Splitboards are a great addition to your gear if you not only enjoy snowboarding during the winter but also like the feel and ability to ski as well. While split-boards serve the purpose of a traditional snowboard, they can be split into two separate sections; acting and mimicking the properties of skis as well. This makes it feasible for you to ascend slopes and also when you are ready for the descent, simply attach the two sections back together to create your snowboard. However, choosing the ideal split-board for you can be a complicated endeavor depending on the terrain you will be exploring. When looking to invest in a split-board there are several design elements you need to assess and analyze including the shape of the board, the size, the performance on fluffy or heavy snow, and the overall workmanship as a whole.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research
The forward-centered touring mounts allow the nose to stay up during kick turns
This is terrific for taking quick turns in all conditions
Features a multiple radius sidecut that enhances control
Top 10 Picks
1. Weston Backwoods
The forward-centered touring mounts allow the nose to stay up during kick turns
This is terrific for taking quick turns in all conditions
Features a multiple radius sidecut that enhances control
Nothing major and is simply as close to perfect as you can get
It is very rare for any product to achieve a perfect rating but that is what the Backwoods Splitboard has done. This beauty is designed for ease of skinning and its long and sharpened powder nose will keep you floating no matter the depth of the snow.Read more
Both the early rise in the nose and the tail successfully optimize the skin contact when you need strong traction on very steep ascents. Also, during kick turns, the nose will stay upright thanks to the forward-centered touring mounts.
Thanks to the textured polyamide designed topsheet, it has a coating that provides exceptional protection from scratches. In addition, this will shed the snow on the board to prevent build-up.
Wherever Weston could utilize recycled material on this board, they did so. It also helps that the wood used in the core body is farmed with quick reforestation times.
This is a directional splitboard with a tapered nose. What this allows is the powder nose to keep you floating on top of the snow even when it massively piles up. Plus, this adapts for well for quick turns between tight trees.
There are three lengths that you can select from for this board including 152 centimeters, 157 centimeters and 163 centimeters.
It simply does not get much better than this, no matter your preferences for splitboards. When the single hardest aspect when analyzing a specific product is attempting to find something wrong with it, you know you have something special.
2. Jones Solution
ones only uses recycled plastic in their boards
The new ULTRA clips increase the compression between each half of the board
The bolt-less bridge eliminates the need for hardware
It is difficult to adjust your bindings on this board
So, close, so close. The Jones Solution Splitboard came so close to the top spot and with its unparalleled craftsmanship, carbon stingers for an improved response and pop, and blunt nose for the benefits of a long nose without the rounded tip, you may question why it did not.Read more
This board performs like a beauty. The carbon layer keeps the flex stable to offer a more consistent ride, the Magne-Traction adds multiple contact points and substantially improves the edge grip, and the carbon stingers add stiffness for an improved response.
Jones always designs their topsheets expertly and their Solution is no different. With the eco-plastic topsheet, which is made from Castor beans, you will never have to worry about scratches or snow building up.
A brilliant design is at work here as the wood poplar and paulownia core manages to maximize both the dampening and lightness of the board. Past this, there are stainless steel plates embedded into both the nose and the tail for reinforcement.
Because Jones uses a blunt nose, for most all their splitboards, this board is able to achieve the benefits of a longer nose without adding swing weight or a rounded tip.
There are several length options that you can select from, with some having various widths. This includes several from 154 centimeters to 169 centimeters.
Anytime you see “Jones” plastered on a splitboard or snowboard, you are practically guaranteed an amazing experience. What puts this in, one particular, over the top is its master core and perfect performance.
Features laminated mixed glassing
The sintered base adds both speed and durability
Tremendous at ascending because of the extra contact points
While the topsheet is superb, it is slick when it gets wet
Being built with an efficient combination of bamboo and fiberglass, the strength of this splitboard never comes into question. But, it can also rip you around the slopes with its thunderhead profile tip that adds great speeds in the deepest of snow.Read more
Because this deck is designed to eliminate the leverage you need for re-engaging the outside contact points, you are left with a more fluid ride, superior power and seamless turns.
The topsheet is crafted from a bamboo power ply, which is ideal for a few reasons. One, it acts as an added layer of fiberglass and two, it retains the natural properties of the wood itself. Thus, combining for exceptional strength.
