Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby taffyjonah on Mon 27/Jul/09 9:12pm

Has anyone split their own board or purchased a backcountry splitboard?

A mate from Canadia was talking about them and they sound a pretty cool concept but are they any good?
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Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby j2hyde on Mon 27/Jul/09 9:34pm

I had one a few years back. Can't say it really floated my boat. They have bugger all lateral rigidity and so are really only good for dry powder - they suck at hardpack and crud busting, and the transition from uphill to downhill is fiddley and time consuming. If the snow is actually dry powder the last thing you want to do is take your board off, pull it to bits and put it back together again (vole style), while you're postholing thigh deep and trying not to drop stuff in the snow. And that's before all the moving bits get jammed up with snow or frozen (burton style). Also you need super fat skins which aren't cheap, and they suck to skin traverse with due to the board width and lack of lateral support in snowboard boots.

People skinning on splitboards take a different line to skiers due to the board width and lack of edge ability, so if you're out with skiers you might need to cut a new skin track (=suck) and then they get shitty cause they have to wait for you all the time. You would also take a different line to other boarders on showshoes.

Splitboards are of some use in a place like Canada where there is heaps of low angle stuff to skin, and you could hook up with other splitboarders so you move at the same speed and take the same lines - though even in Canada they're pretty rare. Unless you plan to hit up the tasman glacier or something I don't see much point having one in NZ. The terrain here is too steep and often windpacked or wet/frozen. You can get around the club field backcountry here just as fast bootpacking as you can with skins - and that's on modern AT gear.

A pair of MSR snowshoes will make you much happier if you plan to do backcountry daytrips here. And if you plan multi day trips just get some AT gear or teles (and thighs of steel) like everyone else does. Or save up and use a chopper.
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Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby dented on Tue 28/Jul/09 6:56am

Yeah I had a play on one in Colorado, j2hyde is right. There is too much compromise around the ability to split. Snowshoes if youre hiking powder, but keep your big stick.

Its one of those things that sounds great as a concept, but isnt so full of win in the real world.
dented
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Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby mundi on Tue 28/Jul/09 12:30pm

Third on the fail.

Looked into getting one here, but further investigation revealed those sentiments mentioned above.
Much more enjoyable to ride a board meant for the terrain than a compromise such as the split board is.
Pair of snowshoes are better and cheaper.
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Member for: 14 years 10 months

Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby sneekyjesus on Thu 21/Jan/10 9:50pm

Old post, but I gotta chime in. Those answers are all pretty horrible. Splitboarding is the way to go if you want to go in the backcountry at all. You can do anything a skier can do. Check out the stuff Jeremy Jones does http://jeremyjones.net/ in Alaska, French Alps, Antarctica. Those places are just as steep as NZ. Homemade splits may be worse in real frozen hardpack, but that has more to do with the board that was split in the first place. Biggest obvious benefit is it keeps the board off your back all day when your hiking, its a ton easier than snowshoes in anything over 5cm of pow, splitting is a more efficient way of traveling so you get less tired, making it THE ideal way of any length of time to travel in the bc. You can and should use the same skin tracks as At'ers. I've been able to skin up stuff more easily than skiers because my splitboard is wider and has more surface area to grip. Basically splitboarding is the future of backcountry snowboarding. Or you could ski, like j2hyde suggests....
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Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby hsadventures on Sat 1/May/10 11:03pm

I may be late to the party, but here are my thoughts. My wife and I are moving to NZ in 3 days and we are only bringing our split boards--Voile 195 Swallowtail for me (85kg) and Volie Split Desicision 155 for her (52kg). I started telemarking in 1996. My wife started with a homemade Voile split kit and an Airwalk Select 147. I bought my Voile Split 195 Swallowtail in 2003. She bought her 155 in 2006.

The homemade splitboard worked fine for my wife, though the lack of edges were sometimes an issue on slippery skin tracks. A 90kg buddy of mine didn't have as much success with his homemade split kit and a Burton 174. He quickly delaminated the cut edge, so I would advise against the split kit if you are a heavy person. If you are light, it's a reasonable and cheap way to go.

Since 2003, I've been spending more and more days on the split board and fewer days on the tele skis. I sold my last 2 pair of tele skis in advance of moving to NZ, so I'm now fully committed to the split board.

