of around them.
Powder: This is what the Burton Skeleton Key is all about. It’s probably the best tree board I’ve tried in a long time. Yes I’m on the 154 and the 158 is a better fit for my specs but it still jams in and out of trees. I really want to do a head to head test with the Branch Manager to see which one comes out on top but man this is a fun ride. It has almost 10″ of setback on board with a 22.75 inch/58cm stance width which is really insane how far back it is for a 154. That’s more than the Branch Manager, Landlord and Flight Attendant. It turns small and floats big. That get’s my pants tight and makes for a fun but sometimes awkward ride if I don’t tuck correctly.
Pipe: Maybe to slash the walls on a softer day.
Jumps: Really good spring off the tail and it boosted me higher than I thought each time I hit a little natural feature. Really great for a directional air.
So all in all I’m now intrigued by the Burton Skeleton Key and really want to get more time on it. After this review I’m going to try to find one and buy it so I can spend more time on it. It might unseat the Branch Manager as our tree board of choice.