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B Deleted_Beck

Splitboard questions

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Howdy

 

I'm finally serious about going the splitboard route.

 

Serious as I am, I'm NOT a serious snowboarder.. this will be a vehicle for climbing only. Fast and easy up, fast and easy down.. So I want it as cheap and light as I can get.

 

Bindings are obviously gonna be the hardest thing to go "cheap" on, if I want light.. so I've pretty much already resigned myself to the fact that I'll be spending $250-350 on those, used.. plus another $160 probably for some new G3s I've been seeing on sale lately.. the Voile DIY kit is $160. That's putting me at mid 600s without the board, I DON'T want to double that by buying an actual splitboard. In fact, I want to hold the cost RIGHT THERE by using my old ass Sims 152 "mermaid" snowboard. If you're early 30s and grew up local, you remember the board I speak of..

 

So... two questions -

 

Firstly... Being 5'8" and not much of a snowboarder to begin with, how is that length for my intended purpose? Would shorter or longer be better? How much better?

 

Secondly... How much has technology changed since the old Sims boards of the mid-90s? Will I potentially regret cutting skins to fit this board that I will eventually throw in a dumpster in a fit of frustrated rage, or will a climber/not-really-snowboarder like me know or care much about the difference?

 

Thanks,

 

-Ben

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Are you a skier at all? What boots did you intend on using? I find with investments like these that the more initial money you put in, the happier you are at the end. Also, skimping on stuff tying to save a buck generally just leaves you wishing you had gone all in, besides, next year will you really notice if you splurged a little bit on a setup that is awesome vs one that leaves you wishing for more.

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Skis

 

Without getting into it... Believe me, I tried.

 

Fuck skis.

 

Are you a skier at all? What boots did you intend on using? I find with investments like these that the more initial money you put in, the happier you are at the end. Also, skimping on stuff tying to save a buck generally just leaves you wishing you had gone all in, besides, next year will you really notice if you splurged a little bit on a setup that is awesome vs one that leaves you wishing for more.

 

This is generally my mindset.. and I do generally buy, pretty much, "the best," when I commit to something. So I'm not gonna skimp on the bindings or skins.. but it seems to me that the board itself just matter that much, so long's it's light and you can ride it well.

 

I've been renting Mountain Shop's women's 160ish Voile/Sparks setup, and I love it. I wish it was lighter, but it could be about as light as splitboards get, for all I know. My old Sims seems a little lighter

 

Primary boots are Phantom Guides, this season

Edited by Ben B.

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I used to be a snowboarder and a few years ago I asked about a splitboard setup and I think it was Sol who told me, "skis" and I listened and I have never regretted it. Especially since having spent a couple of trips with splitboarders -- if you are not a serious snowboarder anyway and just want it for climbing (easy up, easy down) you will have an easier time with skis. And this is coming from a former snowboarder. When I've been with splitboarders, they've always struggled way more than me on the flatter parts of the descent...for obvious reasons. It looks very awkward, I'm glad I don't have to deal with that. I'm really glad I took Sol's or whoever's advice it was and took some ski lessons instead! Never looked back.

 

Sorry, I know I didn't answer your question at all and I'm rue it's not helpful but it was worth saying. :) just my lousy $0.02

 

That said, there are some badass splitters around so hopefully they will help you. Cheers!

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Not a splitboarder, but do quiz them about boot selection from time to time. Snowboarrds are old hat. There's been lots of time for development and evolution. Splitboards ain't so old as you know.

 

Last time the subject of boots came up with a splitboarder with miles under the board the response was boots will change radically next year. Not much help now, but something to think about.

 

If you do get a splitboard the bindings have to be compatible with climbing boots. If you can't find compatible bindings then you're back to AT skis and a dose of survival skiing and patience ;)

 

I hear splitboards are great in soft snow, but suck on the uptrack in hard or icy snow due to width underfoot.

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in the not so distant future, skiis will be as wide as a splitboard going uphill. then the track will fit us nicely. I have splitboard behind skiers and it is like breaking trail all day long. But the exception of berdinka, I have always ripped harder downhill.

 

Kolfach used to make a really nice looking back country boot that looked like a nepal top but higher. Sadly they discontinued before I had the brains to buy one.

 

I have snowboarded in leather mtn boots like the nepal top but the leather did not cover the entire length of the high back. This caused some pinched pain in the calf. I resorted to wrapping the calf with a piece of foam pad. This seemed like a good idea on paper but lacked something in reality. maybe you can refine the idea.

Maybe a shorter highback for bindings that is lower than the leather boot?

 

Old school-there was a binding that was used for racing and was similar to a crampon binding. If you can find one of those and mount it on the splitboard binding plate. Then use plastic boots or AT boots. Not sure if this would work for leather mtn boots.

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I've been snowbarding for 25 years, splitboarding for 10, and skiing for 2.

 

I love snowboarding. I ride my board when it's deep in bounds, when conditons are gnarly, and when I'm going to tag a hard objective/couloir in the backcountry (i.e. black hole couloir on bandit). Otherwise I ski. It's lighter, faster, more solid on the up, and much more efficient/free on the down.

