The Best Splitboards

Our favorite splitboard is the Cold Smoke Voodoo. Even though this board splits in the middle, it feels stiff and aggressive, and has no problems cutting through chunder and variable snow. It is stable, predictable and loads of fun.

We tested splitboards in the winter of 2016 in the Colorado backcountry. We split them apart and skinned up backcountry approaches to understand how well each board transitions and we took them cat-skiing to test how the boards shred down big untracked lines. Wanting to get a feel for how the boards performed on all types of terrain we also took them to Crested Butte Mountain resort to test turns on groomed runs.

What is a Splitboard?

Backcountry skiing has been rising in popularity in the past several years. The lure of solitude, impressive mountain summits, and untracked powder eventually reaches many snow sports enthusiasts. But what if you are a snowboarder and not a skier?

Luckily, the snowboard industry has taken care of that. A splitboard is a backcountry specific snowboard that can break in half to be used as two skis on the approach, and then locked back into snowboard mode for the ride down. As a general rule of thumb, most riders will want their split board to be about 5 centimeters longer than their typical board to allow for more float in soft backcountry snow. Plus, you will always have a backpack with you, adding weight, so the additional length is advantageous.

After you purchase your splitboard, you will also need special splitboard bindings and climbing skins to complete your hill-climbing kit. Don’t forget your avalanche gear too!

Never go out into the backcountry without proper education and equipment. All backcountry skiers and riders need to be carrying appropriate rescue gear – beacons, shovels, and probes – and they need to know how to use them. Read the local avalanche forecast every time before heading into the backcountry. Also consider taking an avalanche class to learn how to navigate avalanche terrain safely so that you and your friends can all make it home at the end of the day.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Cold Smoke Voodoo
Best in Class
Handling/Responsiveness 8
Float 9
Versatility 8
Stiffness 9
Durability/Craftsman... 9

Stiff and aggressive

Cuts through crud and chunder

Deep sidecut

Lacks torsional flex

Grabby at slow speeds

Limited availability

Winterstick Seth Wescott
Handling/Responsiveness 9
Float 9
Versatility 8
Stiffness 8
Durability/Craftsman... 7

High transfer of energy

Floaty nose

Long taper for easy edge-to-edge transitions

Too directional for riding switch

Setback inserts poor for log jamming

Hard to get a wide stance

Weston Big Chief
Handling/Responsiveness 7
Float 9
Versatility 7
Stiffness 8
Durability/Craftsman... 8

Incredible float

Stable when pointing down the fall line

Stiff and durable

Sloppy on slower, flatter pitches


Cold Smoke Voodoo

What started as a small garage operation cutting old boards into splits has earned the praise and following of Southern Colorado riders looking to get themselves on big terrain and hunt down the deepest of pow stashes. Ideal for aggressive riders who like some backbone, the Cold Smoke Voodoo is a stable and predictable deck that wants to charge.

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