Marko “Grilo” Grilc lit up the mountains with a bright personality and riding skills. With competition victories and next-level video parts, the Burton team rider had the skills to ride with the best. But it was his sharing of the sport with his family that captured the world’s imagination.
Tragically, Grilo passed in late 2021. While the sport lost an icon, his spirit lives on in the Burton Family Tree Gril Master snowboard.
How does the Gril Master ride? To find out, I rode the 160 version for nearly three weeks at Stowe Mountain Resort. I put the board through its paces across a range of conditions — groomers, ice, powder, slush — for the most thorough test possible. Here’s my take.
The Gril Master is a freeride snowboard by Burton. As part of the company’s Family Tree line, it has a freeride mindset — think natural terrain, deep powder, and mountain exploration. Made in tribute to team rider Marko “Grilo” Grilc, the board has a unique ride that separates it from the pack. With a stunning appearance, it stands out on the mountain.
Like any Burton snowboard, the Gril Master features high-end construction and tech, for performance you can trust. A lightweight, poppy core and ample camber provide energy and pop. Burton’s Balanced Freeride Geometry provides ripping turns and floats through deep snow.
Topping it off is a visual package that’s as much modern art as snowboard equipment. The off-white topsheet captures the winter spirit. A ring of eight golden holographic circles depicts the solar system for a sleek, elegant look. The base — with a molten orange-to-yellow fade — pops off the snow and radiates energy.
What we like about the Burton Family Tree Gril Master snowboard
- Classic shape
- Lightweight construction
- Stunning appearance
- Fun, playful personality
- Smooth and stable
- Feels weightless in powder
- Excellent carving ability
Cons of the Burton Family Tree Gril Master snowboard
- Topsheet graphic fades with time (try a clear stomp pad)
- Flex is a little soft for at-the-limit riding
The Gril Master combines art and science for next-level freeride fun. Using Burton’s trusted tech and a throwback shape, it has performance and style for the true mountain enthusiast. Here are the details.
- Sizes: 140, 145, 150, 155, 155W, 160, 165
- Classic Outline: With its egg-shaped nose and squash tail, the Gril Master hearkens back to legendary Burton decks like the Craig Kelly Mystery Air. That’s a refreshing sight in a sea of twin-tip designs.
- Freeride Directional Shape: With setback camber and a sidecut built around your stance, the Gril Master rides like a twin in hardpack conditions, and floats when the snow falls.
- Directional Camber: With ample camber and a rockered nose, the board carves hard and planes over powder.
- 15mm of Taper: From the nose to the tail, the board narrows by 15mm. That helps sink the tail in deep snow and improves agility from turn to turn.
- Super Fly II 700g core with EGD: Light and full of energy, the Super Fly II core uses strong, lightweight wood species. Engineered Grain Direction (EGD) places perpendicular wood strips along the edges for railing turns and shredding ice.
- The Channel: Offering limitless stance options, this mounting system lets you fine-tune your riding experience.
- 45° Carbon Highlights: A full-length carbon layer for a tuned flex and reduced weight.
- Sintered WFO Base: Super durable and super fast, this recycled material uses special wax infused deep into its pores.
- Super Sap Epoxy: Sustainable epoxy for eco-friendly construction.
The Gril Master is good — excellent. From its on-hill performance to its modern art visuals, it’s a board that hits on all marks. Here’s how it rides.
Central to the Gril Master’s ride is its unique flex pattern. Between the bindings and through the tail, it feels like a 7.5/10. But the nose feels closer to a 5/10. A measured 9mm of camber provides post-turn energy to spare. These elements give it a powerful yet playful ride.
After exiting the FourRunner Quad at Stowe, I’d point the Gril Master down “Lord,” a wide-open groomer. With perfect corduroy ahead and the sun shining, I’d lay it on edge, steer into the fall line, and feel the afterburners kick in. I’d paint long, wide arcs across the mountain, the softer nose absorbing everything in my path.
That’s what separates the Gril Master from other boards — its smooth, magic carpet ride. The soft nose and significant camber give it a cushioned, damp quality across bumps, crud, and ice. While other boards are like a skateboard over concrete, the Gril Master is like a surfboard on morning glass. Then there’s the edge hold–in the days preceding my first ride on the Gril Master, Vermont received significant rainfall. Floods occurred. Snow conditions worsened. That created a hardened layer of ice underneath the snow for a scratchy, slippery surface. But the board held its edge.
I tried to get it to break free. I put my weight further and further inside turns. But the Gril Master kept clawing at the ice, pulling Gs, and propelling me forward. On challenging steeps, it was a precision tool.
In powder, the oval nose liked to poke through and above the snow, and the lightweight build felt like an airplane wing creating lift. On a powder morning, the board felt nearly weightless.
The Family Tree Gril Master is a light board. Off-side hits and between turns, it felt about 10% lighter than similarly sized boards in my quiver. That gave it a quick, agile feeling across the mountain.
But what makes the Gril Master special is its personality. Its combination of traits makes it one of the (if not the) most fun boards I’ve ever ridden. Let me explain.
When I first learned to ride, my stoke level was off the charts. I spent days reading snowboard magazines and anticipating weekend trips to the mountains. When that time arrived, I was elated just to be there. I anticipated every lap and soaked up the feeling of sliding on snow.
The Gril Master brought back those feelings. The board’s happy personality let me play on the mountain but also push myself when the mood suited me. It’s that ability to switch gears that makes the board such a unique design.
Lastly, if you want to know how the Gril Master rides, just watch footage of the man himself. Though Grilo had pro-level skills, there was always an element of play in his riding. Whether dropping pillow lines or performing nose rolls in powder, he was always exploring and enjoying the ride.
If you’re in the market for a new board, I can’t recommend the Gril Master enough. Sure, it has plenty of performance. It can shred, float, and fly with the best of them. But that’s not the point. What separates the Gril Master is its disposition. Like Grilo, it’s all about a good time on the hill.
Sometimes, the snowboard world gets caught up in who can spin the furthest, jump the highest, or ride the biggest line. But the Gril Master encourages you to enjoy the experience.
In the morning, shred hard and boost some airs, but in the afternoon, join your friends for some party laps. The Gril Master’s up for any occasion. It’ll leave a smile on your face from the first chair to the last.
Because of its high-performance yet easy-going design, the Gril Master suits a range of ability levels. If you just started linking turns and want to progress, it’s a board you can grow into. Or, if you’re a seasoned expert, it’s a ride you can take anywhere, from big mountains to smaller resorts.
To buy the Family Tree Gril Master, just head to the Burton website. While you’re there, pick up a pair of bindings (we like the Step-Ons) and boots to complete the package. We also like Evo, for its wide selection and fast shipping.
The Burton Family Tree Gril Master is a snowboard with high-end performance and a playful attitude. Though it has the chops for hard-charging, its magic carpet ride quality is what sets it apart. If you’re a snowboarder who wants to shred hard while grinning ear to ear, give this board a try.
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