We are from Portland, Oregon, USA. We don't get Utah powder. I suspect it's similar to NZ. Good snow rarely lasts more than 48 hours before rain or warm temperatures ruin it. We have done multi-day trips in Canada, Oregon, and Washington. The only time I prefer to tele is when the terrain is up and down. Tele is much easier on those flat or slight uphill sections where I have to stop and skin up with the split board--you can't skate a split board.

One of the reasons I have spent more time with the split board is that I get more vertical in a day. It's less work both uphill and downhill. This more than compensates for any transition delays. Really, we don't have problems with the transitions. Like anything else, once you've done it a few times, it gets easier and faster. Besides, it's not like being at a resort. It's not a race to get your runs in before the mountain is tracked out.

The weak link in the split board world is the boots. After many iterations, both of us are using telemark boots and Voile's tele plate binding. I started with Scarpa T1's and then switched to T2's. It was great because I had one pair of boots that worked for tele or split boarding. It worked so well that my wife is using T3's even though she doesn't tele. Now that I'm no longer telemarking, I think I would prefer T3's as well. The tele plate bindings are super light weight. I think our boots could be even lighter--maybe plastic mountaineering boots. I wish Voile would partner with a company like Scarpa to develop a specific split board boot. Traditional snowboard boots just don't cut it. Over the years, we've tried traditional strap bindings, Switch step-ins, and K2 Clickers, but plate bindings and plastic boots are the only way to go.
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Member for: 7 years 7 months

Splitboarding In New Zealand Is Growing Fast!

Postby abcdl on Sat 11/Jun/11 1:00pm

Hi, hey I am working hard to grow the splitboarding scene in New Zealand. This thread has been pretty quiet by the looks of it for a while now, so I hope I can wake it up!

Over the next 4 weeks I am building my first split boards in my own CHCH based workshop factory. These are being designed by experienced NZ splitboarders, to suit the variable NZ conditions we get here. I want to make the climbing and traversing experience as good or better than that of skiers, with improved sidecut design and board widths suited to NZ snow/terrain. With a new unique connection between the boards to stiffen the interface, the downhill ride is going to be massively improved on firm packed snow conditions. So as this design progresses into production model I will keep this thread updated.

If you want any thing splitboard related, I can provide it. That includes Spark R&D bindings/crampons/boots/accessories (see http://www.sparkrandd.com), climbing skins, Voile pucks etc, back country gear such as transcievers/probes/packs/shovels etc, and of course my handmade in NZ split boards.

Spark R&D equipment is the best proven gear on the market, and they are continually innovating and bringing new products to the market. The introduction of a new splitboarding specific boot this 2011 season will make splitboarding take another great leap forward. The boot is purpose designed for splitboarding, stiff, light (les that 1100g per boot), rugged to take a beating, they have a proper Vibram climbing sole, and have a waterproof breathable membrane - just what you were asking for. They will take a proper strapon climbing crampon too if you need to tackle some real hairy stuff too! Pictures of the boot are here.....http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Spark-RD/171487301612

This 2011 season I am going to have my demo custom built demo split boards with Spark R&D bindings on them on the mountain with me everywhere I go, south and north island. I will be advertising dates of where I plan to be and also sending updates via Twitter about my plans. Website is coming in development right now.

Hope you have a great season folks.

Cheers
Richard Harcourt
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Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby j2hyde on Sat 11/Jun/11 1:39pm

Good luck Richard, sounds like you've got some cool stuff. Hopefully we get some snow soon too!

I've gone to the dark side and got dynafit for this season. Big reverse reverse and super light bindings are the new black ;)
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Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby CrustyMTB on Sat 11/Jun/11 5:16pm

Fix the heal, fix the mind.
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Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby disoriented on Sat 11/Jun/11 6:31pm

CrustyMTB wrote:Fix the heal, fix the mind.


Free the heal, free the soul
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Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby abcdl on Mon 20/Jun/11 11:20pm

j2hyde, what part of NZ you in mate? would be good to catch up sometime, I'm in Sumner CHCH, come and check out my board building workshop and see what 2011 Splitboarding is all about!!!!!

cheers
Rich
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Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby dented on Tue 21/Jun/11 6:18am

disoriented wrote:
CrustyMTB wrote:Fix the heal, fix the mind.


Free the heal, free the soul

Um, isnt it a heel, guys?
dented
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Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby Conners on Tue 21/Jun/11 5:16pm

wHAT A SPEELING NAZI AOUW.
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Re: Backcountry Splitboard?

Postby dented on Tue 21/Jun/11 6:37pm

UR FACE :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:
dented
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