The Blackboard Experiment Arbor Westmark

Here at SNOWBOARDER Magazine, we decided to break the mold of traditional snowboard reviews and embark on a completely unbiased blank snowboard test last winter, called The Blackboard Experiment. We hit up ten brands in snowboarding and asked them to provide us with a snowboard of their choice, but the one caveat was that it had to have a black topsheet and base graphic, so as to keep the anonymity of the brand only between them and us. Then, we partnered with Mammoth Mountain, California because of their hallowed Main Park, a trail that has done more for freestyle snowboarding and terrain park design than almost any other mountain on Earth. We selected 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg to ride the boards and record his experiences, because, one: he didn’t have a board sponsor, and two: Sage is one of the best park riders our sport has ever seen. Last April, Sage made the trek to Mammoth for five days of extreme testing. From sunup to sundown, he was strapped into one of these blank decks and when he wasn’t riding them, he was jotting notes about how they rode on jumps, jibs, tranny and on the trail. The result is the most comprehensive snowboard test that we’ve ever put together. Below, you’ll see exactly what Sage thought of these boards without him knowing what brand made them, so read on and take notes, because he will give you all the info you need, from tip to tail. This is SNOWBOARDER Magazine’s 2016 Blackboard Experiment.


The Blackboard Experiment

The Blackboard Experiment

Arbor Westmark

Frank April, Arbor Team Rider, and the Arbor Westmark. photo: Yoshida


Model Length Tested: 156
Additional Lengths: 150, 153, 157MW, 159
Shape: Twin
Camber: Camber System
Core: Single Malt
MSRP: $449.99


We chose the Westmark Camber because it’s not only a team favorite, but it’s also a best seller for Arbor. That tells us that shape and tech translates well from pro riders to weekend warriors. It features Arbor’s System Camber, which includes a low line of parabolic camber, GripTech contact points underfoot, and Uprise Fenders, which engage and release in and out of turns for smoother transitions edge-to-edge. The low camber provides quick pop, which a lot of our riders really like. The wide tip and tail profiles provide more surface area and subsequently more power into and out of the air, and on and off of features. Not knowing who the mystery rider was going to be, we felt the Westmark Camber had the more diverse feature sets and would be fun for whatever approach the rider took to the mountain. — Matt Patti, Brand Manager, Arbor Snowboards

Sage Kotsenburg Arbor Westmark

photo: Huggy

Sage Kotsenburg, Arbor Snowboards

photo: Mike Yoshida

The whole look of the board is so cool. I love the shape. Once I started turning, it felt like there was always part of my base touching the ground even when I was on my toe and heel edges. This might be a really fun pow board, though. - Sage's first impression of the 2017 Arbor Westmark

Jib Score: 3

Heavy, a little sluggish, hard to get around, and really stiff. It felt smooth when sliding, but it seemed like I was putting all my effort into doing just a frontboard or boardslide. I became more comfortable with it as the day went on, though.

Jump Score: 4

It felt like I was never on edge when initiating a spin. It wasn’t very responsive really, either. The landing was the one aspect where it would power through, though, because it’s stiff.

Tranny Score: 7

Tranny was really fun on this board. It has so much pop. It powered through any kink or bump and made me feel like I was riding on smooth snow. It held its edge through the transition and had loads of pop. The hip and pipe were the best areas to ride this board.

Carve Score: 4

It was a little too stiff for buttering and felt a little sketchy. It was as if you would put all your energy into doing one butter and nothing would happen. I still feel like this board would be really good in powder.

Overall Score: 18