Find your perfect splitboard setup!
In our Splitboarding Gear-Guide we have summed up some of our knowledge about boards, boots and bindings to help you with your decision "Which Splitboard should i buy?".
With an unproper combination of boots and bindings an easy traverse can become challenging or may require crampons early.
The combination of board, bindings and boots is crucial when it comes to splitboarding.
If board, binding and boots are matched with your skills and your splitting-style, you will get most fun out of your setup. Here are some questions to arouse the feeling of "why the complete setup is important and not just the board".
- What about the combination of a hard boot and a hard highback?
You get good power transmission to the board and you get good response behavior on the descent as well as good edge grip while climbing.
- How is a stiff board and a soft highback at your binding?
You won't be able to transfer the power to your board accordingly.
- How is it with a soft boot and a stiff highback?
You have a pleasant feeling while climbing and while riding, but you have to compromise in power transmission. On traverses you have to mount the crampons quite early.
- What about the combination of a hard boot and a soft highback?
The power transmission is quite ok, similar to a soft boot with a stiff highback.
- And a soft boot combined with a soft highback?
You have a great feeling when hiking and riding, yes, it can even be surfy, but if conditions get challenging, you have a lack of control, both in ascent and in the descent.
- What is optimal?
We can not tell you that easy because it always depends on your preferences. Some like it soft and fluffy, others hard and aggressive and the next adjust their splitting style to the daily mood.
If you have several splitboard setups to choose from, it makes perfectly sense to have a suitable setup for all conditions and missions. However, most of us have one splitboard setup that should fit for almost everything!
To tap out your preferences and simplify your decision, we have considered five types of splitboarders like we got to know them in the backcountry.
What kind of splitboarder am I - what kind of missions do I like?
Now we need to assess ourself. Find out with which type of splitboarder you can identify best. After that you can match it with the boards we have tested or take a look at the profiles and shapes to find your perfect splitboard setup.
If you are interested in setups we have not tested, it is best to read the descriptions and go to testivals (SPLIT & RELAX) or camps, where multiple setups are available and then you decide.
The Freeride Splitter:
The goal is to find great lines even some days after the last snowfalls with as less as possible ascent. The Freeride-Splitter makes short to medium long ascents near the ski areas. If everything is grazed, the ascents can also become longer but it is not his or her aim. Regarding the riding style, boards with medium to high developed characteristics in our criteria are interesting.
The setup should be as versatile as possible, ride also well on the slopes and beeing durable. The weight is not that important.
The Wellness Splitter
He loves the mountains and draws his ascent tracks through untouched mountain landscapes, far away from the lift stations. The routes can be longer, but technically they should be moderate. Regarding the riding style, boards with well developed allmountain and powder characteristics are a good choice.
A midrange splitboard is absolutely suitable.
The Freestyle Splitter
He loves to use the backcountry as a huge fun park, he likes to ride switch do some buttering get lots of airtime and so on. The Freestyle Splitter is no fitness machine, but likes to use his splitboard to get into his untouched playground.
The characteristic regarding BC-Freestyle is essential for the Freestyle-Splitter to unleash his soul.
The Gym Splitter
Is currently more present in skitouring. In streamlined montour he rushes with ultra light material up the mountains and then rides down as good as possible. The training is paramount.
He should choose an ultralight setup with extralight boots.
The Challenge Splitter
The mountains are his passion, he grows with the challenges. Long routes are welcome and technically challenging stuff is prefered.
Here are high-end setups required, performance, durability and light weight play an important role.
Most people who want to start splitboarding already have average to good riding skills, but it doesn`t mean that they already have experience in hiking or mountaineering. So please take care when you get your first experience. The board profile is an important factor regaring agility, playfulness and uphill qualities and should be taken in mind.
Splitboard Profile variants
Meanwhile there do exist lots of different profiles for different riding styles and areas of use. Here you get a short overview of the most used profiles and it`s advantages and disadvantages.
Is the traditional profile of a Snowboard / Splitboard
Advantages: Optimal edgegrip on the ascent as well as on the descent, lots of control, precision and a strong POP.
Disadvantages: Less maneuverable, not catchfree, less float than other profiles.
Conclusion: The right choice for those who are used to ride camber and like it`s advantages. You need to ride precisely but you can also charge in all kinds of conditions. Also steep traverses are not a problem.
No Camber - no Rocker = flat
Advantages: More grip than a rocker board, so better uphill performance and more control. It is easier to turn and still good at hgher speed.
Disadvantages: Less maneuverable than a rocker, less POP and edgegrip than a camber board, less float in powder compared to rocker or hybrid boards.
Conclusion: Well suitable for splitboarding, a bit more slippy at the ascent compared to a camber, but more float and agility.
Is like a negativ camber so almost as a banana.
Advantages: Best float, extremly agile and playful.
Disadvantages: Short effective edge and due to that less grip than boards with other profiles. At highspeed usually they vibrate a lot if they don`t have a good dampening.
Conclusion: Rockerbords are great for short less steep hikes. When it comes to traverses you have to use the crampons very early. Anyway they have lots of advantages in powder and make incredibly fun at the descent also in steep powder lines.
Hybrid - best of both worlds - some variants
S-Rocker / Pow-Rocker:
Long nose and camber down to the tail, This profile works excellent in changing conditions and steep lines. If the adjustment and the weight of the rider matches you get great control and smoothness also at highspeed.
