One World Family Tree Backseat
Photo credit: Burton

Recycled Plastic Pow Surfer: Burton One World Family Tree Backseat Driver Review

In celebration of its new film, ‘One World,’ Burton and Mountain Dew partnered to create a snowboard with all-new construction and no bindings.

The Burton Family Tree Backseat Driver provides simple, fun, downhill access — from backyards to urban hills and backcountry slopes. And for 2021, Burton’s limited-edition “One World” version of the board will have a recycled plastic core.

Naturally, we decided to take one for a spin surfing some pow. “Pow surfing” is a straightforward way to enjoy deep turns while avoiding crowded resort days or unstable out-of-bounds snowpack.

A combination between a snowboard and surfboard, each pow surfer’s shape, profile, and material composition offer a unique feel underfoot. Burton’s One World Family Tree Backseat Driver Snowboard stands out for its float and nimble ability.

In short: The Burton One World Family Tree Backseat Driver Snowboard is a durable, reactive, steerable pow surfer. The topsheet has two aggressive stomp pads for excellent back and front foot-to-board contact. And for expert or beginner snowboarders, this ride is one of the most affordable choices on the market.

one world family tree backseat snowboard
Photo credit: Dean Blotto Gray

Burton One World Family Tree Backseat Driver: Snowboard Review

I rode the One World Family Tree Backseat Driver Snowboard down snowy slopes on the periphery of Crested Butte, Colo. I also snowmobiled into the backcountry with the surfer to explore steeper, longer descents.

Due to volatile avalanche conditions, I rode faces below 30 degrees. I hiked between each run: setting the bootpack is the longest, most challenging lap. While I live near Crested Butte Mountain Resort, pow surfers are not meant to slash groomed runs, hardpack, or ice.

This directional board features a flat-to-rocker profile with a 25 mm taper, which pops the nose up in the snow. With the board’s super setback stance, I immediately noticed its pivot power and quick turn initiation. I knew where to position my feet thanks to the stomp pads’ diagonal rows of sharp lugs.

I appreciated the security of my foot placement atop those nubs, but they made mid-run adjustments less fluid. Not all pow surfers have an integrated metal edge like this one. I could easily dig the board sideways into slopes to situate my feet before dropping in. And the board diced through wind-affected snow.

The board comes in one size only: 140 cm with a 260 mm waist. This makes it ideal for a 120- to 180-pound rider. Other wider boards offer more stability and smoother planing but less reactivity for turns. The extruded base means it’s naturally speedy and requires nominal waxing and maintenance.

one world family tree backseat
Photo credit: Dean Blotto Gray

Burton’s Budget-Friendly Backseat Driver

Burton launched its second-ever pow surfer, the Family Tree Backseat Driver Flat Top Snowboard ($300), in 2018. This season’s One World Family Tree Backseat Driver Snowboard is built from the same mold as its popular predecessor. The board’s two key differences are its electric neon graphics — the brilliant orange color sold out in less than 24 hours — and the core material.

 Family Tree Backseat Driver Flat Top Snowboard 2018

Check Price at Burton

A spectrum of pow surfboard styles and prices exist, but Burton’s boards are the most budget-friendly. The Grassroots Powdersurfing handcrafted boards are customizable with various shapes, profiles, and widths ($400-500).

The brand also offers a Youth Slasher 3D 120 cm ($300) for groms. Pow surf pioneer Äsmo crafts high-end planks ($917-1,121). There’s also the Weston Backcountry Pow Surfer ($499) and Jones Mountain Surfer ($499).

By contrast, Burton’s only high-priced surfer is its recent Family Tree Resonator board ($1,250), made in partnership with Varial Surf Technology and its aerospace foam tech.

Regardless of board choice, pow surfing is one of the most financially accessible winter board sports. Surfing snow doesn’t require sport-specific outerwear, a season pass, vehicle transport, or travel. Surfers can wear snowboard boots or waterproof, above-the-ankle hiking boots.

And you can hike (or get a ride) to the top of any hill. The activity’s streamlined gear list makes pow surfer laps communal and easy to share.

Burton One World Family Tree Backseat Driver: Recycled Plastic Core

Instead of 100% wood, this limited-run board’s design features nose-to-tail strips of rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate plastic). The rPET is a mixture of various reclaimed plastics, including clear single-use bottles.

The product’s upgrade, a collaboration with Mountain Dew, coincides with Burton’s “One World” campaign and snowboarding film, which celebrates environmentalism.

One World Family Tree Backseat & Mountain Dew
Photo credit: Jesse Dawson

Adopting rPET in this model was one experimental step Burton made toward sustainable manufacturing. In 4 years, the snowboarding pioneer has reduced its carbon footprint from snowboard production by 19%.

Unfortunately, the material cost of rPET increases the price tag for consumers ($50 per board) and challenges production scale. Burton’s priority is to help make riding accessible to snow surfers of all ages and backgrounds. So next season, the classic wood core will return.

Pow Surfing: Popular Pastime

“We’ve seen lots of growth in the pow surfing freeride market. And in these COVID times, people are looking for a great way to get outside away from others and get the turns we all crave,” said Matt Bothfeld, Burton Snowboards’ brand content specialist.

At the time of publishing, this winter’s run of Burton, Jones, and Weston Backcountry pow surfers are out of stock. And Burton’s standard pow surfer sells out every year, Bothfeld noted.

This September, the Family Tree Backseat Driver Flat Top Snowboard will replenish shelves. (The One World Family Tree Backseat Driver Snowboard will not).

one world family tree backseat snowboard
Photo credit: Dean Blotto Gray/Natural Selection Tour

Surfers: Use a Safety Leash

Pow surfboards can rocket down slopes if there’s no leash attached. Avoid the hazard: The Burton Powsurf Leash ($60) connects to a surfer via a cushioned Velcro strap.

Alternatively, the Grassroots Powder Surfing Powsurf Coil Leash ($30) clips to a rider. And the brand’s Coil Powsurf Leash with Quick-Release ($35) features a pullable pin, so the rider can detach in an emergency.

burton powsurf leash

Check Leash Price at Burton

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Morgan Tilton

Staff Writer Morgan Tilton is an adventure journalist specializing in winter sports coverage, travel narratives, and outdoor industry news. A recipient of nearly a dozen North American Travel Journalists Association awards, when she’s not recovering from jungle expeditions or doing field research in far-out villages she’s usually trail running, mountain biking, river surfing, or splitboarding in Colorado’s San Juan and Elk Mountains, where she grew up and lives today.