INDEX

11 Test 2013-14

Issue: 08 Viva la Revolucion!
11 Test 2013-14

Tavascan is definitely the best lab for our annual splitboard test. The little jewel in the Catalonian Pyrenees country of Pallars Sobirà, welcomed us once more with excellent conditions. Good weather, endless terrain and totally amped invited riders, made it all flow for two days where we made the most of the time spent on the mountain.

The Spliboardmag test is absolutely independent, for which we counted on 4 professional riders. Each splitboard was tested on the slopes and off piste, skinning up and riding down, carefully analyzing each one of its features. We are aware that opinions are always subjective, and each model has been designed for a specific type of riding, therefore, the main goal was to share with you all the impressions and feelings the riders experienced, for a better understanding of how each splitboard behaves on the mountain.
The first day went by setting up stances and angles on the brand new splitboards, so every rider could test each one of them in an organized, fluid and effective way. At the end of the day, we skinned up looking for good snow on the western face of Tuc de la Cima where we enjoyed the stunning springtime light at dusk. It was, without a doubt, the best possible reward after a long day at work.The second day, keeping up with our adventurous spirit, we set up a route to test the boards on its favourite terrain. We skinned up to the ridge at Coll de la Cima, rode down to switch again to skin mode towards Pic de Campirme, and we looked for the best options at Torrent de Tovarres. From there, we went up to Coll de Finestres, and along the ridge to Pic de Cornuella, searching for some exciting lines on its north face. We were all down for some more powder, so we skinned up again to Tuc de la Cima, to finish the day with one of the classic routes in Tavascan. It was another beautiful day rediscovering a spot with endless splitboarding possibilities.

Thanks to Pau Gómez from Dablam Esports, David Pujol from Compañía de Guías del Valle de Benasque, Javi Barro from Gaiur Compañía de Snowboard and Elena González de Murillo, for transmitting their professionalism, passion and motivation.

Pau Test splitboard
Pau Gómez from Dablam Esports
Elena Test splitboard
Elena González de Murillo
Thanks to Gerard Montero for video editing www.together.cat

VÖLKL Cashew 155

best finish splitboard

picto test cashew
RIDER: Elena Gonzalez de Murilo
It became quite clear from the beginning that this would be the splitboard that would best suit my needs and characteristics. It is not a girl’s specific board, but it’s ideal for a woman, or anyone not too heavy. It feels well skinning up, it has a good grip, it’s light and easy to ensemble. It has a good torsion, which enables to chain turns easily, both on hard pack and groomed snow, and allows to turn fluidly even on steep terrain. It’s a splitboard with character, although easy to handle, but it lacks a bit of pop. It floats well on powder, and its stiff tail makes a comfy board on deep powder and mixed snow.

RIDER: Staff
Good news for female splitboarders; it is not a girl specific board, but it has the perfect specs for female riders. Last year we had the chance to test the Cashew and we were quite impressed by its performance. A 100% all-mountain, well balanced board. Its rocker profile makes a fun and lively board on powder, although it feels a bit slow while initiating the turns, and it’s missing some pop. A versatile board with a great finish; it’s the only 100% clean base board in the market thanks to an internal insert reinforcement system, which doesn’t go all the way down to the base.


JONES TheSolution 161

best freeride splitboard

picto test thesolution
RIDER: Javi Barro
This is without no doubt, the ideal board for Pyrenean snow conditions. Reactive on the tail, with a fast base to perform on vertical lines. The rocker in the nose makes for smooth turns on soft snow. It is very reactive on short turns and it feels good while pressing on the tail. It is shorter than other boards in its category with a reduced core, and the magne traction improves traversing on hard snow. An excellent splitboard!

RIDER: Staff
When you go out on the mountain you never know what you’ll find; that’s not a problem if you’re on the Solution, as you know you’ll have all you need on any terrain or condition, mostly when facing one of those “Pyrenean Assortment” days, with all kinds of snow in a single day. We were happy to see a lighter model than last year’s, although it may have lost a bit of its solidness, we enjoyed the easiness on short turns leaning on the tail. Its blunt nose is gold: floats well and is stable when riding steeps at high speed. A splitboard to go for the big.


