Outdoor Retailer 2018 — Splitboard News

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 2, 2018      
Like a kid in a candy shop, an especially anti-establishment kid looking at all these darn snowboards.

Even a jaded splitboarder feels like a kid in a sweet shop looking at all these darn snowboards

Another Outdoor Retailer trade show, and this one was as engaging as ever. It was noticeably different with the combined shows of SIA and OR, and I think most would agree that this merger is a big step in the right direction. It’s always good to connect with friends and to see brands continue to innovate and respond to individual and market feedback.

As per usual, I am on the hunt for splitboard related updates and innovations, as well as anything that jumps out to me in the alpine and climbing world. With the combined shows, there were definitely more splitboard focused brands present, a number who would normally not attend the OR show. It’s excellent to get all of these folks in the same convention hall so that we can collaborate and look for more innovation. That being said, it sounds like the ISPO show in Europe is the real showcase for splitboard related gear. WildSnow is skipping that this year, but we have big plans for 2019.

New innovations on the hardboot (splitboard AT) systems, skin improvements and developments, avalanche rescue gear, and some great climbing/ski related gear.

G3 — splitboard skins and new tail-clip

The new line-up of G3’s splitboard skins

The new line up of G3’s splitboard skins.

G3 has been in the split-skin game forever. They are now adding a third option to the line up. Previous offerings were the “Alpinist” and the “High-traction.” The new addition is the “Glide,” and the other two have been renamed to “Universal” and “Grip.” The Universal and Grip are still nylon, with the difference being in the plush. The “Glide” option is a 70/30 mohair/nylon mix. I have used the 70/30 mixes with other skins, and have found them to be the best, but can be a little trickier for those new to the skin track. In addition to this, G3 is also coming up with a new glue formula. Let’s hope it solves some problems!

Skin specs are listed in our recent G3 post found here.

G3’s new tailclip has a cam-lock like feature. This looks great, and I’ll look forward to testing it soon.

G3’s new tail clip has a cam-lock like feature. This looks excellent, and I look forward to testing it soon.

Karakoram — new interface, ascent plate, and binding crampon.

Ascent plate that attaches directly to the binding. The sharp front point component is removable and interchangeable.

Ascent plate that attaches directly to the binding. The sharp front point component is removable and interchangeable.

Karakoram has been producing quality splitboard bindings for many years. This year they are bringing new interface options to the table that eliminate icing and snow clogging up the plates. There is really neat machining here, along with super lightweight and minimalist binding attachment plates that will be an “after-market” option. The standout item is the ascent plate that attaches to the binding allowing you to keep it on your feet and giving you a few different configuration options depending on conditions. Ideally, this will allow you to boot up the steep and deep without having to carry an additional boot crampon, and will be substantially more secure than plastic Verts. An ascent plate is an AK must!

The new standard interface components. Tight fit and updated design force snow and ice out of the interface. There are also less places for snow and ice to build up.

The new standard interface components. Tight fit and updated design force snow and ice out of the interface. There are also less places for snow and ice to build up.

Spark R & D — custom tech-toe

Machined aluminum design looks very similar to the Dynafit speedlight.

Machined aluminum design looks very similar to the Dynafit Speedlight.

Spark will be producing their own tech toe for AT splitters. Hopefully this will continue to bring down the cost of these set-ups in order to make it more viable in such a niche market. Simple and lightweight design.

Zip-strip plastic attaches to the tip and tail clip.

Zip-strip plastic attaches to the tip and tail clip.

Another cool thing at the Spark booth was the “Zip-strip”. This simple strip of plastic allows you to glide more efficiently for the long flat road approach or the epic lake approaches like in Grand Teton National Park. Seems like a good idea!

Phantom Splitboard Bindings

Updated design allows for some adjustability to keep a tight fit.

Updated design allows for some adjustability to keep a tight fit.

I had a chance to meet with John Keffler, the NASA engineer behind Phantom Splitboard Bindings. He’s got a number of things up his sleeve that have the potential to be game changers on the boot front, but unfortunately I won’t be able to shed light on that for a few weeks — stay tuned!

In other news, he’s got a custom board clip, and some upgrades to the Phantom plate binding that provide more size ranges, and help to minimize the “false clip” that some folks have had troubles with. Essentially, the heel bail will be configured in a way that keeps it more firmly in one position.

