Splitboards can open up a world of backcountry riding for snowboarders. These boards effectively turn into skis when you want to go uphill and allow you to explore untouched lines and other hard-to-access terrains.
My name is Lorraine. I’ve been a snowboarder for most of my life and have used several different splitboard models over the years. I know what to look for in high-quality options with excellent performance characteristics going uphill and riding back down again.
The Jones Solution is my pick for the best splitboard. This model has everything you want and need for a backcountry riding solution. It is lightweight and will let you effectively climb uphill while being easy to put back together for downhill use.
These days, there are plenty of splitboards out there to choose from, so I’ll give you a handful of other awesome boards you can look at here. The goal is to help you make an informed buying decision.
Let’s get rolling so you can start exploring the backcountry.
- Quick Summary:
- Top Choices of Best Splitboards
- What to Look for in Splitboards
- My Verdict
- Best Overall: Jones Solution
- Best for Beginners: Chamonix Route SL Carbon
- Best for Powder: Capita Nero Slasher
- Best for Touring: Voile Revelator
- Best Splitboard Package: K2 Freeloader Package
- Best for Trees: Lib Tech Split BRD
- Best Women’s Model: Rossignol Black Ops
- Best for Big Feet: Ride Splitpig
Top Choices of Best Splitboards
Here are my top picks for the best splitboards. Any of these models will help you explore new lines and take your snowboarding out of bounds towards untouched powder.
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Directional rocker, Forever Flex for lasting durability, FSC Ultra Split Core, Traction Tech 2.0 edges, Karakoram Ultra Clips
- Shape: Directional
- Construction: 3D Countour Base, progressive sidecut, blunted nose, 12.5mm taper, Triax fiberglass laminate with stainless steel reinforcement.
- Cost: $$$
The Jones Solution is my pick for the best overall splitboard. This model is ready to rip any backcountry line and features some of the top tech and innovation you can find in the category. Jones delivers another super high-quality option here.
Let’s start with a look at the hardware that makes this board capable of splitting into two planks and heading directly uphill. Karakoram Ultra Clips with tips locks keep everything together when you want to head downhill, and they are extremely strong on lightweight.
The board features a directional rocker profile that combines both rocker and camber into the shape to give you versatility in all types of snow conditions. This one can float over powder and rip through crud equally as easily.
The Solution comes with a pretty stiff flex, which caters to more seasoned riders who demand power and precision when they head downhill. You still get enough flex to allow the board to have good characteristics in powder.
High-end materials are used in the construction of the Solution, and it’s a durable option that will last you many seasons of regular use. A Forever Flex design helps the board ride like it is broken-in right off the shelf and adds lasting durability.
Traction Tech 2.0 edges give you excellent grip when the snow conditions are less than ideal. This works with a progressive sidecut to deliver phenomenal performance in any sort of conditions while allowing you to adapt easily.
Recycled ABS sidewalls and edges are eco-friendly construction nods that are important for every backcountry rider to consider, and the Sintered 9900 base gives you plenty of speed and lots of durability along the way.
This board is pretty aggressive and not a good option for beginners. It also has a stiff flex, so you don’t get as much play as more powder-focused options.
- Best for: Beginners
- Key features: Carbon fiber topsheet, affordable, good option for beginners, responsive performance, fairly durable.
- Shape: Directional with a fishtail.
- Construction: Sintered base, poplar core, camber profile, carbon fiber build
- Cost: $$
Beginner splitboarders will appreciate everything that the Chamonix Route SL Carbon has to offer. This very capable board comes in at a budget price, making it a good choice for anyone who is just starting to explore backcountry riding and splitboarding.
This board has a more forgiving flex, which is another reason it’s more suitable for beginners. This gives you plenty of play that leads to an easier ride. You do compromise a little bit of performance, but newbies probably won’t notice.
The Route SL has a full carbon build that makes it very strong and lightweight. The board can take a beating and keep on riding strong, so you won’t need to worry about getting a new one after a single season of heavy use.
It has a carbon fiber chassis that keeps the weight down, which is ideal for backcountry riding. This also adds plenty of strength without making the board too stiff. It also floats easily in powder conditions and is very maneuverable.
The board also has a camber profile which increases performance and power. This doesn’t compromise what it’s capable of in powder and gives you a little more response, which is nice in a flexible option.
A sintered base makes the Route SL super fast, and this also makes it easy to maintain if you want a quick tune-up before a backcountry trip. It also has a poplar wood core that is very strong without adding a lot of weight.
This isn’t a good option for experienced riders because a more flexible nature lacks the power and response you’ll need in more technical conditions. Still, it’s one of the best options for beginners.
- Best for: Powder
- Key features: Alpine VI profile, fun to ride in powder, 22mm tapered tail, Hyperdrive base
- Shape: Directional
- Construction: Wide-frame, rockered nose for increased float, lightweight base, Elevate Split Core
- Cost: $$$
The Capita Nero Slasher is an excellent option for powder junkies and will give you plenty of float when you are lucky enough to find an untouched line of fresh snow. It’s a really fun board to ride and does well in other conditions as well.
