Arbor’s Element and Burton’s Custom series are two of the most versatile all-mountain boards on the market. These directional twin boards shine on groomers, in the park, pipe, backcountry and in powder.
The Arbor Element is a consistent all-rounder which will give you confidence to rail carve and plow through powder, whether you’re a solid intermediate or an expert. The Burton Custom is more suited to powerful all-mountain riders looking to charge steep groomers and carve rail to rail at speed.
Both are valid single quiver options. With Burton’s Custom range, you always know exactly what you are getting – a solid charger for all terrain and conditions. The Element rocker profile is also a very good all-rounder with great value for the money.
|Key features||Arbor Element||Burton Custom|
|All-mountain, park and powder. |
|Price||Rocker or camber – $450||Custom: $600|
Custom X: $750
Flying V: $600
X Flying V: $750
|Stiffness||Medium flex||Custom: medium|
Custom X: stiff
Flying V: medium-soft
X Flying V: medium-stiff
|Profile||System rocker or traditional camber||Custom: traditional camber |
Custom X: traditional camber
Flying V: hybrid rocker camber
X Flying V: hybrid rocker camber
|Rider level||Intermediate – advanced||Custom: intermediate / expert|
Custom X: advanced / expert
Flying V: intermediate / expert
X Flying V: advanced / expert
|Size||153, 155, 157, 158MW, 159, 161||150, 154, 165, 158, 162, 154W, 158W, 162W, 166W|
Element vs Custom: who is the board for?
Depending on what you’re looking for, the Element snowboards are available in a camber or rocker profile. These boards are designed for intermediate to advanced riders who like to ride groomers while not shying away from the park, powder and backcountry.
With a medium flex, they aren’t as aggressive as one would expect but are still better suited to powerful riders who like to charge groomers. If you’re always stoked to ride regardless of weather conditions, this is a great all-rounder option.
The Element rocker model has a smooth downward curve and more edge contact with the snow. By nature, rocker boards float well in powder and pivot and slide around on hard snow.
The torsion of the Element boards give them a great mix between snap, responsiveness and overall versatility. Arbor’s “parabolic rocker” design gives the boards less flex towards the nose and tail.
Burton’s Custom snowboards come in 4 shapes – the Custom, Custom X, Custom Flying V and Custom X Flying V. The Flying V boards have a hybrid rocker profile, with camber under the bindings and rocker in the center and towards the tips.
The Custom and Custom X, on the other hand, have a traditional camber profile.
Burton snowboards marked with an X are typically stiffer, more aggressive all-mountain boards designed for experts. These boards come in $150 higher than the classic Custom models.
The Burton Custom has been a popular staple in the Burton lineup since 1996. Depending on the exact model, the Customs are for riders who like to bomb down groomers at speed, hit the park, pipe and explore trees and backcountry all in one day.
The classic Custom is an all-rounder which will serve the intermediate rider who is unsure of what to buy, or the expert rider looking for a single quiver board, as the perfect all-mountain board.
With the traditional Custom camber shape, this board is great for smooth powerful turns and pop and snap precision.
Note that these boards use a channel disk binding system, so you might need an adaptor to fit into your regular bindings.
Arbor Element vs Burton Custom : powder
The Element’s rocker profile gives the board a surfy and floaty feel on powder. The nose seems to naturally pop up and glide over fluffy snow and it seems difficult to sink.
On the other hand, the camber model isn’t floaty at all. The only thing going for this board in powder is the slightly longer nose, but it’s so subtle that it still feels easy to dig.
The classic Burton Custom isn’t ideal in powder either. With a cambered profile, you can feel the nose wanting to sink in. However, with a set-back stance, additional surface area at the nose and a lightweight core, it is more manageable in shallow powder and fluffy pockets.
The Flying V models ride a lot better in powder than the camber profile boards. The rocker allows the nose to float above the powder with minimal backfoot effort. For a non-freeride or powder board, the Flying V is impressive in powder.
Arbor Element vs Burton Custom: carving
The Element camber carves well but is nothing exceptional. The rocker profile model out-performs the camber board in the carving department and has good edge-hold and stability when riding rail to rail at high speed. It feels super stable and doesn’t seem to want to wash out.
The rocker version rips Euro-carves. Keep in mind that any camber board is going to be a bit catchier than a rocker profile.
The Burton Custom has a firm edge-hold on hard snow but feels a bit loose in icy conditions. When it comes to carving, the edge-hold is definitely grippy enough and you’ll get good spring out of the curve initiation and from rail to rail.
