Hello and welcome to my Burton Skeleton Key review.
In this review, I will take a look at the Skeleton Key as a surfy-freeride snowboard.
As per tradition here at SnowboardingProfiles.com I will give the Skeleton Key a score out of 100 (based on several factors) and see how it compares with other surfy-freeride snowboards.
Board: Burton Skeleton Key
Style: Surfy Freeride
Flex Rating: Medium
Flex Feel on Snow: Medium (5.5/10)
Rating Score: 90.0/100
Compared to other Men’s Surfy Freeride Boards.
* note that the "surfy freeride" category is a new category here at Snowboarding Profiles - and represents freeride boards that are in that softer flex range - 6.5/10 or less. They're not necessarily "surfy" feeling boards as such - but "slightly softer flexing freeride" just didn't have the same ring as a category name!"
Out of the 28 men’s freeride snowboards that I rated:
Overview of the Skeleton Key’s Specs
Check out the tables for the Skeleton Keys specs and available sizes.
Directional Hybrid Camber Camber to tail and rocker in the nose
Waist Width (mm)
Rec Rider Weight (lb)
Rec Rider Weight (kg)
Who is the Skeleton Key Most Suited To?
The Skeleton Key is great for anyone looking for a softer flexing freeride board. Someone who wants to carve, hit powder whenever they can and might like popping some rollers, ollies or lips.
Not for someone who likes to ride switch or do 180s, but not a lot of freeride boards are.
Not for a beginner at all. It's not overly stiff, but still too stiff for a beginner - and there's a a lot of camber there, so even someone who is just identifying as intermediate might struggle a little too. Solid intermediate and up, IMO.
The Skeleton Key in More Detail
O.k. let’s take a more detailed look at what the Skeleton Key is capable of.
Board: Burton Skeleton Key 2020, 158cm (258mm waist width)
Date: March 9, 2019
Conditions: Sunny with some clouds and perfect visibility.
Snow was well groomed and soft on top on groomers and soft but quite tracked off groomer (but there had been quite recent snowfall and still some untouched pockets).
Bindings angles: +15/-15
Stance width: 560mm (22″)
Stance Setback: Setback 50mm
Width at Inserts: 268mm (10.55") at front insert and 268mm (10.55")*
*unusual for a board this directional to have identical back and front insert widths, but in this case the setback seems to cancel out the taper. Taper usually makes the back insert narrower than the front insert, but setback means that the back insert is on a wider part of the board as it's closer to the wide points, but in this case those 2 things seem to cancel out.
Rider Height: 6'0"
Rider Weight: 185lbs
Rider Boot Size: US10 Vans Aura
Bindings Used: Burton Malavita M
The Skeleton Key provides really effortless float in powder. It was an enjoyable board to hit the powder on for sure, and I'm sure would perform well in deeper powder too.
And it was no surprise that this was the case, given the rocker in the nose, the long wide nose vs the narrower, shorter tail and a good amount of setback along the effective edge too.
There was 59cm from the center of the front binding to the end of the nose and 42cm from the center of the back binding to the end of the tail - so you're a good bit back on this board, and you really felt that in the powder.
It's just that little bit wider too, so it's really set up to ride powder.
Carving & Turning
Carving: A great little carver. It's got plenty of camber and spring out of turns and just really fun to carve on. S turns are fun too. It's not so unforgiving that you can't ride it a little more casual too, when you feeling it.
Maneuverability at slow speeds: It's not super agile, but it's not a tank at slower speeds either. Having that softer flex for a typical freeride board helps to make it more agile at slower speeds.
Skidded Turns: Doable, but not ideal.
I was surprised at how stable the Skeleton Key felt after opening it out. When riding it slower it felt like it had quite a bit of flex to it, which usually makes a board feel a little wobbly when riding fast. But it surprised me. Not the bomber that stiffer boards can be, but still really good.
Handled uneven terrain really well. Forgiving enough in crud and going over bumpy terrain and nimble enough to go around bumps. The personality of this board adapts well to both slower, trickier terrain and faster terrain where you can open out.
Let’s Break up this text with a Video
Not bad for jumps. Not something I'd be doing too many spins on, but for straight air it's not bad.
Pop: The pop isn't epic. It's not like what you get out the Paramount of anything like that, but it's decent enough. Decent spring off the tail.
Approach: Nice and stable for approaches to larger jumps. Not ideal for smaller jumps or trickier side hits, but not bad either.
Landing: Nice and solid on a landing, but forgiving enough too.
Side-hits: OK on side-hits. Not for doing 1's off sidehits, IMO, and not like super nimble for trickier approaches, but poppy enough and not bad overall. But certainly good for straight air over rollers, lips etc.
Small jumps/Big Jumps: Slightly more suited to medium to large jumps vs smaller jumps/hits.
Felt weird to ride switch and looking at the specs it's no surprise.
Not really one for spins, IMO. Just didn't feel like a natural spinner - and taking off and landing switch wasn't great.
Not one for jibbing really. Doable if you really want to, but limited for jibs.
It's got some flex in the tip and tail, but not really one for buttering and the tip and tail flex feels different, so it's just a bit weird to butter on.
Score Breakdown and Final Verdict
Check out the breakdown of the score in the table below.
Contribution to Final Score
TOTAL after normalizing
Overall, the Skeleton Key is a fun ride - nice and carvy with all that camber, but handles powder and uneven terrain really well too and isn't bad for jumps/ollies either.
It's a great option for those looking for a softer flexing freeride board and one that's a little lower cost than most freeride boards.
More Info, Current Prices and Where to Buy Online
If you want to learn more about the Skeleton Key, or if you are ready to buy, or if you just want to research prices and availability, check out the links below.
If you want to check out some other surfy freeride snowboard options, or if you want to compare how the Skeleton Key compares to other surfy freeride snowboards, then check out the next link.