Just before the ISPO 2016 we had been out to get the latest splitboard material under our feet and provide you with objective reviews, as objective as possible. Splitboards, Boots and a new Splitboard Binding are the Highlights of the next Season.
Also this year we were lucky with the conditions for our First Impression Test – from icy artificial snow slopes up to 40 cm fresh at -15 ° Celsius. We tested all of the equipment on short routes in difficult terrain, on slopes, and in the backcountry.
We also investigated thoroughly lots of splitboard- and backcountry boots because some innovations happened in the segment this year.
What comes on the 2016-17 market?
Let's get down to the nitty gritty of our subject. First, we present a list of the new material which we got on our feet then we present our First Impression Test. Make sure to check out the images in our gallery.
What is new?
- Arbor introduces a new splitboard line:
- Swoon for women
- Coda, the successor to the Abacus
- Brian Iguchi Pro Splitboard
- Jones brings a powder fish called: Storm Chaser (147cm)
- K2 also brings a powder fish and a freeride board, which unfortunately we could not test.
- Lib Tech`s T-Rice is now called Goldmember Split and got a completely new shape.
- Karakoram introduces with the Connect an economic entry-level binding for people who want to start with splitboarding.
What got optimized?
- Amplid has reworked the design of its board line Milligram, Creamer and Morning Split.
- Rome SDS has changed the design of its line White Room, Powder Room, and Double Agent and weight-optimized all models.
- Rossignol has revised the design of the XV splitboards.
- Völkl has renewed the design of the Untrac splitboards.
- Nitro has changed the design of Nomads and Dopplegangers.
- K2 introduces a new shoe, the Aspect – a very stiff boot that comes with a heel welt for semi-automatic crampons.
- Burton launched the Tourist Boot a few months ago.
- Guide and Folsom Boot from Rome SDS are also revised and quite interesting as splitboard boots.
- The Fitwell Freeride is the little but strong brother of the Fitwell Backcountry Boot
First Impression Test 2016-17
Arbor Coda Splitboard:
During the ascent the Grip-Tech provides additional pressure points and you can keep good track in hard snow. The forward pull is fine.
At the descent, the Coda is playful and forgiving. The Parabolic Rocker combined with a good flex distribution and the Grip-Tech, make the Coda a real fun board with solid riding performance. It is very agile and wants to be ridden fast. If the edge takes grip you sometimes feel a slight jolt but even in hard snow conditions you can carve clean turns. The parabolic rocker promises good float in powder. The new Coda 16-17 is very agile and balanced nicely. Perceived flex: 6 out of 10 (1 supersoft / 10 ultra hard)
Arbor Brian Iguchi Pro Splitboard:
At the ascent, it is stable and thanks to the camber, it brings enough pressure on the edge to climb uphill in challenging terrain. At the descent, it is very agile and thanks to its freestyle oriented setup it allows you to transfer all your favorite park tricks into the backcountry. Like the Coda it wants to go fast and its carving abilities are convincing. Again, you can feel a slight jolt when the GripTech edges take over. With lots of float it is ideally suited for deep powder days. Perceived Flex 6 out of 10 (1 supersoft / 10 ultra hard)
Jones Storm Chaser Split:
At the ascent the Storm Chaser requires more practice due to its wide and short shape but then even more difficult traverses are possible. In the descent, it is extremely agile, feels almost like a surf- or skateboard. Despite its short shape the float in powder is massive. Best suited for steep tree runs with plenty of powder. Perceived Flex 7 out of 10 (1 supersoft / 10 ultra hard)
Burton Custom Split:
As you might expect, with the Burton Custom Split there is nothing to complain about. Good at climbing and brilliantly balanced setup for the way down, a very solid companion for all your backcountry adventures. Perceived Flex 6 of 10 (1 supersoft / 10 ultra hard)
Elan Wavestrider Split:
Elan takes advantage from their experience in building Skies and come with a splitboard which performs great at the uphill and also convinces at the downhill. Aguility, Float, Edgegrip, are really good as well as enough pop for the moments you need it! The Wavestride is a secret favourite for the Selection 2016-17. Perceived Flex 6,5 of 10 (1 supersoft / 10 ultra hard)
Amplid Miligram Split:
Still on top of the list even after the adjustments of the top sheet. It just got more durable!
Rome Whiteroom Split:
The Whiteroom had been slightly adjusted and got even better than it already is. The ascent performance is still very good. Regarding the downhill it got a bit more playful compared to the last year. So it will be able to keep it`s position as one of the best Splitboards on the market. Perceived Flex 6 of 10 (1 supersoft / 10 ultra hard)
Rome Double Agent:
Rome's freestyle weapon got also readjusted. Maneuverable, stiff and top on the edges you can use it for fantastic BC Booter-Sessions or just ride it at playful Backcountry runs. It loves spinning around, dropping cliffs and a portion of butter is also welcomed! Perceived Flex 7 of 10 (1 supersoft / 10 ultra hard)
The reviews for eg. Völkl, Rossignol, Jones, Rome, Lib Tech can be found here.
