Arbor Snowboards. Excuse me, Arbor Collective. They were on the whole eco-conscious thing before almost anyone else, and have somehow avoided making their entire brand one endless boner joke despite their undying fondness for wood.
Looking at the boards, I can see why they are so fond of that wood. I’ve ridden a few Arbor boards and they ride fine, but I’d be lying if I said the look wasn’t a big part of why I bought them. They’re just so damn pretty, it almost feels wrong to sticker them up.
And the tech … is okay. In the right conditions they’re as good if not better than a lot of the competition, and in the wrong conditions it rides exactly like a snowboard. And what more could you expect? As involved as “The System” sounds, it’s just over-branding of a parabolic rocker benditure paired with extra-grip edge magic. Not that I’m saying Arbor is the worst for over-branding things that don’t need to be branded.
But this is the real news. In case you missed it last season, Arbor signed Frank April, Mark Carter, and Bryan Iguchi in January, and Marie-France Roy in April. Which has me thinking- how pissed is Scotty Vine? I mean right there all the male riders have a beard and his is clearly the worst. Losing to Frank April on that count isn’t a great look. I’ve also got this completely unsubstantiated theory that Scotty made Erik Leon cut his hair so he could win at least some kind of appearance-based superlative.
So- Arbor makes some of the prettiest boards in all the land, though they try and impress you by slapping a fancy name on a really rather simple technology package. But that team is too stacked for me to not be at least a little excited to see what they do this year, keeping them out of last place with a modest, but respectable 71.