With an efficient combination of a fully wrapped sidewall that delivers tight tolerance for improved durability and a blend of poplar and paulownia for a lightweight core, you can’t ask much better here.
No doubt, this is built for high speeds and it is thanks to the thunderhead profile tip of the board. Even in the deepest of snow, this combines versatility and speed perfectly.
The option is yours for either a splitboard that is 158 centimeters, 161 centimeters or 164 centimeters in length.
The Voile splitboard is meant to be as durable and lightweight as physically possible. In conjunction with its fluid and seamless performance, you are left with a splitboard that is more than worthy of your hard-earned money.
4. Jones Carbon Solution
Features a bolt-less bridge design for attaching the board back
Stainless steel plates are integrated into the nose and tail
Amazing durability for the core and topsheet
Could be too stiff for some users
Even per Jones’s standards, their Carbon Solution is one of the stiffest boards on the planet. While this is a personal preference, if you prefer it, you can enjoy the increased edge grip and response at higher speeds.Read more
Due to the stiffness of the board and the camber underfoot, the edge grip and response are unparalleled. However, the rockered tip improves the maneuverability and floats the nose.
To save both materials and to reduce the amount of the total weight, Jones integrates their exclusive production process which allows the topsheet to be replaced with a durable epoxy layer.
Durability is of the essence here and the stainless steel plates for reinforcement, hardwood beech stringers along the edges, and the triple-density core of foam and fiberglass that is as stiff as wood while being 15 percent lighter, prove that.
Just like their previous splitboard on this list, the Solution, this is developed with a blunt nose. Again, this sports the benefits of a longer nose with adding the extra weight.
Many different sizes are available to adapt to multiple people. Options for 158, 161, 162W, 164 and 165W are available (in centimeters).
When it comes down to it, you will either adore or loathe the stiffness. Per their rating scale, Jones has this board as a 10 out of 10 for stiffness. Remember, this does add incredible edge grip and response when you are traveling at high speeds.
5. Weston Big Chief
The slight camber improves edge-to-edge control
Implements high-quality and ultra-durable glass
It floats wonderfully in fresh powder
Can be slow to turn on flatter terrain
Weston is back on this list and their Big Chief and Backwoods splitboards do have similarities. But, they also have their differences and while the Backwoods is the superior model, do not ignore the effectiveness and performance of their Big Chief.Read more
The carbon fiber stringers are able to provide the extra pop that you need in the powder and the additional dampening adapt for landing substantial drops. In addition, overall, this is designed for ease of skinning.
Much like their Backwoods model, this topsheet is made from a textured polyamide and will easily shed snow that lands on top of it. All in the meanwhile, it also is scratch-resistant.
Not only did Weston not use any VOCs in the epoxy, they certainly did not skimp on the glass as it is layered on thick for exceptional durability. Past this, the wood that is used in the core is farmed with fast reforestation times.
The nose is the biggest difference between Weston’s two models. This is a wide nose with an early rise that will stay afloat in deep powder. Also, the slight camber will improve the response and edge control.
A few length options are available for you to select from. The choice is yours from 157 centimeters, 164 centimeters and 168 centimeters.
To wrap it up into one distinct sentence, the Chief is not the best splitboard for flat and mellow terrains. Instead, it will float wonderfully and perform admirably in fresh powder.
6. Jones Explorer
It includes Karakoram split clips
No need to worry about tuning, as it has been factory tuned
It is factory waxed
Performs superiorly on softer snow and may not be sufficient enough on firmer snow for some people
The Explorer may be the third wheel when compared to the Solution and Carbon Solution from Jones, but it is a pretty outstanding model nonetheless. It will not perform in firm snow the way the other two will (but still does so adequately), but it is remarkable in fresh and softer snow.Read more
Everything is here for an optimal performance. This includes an inner and outer edge Magne Traction that adds edge grip on firm descents and also a camber between your feet that delivers even further edge grip.
As with their Solution Splitboard, Jones designed the Explorer with their eco-plastic topsheet. Just as before, this is crafted from Castor beans which makes it lightweight, scratch-resistant, and repellent against snow.
The main base, which is a sintered 7000 base, has been coated with Wend natural wax straight from the factory. In addition to this, the steel edges and ABS sidewalls are designed from recycled materials and the premium Slovenian poplar adds enhanced durability.
It is a Jones staple and once again, they designed their splitboard with a blunt nose. Past this, the board is a directional shape.