JONES Hovercraft 156

picto test cashew
RIDER: Javi Barro
This splitboard is designed for powder or spring snow touring, when you hardly lean on your edges. It’s a very fun board in this type of conditions: agile, light, with a fast base and an excellent look. Some edge control is missing on hard pack or steep terrain, where you need to press on your edges; to put it somehow there’s a whole world of fun between one edge and the other.

RIDER: Elena González de Murillo
Despite being too long for me (the inserts are quite setback), it has a marked personality, good torsion, excellent floatability, and it also behaves quite well on harpack and groomed snow. I guess it’s a very specific splitboard, ideal for short turns on steep terrain, couloirs, technical tree runs…I love its concept and look.

RIDER: David Pujol
This seems to be the jewel that everyone in the splitboarding scene was waiting for… It is true that it’s a handsome board: wood and an innovating design. But to tell you the truth, I found it is a very specific board, for a certain terrain and type of snow. Therefore it’s lack of versatility and high price will make it hard to see on the mountain. Its squared tail is totally setback, good for deep powder and narrow passes, tree lines or shoots. I didn’t like it split either; it felt unbalanced to skin and lift the ski. It felt lively but slightly unstable at high speed.


K2 UltraSplit 158

most innovative splitboard

picto test cashew

RIDER: Staff
An excellent freeride splitboard. Lively and reactive when turning fast on steeps, pressing on the tail. Very solid on the edge, it carves smoothly and offers a good balance between flex and torsion. It allows you to press hard and charge at high speed. The stance setting system is awesome: you can set it up exactly as you want and in no time. In all, it’s a very well finished splitboard; K2 sets the bar high with this one, and the Kwicker system could be a good option for those looking for a complete kit; fast and compact, although the transmission is completely altered by this system.


VOILÉ Artisan 162

picto test cashew
RIDER: Javi Barro
A classic directional freeride board, well balanced for pow and all around riding. The tail is perfect for landings, charging or sudden speed check turns on deep pow, Overall, it’s a comfortable and reliable board; it has changed my opinion of Voilé splitboards, not too favourable until I tried this one.

RIDER: David Pujol
A classic Voilé splitboard, it feels a bit slow, too soft and not reactive enough at carving, although it seems to be well constructed and structured, and it will sure make for some good touring for people who fit its specs. It has a classic line and it looks good, although it lacks a bit of rocker, both on the nose and the tail. It seems to adapt well to different terrain, and it feels stable on powder at high speed.


TRAPPER Ursa Major 156

picto test cashew
RIDER: Elena González de Murillo
A board with a straight sidecut, which is probably too stiff for someone who weighs 52kg (114lb) like myself. Torsion is a bit too stiff, and it lacks pop, probably because its stiffness is quite equally distributed along the whole board. It floats well with its rounded nose, and it is comfortable to skin up and ensemble.


VENTURE Storm 161

picto test storm
RIDER: Pau Gómez
It feels a lot shorter than it’s 161cm. With its set-back inserts, small rocker on the tail, and wide, rockered nose, it floats really well off piste. It’s vert stable at big speed but not too reactive; it lacks balance between stability and pop while pressing on it. It’s very comfortable to skin up and quite balanced once you lift the ski. A board for open areas and wide big turns. A great option to comfortably enjoy terrain with some degree of difficulty.

RIDER: Javi Barro
Venture has created a fantasy shape without compromising construction and technology through an exhaustive craftwork. This precise model represents Venture’s philosophy very well indeed: well constructed splitboards to discover new areas, in the mountain and in our own riding ability. With a unique shape, like last year, I was really impressed with how solid and compact their splitboards are at the joints.


AMPLID Morning Split 163

picto test amplid morning
RIDER: Pau Gómez
At first look, this splitboard doesn’t say much, but once on it, it speaks out loud! It’s a very light board, nevertheless responsive, and it carves perfect big turns. Its setback inserts, allow you to press really well at the end of the turn, offering great stability. It was designed for big mountain riding, high-speed controlled turns. This is the perfect length for an average normal size person; it doesn’t feel long thanks to its shape. A great option for medium difficulty terrain.

RIDER: David Pujol
A solid board! We didn’t expect less from a splitboard designed by Peter Bauer. With its crescent shaped swallow tail and wide sidecut, this board was designed for big mountain riding. It drives solid, and it doesn’t allow many mistakes in narrow lines. It feels comfortable at high speed on mixed snow: it swallows everything on its way. Surprisingly, it becomes a very aggressive board carving on groomed snow: its regressive sidecut enables a good finish of turns.