Jones Splitboards — new branded rescue gear, skin upgrades, new boards, and new packs.

Overview of Jone’s rescue gear.

Overview of Jones’ rescue gear.

The Jones brand is moving up as one of the more recognizable splitboard companies on the market. It’s no mystery with Jeremy Jones’ background! Beginning in fall 2018, they’ll be offering a full line of rescue equipment (except beacons), collapsible poles and a redesigned line of packs. Jones has also redesigned one of their tail clips that is compatible with the tail notch in their boards.

In addition, there will be a couple of new splitboards, one of which is inspired by the snowsurf revolution that seems to be trending right now. Boards look fun and like a great tool for certain conditions.

Carbon 3 section poles nothing new, just a slight redesign from other brands.

Carbon 3 section poles nothing new, just a slight redesign from other brands.

BCA — BC Link 2.0

The new Link 2.0

The new BCA Link 2.0

Link 2.0 side by side with a camo BC Link.

Link 2.0 side by side with a camo BC Link.

The ever-popular BC Link Radio is getting a whole new revamp for fall 2018. The BC LINK 2.0 has a longer range, is lighter, about 30% smaller and has numerous design features that eliminate some of their problems from the past. This will be something to look out for!

Black Diamond — Removable Whippet

Removeable Whippet fully installed.

Removeable Whippet fully installed.

Each pole comes with a cap to close off the opening when you remove the ice axe head.

Each pole comes with a cap to close off the opening when you remove the ice axe head.

Some of you may have probably already read about this in our recent post, but the removable Whippet is back and looks to be incredibly well designed. This might be the item I am most excited about. A highly versatile tool, and we are looking forward to testing them.

Of course this is just a brief highlight. Stay tuned for more show beta from the WildSnow crew!


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


15 Responses to “Outdoor Retailer 2018 — Splitboard News”

  1. Drake February 2nd, 2018 8:28 pm

    Those karakoram plates sure look similar to Billy Goat ascent plates. Also phantom clips look awesome! One of the best companies in splitboarding, I bought used bindings and they still sent me extra hardware for free! Sparks toe pieces are a step in the right direction, just kind of unfortunate that they don’t weight less than the current phantom ones.

  2. VtVolk February 3rd, 2018 12:01 pm

    Thanks for the ongoing split coverage! I love that Spark is taking a chance on a split-specific tech toe. Hopefully others will follow with lighter weight and/or lower cost/simpler toe pieces, since splitters don’t need releasability. The new dynafit p49, for example, could have great crossover potential for new split boots. Can’t wait to see what J. Keffler has up his sleeve!

  3. Crazy Horse February 3rd, 2018 2:25 pm

    Splitboard technology is indeed advancing by leaps and bounds. I predict the next breakthrough will be symetrical side cuts on both haves which will aid in stability when poaching on skiers singletrack. When combined with the latest AT bindings snowboarders will then be able to face forward when going downhill and move their feet independently, and no longer experience sore necks from the awkward sideways positions they formerly had to adopt.

  4. Get Off My Lawn February 3rd, 2018 9:17 pm

    Its so funny how you never hear splitboarders talk down to our backcountry skiing friends, but you sure hear it the other way. Unsolicited of course.

    Old habits die hard for the curmudgeon patrol I suppose.

    “To ski powder is to waste it.”
    ~Shawn Farmer~

  5. See February 4th, 2018 8:56 am

    “Poaching on skiers single track?” Not sure what that means. Postholing skin track?

  6. Cody February 4th, 2018 10:01 am

    I dig that zip strip idea. Would be worth modding up something like that for fat powder skis with a lot of skin coverage.

  7. Paul S. February 4th, 2018 12:00 pm

    I got to demo the 2019 Jones Mind Expander Split in VT a few weeks ago. I’m not ready to deepen my splitboard quiver quite that much, but props to Jones for going all-in. I’l stick with my Hovercraft Split which really does handle all conditions better than one might guess. I am considering getting a solid Mind Expander for ripping spring corn.

    Look forward to the further hardboot news in a few weeks. Thanks for keeping the coverage going!

