Burton Custom X Flying V 2016/17 – report

This year I took a Custom X Flying V 160 away with me to Courchevel.  Conditions were mixed providing an ideal test ground away from my usual UK domes.  We had a solid day of well maintained hardpack followed by two days of poor visibility, but great powder.  Conditions deteriorated throughout the rest of the week into the typical Alpine icey mornings and chopped-up crud after midday- it didn’t matter as the sun was glorious, the wine great and there were plenty of oysters with ponzu… well it was Courchevel.  The fresh snow was coming down as we bused back down the mountain towards Geneva, but we left very content with the variety of skiing we’d experience, and on a personal level, with the progress I’d made to my powder game.

I was glad I’d taken this board – it handled everything I did with it well, if not really well.  I know the Burton purists hate the concept of the Flying V profile on the Custom X, but for someone looking for a versatile all-mountain charger that you can throw switch, I really think you’d struggle to pick a better board from the Burton line.

I’ve always been a bit underwhelmed with the regular Custom FV whenever I’ve demoed one.  It’s a snowboard.  It’s a good snowboard.  It’s just not a great snowboard and it doesn’t sing anything special, which frankly at its RRP, it ought to do something melodic.  The bottom line for the regular Custom has always been about the bottom line for me- it’s quite an expensive way to ride an underwhelming piece of wood, even if it makes a lot of sense as a one-board solution for proper mountain punter riding.

The Custom X Flying V shifts this up several notches.  It’s got tons more pop for boosting side hits and it feels a hell of a lot more responsive edge-to-edge.  It is noticeably stiffer, so my pathetic presses and lame attempts to butter were firmly put back in the box of tricks riding this.  A better rider could get more out of this though: stiff – yes, lintel – no. The stiffness comes torsionally and in the ends, not necessarily between the bindings where the Flying V does facilitate some pressing and flexing to engage or disengage the edge.

It’s super quick – I certainly had no issues holding pace with the ski pack and it does so with solid, reliable stability.  The teeter-totter you’d expect from a Camber-Rocker-Camber profile wasn’t ever-present like some rides.   That said, it doesn’t feel locked-in and burly like a full-camber board, so despite needing to be on my game given the speed it was capable of, I wasn’t nervous about catching an edge or it throwing me down the slope with my hamstrings ripping full scorpion.  I got through a nasty-ish mogul field or two completely unscathed and it gave me confidence to cruise the tops or rip around them without much worry.  It felt like it was delivering on what a normal Custom FV is supposed to be about when I read or watch the Burton guff.

I’d say edge hold on ice wasn’t up there with the best.  I’ve got used to magnatraction on Lib Techs and my Jones board, and this is a Pandora’s Box technology once you’ve experience mag on icey conditions and hard snow.  I know, it’s just side-cut tech to cover up bad technique etc…. blah, blah, whatever…. it works, especially on rockered boards.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a ton more edge hold on the Burton than I had on the Capita board it replaced from the previous holiday, but it still felt like it didn’t take a lot of effort to push it into washing out from under my feet once you were really pushing a turn hard- or too hard – as we all do on occasion.

Where this board really did it for me was the powder days.  It’s got a small set back stance, but still feels quite twinnish on groomers.  Even on the reference stance, a little lean and it floated beautifully on the pow.  Pop the bindings back a couple of centimetres in the Channel, and it transformed from aggressive freestyle board into a surfy cruiser that was stable underfoot and predictable to learn my turns.  I had it paired with Burton Genesis bindings – possibly the comfiest bindings on Planet Earth –  in powder this set up was pure heaven and without a shadow of a doubt, the ‘run of the holiday’ was there, in that moment of pure, unadulterated snowboard fun that has made all the bruises, physical and mental  frustrations worth every single moment of misery!

IMG_1732

this board is exceptional in powder for an all mountain charger

I know as a bona fide punter, Custom X’s aren’t supposed to be in my quiver.   They hurt, they bite, they should probably be licensed, carry liability insurance and wear muzzles if out in public.  But this board really was a good all-rounder for aggressive riding.  I’d expected it to be reserved just for the powder days, or maybe the odd day when we were planing on charging around a lot.  I had my Process 155 with me for groomers and family riding, but I actually found I was riding this deck a lot more throughout the holiday, even when out with my kids – both of whom are beginners on skis, so it wouldn’t be the ‘natural choice’ for the kiddy runs into town.

3783A256-D3D7-4F51-ADA8-54F48725ADD0
great versatility across the mountain

I had the option to hang on to this board – and I did consider it.  However there’s a little too much crossover for me with my Lib Tech TRice.  At the end of the day, I prefer the feel of the Lib as at 157, it’s more chuck-about-able compared to the 160 Burton I was riding.  If I were buying one, I’d like to try the 158W and accept the downsize on the weight chart.  However, if you are looking for a one board solution to ride across the mountain fast, knowing you’ll get variable terrain and good chance of scoring some powder, then this would be a very solid choice from the Burton line up and doesn’t feel as aggressive as Custom X branding would indicate.

Notes:

  • board ridden was a Burton Custom X FV 160
  • paired up with Burton Genesis EST Bindings in L
  • Burton Ion boots – size UK 10.5

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