Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image
Gallery Image

Splitboarding Gear: Best Backcountry Snowboarding Products of 2016-2017

You wake up at dawn, hit the head, down a banana and slam a cup of joe. Grab your almost-dry boots and skins, and fire up the truck. At the trailhead, the number of vehicles in the lot is unsettling. Like it or not, backcountry usage numbers are rising, forcing users to search further for the untracked. But we’re embracing the movement between lift chairs and skin tracks. It’s inevitable. And as long as we’re all making safe decisions, more healthy and happy souls finding freshies wherever their dreams–and legs–can carry them, the better.

Last spring we spent a week testing splitboarding gear in the rugged backcountry surrounding Crested Butte, Colorado. Boards, bindings, boots, beacons, and all the other important stuff you’d carry for a big day in the mountains. We also used the lifts at Crested Butte Mountain Resort to expedite testing, since relying solely on our legs to put all this gear through the proper paces would have taken far longer than a week. Then, in an effort to help readers make smart buys before heading to the hills, we chose the gear that performed best. Here it is.

To read the full review of each product below, click the images or title links.

Splitboards:

Testers' favorite splitboards for 2016-2017. From left to right, Rossignol XV MagTek, Venture Storm, Lib Tech T. Rice Gold Member, Weston Range, Smokin KT-22, Never Summer Aura
Photo by Chris Wellhausen

 

Rossignol XV MagTek $700.00
“It dug deep into carves and flowed from one move to the next,” one tester reported. Another, who also took it for a few resort laps, said it “slayed steep hardpack and grooved through moguls.”

rossignol-xvmagtek-2016-01
Photo by JP Van Swae

Venture Storm $899.00
“Lots of sharks in the water today, but she came out unscathed,” one tester noted. Another called it a great choice for times that require exceptional float, turnability, and shock absorption.

One of the best splitboards going into 2017, the Venture Storm is a great choice for days that require exceptional float, turnability, and shock absorption.
Photo by JP Van Swae

Lib Tech T. Rice Gold Member $970.00
With rocker and most of the flex between the feet, plus some rigidity under the inserts where the camber is, it was called “a good balance of power and play.”

The 2017 Goldmember Firepower (FP) splitboard from Lib-Tech charges hard and fast, with a playful side.
Photo by JP Van Swae

Weston Range $899.00
With great response throughout, it turned quickly and satisfied the most aggressive freeriders and dynamic freestylers. This is the splitboard we saw the most backflips on last season.

The 2017 Range from Weston Backcountry is the splitboard we saw the most backflips on last season.
Photo by JP Van Swae

Smokin KT-22 $900.00
The KT22 boasts a powerful twin shape that absorbs impacts well and transitions smoothly from edge to edge to offer “fast action between rocks and trees,” as one tester put it.

Testers said Smokin's 2017 KT-22 splitboard was awesome for backcountry freestylers with directional tendencies and a love for camber.
Photo by JP Van Swae

Never Summer Aura Women’s $849.00
One of our veteran testers called the Aura split “easy to control” and “a very enjoyable ride,” complimenting both the responsive and playful aspects of Never Summer’s only women’s split.

The 2017 Aura, Never Summer's only women's splitboard, was complimented for both its responsive and playful aspects.
Photo by JP Van Swae

 

Splitboard Boots:

Testers' favorite splitboard boots for 2016-2017. From left to right, K2 Aspect, Rome Guide, ThirtyTwo Jones MTB, Fitwell Backcountry
Photo by Chris Wellhausen

 

ThirtyTwo J Jones MTB $600.00
Testers reported that with the walk mode open, which gives users a range of motion increase of up to 35 percent, it almost felt like they could have run up mountains…

Photo by JP Van Swae

K2 Aspect $480.00
With help from Lucas Debari, it was designed to take on the world’s gnarliest mountains. It took over two years to develop, and boy does that show through its thoughtful design.

Photo by JP Van Swae

Fitwell Backcountry $600.00
More of a mountaineering boot that snowboards than a snowboard boot that climbs mountains, this is the footwear for serious splitboard mountaineers.

Photo by JP Van Swae

Rome Guide $360.00
The Guide fits the bill for riders who need their pre-work dawn patrols then want to rock the same boots inbounds all day.

Photo by JP Van Swae

 

Splitboard Bindings:

Testers' favorite splitboard bindings for 2016-2017. From left to right, Voilé Speed Rail, Burton Hitchhiker, Karakoram Prime SL, Spark R&D Surge
Photo by Chris Wellhausen

 

Burton Hitchhiker $400.00
Now with a single climbing wire and an even easier forward-lean adjustment than last year, this bad boy was a force to be reckoned with during testing.

Photo by JP Van Swae

Karakoram Prime Connect $399.00
The idea behind it all? To craft a pair of stiff, performance bindings that’s easy to swap between boards and rides well both in and out of bounds.

Photo by JP Van Swae

Spark R&D Surge $415.00
If there were a category for Best Splitboard Binding, the Surge would take the crown. Oh, wait…there is such a category, and this is it.

Photo by JP Van Swae

Voilé Speed Rail $350.00
Voilé finally removed the slider pin from their Light Rail binding. The new model transitions much more quickly, hence the name Speed Rail.

Photo by JP Van Swae

 

Splitboard Accessories:

best-2017-splitboard-accessories-g3-arva-mammut-volcom-bca-voile-jp-van-swae
Photo by JP Van Swae

 

Beacon: ARVA NEO Transceiver $360.00
With a 60-meter search range, the NEO transceiver also had the most comfortable harness of the test.

Photo by JP Van Swae

Shovel: BCA Shaxe Tech Shovel $180.00
Not intended to support full-on ice climbing but worked wonders as an aide on bootpacks and a stabilizer on icy descents.

Photo by JP Van Swae

Probe: Mammut Carbon Probe 280 Fast Lock $85.00
It deployed quickly and the pointed tip pierced through heavily compacted, roadside plowed snow used during testing to simulate avalanche debris.

Photo by JP Van Swae

Skins: G3 Alpinist High Traction $199.00
Featuring more traction than counterparts with shorter nylon hairs, glue stuck well to board bases but still detached from opposing skins with ease.

Photo by JP Van Swae

Poles: Voilé CamLock 3 $110.00
The strong snow-scraper handle designed to remove wet snow buildup from skins also helped engage hard-to-reach splitboard heel risers.

Photo by JP Van Swae

Vest: Volcom Slack Vest: $300.00
Avalanche gear, snacks, two-way radio, smartphone or point-and-shoot—if you require it out there, it’ll fit in here. Designed with input from Brian Iguchi, the slack vest is no slacker.

Photo by JP Van Swae

 

Happy trails!

Find more Backcountry Snowboarding content here

Click here to check out more of our 2017 Gear Guide