Proven, Reliable Voile Split System and Uncompromised Snowboard Performance is Key to Board’ s Success Among Backcountry Guides

WHISTLER, Canada, August 9, 2002 – The Prior Splitboard is entering its third season with accolades from backcountry guides who have tested and endorsed the board, and who rely on it daily in their profession. Prior Snowboards, the third largest splitboard manufacturer in the world, is introducing a 154cm women’s Splitboard this season, designed to meet the growing number of female backcountry riders.

Canadian backcountry guides Richard Marshall and Scott Newsome have used the Prior Splitboard exclusively over the last year. “The Prior Splitboard gives me the freedom to get further out into the backcountry, break trail easier, and ascend safely and efficiently without having to carry a board on my back,” says Marshall, International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA) and Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) member from Golden, British Columbia. “The Voile hinge kit that Prior uses has been proven reliable for years. Combined with the strength of the Prior board=8A the system is sturdy, reliable and is great to ride in all conditions.”

Functionally, the board is constructed with the same materials as Prior’s regular boards. It is stable in the midsection for power and ease while ascending. Forgiveness in the nose adds float in powder, while a moderate sidecut makes the board easy to turn. Importantly, each board half is torsionally stable and has two edges for added control in challenging snow conditions.

The board easily transforms from a high-performance snowboard into a pair of backcountry skis. The two halves are fastened together in five places when together as a snowboard, which provides minimal sacrifice in performance or torsional rigidity.

“One of the biggest misconceptions of the splitboard is that it will fall apart,” says Newsome from Revelstoke, British Columbia, a heli-ski guide and the first snowboarder to pass Level 2 of the Canadian Ski Guide Association

“Most people who have negative opinions about splitboards simply haven’t tried the Prior model. Paired with the Voile kit, this system is simple to convert, can take plenty of abuse, and will not let you down.”

Newsome believes that it’s only a matter of time before snowboarders catch on to the multiple benefits of the Prior Splitboard. “When my clients see the Prior Splitboard in action, they are very impressed,” he says. “Education is the key – exposing backcountry riders to the board, explaining its benefits and how it works, and hearing endorsements from those who rely on it in the backcountry. Once you understand it, you’ll want one.”

Shane Spencer, co-owner of AZAD Adventures in Terrace, BC agrees. “When selling the Prior Splitboard I first determine whether the customer is familiar with the concept of ski touring, that way, it’s easy for them to visualize how the board works in ski mode. I then show them a Splitboard set up with the bindings and boots to demonstrate the ease of conversion and the strength of the board in snowboard mode. Once the education is complete, the sale is done–customers are usually convinced on the spot.”

Spencer added that Prior Splitboards sell quickly. “I sold all the Splitboards I had last year and ordered more this year, which are already pre-sold,” he says. “I expect these sales to remain steady in the future in our market we find the Splitboard usage rate is quite high.”

Chris Prior, founder of Prior Snowboards is pleased with the rollout of splitboards to date. “Splitboard demand has increased beyond our expectations, motivating us to offer several length options including the new women’s 154cm board, as well as a swallowtail design for the ultimate in powder riding,” he says. “We’re looking forward to another strong year in Splitboard sales as the desire to explore further into the backcountry and awareness of the Prior Splitboard increeases.”

Utah-based Voile Equipment began manufacturing the first commercially viable splitboards in 1993. They have continued to lead the way in backcountry splitboard hardware as well as manufacturing other backcountry products such as shovels, probes and telemark bindings.

Prior Snowboards has been making handcrafted snowboards since 1990. They offer an extensive line of premium high-performance and custom boards to suit a variety of riding styles and preferences. All Prior snowboards are handcrafted at the Prior factory in Whistler, Canada, where the company has access to its team of local pro riders who provide comprehensive testing, research and development for the snowboard line.

For more information or to order on-line please visit the web site at www.priorsnowboards.com.