I’ve almost always had a pow board in the lineup. In the late 90s and early 2000s it was an Option Signature 162. After moving to Steamboat and playing around with the Burton Fish and Vapor, I fell in love with the Malolo and rode it as my deep-day board for a few years. Then the Sherlock arrived with a twin shape and Flying V, and I was sold on a twin-shaped powder ride. And then the Flight Attendant arrived, and again redefined what I want in a board primarily ridden in the soft stuff.
I first rode the Flight Attendant at the SIA on-snow demos the year it was introduced. Soon after that I borrowed one from Burton Colorado to ride for the Steamboat Banked Slalom. I liked it, but didn’t find room in my quiver for the Flight Attendant until last season, and then I spent all season wondering why it had taken me so long.
Most pow boards do a great job in deep snow – it’s what they’re designed to do. But for those of us who don’t get to go ride endless blower in Japan or Baldface, we live in the real world where your pow laps are interrupted by groomers, cat-tracks, and chair lift rides. That 176 Winterstick Swallowtail sitting in my snowboard storage rack is an incredible board, and on a 2+’ day it’s a lot of fun to ride for a few laps. It also drives like a boat, is slow edge-to-edge, and is terrifying when you run out of knee deep snow and have to traverse across to a lift.
The thing about the Flight Attendant is that it is far more versatile than most boards designed around deep snow; so much so that I put more days on this board last year than the board I thought was going to be my daily driver (a Custom Twin). Looking through photos from last season, most of the on-snow shots are riding the Flight Attendant – simply because it’s so fun to ride.
Burton says about the Flight Attendant: “Slayers of natural terrain, take this board and set your eye to the sky: the final frontier for freeride glory.” This is accomplished through a short tail, a traditional camber zone that is offset aft of center, with early rocker starting under the front foot. The spoonish nose and mild taper help it perform similar to the Malolo on the deep days, but a 7.6m sidecut radius (on the 159cm) makes it carvey and fun on the groomers. The inserts are set slightly back, but the board rides great with a near centered stance, and the Super Fly II 700G core keeps things snappy and aggressive right when you want it to be.
After a few amazing months of great snow mid-season last year, I was riding the Flight Attendant every day. Not because we were getting snow every day, but because it was such a great board for everything short of dedicated park laps. The Custom is a great ride too – and was what I turned to for AASI events with park and pipe demos, but when the Flight Attendant could do everything the Custom could and perform better when dipping into pow stashes, trees, and crud – it was an easy choice. Even as late-season approached, and the Snowboard Team descended on Arapahoe Basin in May for Rider Rally – the Flight Attendant was still my primary board. During that week we had everything from mid-winter pow days to surfing spring slush, and I continually turned to the Flight Attendant for its ability to handle every condition mother nature threw at us.
This year I added a Custom X and Free Thinker to the mix – and based on my preference for the Flight Attendant last season, I replaced my old Free Bird split with a Flight Attendant Split for the uphill adventures. Look for reviews of all of those boards as the season progresses.
Review Disclaimer: Burton sponsors me as a member of the PSIA-AASI Snowboard National Team.