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Splitboard Advice

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds

Splitboard Advice

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:50 am

So as to get under the skin of folks like Carl and APSnow....Can anyone give some advice on what splitboard you like? Pros, cons, experiences all that good stuff (pics are good too!)

Thinking for the time being I would like to rock mellower peaks so that I can just use my snowboard boots but mountaineering setup stuff is welcome!

Thanks a Bunch

~One Time Avid Snowboarder who Stumbled Across an Ice Axe One Fateful Day
Everyday is a G r A t E f U L Day here in the CO

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Re: Splitboard Advice

Postby SolarAlex » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:19 pm

I have a Jones Solution with the Karakoram bindings...I like it ok, but the highbacks on the bindings leave something to be desired. The board is really easy to put back together with the karakorams and the board fits together really really well...feels almost like a solid board. I feel like the board is really at its best in powder, so for a lot of conditions that we get in CO its really not can tell these boards were built for alaska, where there is little chance of hitting rocks/stumps etc. The board is light though. I use G3 skins and they are superb.

If i could do it over, id get a venture storm split w the spark bindings...rode a day on my friends board with this setup and it was definitely better. hopefully ill find some funds to buy this set up this year. Ive read that never summer's prospector is also really good...I think sticking with colorado companies that build boards that are suited to the typical conditions in CO is a good idea.

The other big issue is boots...for this season I purchased the Burton Driver X, so im hoping that will be a big improvement over my old soft thirtytwos....Stiffer is definitely better. There are a couple of companies that have 'snowboard mountaineering' boots coming out (Fitwell, Spark) but they are really hard to find and extremely pricy. They can take a semi auto crampon though, which would be great. Theres also the hardboot route, but it seemed like too much money and aggro for me personally.

this is just my experience from 1 season, so take it for what its worth.

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Re: Splitboard Advice

Postby BenfromtheEast » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:53 pm

FireOnTheMountain wrote:Can anyone give some advice on what splitboard you like?

I liked the one Surf had under his bed for a while. After some reflection, better to have it there than under some clown on the hill.

Anybody want to ski the Basin tomorrow? 8)

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Re: Splitboard Advice

Postby ak47 » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:56 pm

I have a k2 panoramic and spark blaze bindings, this is my second setup. I'm not crazy about the board, it seems to collect snow on the topsheet too much which is annoying in tour mode especially in powder and during storms as the bindings also collect snow. I got the panoramic because it was light compared to my old venture storm split, but the venture rode better. It looks like the karakorum bindings and clips are the best performing with the added bonus of easier transitions, I would buy these if I had the money, but the sparks are ok.

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Re: Splitboard Advice

Postby Jtjohnso24 » Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:12 pm

I would highly recommend getting a backcountry ski setup instead. I used a split for about five years. It's not bad for 14er trips and big hikes with big runs, because it's very light and you only have to switch the setup once. If you happen to be with skiers, it's terrible if you are lapping a face on a day trip or going out for several runs on a hut trip. You will likely get left behind or they will have to wait. It's not that big of a deal, but it eventually will add up and costs you runs. If you've initially skinned on relatively flat terrain at the start of your trip, you will once again be left on the run out. You will have to switch over again and try to skin/slide out. Your board basically ends up being the same as a tele setup without tension on the bindings - doable but not ideal. Skating out on a split is next to impossible, because you will eventually post hole. For me, it just got to the point where I was sacraficing runs in order to be able to snowboard instead of ski. I hit the breaking point in about year three. Several of my friends did the same. Don't get me wrong, it's still super fun and way better than snowshoes. Splitboards are just not ideal if your backcountry partners are skiers and you are trying to get a lot of laps in. That might not be your situation. If you happen to be on the front range, easy access places like Berthoud and Loveland Pass can be done using your resort setup just about every time.

But back to your question. The Burton I have is the old gray one before they went to the Jeremy Jones model. I can get the exact model name if you would like. It fits together well and rides well in the powder. I went up a about five cm, and it was very fast. The front end chattered on anything but powder, so it's something that you would never take to a resort. I had a friend with the same board, and he said it didn't fit together as well for him. The Voile binding system worked fine. The one downside is that it sits up a bit higher. It's noticeable, but you can get used to it in the backcountry. Riding at the resort was too loose and not fun. Once the bindings are attached to the plates, you are not going to want to take them off. The result is another binding purchase. Most bindings with traditional baseplates work with the older voile system. The plus side being that you get to use your regular boots and a standard pair of bidings. Yet another downside is that you won't be able to use crampons with soft snowboard boots. Also, I had BD skins. They worked great. I would recommend buying or creating some type of tip clip system for the back. If not, you will want to cut the skins a little bit short so they do not end on the upward camber of the board. That's what can cause problems. A $5 pair of those bright orange ski straps or duct tape is not a bad idea if you end up in a jam.

That's my 2 cents. Talk to as many people as you can, because everybody has different preferences and experience. The gear might have changed enough over the past five years to limit some of the problems mentioned above. It's still super fun and the only way to go if you want to snowboard in the backcountry. Good luck!