Excellent powder performance is made possible thanks to a few unique design features that cater to this riding style. The Nero Slasher comes with a wide-frame rockered nose that keeps you up on top of deep snow for a surf-like ride.
It also has an Alpine V1 profile with added camber in the middle of the board, which helps increase pop and power in other conditions. This blends into a flat tail that gives you a lot of control and maneuverability when headed downhill.
It also comes with a Hyperdrive base that is sintered for fast and fluid response, which comes in useful when you are ripping downhill as fast as you want to go. It’s a lightweight design that requires little maintenance to keep in good shape.
The Nero Slasher also comes with durable and effective hardware that will allow you to quickly attach the board after you reach the top of your ascent. It holds together well during the descent, resulting from an effective design mixed with quality construction.
This board isn’t the fastest option around, and a more twin shape leads to less power than completely directional models. That makes it a little less aggressive, which is a tradeoff you typically see in powder board.
- Best for: Touring
- Key features: Affordable model, quality construction, anti-ice topsheet, durable, lightweight
- Shape: Directional
- Construction: Unique Voile carbon-weave build, laminated Paulownia wood core, rubber foil, full steel edges.
- Cost: $$
If you want to go on extended backcountry tours, you need a splitboard that can live up to the task. The Voile Revelator is a top option for touring and recommended for anyone who spends long days in the backcountry.
This is a strong and durable model that features plenty of technology and innovation to keep you in the driver’s seat on long ascents and great downhill runs. It’s not the most high-performance option around, but it might be the most well-rounded.
Voile is one of the original splitboard manufacturers, and they have some of the best hardware you can find. This board comes with that high-level hardware that gives you reliable performance when you are out on the trail.
It’s a lightweight option, and this comes into play when you are out for extended tours. Every ounce adds up quickly and shedding weight when you can pays off in the long run. This lighter weight comes without much downside because performance doesn’t suffer.
The board features Voile’s channel puck system, one of the best splitboard hardware packages. It also has carbon fiberglass layers built into the laminates to hold the board together effectively.
This board isn’t the best option for the casual splitboarder who doesn’t go on extended tours. And it also lacks a little high-end performance that might be missed if you really want to rip.
- Best for: Splitboard Package
- Key features: Lightweight, durable, hybrid profile for versatility, Karakoram Ultra clips, includes K2 Backside skins and mounting pucks
- Shape: Directional
- Construction: Directional combination camber, tour core, Triax carbon glass laminates, carbon-infused sintered base, SnoPhobic Topsheet
- Cost: $$$$
If you are looking for a splitboard package, it’s hard to beat the K2 Freeloader deal. You’ll get a great splitboard that is ready to rock right off the shelf because it comes with K2 Backside skins and all the mounting hardware you need to get started.
In addition to being a great deal, you also get top-notch performance that will stand out regardless of what conditions you find yourself in. This board can handle a little bit of everything and does equally in powder as it does on hardpack and in less than ideal conditions.
It’s also a lightweight board that is fully built to handle the backcountry. A Paulownia Tour Lite core gives you plenty of strength while shedding ounces. A SnowPhobic topsheet is designed to reduce snow from piling up on the board when in the backcountry.
The Freeloader also comes with Karakoram Ultra Clips for super-reliable performance you can count on. A carbon-infused sintered 5500 base gives you speed and duality in a range of conditions as well.
The biggest downside of this package deal is its price. Even though the skins are included, you’ll still pay a pretty penny to get this board on your feet.
- Best for: Trees
- Key features: Versatile all-mountain performance, lightweight, maneuverable, medium flex
- Shape: Directional with early rise nose
- Construction: C3 camber profile, Paulownia wood core, Triax and Biax fiberglass laminates, Split Firepower build, birch internal sidewalls, Magne-Traction edges
- Cost: $$$
The Lib Tech Split BRD is a fun and versatile splitboard that is the best option if you love to ride in the trees. This is a very maneuverable board, which is essential when making quick turns in tight trees.
It has a C3 camber profile that gives the board plenty of pop and response to keep you in the driver’s seat when you need to react quickly. A medium flex allows you to stay in control and bounce around to avoid limbs and trunks.
The board also has a very solid construction, partly due to Lib Techs’ reputation for making super high-quality boards. The all Paulownia wood core makes for a lightweight foundation and is ideal for backcountry riding situations.
The Split BRD also features Magne-Traction edges that give you serious edge hold when you need added grip. This comes in useful when conditions aren’t perfect.
This isn’t the fastest or most aggressive option on the list, which might be a downside for bowl riders and powder. But it makes up for it with added maneuverability that is ever effective in the trees.
