Splitboard has multiple personalities | VailDaily.com

Splitboard has multiple personalities

J.K. Perry
J.K. Perry/Vail DailyThe Voile Split Decision board measures 166 centimeters or longer and can be converted into touring skis complete with skins and then back to a snowboard.

The bright orange Voile Split Decision has no problems settling into a groove when pointed downhill, but can be a bit cumbersome skinning up trails.A simple system of clasps and sliders holds the board together in snowboard mode and can be switched to telemark mode in less than five minutes. Wilderness Sports in Silverthorne rented the 166-centimeter board to the Vail Daily for a recent trip to Peter Estin Hut above Eagle. Snowboard bindings are mounted to metal plates. A cotter pin locks the toe side of the plates into the board for free heeling.

The plates can be removed and then slid over “pucks” on either side of the board for snowboard mode.A binding system for hard boots is also available.Splitboards have become a popular alternative for snowboarders, who don’t want to snowshoe or carry a board strapped to a pack.”A lot of people are going to it,” Mountain Wilderness employee John Brubaker said. “It definitely opens it up a lot more for people who want to be in the backcountry.”Over the past couple years, Mountain Wilderness has increased its stock of splitboards; renting the board is $22 a day, it costs $750.

“It’s a great board,” said customer Tony Mathison. “Even putting it together is real efficient.”Mathison switched from snowshoes to the splitboard two years ago.”Snowshoeing is not fun,” he said.Skinning up the trails, the Split Decision skis are heavy and large. After a short adjustment period, handling the skis aren’t a problem, although leg fatigue might be. The massive skins attached to the bottom provide traction in nearly any terrain.

Despite its super flexy nature, the board is responsive in the powder or hardpack. Taking tight turns on trail switchbacks aren’t difficult on this split personality.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or jkperry@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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