K2 Aspect Boot:
This shoe is a solid backcountry boot with Vibram sole and back welt for semiautomatic crampon attachment. In appearance, he looks more like a hiking boot as a snowboard boot. From performance point of view the Aspect is quite impressive. With plenty of side support, he brings a lot of pressure on the edge, thus improving the climb on your splitboard in difficult terrain. At the descent, he feels very similar to a traditional snowboard boot, even if the distance to the board is a bit bigger because of the thicker sole. The built-in Boa system provides good heel hold and a tight fit at the foot. The conventional lacing with metal eyelets is very durable. All in all a good splitboard boot, which you should definitely give it a try next time. The weight specification can be found on the photo.
Burton Tourist boot:
The Tourist is very similar to a traditional soft boot, also offers a back welt for semi-automatic crampons, and from the outside dimension it is the smallest split-boot on the market. Again sole is made by Vibram and provides perfect grip in snow-rich terrain. Overall, the tourist boot is rather soft, but still offers better lateral support for direct force transfer at ascents, than a conventional soft boot. With a negative angle of approximately 5 ° the shape of the Tourist Boot supports longer strides during the way up. If you have larger feet and like softer split-boots you should give this one a try. For weight checkout the gallery pictures.
Deeluxe XV Boot:
At Deeluxe the backcountry boot development continues rapidly. The quick lacing system is revised again and is now shockproof and more robust if you touch rocks at the side without destroying the lacing clips. At the calf the Spark 2016-17 XV has now a wider fit. This construction better supports the latest highback creations and enables longer steps while touring which increases the comfort during ascents. The lateral support is good and transfers the power directly to the splitboard. Of course the boot is compatible with semi-automatic crampons. As with all Deeluxe splitboard boots the board feel is unbeatable. Weight see gallery.
Rome Guide Boot:
This soft boot is on the stiffer side, has very small outside dimensions and comes with a special developed Vibram sole for Rome. Again this boot uses the Boa lacing system and is very comfortable with a corresponding shape of the foot. The Guide boot has no back welt for semi-automatic crampons but can be equipped with strap crampons. The lateral support and stiffness make the Guide boot a very interesting splitboarding shoe.
Rome Folsom Boot:
The top model of Rome convinces with durability, fit and stiffness. Also equipped with the specially developed Vibram sole for Rome and the double Boa this shoe brings proper force on the board. Similar to the Guide boot the external dimensions are very small.
Fitwell Freeride Boot:
This boot is manufactured in Europe (Italy) and features the highest quality workmanship. The lateral support is bummer and the force is very well distributed on the splitboard. Although softer in flex than the Fitwell Backcountry, the Fitwell Freeride is the hardest boot in our first impression test. It is equipped with a Reel Knob lacing system that offers good fit and perfect heel grip. Semi-automatic crampons can be easily attached and the board feel is good despite the higher sole. The weight is 1250g.
Jones Splitboard Boot by ThirtyTwo:
The Jones Splitboard Boot holds the high expectations. Very stiff, it improves the performance of your splitboard setup. The Heel-Hold is amazing, even when the Boa is just used to adjust the Hike-Mode. You can further adjust the Heel-Hold with insertable rubber rings. The sole is very stable and the snow protection of the lacing system works well. Also the fitting for semi automatic crampones works well. The weight is around 1320g at 28.5 (10). Just before the next season we will ad the boot to our "Splitboard Boot Comparison" test. The video is from last season but except the Hike-Mode which got a bit longer there hadn`t been major changes.
This splitboard binding extends the Karakoram product line with a solid entry binding with an attractive price/performance ratio. Made entirely of high-quality plastic there is the possibility to use it with two different adapters as binding for your solid board and as a binding for your splitboard. The adapters can be attached easily in the front area of the binding. Regarding the performance the Karakoram Connect convinces as well as the purebred splitboard bindings of Karakoram in terms of technical intricacies. The power transfer is direct and plenty of settings can be varied. As with all Karakoram bindings the highback can be adjusted to a negative forward lean for longer steps and also the flex lock can be attached.
What else was going on at the First Try?
Of course, again the best snowboard design was elected - Capita has picked up the price with the Spring Break.
At Dakine we could swap old gloves for new ones supporting a kids project and we got delicious waffles and hot coffee. Thank you Dakine!
Another big THANK YOU goes to the First Try Crew for hosting us at this outstanding Testevent.