As a friend said to me at the bar the other night, “As long as it’s better than last season it will be a good year.” So far, we’re off to better start, with ski areas from Vermont to California starting to spin the lifts, and the building stoke for the upcoming shred season getting downright palpable.
I’ve certainly got powder turns on the mind, which is not unusual for this time of year. But rather than saddling up on a chair, my powder dreams inevitably steer me to splitboarding. This segment of snowboarding has seen substantial growth in the last few years, and for Winter 2013 there are at least 49 different splitboard models available for purchase in North America—with more assuredly on the horizon.
Movies like Further, starring Jeremy Jones, who has his own line of splitboards under his Jones Snowboards brand, are helping push the pace of turn-earning participation, as is the continual quest for untracked powder. But with the increasing competition in the market, the level of design is also improving every year.
As far as some highlight boards that are ready to hit the snow right now, Voilé, which pioneered the category, has launched a new splitboard line altogether. Featuring three new models, there is the Artisan in men’s and women’s designs, and the twin-tipped, rockered Palindrome for backcountry freestyle. Voilé is using sidewall construction (compared to cap) in all boards for 2013. According to Voilé’s Sales and Marketing Manager Dave Grissom, “There’s a ‘Gold Rush’ going on in splitboarding right now.”
Several other manufacturers are debut new splitboards for 2013 as well, including Burton’s Spliff, Rome’s Double Agent and women’s Powder Room, Arbor’s Abacus, and Venture’s Euphoria. Gnu added a split version of the brand’s iconic women’s B-Pro, and Roxy’s got a splitty now too (see “Banana Smoothie”). There’s also a robust offering of handcrafted splits being built in British Columbia by the likes of Prior and Trapper Snowboards.
Stay tuned for some more possible mid-season releases and other bc snowboarding developments right here at gearinstitute.com.