Beginner splitboarding advice

Discussion in 'General' started by Elino, Mar 30, 2022.

  1. I've been snowboarding for years. Comfortable in steeps, trees, and powder. Would like to get into backcountry split boarding. I am looking for advice on a budget friendly setup. Could be new or used. I ride a 156cm board. Just ordered my avalanche transceiver and will be looking into shovel, probe, etc. and classes. Any suggestions on board set up and prices I can be looking at? (I just spent 1000$ this past year on a new board, boots, and binding, so I need to keep my "accountant" happy).
    PowderPanda likes this.
  2. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Location:
    Liberty Lake, WA
    Hey @Elino Sorry the late reply here. Been super busy this year.
    There are a lot of bargains come around June to first week of August. After that, prices will jump. I think last year they jumped early. June/July are def the best times of year to buy.

    Don't buy any thing used related to your Avy gear.
    Even a used split setup will cost close to $1k. It's a bummer for sure.
    You can piece-meal stuff. Get a board that you think is what you'd like to ride, then binders and skins.
    Everyone here knows, I am partial to Spark R&D for soft booters. I will not recommend Karakorums to anyone (unless you get a pair for $50-100.. then use and sell when ready to go with a better brand), just be in one of my avalanche courses with a person on Kara's and you'll see why real fast.
    Spark's do go on sale at some retailers, and sometimes if you search hard, you can find on sale.
    If you're interested in HB setup, reach out to @k.p0w who rides Phantoms. Bar none the best HB setup on the market.. but $$$$$

    Other items,
    Good pack, 35L that supports snowboard carry (or at least A frame ski carry for split mode carry)
    Water bottle 1L
    First Aid Kit (can build your own, still a little spend)
    Good layers- Use Polypropylene or Smartwool first layer. A mid-layer for dead winter climbing/riding.

    There's a good start for you.

    Hope to see you in an IPAC Avy class next year!
  3. candrus2

    candrus2

    Location:
    Spokane
    I have my first splitboard setup that I just upgraded from and will be selling without boots with full setup and skins for a real reasonable price. I used the Voile system that allows for mounting standard snowboard bindings for my first splitting setup and it worked great for a budget setup. If you are interested you can message me.
    PowderPanda likes this.
  4. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Location:
    Liberty Lake, WA
    @candrus2 .. be sure to post in the classifieds section "For Sale" at the bottom of the main page. It usually gets a lot of traction.
  5. candrus2

    candrus2

    Location:
    Spokane
    thanks!
  6. tmh1107

    tmh1107

    Location:
    Spokane
    I'm a beginner but my Karakorum bindings (which I got at an REI sale) really seem to do fine. What is so bad about them?
  7. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Location:
    Liberty Lake, WA
    Hey tmh..
    I've ridden all the brands except Union for split binders.
    In specific:
    1. Too many moving parts. Consistently have to check the many bolts/screws to ensure they're not loose. Consistently when I've taught avy courses, someone has a breakage from them, or a screw come out.
    Pretty much all the others are super fast and easy to connect to the board.
    2. Must have a small brush available to which small areas to clear for the base to attach. This is a big one, with the type of snow we get in the NW, typically wet, clumpy snow. With these binders, the snow doesn't clear easy and a tool is needed to allow the binder to attach. This takes time, if you don't mind the time, then that's Ok. I ride with skiers mostly, and they don't wait.
    Also, if you've ever stood at the top of a knife edge ridge into a couloir, and your fighting to clear your base for the binder, you'll find your self cursing at the binding.
    3. Longevity- I have binders that I have ridden for over 10yrs (older ones I put on boards for others to use now). My current set, Spark R&D Surge, I have been riding for 5yrs. I have replaced the base plates last year which is super easy to do (good luck with Kara) and taadaaa, I have a new binders for less than $99. (note, I ride in excess of 30 days backcountry a season and I put a lot of abuse on my gear).
    4. Warranty- Spark legit stands behind their product. if I call with an issue, the replace and have legit Overnighted to me (I can tell many of stories of others that have had this experience).
    As for Kara, the pair I had, broke on the first tour, then another part broke. When I contacted kara they were in disbelief even though I sent pictures. It took several emails until they agreed to send me replacement parts, which came a bit over a week later (this was way before COVID, so not an excuse). This is not acceptable to me when I ride when the snow hits good. Thankfully I had an old set of Sparks to use. In the end, I ended up using their binder for less than a season and just went back to using my first pair of Spark's.
    5. Cost. For what they are, they are too expensive. But because of all that goes into them, I can see why they need to charge more.


    That said, that's my experience, if they work for you, that's what counts. I just don't point beginners to those binders.

    Cheers,
    PP
  8. tmh1107

    tmh1107

    Location:
    Spokane
    Thank man. I definitely have experienced #1 and #2 but assumed that was just normal. Maybe I'll upgrade to Spark one of these days.

    What's your main splitboard? I have a jones solution and it seems like it's partially designed with karakoram in mind.
  9. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Location:
    Liberty Lake, WA
    Hey @tmh1107
    Well, I ride for Ogasaka, it's made in Japan and is made with extreme precision (LoL. maybe a bit bias.. I am in their 2023 catalogue.. hahaha). As for Jones, I have my own personal thoughts about Jones company, TGR and their political engine... I'll tell over beers... those on here who've ridden or drank beers talking split world with me know. LoL
    That said, they make their boards now in Dubai... Yup.. the desert.. in the same facility as a lot of other companies. They used to be made in Europe, and were pretty high quality. I've heard mixed reviews since they switched a number of years ago. They have a LOT of money for advertising. :rolleyes:.. I may be a little jaded about the big players on the game field.
    It's not that they are designed w/ kara.. they just use their clips and Jones has a contract with them for the bindings, so they push those. Other than the clips, the board can take any binder system.
    My Ogasaka Facet has the new Kara clips.. I love them. Each split manufacturer has a deal with a company (Voile, Kara, Spark) for their clips. Kara and Spark def make these good. Kara is super simple and efficient.

    Nice info on where boards are made..
    https://snowboardingprofiles.com/where-are-snowboards-made-the-major-brands

    Splitboard article on Ogasaka done by a buddy, with our input when I was first introduced to Ogasaka.
    https://splitboard.com/shocked-and-persuaded-my-soul-to-ignite-the-ogasaka-facet/

    Cheers,
    PP
  10. tmh1107

    tmh1107

    Location:
    Spokane
    Those ogasakas look super legit but where do you even buy them?
    PowderPanda likes this.
  11. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Location:
    Liberty Lake, WA
    I can give out the info to order. They come direct from Japan. If you ever want to see one, let me know if you'll be at any of the avalanche fundraiser events and I can bring one or two. I have sizes 152, 159, 164 and 168 Swallow splits.

    I use the 152 for women to ride and the others are men's. 159 is a tad softer flex than the 164, but not much.
    Traditional camber with early rise nose. Reverse camber in split boards is BS, IMO. It doesn't give enough snow contact on skinning up. But.. that's my educated opinion.. LoL
  12. tmh1107

    tmh1107

    Location:
    Spokane
    The profile sounds ideal. I’d love to try the 164. When are the events?
    PowderPanda likes this.
  13. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Location:
    Liberty Lake, WA
    Check out IPAC when we are having events.. let me know if you're going and I'll bring a board or two for ya to flex.

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