Jones is always terrific at providing you with an adequate amount of sizing options to adapt to as many people as possible. With various widths and lengths from 152 centimeters to 164 centimeters, there is a strong selection.
It is not as if this can’t handle firm snow, as it can, but other Jones splitboards do so more efficiently. Still, the overall workmanship and performance can’t be understated enough with the Explorer.
7. Burton Flight Attendant
The longer nose provides you with floatation and fluidity
Ideal for jumping and tricks
The wood that it is crafted from has been harvested in heavy-maintained forests
The tail is stiffer than the nose and you may be tossed around on heavy snow
Overall, Burton did a masterful job designing their Flight Attendant Splitboard. The setback camber and sidecut are fantastic for quick turns, it has a long nose that will rip through snow while giving you control and wood that is well-harvested.Read more
The engineered grain direction provides you with the optimal amount of strength and edge control. Adding to this is the blend of rocker and camber in the nose which combines control and float ideally.
Featuring an EcoZen topsheet, which is a clear polyester material that is only created with renewable materials, you can rest assured this is an eco-friendly design.
Not only is the core designed with strong and lightweight woods that target specific areas for strength, it has also been certified by the FSC guaranteeing that the wood comes from well-harvested forests.
A setback camber and a sidecut (which is centered on your stance), in conjunction with the tapered nose, ensures a freestyle feel when riding. Plus, this allows the board to turn tight and quick.
The available sizes that you can select from, in measurements of centimeters, are 154, 158, 163, and 168.
Everything about this splitboard screams quality. This reigns specifically true for those who crave a board that can handle long and high jumps, which the Flight Attendant excels at.
8. Rome Powder Room
The sintered material soaks up wax efficiently to maintain high speeds
Burton added a SinterSpeed base for speed
Integrated QuickRip sidecut adds substantial edge grip
A bit smaller and softer (flex) than some may want
In terms of soft vs. stiff flex, this lands closer to soft than stiff. In fact, this may end up being the deciding factor with this specific splitboard. Though, the Powder S profile of this board will keep the nose up and floating through the deepest of powder.Read more
There are carbon double barrel hotrods that are milled directly into the core. What this provides is an increased snap and drive when you are on your back foot. And, the camber underfoot maintains proper pop and edge hold.
As opposed to other top-end model splitboards, this topsheet is not necessarily as eloquent. With that being said, it seems to be designed well and handle snow efficiently.
To achieve a perfect blend of durability and lightness, Burton utilizes an AirPop Core Matrix that uses five zones of light and low-density wood. Plus, there are air channels that assist to further decrease the overall weight.
Thanks to its Powder S profile and set-back stance, the nose manages to stay upright even while going through the deepest of light and newly fallen snow. But, when needed, it can mow down rugged and chopped-up snow.
Now, the only available size is 150. Even on Burton’s website, it is all they have available. This could be an issue if 150 centimeters is not an adequate length for you.
When compared to other splitboards in the market, this is one of the smaller and softer boards out there. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, just know what you are getting into when you invest your money into the Flight Attendant Splitboard.
9. Voile Revelator
Includes screws, pucks, clips and T-nuts
You can plane over deep snow because of the tapered shape
Some users claim that the Cap Construction is not the best as it is difficult to repair sidewall damage
This splitboard may slip under the radar when compared to other top models. But, that is a shame because it sports a setback stance that assists in keeping your nose up in deep snow, a heavy-duty construction without adding weight, and excellent control and precision.Read more
Both the early-rise in the tip and the tail aids in this board’s ability to float in powder. All in the meanwhile, this also delivers a more forgiving feel when on the slopes. Past this, the carbon glass ensures a stiff flex for enhanced control and precision.
Because the topsheet is used to cover the sidewall area of the board, it reduces the amount of weight as a whole. This is known as a Cap Construction and while it reduces weight, many users claim it is more difficult to repair sidewall damage.
Speaking of decreasing the overall weight, the paulownia wood that is implemented in the core decreases it without at all sacrificing its strength.
The shape of this board is designed in a way that keeps the nose upward, even in the deepest and thickest of snow.
While you are not provided with a ton of sizing options, at least you are given a few to select from. The options for 154 centimeters, 159 centimeters and 162 centimeters should suffice for most.