ARBOR Abacus 160

most versatile splitboard

picto test arbor abacus
RIDER: Javi Barro
A well balanced jewel. A classical freeride shape for all around riding. It handles high speed really well and is very quick in short turns. It is easy to turn and reacts well at the end of the turns. Responsive: that’s how I define this board. It is lighter than other boards with similar specs; a good looking, well finished board.

RIDER: Elena González de Murillo
This was the splitboard that surprised me the most of all the ones I tested, despite being the longest, not exactly what I’d need, it felt light, lively and easy to handle for a 160 cm machine. It floats well and it feels easy to handle on powder, probably because of the correct torsion and deep sidecut (deeper than most other splitboards in the test). It turns well and carves efficiently thanks to its multiple sidecut, which makes both short and wide turns easy, specially considering its long effective edge. It made the best ollies out of all the boards I tested. A hell of a splitboard! I’d definitely choose it for my quiver in a smaller size.

RIDER: David Pujol
A very comfortable board thanks to its shape. It has an intermediate length, which makes it versatile, a good balance between liveliness and floatability, which I personally like. We liked its wooden look, set back sidecut, which results in good turn finish. I wouldn’t say it’s a big mountain/high speed board, neither a board for heavy riders, but it would suit perfectly a rider who enjoys turning precisely and feeling its lightness under his boots.

RIDER: Staff
A pleasant surprise! A splitboard for riders looking for versatility on the mountain. The first thing that strikes is the lightness; lively and reactive at turning, it performs really well on any kind of terrain thanks to the Grip-Tech technology. The Abacus offers all the benefits of a rocker profile board, as well as the stability you look for when leaning on the edge. Take the best of your riding with you out there and enjoy it.


GNU Billy Goat 162

picto test gnu billy goat
RIDER: Pau Gómez
The moment I strapped in it I thought: “This feels like a boat!” At first sight, it’s the Banana profile that catches your attention, but once riding, you don’t feel it that much. A very easy board for powder in the backcountry -floats really well- which still feels solid and stable carving on groomed snow. A splitboard for riders who like to enjoy their playground without investing too much effort.


LIB-TECH Travis Rice 161,5

best freetyle splitboard

picto test lib travis rice
RIDER: Javi Barro
A wide board for freestyle oriented riders, searching for new spots to display their array of tricks, while making the most of the steeps, and using the mountain as their snowpark. The closest to your freestyle board you’ll find on a splitboard. It feels solid and compact at the joint. Add to that magne-traction on the outer edges, and the result is a board that excels on hard snow.

RIDER: David Pujol
A freestyle board split in two: multi sidecut, which should perform well on hardpack. A small rocker on the nose and the tail: it didn’t feel that good on powder, as the nose sank dangerously. Very reactive and poppy, it makes huge ollies when pressing on hard snow or off a kicker.


CHIMERA Orb 160

picto test chimera
RIDER: Javi Barro
I couldn’t find the fun in this splitboard; on one hand, it behaves like an all around freeride board, which is quick from edge to edge, but on the other hand it has a true powder board shape, with tapered nose and tail. It has a stiff flex; probably too reactive.


G3 Blacksheep 162

picto test g3 Blacksheep
RIDER: Staff
On their first year as splitboard makers, G3 has gone for a carbon and glass fibre/ poplar wood hybrid, which results in a very light board. We enjoyed its floatability and how it turns on powder thanks to its reverse camber profile, although we did expect it to be more solid and reactive on the edge. A good option for spltboarders who go out there searching powder on open terrain without too much compromise.

We would like to thank the Pleta del Prat Refuge and Tavascan for their commitment on the test, and for making us feel at home. Last but not least, thank you to each one of the brands who believed in us to make this test possible: Jones Snowboards, Arbor Snowboards, Venture Snowboards, Voile Splitboards, Völkl Snowboards, Lib-Technologies, Gnu, Amplid, G3, Chimera Snowboards, Trapper Snowboards, K2 Snowboarding and Spark R&D.


David Pérez
Marc Sixto
Elena González de Murillo