HOW TO CHOOSE A SPLITBOARD
Choosing the best splitboard should be easy, but the questions are many if it’s your first time buying. We made this guide in order to help you find the best splitboard, binding and splitboard boot and at the same time explain how splitboarding works. A splitboard is a fantastic tool for finding untouched powder away from the crowds.
What is a splitboard?
For the total beginner: A splitboard is a snowboard you can take apart so you get two skis and then can walk uphill. You attach climbing skins on the base that adds traction so you don’t slide backwards.
Sizing a splitboard is the same as for a snowboard but add 3-5 centimeter (about an inch) because you need edge length for skinning and volume not to sink with a backpack full of equipment. Check that you’re inside recommended weight for the length and take height for 5-15 kilo (10-35 lbs) of extra gear you are carrying. Be careful to getting the correct width so you don’t have an overhang and therefore will boot. But don’t choose a wide model if you don’t really need it as edging on uphill will be more difficult.
You can use any snowboard boot for splitboarding, but there are splitboard specific boots on the market. For attaching semi automatic boot crampons you need a split specific boot.
But you need a splitboardbinding both for uphill and for connecting the two parts of the splitboard for the descent.
Stranda currently offers 4 different splitboard models, which happens to also fall into the main categories of freeride snowboards: The all-mountain directional, the split-tail and the round-tail. What all our boards do have in common is great edge hold, superior float in powder and a camber section in the center of the board. Camber is crucial to skin traction on the climb. A board with rocker (bent like a banana) in the center will start sliding backwards due to insufficient skin contact with the snow.
OUR LINE OF SPLITBOARDS
If you’re looking for a directional all-mountain ripper that handles the gnarliest terrain, but still rides switch and is nimble enough for some backcountry freestyling, check out the Descender. It’s a low cambered missile with Stranda power bumps added at inserts for ultimate grip. It has mellow rocker in tip and tail for lift and liveliness. The speed window is huge, and the Descender is the perfect choice for high alpine technical riding mixed with backcountry freestyle. Available as a wide model and in a women’s specific version.
Our round-tail, the Shorty, has as the name implies a very short tail, which makes powder riding so much easier as its tail will sink and you can totally forget about back leg fatigue. Its hyper extended nose rocker and equally aggressive tail rocker carries you over crust and packed snow and creates lift even in the lightest Japanese powder. The Shorty has low and short camber extending outside the insert packs for secure climbing and carving. Sidecut is on the larger side to accommodate controlled turns at higher speed. This is a real rip stick! Available in a women’s specific version.
The Tree Surfer is a powder surfer’s dream come true. It has a wide, drawn out nose and a tight progressive sidecut, which equals an abundance of float in combination with a playful and surfy feel. Combine this with the steering effect from the split-tail and you have the ultimate splitboard for tight trees, slashing wind lips and charging deep powder. Fast, precise, playful and just plain fun is a description that comes to mind for the Tree Surfer. Free your mind and lift your snowboarding to new heights with this shape!
If this is your first splitboard, you probably need bindings as well. We offer splitboard packages including bindings and climbing skins. Read on below for more tips on how to splitboard.Your best deal!
ALL THE OTHER STUFF YOU NEED
Below you will find all the ins and outs of what makes a great splitboard binding, what types of climbing skins there are on the market and what to consider when choosing the best and durable boot for splitboarding. Scroll down for a gearfest!
Climbing skins are adhesive-backed pieces of fabric, it’s basically like getting winter tires on your car, you can walk up almost any kind of pitch without sliding backwards. There are 3 types: Nylon, Mohair or a mix of these. Mohair has a better glide forward but wear out easier. At Stranda we use a mix of nylon and mohair. They come pre-cut to fit your board with hardware fitted to go straight on your Stranda splitboard at your first tour.
When splitboarding, bindings aren’t just something that straps you down to your board, they’re also what connects the two board halves, and they should also provide great functionality when ascending. You can not use a regular binding on a splitboard. Hiking for several hours can be tiresome, so weight is also something that has to be taken into consideration when buying a splitboard binding. The lighter and stiffer, the more expensive the bindings. We’re offering Plum, one of the best built splitboard binding on the market in our splitboard packages. Plum bindings has the advantage of really locking the two board halves into a solid entity for superlative control.
Clips are positioned in front and rear of the board approximately 15-30 centimetres in from tip/tail to keep the two board halves together. Aiming for a ride that is as close to a solid as possible a good clip is of great importance. We use Phantom Hercules Hooks. Lightweight, secure and adjustable.
If you’re mostly going to do shorter hikes in low aspect terrain or maybe some traversing into the sidecountry any kind of boot will do. But as soon as you’re aiming for longer hikes, especially in high alpine terrain where you have to do a lot of traversing with kick-turns you need boots with more lateral support or your ankles will suffer. If you’re planning on bootpacking steeps or using crampons you need soles that are stiff with a small lip in the toe section for kicking into hard surfaces. We offer the sturdy and stiff flexing Aspect which is compatible with semi-automatic boot crampons. If you’re really serious on weight saving and also want to be able to use auto crampons you should look into AT-hardboots, ski boots designed for high alpine skinning. Hardboots have the lowest possible weight in combination with great lateral support. In that case you would have to look into hard boot binding setups like Plum SOK.
Foldable ones are practical as they fit inside your backpack, but are more prone to problems. As always lighter (carbon) is more expensive and to be honest, also more fragile. Go for an telescopic aluminium pole and you’re all set for many years of hard use.
Never venture outside a controlled ski area without proper safety gear and knowledge how to use it. What you need is: First aid kit, transceiver, probe, shovel and a backpack that is sturdy enough to fit your board on if you need to boot pack and big enough to accommodate water and some extra clothing. We offer an avy kit from Black Diamond. And an avalanche airbag backpack like the Black Diamond Jetforce Split adds an extra layer of safety in the backcountry. We strongly advice to attend a mountain safety course, learning how to search and rescue if ever things go wrong in the backcountry. And always check your local avalanche forecast before heading out. Be aware that level 3 means a considerable avalanche danger. Stay safe!