Burton Skeleton Key Review

This is my review of the Burton Skeleton Key snowboard.

I’m a certified snowboarding instructor with decades of riding experience. I’ve used many different snowboards over the years and know how to accurately assess performance, construction, and value traits.

The Skeleton Key is an all-mountain snowboard with a playful nature. It looks like a powder board but does well in various situations when the snow isn’t soft. It has a unique design but doesn’t quite shine in any particular way.

In this post, I’ll review every aspect of the snowboard to give you a good idea of how it does when put into action. I’ll look at the good and the bad, so you can decide if the board is worth buying. 

Let’s unlock the door and get to it. 

Burton Skeleton Key Overview

The Burton Skeleton Key is a unique niche board that doesn’t entirely fall into a single category. Technically, it’s an all-mountain board that can work in a variety of situations. Based on its looks alone, you’d think it was a powder board. 

I think that this is a decent board but lacks the focus that keeps it from standing out in any particular way. It’s versatile and will get you by when you want all-mountain abilities. It just wouldn’t be my first choice in a specific terrain or condition. 

The board is very playful, and that’s easily its most noteworthy characteristic. You can have a lot of fun riding on the Skeleton Key, and this translates into all sorts of terrain – from powder to the park. It’s a board that can be easy to like without knowing exactly why. 

With a directional shape and slight cutout tail, this looks like a powder board. Indeed, it has the float and surf you want when the snow starts to stack up. Looks can be deceiving, and the Skeleton Key holds up equally well in other situations. 

The board has more camber than your average powder board. But it also has a pretty soft flex. That’s a unique combination that can take some getting used to. It has a profile built for aggressive riding but a flex built for play. 

In deep snow, the directional shape, cutout tail, and soft flex tend to show off. You can expect a fun and floaty experience in powder. It can make laid-back turns and carve with ease. This applies to more groomed runs as well. 

The Skeleton Key won’t give you great freeride capabilities. Even with its camber profile, the board can’t cut through crud or quickly adapt to changing conditions. The soft flex puts an apparent limit on things. 

It does surprisingly well inside the terrain park for a board with a cutout tail and powder focus. But there are limits here as well caused by an inability to ride switch. It also tends to get unstable at higher speeds. 

Overall, I’m not sure who to recommend this board to. It’s worth trying out if you want a unique experience and have a playful riding style. But it doesn’t deliver exceptional performance in any particular situation, making it a little lackluster in my eyes. 

Detailed Review

The Burton Skeleton Key is a playful all-mountain powder-shaped board with a unique directional shape. It’s fun to ride but doesn’t excel in any natural way. It does have quality construction and can be a good board to add to your quiver if you are a Burton fan. 


The Skeleton Key will give you decent performance in a variety of situations. It’s an all-mountain board at heart, even though it may not look like it, and you can use this model to take advantage of those days when you want to explore. 

The board stands out in two ways – its playful nature and powder-seeking shape. Even with a lack of direction, this is a fun board to ride. It will give you a relaxed but effective type of performance that allows for creative lines. 

In fresh snow, the cutout tail and directional shape allow you to surf and float to your heart’s content. It has the very obvious look of a powder board but is far more capable in other situations than models that are entirely in this category. 

The same traits that make the board fun and playful show up as limitations in more technical terrain. The Skelton Key is not very good at cutting through crud or dominating freeride lines. It just doesn’t have the power or hold to deliver here. 

You can also expect some chatter at higher speeds, and the directional shape makes it challenging to ride switch. While it’s playful enough to be used for freestyle riding, there are apparent limits based strictly on its shape. 


The Skeleton Key might have some issues with its identity when it comes to performance, but its construction is solid. This is a well-built snowboard that represents a lot of innovation in technology and design. 

The board has a directional shape with a 10mm taper in the nose to help increase its turning abilities. This shape helps it in the powder, and it also has a directional camber with a rockered nose that comes into play in deep snow. 

The cutout tail gives the board its unique look, especially for an all-mountain board. This feature works well with Burton’s Squeezebox profile to help highlight stability and playful response. The core is thicker than the tip and tail to create quick maneuverability. 

