We are just about to switch to our next splitboards. These will be number 4 and 5 so it is fair to say we know what works and what doesn’t.
Based on this and the latest models, we have created our top 5. As always any questions or thoughts please let us know. So here goes
5. Rome Whiteroom.
See the Womens White Room Here
A great shape, super playful board riding switch is easy. However if you charge hard and want the edge to stick on steep stuff in can be found lacking. Ideal for backcountry tricks into deep powder. More of a Canadian powder board than European mixed terrain board. The weight is pretty average. It is pretty cheap and oftern on offer which makes it more attractive!
Rome Whiteroom Info
4. Voile Artisan (Ladies version rocks too)
Voile have improved everything they needed to approve with this years model. From the graphics to the less aggressive sidecut shape while getting the camber rocker profile spot on. It is camber between feet and the correct early rise rocker. The board comes in a bit wider which helps it float. Voile have always made relatively light boards and this is no exception. The price is good for this much board too. Probably the cheapest factory split out there if you catch the right deals. Check out the Voile Artisan
3. Rossignol XV Magtek Split
Lets face it if you have seen Xavier del la Rue ride this in his movies and therefore seen him push the limits of what is physically possible then you’ll never be able to blame this board! It rides fast, grips like a knife and floats in powder like a dream. It is stiff, you do need to ride it fast it won’t auto turn like a GNU or Libtech hybrid camber. The tail rocker is possibly a bit long for my liking, I found that it whipped out from under me a bit when landing large drops onto the tail, otherwise it is spot on.
2. Burton Freebird
Burton Freebird reduced price here
Sitting in between the two big mountain riding boards this is a great all rounder. Softer but stiff enough to skin up well. Handles speed well with its camber, floats in powder with just the right size rocker nose, lands big drops and rides out nose held high. The price is right too. A lot of Back Country riders are probably Burton snobs so if you can bear to ride a board from the company that “sold out snowboarding”, you can pick up a bargain and enjoy yourself!
The winner – Jones Solution Mens and Womens versions
Check out the Jones Solutions
The board that made Splitboarding cool. Following on from the XV, if Jeremy shreds on this it must be half decent. It is a great board on powder, when charging hard. It climbs well thanks to it’s stiffness helping keep that important downhill edge tight. It takes huge drops in its stride, slays powder and pillows, it can ride switch surprisingly well so tricks aren’t out of the question either. If you end up on an icy piste it will kill that as well with the mellow magnatraction. Just don’t go slowly as it gets angry! The best thing about 2013/14 Jones’s is that they finally starting making boards that last, keep their shape and have some life left at the end of 100 days. Buy one if you have the cash!
Close calls for the top 5; Jones Twin, Fun, softer version of the Solution, in truth it rides similar to the Freebird however being a twin it is slightly harder to float in the powder. Burton Landlord, innovative mounting system that is lighter and looks great, not ridden it but the aggressive sidecut shouts grabbiness at me, boards with side cut like that tend to lock you into a turn a bit, test ride one first it might be great!
Far misses from the top 5; All these boards have one thing in common, a profile that I think doesn’t work with a splitboard especially in European conditions. This profile is reverse camber between the feet and traditional camber under the bindings, AKA the moustache or hybrid camber. This shape makes skinng up hill or side hilling firm snow scary, really scary. If you’re in Japan or Canada then maybe this isn’t an issue, here in Europe it is. If you ride anything that’s not powder up OR down try to avoid these hybrid camber boards; Gnu Billy Goat, Roxy Smoothie and Lib Tech T.Rice Split annoy me. They are play boards and gimmicky, for me they just don’t crack it as fast, hard charging, back country killing split boards, so avoid.
Never Summer/Icelantic and Arbor make wonderful boards, they ride like handcrafted boards should and they last well, the 3 / 2 year warranties back this up, but again a reverse hybrid camber split board just isn’t worth it. So avoid. K2 Panoramic have a flat base with rocker. A decent shape just not as good as the traction and control camber provides. The panoramic feels damp but it’s just too damp, the boards are dead they need resuscitating, they take ages to respond they don’t pop,are rubbish switch, they have no redeeming features, I sold mine after a month or so! One final fault is the centrally mounting K2 skin system stretches the skin through the middle allowing the snow to creep under the edges making skinning difficult.
These are generally the cheapest places to buy stuff with their winter sales in full swing:
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