Amongst snowboard brands, Arbor stands out for its long-standing dedication to sustainability. It has also earned a reputation as a brand that makes performant snowboards that meet the demands of even the most serious shredders around.
Given the tumultuous winter we are all experiencing, now seems the perfect time to stress-test Arbor’s Annex Camber board. Its subtle swallow-tail and set-back stance suggest it is powder-hungry, which we’ve got plenty of here in Oregon of late. But we’ve also got plenty of slushy snow, which is its own monster to conquer.
We don’t believe in quiver-killers, but we also don’t believe in single-purpose boards. Can the Arbor Annex Camber handle powder, groomers, and some slush?
We tested the Arbor Annex Camber on Mt Hood, Oregon, in 8-inch powder, fresh groomers, and in slushy snow when it warmed up. We used the Arbor Cypress bindings on an Arbor Annex Camber 158W snowboard.
- It’s fast. Sure, there’s a Wend wax on this board that helps it go fast, but in side-by-side testing, the Arbor Annex Camber is the fastest powder board we tested. Maintaining speed in powder is important, and this snowboard elicits confidence in that department.
- It’s stable. Arbor makes a big deal about its parabolic camber profile, which is fancy marketing speak for “mathematically perfect camber.” We can say of all the boards we tested in powder, the Arbor Annex Camber is also the most stable. Another huge box checked.
- It carves beautifully for its shape – because of its fenders. When you look at a directional board with a swallow-tail that doesn’t have a deep side-cut, you might think it’ll be good for powder floats and not much else. The Arbor Annex Camber surprised us; we took it out on a bluebird groomer day, too, and it carved the piste really well. This is because of its “Fender Tech” arches near the nose, just before the contact points. Think of them as two wheel-wells that help you engage the contact points and get on edge faster when carving, and tiny little snow-plow for powder days.
- It’s fairly lightweight. For its shape and size, we expected the board to be heavier. It’s surprisingly light, which makes its performance in powder even more impressive. Lighter boards often sink and don’t contribute to casting you down the mountain, but we didn’t get any of that with this board.
- It’s responsive. Set-back snowboards can be tough to turn. Because the nose is longer than the tail, you usually have to do a bit more (physically) to get boards to turn, especially in powder. We didn’t get that with the Arbor Annex Camber. It just did what we wanted, when we wanted. We can thank Fender Tech again, but it’s ultimately a testament to how skillfully Arbor snowboards are engineered.
- Grip-Tech works well. In powder, snowboard edges can get a little grabby. Grip-tech, a widely-used snowboard technology that has little bulges at the contact points to engage the edges “easier” for you on groomed slopes, seems like it would not be great for powder runs. We couldn’t be more wrong about that. Grip-tech is great in powder and on groomed runs.
- It’s packed with tech that actually makes sense. A lot of snowboards use a mix of wood, glass, carbon fiber, and other materials meant to create a “great” riding experience. You’re not meant to ride a board and know what each component does, and we don’t with Arbor, either. But after riding it for a few days, we think Arbor’s mixed bag of tech (maple stringer, mixed glass, cross vector netting – and on and on) is engineered properly. We can’t say that about all the boards we test.
- Top-deck aesthetics aren’t great. Subjective hot-take, sure, but the graphics underfoot are a little tired. For a board this great, we wanted better from the graphics department.
- It can be hard to find. This board tends to sell quickly, so when you see one, snap it up!
We just told you this is a great all-around performer, and we don’t like the top-deck graphics. What do you think we’re about to say about this snowboard?
The Arbor Annex Camber is not an all-around winner. It’s purely directional; the set-back stance and swallow-tip tail don’t make it a board you’ll want to ride switch, and it’s not great in the park. I wouldn’t go after side hits on this board often, either. It’s meant to carve, digest powder, and keep you snurfing.
The Arbor Annex Camber is fast, easy to maneuver, greedily eats powder, carves groomers with pleasure, and is just flat-out a fun ride if you’re into long carves and a relaxed ride. The top deck might not be much to look at, but who cares; you’re there to surf powder and carve the piste with your eyes forward. (Besides, our deck was mostly covered in powder during testing.)
The Arbor Annex Camber is a board we’re going back to as our season progresses, and that’s about the ultimate compliment we can give any board. The Arbor Annex Camber is a trustworthy powder bomber with enough character to be just as fun on groomers. Ride it once, and you’ll want to ride it forever.
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