Re: Splitboard Advice

Postby FireOnTheMountain » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:10 pm

Really appreciate all your feedback. Just like to say my goal is not really laps. More into the approach and ridding myself of the evils associated with snowshoes and also descending the easier peaks (initially at least).

I understand that it is borderline stupid to split when skis are far more superior in the BC and I have seriously thought about ditching the board. Problem is you have to ski to go down with skis....

Is skinning with a split all that different from skis? Bindings are still somewhat of a puzzle to me in terms of mountaineering so I'm glad some of you touched upon that.

Jt - You mention that skating is next to impossible on a how then do you to the "deproach"?

@ Solar - Definitely agree with buying local. Lookin at Venture or NS.
@ ak - thanks for the tips on bindings
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Re: Splitboard Advice

Postby aliciaf » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:12 pm

My husband, jmc5040, has a Venture splitboard. Maybe he can chime in on his opinion of it. All I know is that he really likes it.

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Re: Splitboard Advice

Postby montana1000 » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:54 pm

well if you want to board down then spliting is the way to go. I get what people say about ski's being easier and I understand that but if your a boarder theres nothing better than carving down the hill. in any case. I've had a bunch of different boards. my advice is to find some demo days with burton, never summer, prior, voile and some of the others then purchase what feels right. Sizing can make a big difference in the bc also. I dig my prior kyber. I use sparks for bindings and driver's for boots. other guys are using hard boot setups that look pretty sweet too. I just haven't tried it yet myself. theres a guy up in evergreen building some bindings for hardboots that look pretty slick. I might try some and see what it's like.

also you can find some good deals on clist for used stuff or the end of the season can save you coin if you wait. I picked up a new burton 2 years ago for under $400.

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Re: Splitboard Advice

Postby pbakwin » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:30 pm

I got a Burton Freebird with Sparks. This is my 3rd split & by far the best. Basically I've used it only for big fat powder days in BC, but it's clearly a good all mtn setup. The Sparks are a big improvement & seem very well engineered. Over the years I've gone back & forth on the hard vs. soft boots. Each has their + & -, but in the end I just prefer the ride of soft boots. If you're doing serious ski mtneering you pretty much need plastics, otherwise soft boots are fine. With a little diligence I don't find that I'm slower than skiers on the transitions. I also do not agree that you can't skate a split.

Re: Splitboard Advice

Postby Bean » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:20 am

FireOnTheMountain wrote:Really appreciate all your feedback. Just like to say my goal is not really laps. More into the approach and ridding myself of the evils associated with snowshoes and also descending the easier peaks (initially at least).

I understand that it is borderline stupid to split when skis are far more superior in the BC and I have seriously thought about ditching the board. Problem is you have to ski to go down with skis....

Is skinning with a split all that different from skis? Bindings are still somewhat of a puzzle to me in terms of mountaineering so I'm glad some of you touched upon that.

I like to (jokingly) give snowboarders a hard time, but I'll always suggest they stick with a split instead of skis if that's what they're better at.

Skinning with a split is essentially identical to skinning with skis (especially if you go with hardboots/dynafit). Skating out can be difficult for beginner splitters but you'll eventually get the hang of it. Again, it's much easier with hard AT boots. If you're sticking with softboots, take a look at the Spark Magneto binding. I don't know what's so special aside from being light and not having a pin, but my serious splitboarding friends are all amped up for them so there must be something to it.

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Re: Splitboard Advice

Postby Elliot » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:44 am

If your looking to buy local, Cold Smoke SplitBoards out of Gunnison CO has a solid product with a cheaper price tag. There website isnt up yet but shoot em an email

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Re: Splitboard Advice

Postby jmc5040 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:45 am

I stand by the Venture boards highly. They may not be the lightest out there, but they will take one heck of a beating. I first switched to Venture after cracking 3 Burton boards in 5 years and have been extremely impressed with their durability. I don't believe that my riding style has changed in the slightest and the amount of damage that these boards can withstand is exactly what I was hoping for when I first made the switch. I have both a Venture Zephyr solid and Storm split. Based out of Silverton these boards are what they ride there at the mountain. The Venture Storm has handled any type of conditions out there better than just about any board I've ridden. From backcountry pow to crust it handles well.

My opinion is that if you are first getting into splitting and you don't have the option or desire of going with a solid binding setup, your mountaineering ability will not take a huge hit until you start getting into more technical terrain. Like commented on earlier though, once your in the more technical terrain being on a steep icy slope with a crampon that just came off because your soft boot just flexed too much is not a good place to be.

I spent many years with snowshoes on my feet and it really is that much better getting a split. I've skied one day in 17 years of riding and I thought it was not bad picking up the skiing out part, but does take some getting used too. Getting fast and efficient with assembly and dis-assembly is key to keeping your friends happy. It will never be as fast as with skis since there are just less steps in the process, but it can still be done quickly. Always have tools to remove ice build up.
"My senses become heightened and the stresses of life fade with each step I take further from civilization. When I'm in the wilderness my brain and body work seamlessly together to do their finest work - a single flowing track down one of natures high peaks." - Jeremy Jones


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