A Super Fly II core keeps the Skeleton Key lightweight but still strong and durable. This provides a stable base for the rest of the build-out while keeping the playful nature on full display. 

Triaz fiberglass laminates are another construction feature that adds durability and keeps the softer flex equal across the length of the board. The board also comes with a recycled sintered base that is very durable and easy to maintain.     

Additional Features

As with nearly every model Burton offers, the Skeleton Key comes with several additional features that represent the innovation and commitment to quality that the brand is well known for. 

The board has Balanced Freeride Geometry that is critical in making a powder-focused design work well all over the mountain. This creates a setback camber and centered sidecut that gives the board more of a playful, freestyle feel. 

Infinite Ride technology is another cool feature that Burton includes in almost all of their new boards. This helps create increased strength and durability over the lifetime of the board and leads to long-lasting performance capabilities. 

The Skeleton Key comes with the Channel binding mounting system, which gives you a lot of adjustabilities. This system allows for easy adjustments that can be made quickly. If you like to adjust your stance and angles, this comes in very helpful.   


The Skeleton Key is priced in the middle ground – it isn’t a budget option, but it’s far from the most expensive. I don’t think the board makes a great value because it’s difficult to assess who the board is best suited for. 

If you want an all-mountain snowboard with a playful nature and unique design, this is an option worth exploring. It makes for a decent value if you want to try something new and don’t have high expectations in any particular situation or condition. 

If you are looking for a high-performance freeride or powder board, I don’t think this is a high-value option. It’s far more playful than aggressive, and even though it looks the part, it’s not a very good freeride board. 

The board is certainly a little weird and unique. But if you are a snowboarder who likes to explore and try out new designs, it has a solid construction that will hold up for many seasons. It’s just not a recommend budget buy for the average all-mountain rider. 

The Alternatives

Here are some good alternatives to check out if the Burton Skeleton Key isn’t what you are looking for. 

1. Burton Custom Flying V

The Flying V is another directional board with a fun and playful feel. It offers versatility and is a recommended all-mountain board if you want the added freestyle abilities of a more classic shape than the Skeleton Key. 

The board has a Flying V profile that puts rocker in the center and outside your feet to give it a playful feel. It has enough power to handle technical terrain while still being easy to maneuver when you want to sit back and have fun.

==> Read our detailed review of Burton Custom Flying V to learn more.

2. Lib Tech Skunk Ape

The Skunk Ape is a fun all-mountain board that is more affordable than the Skeleton Key and has a classic directional shape. It has an aggressive nature that is good for intermediate and advanced level riders. 

With a medium-stiff flex and directional twin shape, this board can give you high-end performance in various situations. It’s a good option for riders who want to tackle anything that comes their way. 

3. Jones Mind Expander

If the Skeleton Key left you hungry for better powder performance, you need to check out the Jones Mind Expander. This model can float, surf, and carve with the best of them while still providing quality all-mountain performance. 

It comes with a 3-D Contour Base 3.0 that helps keep the board on top of deep snow while providing an ability for smooth turns that are powerful and effortless at the same time. 

My Verdict

The Burton Skeleton Key is an interesting snowboard with a unique shape and playful nature. It lacks a focus in any particular situation and isn’t a board that I recommend for the average rider. It’s well-built and versatile but doesn’t quite deliver in my eyes.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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  • Chris Kennette

    I pulled the trigger on the skeleton key last week and I cant wait to get on it.
    Cant remember exactly when i started, late 80s earl 90s. Selling retail for 30 years with well known local multi location retailer. Out of the business for last 10 years been riding BMC 166 mostly. Too big but on the ice coast I loved it. Now im 66 and have slowed down considerably. Expect this will bring many more years of fun.
    (Next is going step on, I rocked those step ins for a long time and want to go back.
    “All men were created equal but the best can still ride in their 60s”

    • Lorraine

      Hey Chris,

      You’re never too old to get after it! And that’s awesome that you just picked up one of these boards. I’m sure you’ll have a great time with it, and I hope it keeps you good company for many winters to come.