Andrew Miller Photography
INDULGE YOUR SPLIT PERSONALITY AND GET GEARED FOR SECRET STASH HUNTING THIS WINTER.
Once upon a time, snowboarders wanting to hike up to a powder stash or venture into the backcountry had to use snowshoes to travel uphill. But thanks to the invention of splitboards, snowboarders can now climb much more quickly and use much less energy, and subsequently enjoy longer days touring.
A spiltboard is essentially a normal snowboard that splits vertically in half to make two ‘skis’. Much like traditional ski touring, these skis enable the rider to walk uphill using skins. Once at the top, the rider simply removes the skins, clicks the two skis together and voila, it transforms back into a snowboard, ready for that well-earned, thigh-deep powder descent.
There are a plethora of splitboards and split accesssories available now with more kit coming out every season. Here is our pick of this year’s crop.
The all-new women’s Hovercraft split is a directional backcountry slayer ready to float like a butterfly and sting like a powder bee. The short running length keeps things nimble in the skin-track and in the trees, while the blunt nose ensures it’s surfy in the soft stuff. The stiff tail helps when you hit hell, aka unexpected breakable crust, and the traction tech edges give reassuring grip in that other version of hell – aka icy skin tracks and bulletproof couloirs.
SIZES: 154, 158, 162, 166
The new Axle is an all-mountain directional split designed to boss the full spectrum of backcountry conditions. A genuine one-quiver contender, the lightweight Axle’s progressive shape makes for a playful yet stable ride. The carbon fibre matrix provides torsional stiffness and confidence-inspiring edge control in steep terrain, the paulownia core ensures that it’s light for the uphill, and the longer early rise in the tip and tail keeps it all smeary and fun when it’s time to shred.
SIZES: 147, 151, 156, 159, 162, 158W, 163W, 166W
Playful yet precise, the Marauder is a blunt-nosed backcountry split that gets up to get down. The directional camber baseline means you’ll stay stuck to the skin-track when things get steep and the tapered outline is built for dropping backcountry bombs on the descent. Lays down a pretty performance on the groomers too. Package includes board, skins, hardware and mounting pucks.
This tapered directional twin comes loaded with primo split tech, including Pomoca skins and Plum hooks to ensure you’re riding with the best in the backcountry biz. Back foot camber means you can unleash power in the turn, the quadratic sidecut ensures a fluid and easy-to-pivot ride and the flat segments at the front mean it’s float-tastic all day long. Oh, and it’s super rapido for skinning due to the lightweight construction, which includes honeycomb and cork in the tip and tail.
SIZES: S, M, L
Developed in conjunction with split legends Voilé, the Far Out is a bombproof, easy-to-use binding with legit backcountry DNA. Comes with lightweight aluminium chassis, pinless speed-rail mountain system, comfortable ankle strap and one-tool adjustability.
SIZES: S, M, L
Lightweight, durable, comfortable and oh-so-simple to use, the Arc embodies everything you need in a backcountry binding. The Montana-based splitboard pioneers have shaved grams wherever possible to ensure a mega-light rig yet reliability, flex, comfort and performance are still there in droves.
The badass-looking Aspects are built for big mountain splitboard adventures where long steep bootpacks and narrow ridges are the order of the day. The bulletproof crampon-compatible Vibram sole, Boa tech and Intuition Space Heater liners all combine to create a totally legit and very impressive high tech backcountry boot.
When S/Lab tech comes to town you know you’re playing with Salomon’s elite big mountain crew. No surprise then that the medium-flex Trek S/Lab is super techie boot with Boa+ Trek lacing, strategically placed sweat-wicking Quickdry panels, adjustable internal heel strap and rugged Trek BC+ outsole.
Sisters of shred, this one’s for you. A stiff yet responsive boot, the women’s-specific Jones MTB is the culmination of a two-year collab project with split legend Jeremy Jones. These boots come with Boa tech, heat-mouldable Intuition liners, Vibram soles and a crazy clever Walk Mode Collar to help you go further and faster in the backcountry.
If you want to stick to the mountain when things get slidey underfoot then you need the Ibex crampon in your life. Compatible with a heap of bindings including the Arc (featured here), these built-to-bite aluminium crampons are easy to install and take out without having to remove your bindings. If you’re looking for mega backcountry feathery-ness upgrade to the Pro version that weighs 38g less per crampons.
Three-section collapsible poles built to last, the durable Talons come with a unique floating basket design and a rugged Scraper Grip that can be used to de-ice your base or keep your rig clear of snow when skinning. Simple, solid and built for adventures.
Simple, solid and swift to assemble, the Strike does exactly what it needs to do. The new Rack Locking System with Kevlar cord means it goes together in seconds so you can do what you need to do.
Robust and lightweight, the Excavator is easy to carry, quick to assemble and moves snow as fast as you can dig. The aluminium blade, adjustable aluminium shaft and grippy T-handle are bomber, practical and reliable whether you’re in full-on rescue or camp-building mode.
The ultimate quiver of one, the nylon plush Universal is an all-conditions skin to offer the perfect balance between grip and glide. Featuring a new camming tail connector designed to keep the tails securely in place, the Universal is likely to be more popular than ever this winter.
TO READ MORE ABOUT THIS KIT AND ALL THE OTHER NEW GEAR FOR 2020, GET YOUR COPY OF OUR 2020 GEAR GUIDE – OUT NOW!
MORE NEW GEAR FOR WINTER 2020:
2020 GEAR GUIDE – BEST BASELAYERS
2020 GEAR GUIDE – BEST SKI GLOVES
2020 GEAR GUIDE: THE BEST FREERIDE SKI OUTERWEAR