We have been to the Shops 1st Try Event 2013 and tested the new splitboard material 2013/2014 for you.
There are news from the following companies: Amplid, Arbor, Elan, Goodboards, Jones, K2 and Völkl. Unfortunately, Never Summer, Rome SDS, Lib Tech, Gnu and Rossignol didn't have their new material on site for testing it. You want the First Impression of 14-15 get it here.
Regarding splitboard Boots, Deeluxe has nice innovations in the pipeline. We have had the Spark XV on our feet and didn't want to take it off. Convenient, with Vibram sole for real mountain action, suitable for crampons and with delicate power transfer to the splitboard! Thumbs Up. Leather is coming!
But now up to the new splitboards which will be officially presented at the ISPO in Munich in February and of which we would like to describe our first impressions. We have been testing each available splitboard on the First Try under realistic conditions, that means downhills in various types of snow from powder to icy slopes and respectively a short climb in steep terrain.
Splitboard Amplid: The Morning Split 163cm
The Amplid Morning split comes as a set with custom made Kohla skins which will be attached to the tail with the proven (in skitouring) I-clips. Also the Karakoram Hooks and Clips will be attached because of the solid conection between the board halfes.
First Impression: This splitboard is due to its shape a real powder device. With a long broad nose, early rising Rocker, conservative taper and short tail, it has an enormous boost in powder and is ready to play with changing snow conditions. Ascending, it has enough edge hold and when ridden it is very agile, very suitable for treeruns, chutes and other runs with every kind of obstacles.
Splitboard Arbor: Abacus 164
With the Abacus Splitboard, Arbor just changed the Sidewalls to ABS, to make it more durable. Shape, Flex and Tech will be remained.
The full test (12/13) you can check here.
Splitboard Elan: Waverider 164
Elan's first splitboard comes with a floating rocker shape (tip) and the patented Omega Sidecut on the tail.
First Impression: This combination of shape and sidecut gives good flotation in powder and playful agility in tree runs. Also on the piste, the Waverider is agile with easily controllable edge changes, but fast large radii require fairly pressure on the edge. On ascent, we liked the light weight of the board and with the flat camber the skins have sufficient bearing surface which ensures good grip.
Splitboard Good Boards: Legends 164W / 175M
For the friends of longer boards and fast Powder Runs, goodboards has splitten the Legends. 175cm Camber Freeride / Longboard with precious real wood topsheet.
First Impression: "Aesthetic boards for adults," the Legends lives up to what the slogan of goodboards promises. Visually pleasing to the eye, under the feet a traditional camber board for high speeds. In the backcountry, fast floating in powder and razor sharp on the slopes. Traditionally this requires appropriate riding skills and enough strength, so for me (Martin) at the end of a long day of testing and on the final narrow Tree Run the 164er would have been the ideal choice. On ascent, a 175cm long splitboard logically requires a skilled technique for kickturns, for the rest it goes up easily with the Legends.
Splitboards Jones: Solution / Solution Carbon / Hovercraft 156
All Jones splitboards have been subjected to a fine-tuning in order to increase performance even further.
First Impression Hoovercraft Splitboard 156cm: Cool old school surf style wood finishing (Bamboo Top Sheet). I have had a lot of fun riding this board in powder, wind press and on icy slopes. Equipped with the Karakoram binding system, it rides like a solid board. The hovercraft keeps the nose up. Either in challenging wind pressed snow in the backcountry or in the Powder, as well as on icy slopes. It is stable on the edge and you can ride carved turns even when the shape is really pow-oriented. Through the short-tail it is extremely agile. So it is also suitable for treeruns, chutes, and whatever else is fun to ride. Ascending, it has enough grip, but the hovercraft split enjoys most in fresh powder.
First Impression Solution Carbon Splitboard: The tougher the conditions, the more the "solution" of Jones pleased us. The directional rocker profile with traditional camber in the binding area enables fast powder runs and gives, supported by the Magne-Traction, excellent edge grip on hard or icy passages. The solution provides security and is easy to control, even though the turn initiation, especially at lower speeds requires some experience. With the Karakoram interface and binding, the Solution carving on the slopes, can not be distinguished in the least by a solid board. In the ascent not as lightweight as expected, cause the carbon is in use in the first place because of the stiffness and not for weight reasons. Therefore the solution plows unimpressed through windpressed snow and is safely on the edge.
Splitboard K2: Ultra Split (Kwicker) Panoramic
The K2 Panoramic will be continued with a new design. We took a closer look to the K2 Ultra Split with the new Kwicker binding.
First Impression Splitboard K2 Ultra Split: As the name suggests, it is based on the "new" binding technology and is very light weight, so this splitboard brings benefits at the ascent. Even with the performance ascending (edgehold) we have not noticed anything negative. To assemble the crampons it requires some practice, but it should be possible to mount the crampons with the board halves on your feet in any terrain.
The Kwicker boot is much better than expected. A little heavier than a normal splitboard boat the Kwicker boot has enough support and comfort while riding. Nevertheless, it is not the same as a "normal" combination of binding and boot. The Boot is quite stiff to the sideways, so it is not that sensitive as a usual splitboard boot, which ends up in less control. Nevertheless the stiffness suports the edge hold while ascending.
The board is very agile, but it was not easy for us to carve the full edge radius.
Splitboard Völkl: Cashew 155cm, 162cm, 167W
Völkl has upgraded it`s Cashew range with the 155 cm Split (due to its softer tuning it is perfectly suitable for girls as well) The unique Skinpin System is applied to the tail as well and now you can mount your skins with even less efort than before. Cool upgrade! Shape, Flex and Tech will be the same, due to highly satisfied customers. The Design is rivised completely, check it out on the picture.
Check out the full review of the 12/13 Model for more info.
Splitboard Lib Tech: Travis Rice 164
The T Rice will be identical to the 12/13 Modell except the Design.
First Impression: Good fun, but sometimes it felt a bit rough while carving, due to the Magnet Traction and the edge radius. Compared to the Billy Goat by Gnu, the BG rides smoother. Ascending the edge Grip is good, supported by the Magnet Traction.
Splitboard Gnu: Billy Goat
There will be a change in Design. The Shape, Flex and Tech remain the same.
Check out the review 12/13.
Splitboard Never Summer:
Never Summer comes up to the market with two new models. The Prospector Split, a freeride / big mountain splitboard in lengths from 160 to 167cm, and especially for the ladies, the softer Raven Split, an all mountain with 151cm. We'll deliver to you detailed information after the ISPO.
Rossignol presents the Xavier De Le Rue Pro Model 163cm and 167cm splitboard market, unfortunately they did not have one on site for the First Impression test. However, it looks good if you can gather the impression from the solid model. Details are available after the ISPO.
Here you get a little vid from our testsession of the K2 Ultra Split and the Kwicker System.
A big thank you to the organizers of the shops 1st try, who have once again presented a great and informative event. It has been a lot of fun to rock the boards at the perfect atmosphere at Venet.