 

With your primary intention being to travel to and fro climbing objectives, a splitboard is just not the way to go. I started skiing so that I could tick off some classic traverses that I wouldnt touch on my board and cuz frankly unless it's a challenging objective ive been riding so long it gets kinda boring..

 

Like Kurt said, i do think some changes will happen soon with the currently absolutely archaic design of snowboard boots, it's funny that 20 years ago koflach and such made some pretty damn awesome (though very heavy) backcountry snowboard boots which were waterproof and step in crampon compatible, but since then nada. I'm hoping La sportiva will step up with a plastic lower, leather upper style. There is room for lots of innovation as far as splitboarding boots and bindings go.

 

Best soft boot splitboard binding on the market: Karakoram, hands down, $$$.

Best board: ???, i'm thinkin prior, but there are lots of companies out there making some very nice boards.

 

My suggestion: again, skis.

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The Spark Burners on the split package I've been renting from Mountain Shop come up higher than le boot, but so far it hasn't been a problem. I haven't had any pain, boarding all the way back down from the Hogsback to the parking lot.

 

As to skis- I'm just plain NOT willing to switch to AT boots. I enjoy the pleasure of soft-ankled technical climbing boots way too much to spoil it just for sake of a faster descent. With a splitboard, I don't have to sacrifice. Yea, I've had to hop off the board and drag it a few feet to get out of depressions, but compared to the hell of trying to descend 5000' of varied backcountry terrain on 404s in climbing boots, I'll take it.

 

Nothing against you guys, and I wish I could ski, but until if/when I ever become a competent skier... fuck skis, for climbing.

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I'm not a skier, but have been snowboarding and splitboarding for a similar amount of time as Sol. He's right about the skis, watching my AT companions. So much better for climbing access, icy conditions, and traverses! Splitboards are way more work on the same terrain, for a lot of reasons.

 

Maybe things have changed a lot on the boot front in the last few years, but I think AT boot are still going to be the better option for skinning and climbing, paired with the Voile mtn. plate binding. Dynafit TLT5's are a good example of something that lots of alpinists are using these days. They aren't as rigid as most AT boots, esp with the tongue out. It won't as good for going down as softboots, but it will skin and climb much better, and be crampon compatible. This is similar to what I have used for the past 7 years after 4 years with softboots and bindings.

 

You can spend a ton of money on getting "the best" board. I think the Voile packages are perfectly suitable for climbing access and day trips for powder vert. It has served me well for years of hard abuse. You can often find them on sale starting in a few weeks.

 

How long ago did you try skis? My impression from watching folks on the new, fat, rockered, skis is that they pretty much ride similar to snowboards and are probably more forgiving than the skis of old. Things have changed so much on the ski side, that I plan to learn to ski in the next five years or so. Probably when my son learns.

 

 

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Here's a video of a pretty ripping rider from the Selkirks who is rocking a hardboot set-up. Dynafit TLT 5's and voile hard plates I believe. If you gotta ride a board but your main objective is travel, it seems to be the best set-up so far...

 

 

FWIW, I rock a burton s 168 with Spark's and it's garbage.

 

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Have you checked out splitboard.com yet? Great knowledge base on splitboarding and adapting systems to mountaineering. There are a number of mountaineering\snowboard hybrid boots now on the market - either Spark R&D has them (check Mountaingear.com - they carry a couple models).

 

I'd ditch the Sims - find a board with a rockered nose - while the rocker's selling point is powder I think it also helps power through the mixed conditions that you might encounter. Go longer too IMHO - I started a bit short (161cm - 5'11") and am happier with a longer board: 164cm - Prior Spearhead Split, best board I have ever owned - though the Jones splits are pretty sweet looking.

 

But regarding skiing...I have been snowboarding for 20 years, splitting for 6 years, but skiing for the last 2-3 years - though still split/board depending on the days. I think that most take up splitboarding because they are good boarders and want to access the BC. But if you aren't a ripping boarder - it does remove a reason for splitting - skiing is my preferred weapon when there is lots of sidehilling, traversing, etc.

 

I tried skiing an AT set up years ago and absolutely hated it and bought a splitboard. My problem though was that I went straight to the BC without a good skiing base. Not saying this would work for all, but years later during a lame spell with no new snow I busted out that old AT set up in-bounds and kind of liked it on the bunny hills (humility is good once in a while), then moved up to the intermediates, then the diamond runs. It probably took 40-50 ski days to get comfortable, but with a ski pass and a commitment to go up after work night skiing made it happen. Now I feel I can take either the AT set up or the split depending on the mission\conditions.

 

But either way, if you have time - grab a pass and hit up the local resort - especially on crappy days and log the hours. It'll help your boarding\skiing. For the amount of time and money invested in an alpine mission - its worth it in the long run to have the basic skills to make the descent more enjoyable. As someone cooler than me once said, "It's all about the down, yo."

 

 

 

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I'm ride dynafit tlt5 with voile mountain plates and dynafit toe pieces on a venture storm. Makes a world of difference for the up. And if you have to put on crampons, the hard boots are SOOOOOOO much better.

 

All that being said, skis are still better on icy traverses. It's just challenging to traverse in those conditions on a "ski" thats 130-135 mm wide. Takes some effort.