Most notable about this splitboard is its integration of a Cap Construction. While this significantly reduces the overall weight, it can be difficult to make sidewall damage repairs. Think of it as weighing the positive against the negative.
10. K2 Joy Driver
Even at high speeds, the board feels very stable
Blends two different kinds of wood to achieve a lighter weight
Not the greatest in bumpy and rugged snow
Being a splitboard that offers a lot of pop and float in powder, thanks to the tapered directional nose, and tons of speed to boot, the K2 Joy Rider definitely has its perks.Read more
To allow for smooth transitions, the rocker allows the access points to only be lifted slightly. Besides this, the diagonal glass and biaxial glass combine for a more torsional response.
Being designed with Inked Glass, the topsheet is around 10 percent lighter than you would find elsewhere.
Because the core is designed from Bambooyah which is a unique blend of two types of woods to save weight, it blends strength and lightness efficiently. Also, the sintered 4000 base absorbs wax exceptionally as is highly-durable.
It has a directional shape, with a tapered nose and a 19mm setback. But, it is mostly just a one-directional splitboard.
You can select from sizes 156, 159, 162 and 165 (in centimeters).
Even though this may not be as tremendous as other splitboards, it is an absolute steal for the price it is listed as. If you can get your hands on this tapered-nose board, do so as you will not regret it.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Performance is everything for a snowboarder, there is no doubt about that. What is sort of interesting about this, though, is beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In other words, the performance aspects you desire are entirely up to you. When it comes down to it, there are a few huge aspects to a board’s performance: its flex and profile. Firstly, let’s address the flex. To keep it short and sweet, you can either get a board that is stiff or flexible and both have their advantages. Stiff splitboards will perform better for free-riders and experienced snowboarders. As compared to softer boards, these will provide a much better grip when turning and hold an edge better when descending a slope.
But, more flexible boards aid in turning and are generally more forgiving. Thus, making them more ideal for novices. Then, you can also assess the profile of the board and, more importantly, if it is a cambered or rocker board. Again, both have their benefits. Cambered boards have much more pressure on the contact points allowing for a superior edge grip. Meanwhile, rocker boards provide extra float in powder and have an upturned tip.
On a snowboard, the top-sheet is the portion of the board that you physically see on the top (hence its name). This will protect the inner parts of the snowboard and provides you with the base. There are a few reasons you want a well-designed top-sheet on a split-board. Many of the higher-end split-boards will feature a top-sheet that is built with an efficient combination of strength and lightness, and also resistant to scratches and snow build-up.
Strength is an obvious element of emphasis as split-boards will encounter rugged wild surfaces and you want them to hold up over time. But, doing so while managing the weight as much as possible is important. However, an often-overlooked design factor for split-boards is their ability to repel snow. Why is this important? When riding through the snow, your board is exposed to it every second and it will be splashing around everywhere. Ridding the board of as much snow as possible will prove beneficial on the slopes.
In terms of the overall construction of a split-board, with the top-sheet already addressed, the aspect you need to analyze is the core makeup. Most of the time, though not all the time, split-boards are crafted with a combination of wood (sometimes multiple kinds of wood) and fiberglass (to achieve the shape of the board). But, what comes into play is the type of wood that the manufacturer designed their board with.
In general, you have softwood and hardwood. Just like everything else, both have their luxuries. For the most part, softwood (such as poplar or spruce) is ideal if you are looking for a light board that travels immensely fast. However, in terms of strength, hardwood tends to hold the advantage. This type of wood (which includes beech and birch) will assist in reinforcing the board and providing the durability you need for intense rides. To no one’s surprise, this means that designers will often implement a combination of both softwoods and hardwoods. So, you are left with a split-board that is light and fast with heavy reinforcement.
Those of you who are new to snowboarding or split-boards and have attempted to do research on them have probably come across the importance of the board’s shape. But, you may have not fully understood why and what the different types achieve. To keep it as simple as possible, let us break down the major shapes that you will see in a standard split-board.
For starters, you have a directional split-board. These will typically feature a nose that is longer than other boards. This can aid when you are carving through powder as it will do so very effectively. A slight variation of this board is one with a tapered nose, which features a tail that is slightly smaller in width than the nose. Also, you have asymmetrical snowboards. With these, you tend to have an edge in carving performance as there is a sharper sidecut on the heel edge. Another common type is true twin boards and the tail and the nose are literally mirror images of one another giving you the same flex from both ways.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Everything in the world today is predicated on experience. This will get you everywhere in life, obtaining a better job, house, etc. But, everyone has to start somewhere and you can’t just magically snap your fingers to get experience. However, you can get experience with split-boards without hitting the slopes beforehand. And, it is recommended that you do. Splitboarding, or snowboarding in general, is not an easy sport and you will fall and fail (a lot).
