08 February 2018    

The newest Splitboard gear for winter 2018-19! We have already tested the latest stuff, hoping to give you a likely good overview and informative insights!

As every year in the middle of the deepest winter, we jump forward one season and literally jump onto the brand new boards that will be available on the market in 2018/19.

Less at trade fairs, more in the snow - this trend continued this year and so the 9th Shops First Try took 89 brands to the deep snow-covered Alpbachtal in Tyrol, where everything was all about snow- and splitboarding for three whole days. Not only for us, but also for the numerous professional visitors it offers a perfect setting to test the upcoming snow- and splitboard material of big and small brands. These included some splitboard specialists who were new to the Microbrands this year. At this point a tip to the remaining manufacturers - come and become part of this top event.

Shops First Try Impressions

For our First Impression Test 2018-19 we have tested the Splitboards on short, technically demanding ascents and downhill runs under as many different conditions as possible. This year we had to look for a suitable piece of hard and icy piste with an angle of about 35°, among other things to be able to take a closer look at the important traversing characteristics of the ascent. We were able to ride freely in up to 70cm of fresh powder, at the bottom partly also in melted wet snow and of course on the pistes of all kinds.

Shops First Try Test on Snow

The resulting First Impression tests of the individual products and the presentation videos will follow below. In addition to the new and further developed splitboards, boots and bindings, we have also caught some interesting stuff at the ISPO in Munich and from there we also brought along some other interesting presentations and new splitboard brands. Watch out for the upcoming article.

A note on the weight specifications, during production there may be deviations and the values shown may include attached interface parts.

What's new and hot (First Impression)?

Sandy Shapes Virtuosa Split (finishing and riding performance impressed)
Rome Powder Division Split (more than a powderboard)
Furberg Pow Splitboard (if you like the Furberg shapes, then you will also like the Pow Splitboard)
Mendiboard Sunnmore (powboard with surfy feeling and ascent performance)
K2 Farout Bindung (top binding based on the Voile Speedrail) 
Spark R&D Arc Pro und Surge Pro (recommended benchmark - again around 100g lighter)
Plum Backentry Binding & Hardboot Binding
Salomon SLab Boot (rigid boot with interesting hike mode)

What's new?

Jones Mind-Expander (surfy and playful)
Nitro Squash Split (it's fun, but unfortunately heavy)
Never Summer Swift (very impressive in powder and in changing conditions - sketchy on the way up)
Borealis Arcane (super-maneuverable shape - still a little weight optimization needed)
West Splitboard (produced with love by Gara)
Salomon Speedway Splitboard (good impression unfortunately we couldn't test it)
Salomon SLAB (700g less weight than last year - big leap in development)

Not new, but not tested by us until the "snowfall of the century" in 2018:
K2 Cool Bean (Lots of fun in deep snow - surprisingly good grip on the ascent)

What has been optimized?

Deeluxe XVE und XV Boots (new design - small optimizations)
Arbor Iguchi Pro now available in 163 W
Burton Flight Attendant (should weight about 2.7 kg in the finished version - prototype at 3 kg)

What else was interesting??

Konvoi - with a lot of Powsurf boards
Shred Goggles - tested at Hike and barely fogged up.
Amplid Microgram - Sneak Peek (min. 2.10) - even lighter, let's see when it hits the market.

New and hot!!

Sandy Shapes Virtuosa Split - 2800g bei 160cm:
Since the beginning of splitboarding.eu we wanted to take the Sandy Shapes Splitboards under our feet and see what they can do. That's why we were all the more pleased that they finally made it to the Shops First Try this year. Well, the test conditions were quite special with the massive new snowfalls of the past days. Yes, the Virtuosa Split has an incredible float and is still easy to steer. Relatively centered standing, the nose remains at the top. You shift the weight a little further back and you brake and feel like surfing bigger waves, even if the Virtuosa Split doesn't have a swallowtail. On the slope you can ride beautifully carved turns and it has enough pop to inspire even heavier riders.  

Due to the extreme conditions on the test day we could not find a hard section at that particular day. Thus, our statement about ascent performance is based only on theory. The nose is very wide, which will certainly make itself felt in the ascent. Due to the relatively long effective edge of the traditional camber up to the clips and the gently rocked nose, the ascent will be fine. As soon as we have a chance to put the Virtuosa through challenging terrain, we will inform you and update the article.  

Also worth mentioning is the beautiful finishing and bottle of oil that everyone gets when buying a Virtuosa.

The Sandy Shapes Zingara Split, on the other hand, requires further optimization.


Rome Powder Division:
With the Powder Division, Rome has once again proven that they can build excellent splitboards. The short board has a rounded, wide and rockered nose, is clearly waisted underneath the typical Rome Powder-S camber and ends with a slightly cut and raised tail. The Powder Division is equipped with the same features as the Whiteroom and Powderroom -  both very solid splitboards which are still available.
Conceived as a powder board, the new Rome comes with a decent setback. It floats beautifully in exceptionally deep snow and was safe, easy and maneuverable to ride at the same time. Very nice for tight tree runs.

On a hard-prepared slope nothing speaks against a few far carved turns, in the crumbled and hunchbacked snow one is happy about the fast and hardly strenuous changes of direction. Agile and at the same time stable. Only the rather cosmetic flapping of the outermost tip of the nose and the rather small length selection for large and heavy grown ones, could tempt you to put far more money on the table for a comparable board.

