So you have decided to invest in your first splitboard but what should you buy?
Before you even think about buying one ask yourself what kind of terrain you intend on riding with your new trusty stead? Will you be riding bottomless Japan pow, heavy Sierra cement, Champagne pow in the Wasach or Rockies or an Alpine mix of hard pack and soft?
Next ask yourself what kind of snowboard you normally like to ride on a powder day? Do you ride an all mountain twin, directional freeride or maybe a fish or swallowtail powder gun? What ever you ride, this gives you an insight into the type of rider you are and how you like to ride when you get into the backcountry.
With this in mind it should help you narrow your search. There are one trick pony specialist splitboards and quiver killer all rounders. So let’s look at the key things to think about when deciding which board to invest in.
What length board do you normally ride in Powder? Use this as a starting point. If you tend to ride pow specific boards or free ride boards then stick to the same length as your regular board and you won’t go far wrong. If you like to ride twins or all mountain freestyle boards its a good idea to size up a little and go unto 5cm longer. This will give you the extra float and save on leg burn in the deep stuff. If you ride a wide snowboard then make sure your splitboard is wide to.
There are so many exciting shapes out there to try these days but go back to what you like to normally ride in the pow. If backcountry freestyle floats your boat and you like riding powder switch, then pick an all mountain freestyle or twin shape. If you like charging a little harder and ride less switch choose a directional freeride shape. If bottomless light fluffy powder is all you plan on riding as effortlessly as possible and you love that surf feel then choose a swallow tail or Fish shape. These have a short tail to keep the nose floating effortlessly in deep stuff.
Profile – Rocker vs camber
The age old debate but which is best? If you need a board that holds an edge well on the hard pack, Ice and variable conditions then a camber board is hard to beet. When the going gets tough they won’t let you down providing positive feedback and edge hold. If you are lucky enough to ride in an area where the climate is dry and the snow stays light and fluffy then a rocker board will help make those turns effortless and keep you floating, it just won’t be as good on the hardpack. Many boards have a hybrid board shape now with a rockered nose for float and camber under foot to the tail. This is a great best of both worlds solution and makes for a great allrounder.
Ultimately it is your choice and whatever you ride has to feel good and inspire confidence so that you can ride the kind of terrain you want in the way you like to. Here are some of Onyxsnowboarding’s top picks for Splitboards.
All mountain freestyle/twin
Quiver killer, one board to rule them all