- Best for: Women’s Model
- Key features: Great women’s specific model, AmpTek Elite rocker profile, symmetrical flex, floaty and maneuverable, lightweight
- Shape: Directional with RadCut
- Construction: Poplar and urethane core, sintered 7500 base, hybrid profile
- Cost: $$$
The Rossignol Black Ops is the best women’s specific splitboard currently on the market. It’s a very fun and versatile board that delivers a blend of power and response that riders of all styles can appreciate.
This lightweight and durable splitboard will give you reliable performance in the backcountry, both when you are heading uphill and ready to rip back downhill.
It has a poplar and urethane wood core that results in a very lightweight and stable ride. This design also gives you added shock absorption, which is nice if you are a high flyer or speed demon who likes to ride hard.
The Black Ops features an AmpTek Elite rocker profile that gives you the best of both worlds in terms of fun and power. It utilizes stiffer material in the tips for strength and a little extra flex in the mid-section for increased response. The result is floaty, fun, and effective all over the mountain.
A RadCut shape design also gives you increased versatility in various conditions by changing up how much of the edge holds on the snow based on your speed.
There isn’t much of a downside to this board, and you can expect reliable performance in the backcountry.
- Best for: Big Feet
- Key features: Wider profile, durable, fun to ride, great for powder,
- Shape: Directional
- Construction: Tapered bi-radial sidecut, performance core, double impact plate laminates, Slimewall sidewalls, sintered base
- Cost: $$$
The Ride Splitpig is a good option for anyone who has wide feet. This splitboard is modeled after Ride’s infamous Warpig model, and features much of the same performance and design features.
One look at this board will tell you that something special is in the works. It looks short and stubby, just like its name might indicate. It doesn’t look like your typical snowboard, but that doesn’t mean it won’t rip.
A directional hybrid camber gives you powerful performance that lets you generate plenty of pop and response. And even though it doesn’t have much rocker, you’ll still get good float and feel in deeper snow.
It has a durable construction that leads to reliable performance thanks to double impact plate laminates and a Carbon 3 array that helps increase control. It also includes mounting pucks to allow you versatility with installing your bindings.
Even though this is a great splitboard, it’s not for everyone. The unique shape gives it a unique ride that can take some getting used to.
What to Look for in Splitboards
Splitboards are similar to snowboards in a lot of ways, but there are also some specifics to keep in mind when shopping for a high-quality option. Take the factors below into consideration when looking for the best model to fit your needs.
Just like with regular snowboards, shape plays an important role in how a splitboard will perform on the mountain. The shape doesn’t factor in much when the board is in climbing mode, but when you head back downhill, it certainly does.
I like a directional shape in a splitboard because this allows for better performance in the technical situations you’ll find in the backcountry. Some splitboards have fishtail designs for increased powder performance which is nice as well.
You need to make sure that your splitboard comes with high-quality hardware that effectively holds the board together into a single piece. This is extremely important because if the hardware fails, you’ll struggle to get adequate downhill performance.
All of the boards mentioned above come with quality hardware that you can rely on. If you go with a different model, read reviews and detailed descriptions of the board to make sure that the hardware holds up well under heavy use.
Backcountry riding is all about shedding pounds. The lighter your equipment is, the easier it will be to trek uphill. Every ounce matters and most splitboards are build to be somewhat lighter than regular resort boards.
Weight will obviously vary with the length of the board you get, but generally, you want to look for an option that is 8 pounds or less. Any heavier than that will give you a difficult time on long ascents.
If you want to save a bit of money when shopping around for splitboards, consider getting a package. These packages come with everything you need to get started with pursuing backcountry riding.
A package will typically include your board, bindings, and skins. Skins attach to the bottom of the board to give you added traction when you head uphill. Boots don’t usually come with a splitboard package and you’ll need to purchase those separately.
Here are a few quick answers to some common questions relating to splitboards.
Who makes the best splitboard?
The best splitboard that I have used is the Jones Solution. Jones is a lesser-known snowboarding brand but they make some really great products. The Solution is a high-quality option that can really rip and help you explore all types of new territory.
Are splitboards worth it?
If you want to explore real backcountry terrain, splitboards are definitely worth it. You can always hike up a backcountry trail, but using a splitboard will let you get uphill a lot faster and with less effort. This means you can spend more energy riding than climbing.
Are splitboards good for powder?
There are many splitboard models that work really well in powder. Since most splitboards are designed for the backcountry, they are capable of handling many different terrains, powder included. Look for a wider option that gives you more float.
What kind of splitboard should I get?
If you are new to splitboarding, I would look for an option that is relatively lightweight and has an all-mountain shape. This makes it easy to take with you into any backcountry adventure while also providing plenty of versatility in what type of terrain you can ride.
The Jones Solution is my pick for the best splitboard. It has a directional shape that gives you plenty of power when you want to tackle backcountry lines and comes with versatility to take on everything and anything that comes your way.
All of the models you’ll find on the list above come recommended. If you want to truly explore the backcountry to the best of your ability, you need a splitboard. These boards can expand your horizons and skills as a rider.About Lorraine