Advantages: Great stability at the rear part of the edge, also works well at the ascent. Lots of float and agility.
Disadvantages: Riding or landing switch is quite difficult.
Conclusion: These boards are great for sophisticated splitboarding and splitboard mountaineering, with the focus on big lines and challenging couloirs. Those who prefere riding switch and doing tricks should chose another shape.
This profile brings much more edgegrip than a rockerbord, but still is very maneuvrable and has good float. In the ascent it has normally good grip but stil less than a traditional camber board.
Advantages: Maneuvrable, smoothness, easy switch riding.
Disadvantages: Less stability than a camber board.
Conclusion: Great for splitboarding if the downhill fun should be big, the uphill performance solid and you like to use obstacles and features in a playful way. Sure it has good float in powder.
This profile gives you additional Pop, very good grip and control on the edges both at the ascent and the descent. Hard landings after big drops or airs are well suspended and little mistakes are easy to compensate.
Advantages: Switch riding is possible, hard or icy conditions are no problem. In the ascent the grip is quite good, it is agile and mistakecompensating.
Disadvantages: It needs to be ridden fast and with power in the feet, if not it starts to "jump" while carving.
Fazit: For freestyle oriented splitboarders and aggressive riders this profile can be excellent.
There are lots of different shapes for special conditions or riding styles. Here you get an overview of the mostly used shapes.
- Directional: directinal sidecut - good for powder, nose is longer than tail
- Directional Twin: centered stance, directional flex - good for freestyle and powder, normally the nose is softer than the tail
- True Twin: centered stance and sidecut - good for freestyle
- Tapered: Nose is broader than the tail - extra float for deep powder
- Reverse Shape: Looks like a surfboard and is mainly for powsurfing in really deep and untouched areas.
- Fishtail / Swallowtail: the tail sinks in deep powder to get the nose even better out of the deepest.
SPLITBOARDS for winter 2016/2017
In the past years the splitboard market had been amplified by many brands and to distiguish they come with "new" features which influence the performance or sometimes are just nice to haves.
Reverse Sidecut on Nose and Tail
As mentioned above, the connection between boot, binding and board is essential for the power transfer and so for the performance on the climb and the control on the downhill.
Since 2014 we have a big range of different bindings, developed for the needs in different areas of splitboarding.
Spark R&D Tesla System
It is based on the Voile Interface and is the most sophisticated binding for this system. The models Magneto and AfterBurner mainly differ in the stiffness and this means they also differ in powertransmission and weight. The Magneto is one of the lightest bindings at the market and the AfterBurner brings lots of stiffness and power to your board. The crampons are easily mountable "on the fly" and the change-over from hike- to ride-mode is just brilliant.
This binding is also based on Voile, There are two models, the SP Fastec Split, which is a very comfortable binding with back entry and great power transmission to the board. The SP Split is the traditional model. Both has a great price/performance ratio and the crampons are easyly to mount "on the fly".
This splitboard binding is new since 2014-15. They have their own interface which is well thought and brings magnificant power transmission to the board, not just at the descent but also on the ascent. Mounting the binding you pull the boardhalfs together and they get perfectly connected, so the torsional stiffness is great and the transfer of power also. The carbon Highbacks are well prowled around the boot and bring more directional stability at the climb. Certainly the crampons are mountable on the fly as well.
Has it`s own interface. The binding is mounted with a lever mechanism at the heelcup. The connectors pull the boardhalfs together so you get aditional torsional stability. Mounting of the crampons is very quick "on the fly" and the handling comfortable.
Is the Apple in splitboarding. Due to it`s own interface and hole pattern the setups become very light. Solid Highbacks, comfortable straps and the cnc machined baseplate bring the ultimate power transmisson. The binding is mounted due to a rotation movement, which keeps the boardhalfs strongly connected. Torsinal stiffness is top, the handling super easy and the crampons are mountable "on the fly" as at most splitboard bindings.This binding is absolutely bombproof.
Of course based on the Voile interface. The binding is solid, simple and economic.View online
Own interface, that for hiking you just click in the binding at the front, similar to the ultralight ski tech bindings.View online
This "State of the Art" binding for hardboot splitboarders is leightweight, robust and you get top power transfer.View online
As mentioned already several times the connection between boot and binding is crucial for the alaround performance. Generally a stiff boot has it`s advantages because you you push less energy in the material and more on the binding and the board.
Till now there are two brands offering special splitboarding boots. Of course you can use your normal snowboard boots for splitboarding and the special ones for snowboarding.
The features of the splitboard boots are the stiffness of the boots and the special "supergrip" soles, some are also designed to use half automatic crampons for the really challenging stuff.
Deeluxe: Has a whole Backcountry Series with three models, which differ in stiffness and finishing.
Fitwell: Has the Backcountry Boot, which is extremely stiff, almost like a hardboot.
BOOTS and BINDINGS for winter 2015/16
To find your perfect setup, you should be aware of your favourite range of use and your level. Then consider the most likely snow conditions you'll find and of course how much money you would like to spend on your splitboard setup.
We hope to help you with this article to find your personal dream splitboard. Also we have a Forum-Thread, if you want to share your opinion you are welcomed to do it in our forum. Thanks and happy splitboarding.