As such, attend skill courses in your area to hone your craft. This will give you a good understanding of the basics of split-boards, as there is a lot to learn. From there, you can feel confident that when you do finally go out on your own, you will have some experience and have a decent handle on things.
Other Factors to Consider
Most manufacturers will design their boards with a various amount of lengths and widths (especially lengths). From person to person, the length and width that you will need will vary. Much like anything else, this is a reality that everyone has to face. But, how are you supposed to determine what board is ideal for you? For length, here is what you can do. Measure yourself from your feet to your chin. Take this amount and use this as a reference. Depending on your riding style, you may either want to go under or over this total. In general, free-riders will want to size up as the additional length will aid in floating in deep powder. Width is a lot simpler and if you have large feet and bindings, opt for a board that is wider than the “norm”.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Should You De-Tune a Splitboard When you First Use It?
Some will feel that a product should come complete right out of the package. In other words, so not fixes or slight alterations are necessary. But, it is possible that you may feel the need to de-tune your board when you first receive it. Here is how you can tell if you need to do so. If you are riding your splitboard and you notice that the top or the tail of the board is still fairly catchy, then you can opt to de-tune it further. To do so, simply use either a piece of sandpaper or a file and gently rub the tail and tip until the desired tuning has been achieved.
Certain manufacturers, for example, Jones, will do all the tuning for you. It just really depends on your preferences as this is not a mandatory task you must partake in. At the end of the day, you can always contact the manufacturer for their recommendations.
q: How Often Should You Wax Your Board?
Much like the water repellency of outdoor gear, the wax on your board is not going to last forever. Eventually, the need will present itself where your split-board needs a fresh coating of wax. From user to user, the frequency of this is going to alter and it is dependent on several factors. For starters, the construction method of the board will determine the frequency. If it is a sintered base, it will require more waxing.
Other factors include how often you use your board (as the more frequent, the more you will need to wax), the conditions that you ride your board in (hard and icy conditions will require waxing more often), and how fast you wish the split-board to be (as the more wax that is applied the better). As a general rule of thumb, if you can rub your thumb across the board without noticing slickness, it is time.
q: Which Foot Should Be in Front?
Nobody ever thinks about because it is so simple, but the manner in which you stand on a split-board (when you are using it as one board) may be different than your best friend’s or your spouse’s. It all depends on what your dominant leg is and if you have no idea which one is, do not worry as it is very simple to figure out which one is. Probably the most entertaining way to do so is to let someone approach you from behind you and shove you. No, this is not an excuse for your buddy to push you. Instead, inform the person shoving you to monitor your feet and the leg that makes the first step is usually your dominant. It is better if they do this when you are caught off guard, as your body will instinctively react.
q: How to Store Your Splitboard in the Off-Season?
When the snow leaves and the warm weather approaches, you know that the snowboard season has officially ended. This can be a sad time for some but when this time approaches, you must take the necessary steps to ensure your board will be ready for the next season. Before you even think about storing it away for the summer, you need to clean the board, check the edges, and wax the bases.
For cleaning, you can usually remove all the dirt and grime by simply washing it off with a garden hose and wiping it off with a towel. For more serious occasions, you could use a citrus solvent to remove grease and grime that will not come off. After it is fully cleaned, sharpen up the edges of the board to reduce the chances of rust building up. Finally, ensure that you coat the base with a fresh set of wax. You are now finished and to store the board, do so in a dry and cool location away from direct sunlight.
q: Do Splitboards Come with Bindings?
If you know nothing about snowboarding in the slightest, you should know that it does not end with just the board. Bindings, which are an entirely different beast altogether, attach to the base of the board and provide you with the stabilization (among other design features) for your feet. Unfortunately, this can’t speak for every single manufacturer in the world, most of the time you will need to invest in bindings separately. Thankfully, while exceptions will apply, most bindings will fit with most split-boards. This is a necessary step after the board because you can’t snowboard without a pair of bindings, they are 100 percent mandatory.