The Splitboard Experience – Love & Hate

Dez 13, 2014

The expressed opinions in the film are our personal, independent opinions. However, we are thankful for the support from Arcteryx, Black Diamond, Dynafit, Jones and Deeluxe.

If you are looking for good support in Switzerland/Europe, we recommend >> splitboards4europe.com

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Here is some information for you to dig deeper

Splitboards
You can find all kinds of boards in different shapes and construction, so you should find a board that fits your needs. When looking for a board, keep in mind that you will be carrying a backback, which increases your effective weight.
Overview of all Models available: >> Splitboard Catalogue 14/15 – Boards

The Helvetic Backcountry crew rides JONES boards, shaped by Jeremy Jones. The boards are made by the Swiss company Nidecker. They offer a wide range of boards, from powder planks like the hovercraft, to slight rocker boards like the solution, that are very versatile. >> JONES
If you like the JONES boards, we can recommend those, otherwise we also have had good shredding experience with: >>Prior / >>Voile / >>Radical

If you are looking for a comprehensive splitboard-test check out the Winter 14/15 edition of the Outdoor Guide: >> Outdoor Guide

Note: Some manufacturers ( >> Phenix / >> Salomon) have developed splitboards that can be split in three or four parts, instead of two. We have not tried any of those ourselves, but from the reviews they have the advantage of better edge hold, due to the reduced width of the skis. Also you might be able to fit better into a narrow existing skin track. However for breaking a trail in deep pow, and when riding down on hard snow, there is an obvious disadvantage due to less float and lacking stiffness

Softboot Splitboard-Bindings
Currently the two most common binding systems are the Spark and the Karakoram.
>> Spark R&D
The Spark is based on the Voile Pucks, a bullet-proof system, that works well. However the binding has some issues with the ski crampons, that can slide out or fall off in certain situations.
>> Karakoram
The Karakoram system is a fine piece of engineering, that provides a good binding „feeling“ when riding. The downside being that it can be finnicky when one of the many moving parts ices up.

There are some alternatives out there, here is a good overview:
>> Splitboard Catalogue 14/15 – Bindings

Softboots
Of course a boot should be comfortable. To maximise the edge hold, you want to look for the stiffest boot that you still feel comfortable riding. Also a proper Vibram sole, suitability for crampons and if possible a waterproof membrane are usefull features in the mountains.
We recommend the >> Deeluxe Spark XV
Other boots designed for splitboarding: >> Splitboard Catalogue 14/15 – Boots

Hardboots
Don’t confuse hardboots with snowboard hardboots! We are talking about alpine touring boots, intended to be used for skiing that have nothing to do with parallel slalom or the >> Schoch Brothers.
The >> Dynafit TLT 6 Mountain CR is the boot of choice for snowboarders. Even though technically it is a skiboot, it doesn’t feel like it. Whilst for the uphill you have all the advantages of skiers, for the ride it feels comparable to a brand new freeride softboot with a stiff flex rating. Make sure you don’t get the carbon model (Performance CL), as those are stiffer and more difficult to modify. The regular model (Mountain CL) is softer, and the plastic is easy to cut. Also take out the extra-tounge that comes with it.
In case you want to adapt it further, there are some easy modifications. Check out this thread on the
>> splitboard.com forum.

Hardboot Splitboard-Bindings
For the uphill mode you need two >> Dynafit Toepieces and the >> adapters to fit them onto a splitboard. Also you need two separate >> heelraisers. There are ski-crampons availible from >> Dynafit with a maximum width of 130mm that fir best with the toepieces. If you ride a wide board, you might want to look for these superwide crampons from >> Spark or >> XXX.

For the downhill mode there are three different systems currently available:
>> Splitboard Catalogue 14/15 – Hardboot Bindings
The Phantom is the most advanced hardboot binding available at this moment, as it compensates for the lateral stiffness of the boot. From Phantom there are also a heelraiser and adapter plates for the toepieces available. Everything is made superlight and the use of the binding is very thought through.
To get it, you must preorder it here: >> Phantom Bindings

Note: A hardboot setup is significantly more expensive than a softboot setup. Also you might not want to ride hardboots on the occasional resort day. On the other hand, once you have made the investment, it will last you a long time, as the boot doesn’t loose it’s stiffness and the bindings are virtually indestructible.


Where to Buy
Getting a splitboard is more complicated that getting just a solid board with a pair of bindings. Mainly this is because beside the board you also need a binding system and fitting skins. Look for a dealer or shop, that has experience with splitboards, and doesn’t just put them on the shelves because there is bit of a hype going on right now. Big
retailers and chains recently begun to sell splitboards. Often they lack the know-how, how to combine the right pieces of gear, so your initial price advantage might turn out the opposite after all.
If you are looking for good support in Switzerland/Europe, we recommend >> splitboards4europe.com.
Those guys have been around, when nobody was giving a „*%&©“ about splitboarding, so they know what works and what doesn’t….


But most importantly, whatever you ride, watch out on the mountain, and have fun and shred it up!