In our ascent test, the Powder Division Splitboard performed very solidly and the hard to icy 35° could be mastered without crampons.


Furberg Pow Splitboard:
The board has a flat base - neither camber nor rocker. This gives a good float. Thanks to the shape of the fish it can be ridden comfortably and there is no need to shift the weight backwards. As usual with Furberg, it has not very tight waist and has a large radius. It rides surfy but needs a certain amount of time getting used to push the edge into the proper turning radius. With full pressure it slips through the back sometimes. Bring the weight further back, it'll hold better.

Here our ascent rating is based on theory. The board is flat but the nose is not too wide. Thus, the ascent will presumably take some time to get used to, but then tricky crossings will also be possible. Having crampons with you is a good tip.


Mendiboard Sunnmore:
We tested the Mendi Sunnmore on tour for a whole day after the SFT. On the descent it shines with excellent stability and float. It's one of the boards where you step on it and have fun right away.

As usual with Mendiboard it is better in the ascent than other pow boards of this class. It has a clean forward pull and it is nicely balanced. It has a long nose and the handsome camber of about 8mm starts at the front of the hooks. The tail is relatively short with approx. 5cm. Thus the effective edge is long, which is reflected in the already mentioned ascent performance. The topsheet is also used for rental boards. It is a little heavier, but it is very durable and abrasion resistant.


K2 Far-Out Binding:
After almost every big company has teamed up with an established splitboard binding manufacturer, K2 has made a real alternative suitable for distribution by cooperating with Voile. The base consists of the voile parts, straps and highback probably come from K2.

Like the Speed Rail, the binding is pushed on from the front and then locked under the heel. This is comfortable and safe to use. Great power transmission during descent and ascent. Try out the binding to see for yourself.


Spark Arc Pro and Surge Pro + further developments:
We have already tested the Spark Surge Pro - it is still the recommended benchmark and again almost 100g lighter than the normal Tesla ones.


Plum Hardboot and Backentry Binding:
We did not test those bindings yet, but check out the video for further details. We have had quite good experiences with the SP Backentry System in the past and are looking forward to the combination with Plum.


Salomon SLab Boot:
After several hours in the SLab boot of Salomon my feet hurt a little bit, but the inner shoe is made of a Thermofoam, which can be adapted to the foot shape at approx. 80°Celsius in the oven or at a specialized dealer. The outer length is quite short and the boot itself is rather wider than other splitboard boots. We'll provide the weight soon.

What is new?

Jones Mind Expander:
Based on the profile of Chris Christenson's surfboards, the Mind Expander has a rocker that is powerfully pronounced up to the front inserts, flat in between and slightly less rocked up to the tail. The wide nose and spoon shape provides a surfy float and playful runs in the Alpbach powder. Also in slush this shape is fun to ride, of course much less when it gets hard and icy. However, the Mind Expander really lived up to its name and destiny, as it elicited a few little tricks from a freestyle teetotaler that were surprisingly easy to do and aroused the desire for more.

Hard and icy descents or climbs are not the domain of rocker splitboards, this was confirmed in our short traversing test. Here the carrying of crampons is essential.

Nitro Squash - 3400g at 159cm:
The Nitro Squash is a solid powder board. The long stretched nose gives him good floating properties and the camber under the feet til far behind in the tail offers proper support. Despite its heavy weight it is fun to ride and brings good maneuverability through the short tail. Ploughed powder will be further ploughed apart while other boards glide over it. If edge hold is needed, it is there without great effort. Tests during ascent have shown, traversing was rather difficult without crampons but better than other boards in the test. It is important to take crampons with you.

 

Never Summer Swift:
Down the hill with deep powder it was once again a great experience. It glides very well, is maneuverable and great fun to ride. The wide nose comes up with ease, also caused by the "wing profile" and the stately width. This board is not only fun to ride in powder is, also on hard slopes and varying conditions you feel very comfortable with it. It holds on the edge and in tracked out powder its still very maneuverable. Also it glides effortlessly over deep tracks.

What is incredibly good in the downhill run, unfortunately has great disadvantages in the ascent. The effective edge length on the ascent is approx. 30cm. One could say shorter edge means more pressure, but the board rotates like a compass needle and the pressure is not evenly distributed along the edge. Here, too, the carrying of crampons is very important.

Borealis Arcane:
The Arcane is entering the next season. When riding, it impresses with its excellent edge hold and enormous maneuverability. The slightly longer nose gives a good portion of float, just enough to keep you in control. It is relatively soft and can be easily pushed into tight turns. Due to its weight - the Arcane is still on the heavy side - a little bit of riding fun is lost. If this gets improved, it has serious chances to be far ahead in all test results.

The Borealis Arcane climbs quite well thanks to the light camber and can even score points in hard and relatively steep traverses.

 

West Splitboard:
The West Splitboard is a classic, pow oriented shape with good camber under feet. It is fun to ride and climbs well. For being the first West Splitboard it is pretty good. Regarding the weight it can be optimized.

 

Salomon Splitboard Line:

Further optimized:

Deeluxe XVE und XV Boots:

 

Amplid Microgram.001:

 

We hope to have given you a good overview of the new material and would be happy if you would share the article in your channels.

You can always find new product presentations on our Youtube Channel. Check in and subscribe!
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A big thank you goes to Muck and his crew for the excellent organization and to all participating brands, who made this year's SFT an unforgettable experience.

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