  8. Joel February 5th, 2018 2:35 am

    If you’re on the news for Splitboard. There’s quite a lot new stuff coming from Plum:
    hardboots bindings
    settings for 3 and 4 parts
    and more https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSBVcYccLOg
    Not that I splitboard that much these days, but it seems to mee that is at least as much as what you presented here.

  9. Kyle February 5th, 2018 8:21 am

    As someone that skis a little and mainly split boards I agree we take a lot of grief from skiers. I take inspiration from folks like Reudi Beglinger and Kye Peterson, folks who do both. I think a lot is many skiers have never had the pleasure of doing a proper turn on a board in deep powder so don’t really understand why we deal with the little touring annoyances to get that feeling. I like the “resurgence” of proper carved turning and surf style because I think it suits snowboarding the best, and it appeals to me since I’m not a park rat anymore(:
    Look up “yearning for turning” on Vimeo and see what I mean.

    The hardboots setup for me has greatly reduced the little annoyances and made things better, much better. And the stuff split companies are putting out is really high quality gear and progressive shapes, which is counter to a lot of the plasticy snowboard junk that’s for sale in a lot of shops.

  10. Kyle February 5th, 2018 8:27 am

    Looking at that plum video I couldn’t tell but the binding for hardboots looks exactly like the spark setup. Maybe it was. I use the dyno DH system from spark and it seems pretty good. Phantom is probably the ultimate setup.

  11. Drake February 5th, 2018 5:29 pm

    @Kyle the plum bindings seem to have some degree of holding/pushing the two halves together link karakorams and phantoms do. I have phantoms and love them, but I definitely would have went with dyno dh if I hadn’t been able to find a used pair. Either way it’s loads better than softboots!

  12. Joel February 6th, 2018 1:36 am

    @Kyle. I would say Plum is more similar to Karakoram than to spark, they pull the parts together.
    The pucks on the boards are differents, and they seem to be easy to put in place, even when they’re icy.
    Also they have low-tech binding fitting the classic split holes.
    And finally, if you care to try a 3 parts split, they are the only system which works for hardboots on such a split.
    On the side of the pleasure of the snowboard, I must say you’re right. I’ve been skiing for the past 4 years (and i was skiing when i was young). I am considered a fairly good off-piste skier but nothing is like the feeling you get from these snowboard turns. I might go back to splitboard, who knows.



  13. Kyle February 6th, 2018 6:19 am

    Thanks @Joel @drake for the comments. Good to know how to ski and board, can only help, but I rarely ski and would be considered an intermediate at best.. I think Spark also has a low tech toe piece now that fits the standard holes? well see how they hold up as there can be quite a bit of torque on them when split skiing. One thing I like about the Dyno DH is the ability to “ram” it on the pucks regardless of icing. Never had an issue and I mostly tour coastal(Duffey Lake). I doubt I will ever try out a 3 piece snowboard! Maybe a market for it somewhere, but the only innovations I am interested in are ones that shorten transition and fiddling not lengthen them (:

    Hopefully for some the innovations coming in the hardboot side will bring some riders who switched to skiing back to splitboarding. It really does lessen the fiddle factor and make touring a whole lot easier, with little effect on those surfy turns. I wouldnt say it makes split skiing a whole lot easier,but it helps for sure. Would be nice to have a heel lock for hardbooters, but then we would never hear the end of it from skiers…

  14. Patrick February 9th, 2018 8:06 pm

    Please please please I would like a splitboard specific hardboot that isn’t made in france out of carbon, Or at least adapters to use a Bomber-style spring setup to incorporate flex into an AT boot. My Siderals are a horrorshow after all the things I’ve done to them…

    Stoked to see toepieces from spark. I like my Dyno DHs, quick, reliable when iced up, canted with the 3* pucks, and any flex from the plastic viole pucks just means that my ride is smoother. The Ranger toepieces I have are light and I like that, but I want a binding that will release when I crash while splitskiing, which I tend to do.

  15. VtVolk February 10th, 2018 1:20 pm

    Patrick, check out the Fischer Travers (non carbon) if you haven’t already. I like a really surfy feel, and ride them with the cuffs tight but the lean lock bar up, in “tour” mode. I’ve envisioned how simple it would be to replace the fixed bar with a spring mechanism, like the BTS system, that could still flip up for the skin track, but flip down and provide adjustable spring loaded flex for the ride. It would seemingly be pretty simple to build, though maybe not by me…

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