The Custom X boards were made to carve, hard and fast. The board is a gripper ripper and a speed machine on the rails, especially if you put power into it. The combination of lightweight core and stiffness gives a lot of spring between carves.
The Flying V’s are best for carving on softer snow but can also feel a little loose and slippery on hard-pack and icy snow.
Arbor Element vs Burton Custom: turning
The Element rocker allows for catch-free tracking over snow and buttery turns, spins and pivots. The turn initiation is quick and feels so stable that it can feel a bit too locked-in and technical for some.
The camber profile has a great edge-hold on firm snow but can cut-out on ice. It doesn’t feel too catchy when riding fast, but isn’t ideal for skidded turns.
The cambered Burtons are also not very forgiving on skidded turns, however, the hybrid rocker V’s are much more controllable when skidding.
In general, the Burtons are a little more catchy compared to the Elements, but definitely not enough to turn anyone off.
Arbor Element vs Burton Custom: trees & slow sections
The Element camber is a great option if you spend a lot of time in the trees. It’s very maneuverable when riding slow and is a good mix between smooth and snappy.
The Arbor Elements are crafted with mixed gloss lamination, giving them extra durability for dicey tree sections.
The Burton Customs are also very nimble and quick, especially for such aggressive boards. They are quick from edge to edge regardless of the speed you’re going.
The Flying V’s in particular are great tree rides. Short radius turns are quick and swift on the V’s.
Arbor Element vs Burton Custom: fast riding
The rocker Element engages maximum rail contact with the snow when going fast. Go ahead and bomb a groomer at extreme speed to feel the responsive rail to rail grip.
The camber Element is also smooth and stable at speed and displays a nice balance between speed and stability while also being agile at slow speeds.
The Burton Customs are designed with an extra absorbent sintered base material which makes it very dense, damp and fast. The X models in particular have mind-bogging stability at speed. You’ll easily cruise over groomers and maintain sufficient speed on flat sections.
The damp sintered base, sharp sidecuts, shape, flex and camber all make the Custom the classic carver it has been since the mid 90’s.
Flying V models are very stable on softer snow but feel a little less controlled when barreling down a hard-pack groomer.
Element vs Custom : rugged terrain
All the Arbor Element and Burton Custom snowboards are directional twin shaped. This means they have a longer nose than tail for extra float. This extra surface area along with medium to stiff flex bodes well for riding over bumps, chunder and ice shards.
The Custom is nimble enough to move around bumps quickly and forgiving enough to slash through them with its reassuring edge hold.
The X’s are a bit stiff for rugged terrain and unless you unleash your power on an aggressive line, your knees might start to feel the impact.
Out of these boards, the Flying V’s do the best on chopped up terrain while the X models ride better and faster on smooth and consistent snow.
Element vs Custom: jumps and tricks
The Arbor Elements are created with super light core technology and long lasting durability, optimal for park riding.
The Element rocker profile is great for landing kickers and is less likely to catch an edge and slip out if you try a spin without enough rotation. In general, rocker profiles give a skate inspired pop feeling and are great fun for hopping, ollieing, buttering and spinning.
While the camber profile doesn’t score as well as the rocker for pop and flex, they are a bit more consistent for approaching and landing bigger jumps. The approach feels extra stable and the landings feel solid and controlled.
Landing switch is a little tricker because of the longer nose, but it’s a marginal difference and wouldn’t be noticed by a confident rider.
With a decent amount of pop and flex for an all-mountain board, the Burton Custom’s are easy to jump and ollie and will reward you if you’re prepared to put some power and momentum into it.
The Customs are equally stable on approach for big kickers and are very nimble for tricky side-hits. With a stiff landing base, the Customs are a bit better for bigger jumps than smaller kickers.
In general, boards marked with an X aren’t specifically designed for parks and jumps but are so versatile they can go anywhere. They have plenty of pop to play around on boxes and rails and with the right speed and leg power, it’s possible to get air on classic terrain.
Element vs Custom: switch riding
All the boards are twin directional boards. The set-back is so insignificant that it doesn’t make much difference when going switch.
Riding switch isn’t the X’s best quality because of the board’s stiffness.
Those looking to charge all terrain and conditions will enjoy Burton’s Custom range. You always know exactly what you are getting with the Custom and won’t easily outgrow these boards as you progress.
If you have your eye on a rocker profile, the rocker Element is a great all-rounder to advance on. The Element is often chosen because of its reasonable price and value.
Overall, these boards are solid options for those looking for an all-mountain, all-rounder board.