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As a snowboarder for 20+ years and into my second season of splitboarding ~40-50 days on the split now I can tell you that skiing is better for transportation if you aren't already a strong snowboarder. Think about it for a minute, skiing was originally meant as a way to get around in the snow and somebody thought it was kind of fun. Snowboarding never had that limitation and was fun right from the beginning! That does make it kind of a bad way to get around in the mountains.

 

One of the reasons that skiing is so much more efficient is the boots and if you aren't willing to give up the leather climbing boots then you're back to splitboarding.

 

The board that you are thinking about cutting is too short. I have found that my sweet spot would be 160-164 and I would prefer a board with camber. I'm riding a Lib Tech T.Rice with a dynasplit set up and the board rides better than the boots but even when I was on soft boots with Karakoram bindings the rocker makes skinning a little harder. I recently went back to a full camber board in the ski area when I broke my latest solid and realized that camber is a lot more fun than rocker but requires more aggressive input.

 

Do not get tempted to ride in soft (relatively) leather boots with plate bindings just because you have toe and heel welts. You will not be able to handle anything firm on your heels without the support of a highback. I was in conditions yesterday that would have been downright scary with really soft boots and no highback.

 

Check splitboard.com and craigslist, more stuff is starting to pop up used since gear has gotten so good lately. Check into the K2 Panarama too, I think they have hit the pricepoint the best but it might not be the best riding board.

 

Ski gear is going to be a lot lighter, a lot more efficient, and cheaper!

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PS I have a pair of Koflach SuperPipes in my closet that I bought when I was 13 back in the fall of '93. They were a lot cooler in memory than they are in real life. The welts are soft and won't hold well in a snowboard binding, they don't have enough support for heelside turns, they are heavy, and the heel on the sole is really thick. There are better alternatives out now.

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Well I won't be using hard boots- that would completely defeat half my reason for deciding on splitboard..

 

I've been up a few more times, to include an all day lift session yesterday, to hone the skills and remind myself how much fun snowboarding is in its own right, and I'm even more convinced this is the way to go. No learning curve- I'm a proficient boarder, and it IS a hell of a lot of fun.

 

So... Back to the original purpose of this thread..

 

I will not be splitting the Sims board.. It's a classic and rides really well as a resort board, I'll keep it for that purpose and get something for BC.

 

Being 5'8" and 160lbs, carrying between 20-40lbs on my back (90% of the time closer to 20 than 40), riding, exclusively, mixed snow conditions at altitude.. What kind of length and shape should I be looking at?

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A pair of skis bro, my set up cost me $40 and is a third of the weight of my split (Which cost many times more, and I don't hardly use). I feel like we're beating a dead horse, but splitboards suck for approaching climbs! Get skis, you'll spend less money, have a lighter setup, and move faster after the first few trips. I have become halfway decent at skiing on 191 tele skis mounted with 404's and wearing baturas. Last time I came out of upper flanders I only ate shit once, and I am the most uncoordinated person I know. You'll probably crush if you give yourself the chance.

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Lot's of people still get it done on softboot setups...Kyle Miller for one.

 

However, a SOFT 2/3 buckle AT can match the flex (and is actually better I think) of a stiff soft boot and offer so much more for the touring (rearward articulation?!) and climbing aspect. It's nice to have a boot you can shred the downhill in AND climb in.

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I'm with you on using the split setup for access to climbs, getting on with the route, and descending steep snow in the most fun way possible.

I've used splitboards to access climbs all over Alaska and Washington and found them to have some weaknesses but what an awesome way to slide in with the boot you will be climbing the route in and not having to dick around with AT or ski boots.

 

My latest model in use is Voile's Mojo RX with the light rail bidings, seems work just fine with my La Sportiva Nepal Evos or Nuptse boots. I am 6 foot and weight 195lbs, carrying 20 or so pounds on average in the pack, using a board the measures 166. The shorter board works just fine in maritime climates, and cuts a bit of weight. I admit the flats suck, but worth it overall imo. When the slope gets sporty due to hardpack or ice, I slap on the viole split crampons, work like a champ, or just continue on with my mountaineering boots cramponed up and board on the pack.

 

I made due with an old burton setup for years, trying AT boots with step in bindings, koflach boots with mountain plates, everything just a bit shy of what I really needed to make it work, so finally bit the bullet and dished out cash to get the right setup.

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I finally just went ahead and dropped the coin.. Jones Solution 158, Spark R&D Blaze LT, Voile twin heels and pucks, still need to get some skins... probably just grab a pair of G3 splitboard skins when they come in stock at Mountain Shop. As far as I can tell, this is a super all-around setup.

 

There's a hell of a lot of options and a big lack of readily available information on the webz. I rap with guys at the shop and dudes I see sporting splits on the mountain, but everyone's got a different opinion about stuff.

 

Right now I'm just trying to figure out what's going to stiffen up my BC setup. I catch my edges a lot and crash at weird times. I can cook hard and be fine, but as soon as I slow down and stand up and relax, I catch an edge and eat shit in a most awkward and surprising way.

 

I probably just need more practice, is all.

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