As stated in our FAQ, a splitboard has a similar shape and construction as a normal snowboard. The only real difference is that the splitboard “splits” apart to form skis for the ascent. Each ski has metal edges on the inside for additional control when in touring mode, particularly when traversing up the mountain.
Since splitboards are typically designed for powder riding the boards generally have an all-mountain freeride shape. Specialty boards like the Prior and Voile Swallowtails are also available. As the technology improves, these shapes are continuing to evolve and the boards are becoming more and more versatile, especially in conditions other than powder
Most any regular snowboard bindings will work with a splitboard. Ideally you’ll want a lightweight binding that has a narrow profile and is durable. You'll connect your bindings to your splitboard with the Voile Universal Splitboard Interface which includes 2 Slider Tracks, 4 Pucks, 2 Climbing bars, 2 Climbing brackets, and hardware. The Slider Tracks are machined pieces of aluminum that screw onto your binding through the standard 4x4 disc. The Slider Track allows your bindings to be easily changed from ride-mode to split-mode and is the primary connection between board and bindings. Once attached to your bindings the Slider Track slides onto the Pucks (see below) and is held in place by the Slider Pin.
Voile Universal Splitboard Interface
Ultimately the best option is a splitboard specific binding and we're happy to report there are 6 choices in the market today. Spark R&D was the originator for split bindings and now we have Voile and Karakoram making them as well. Splitboard specific means that the interface connection between board and binding is built into the binding. This allows for a lighter, lower profile binding and better user experience. Here's a look at the bindings.
Spark R&D Blaze binding
Voile Light Rail
The Karakoram system uses a proprietary interface that has really stepped up the game due to it's creative and effective design. More info coming soon.
Pucks and Puck Alignment Tool
The Pucks are small pieces of durable plastic that mount to your splitboard for the Slider Track to slide onto (see pic above). They also include a center disc that allows you to set you stance width and angle. The Puck Alignment Tool is used as a guide to make set-up easier.
Split Hooks are designed to help hold the two splitboard halves together and increase torsional rigidity. During “tour-mode” they swivel into a parallel position with the board’s edge to prevent hitting each other while skinning. Both Voile and Karakoram offer their own versions.
Tip and Tail Hooks
These are the small plastic pieces that connect the tip and tail together. They also play a vital role in helping the splitboard feel and perform like a solid snowboard.
Touring brackets are what the binding interface attaches to for “tour-mode”. This simple connection provides a free pivot point for skinning and allows the user to take natural strides.
Voile Spark R&D Karakoram
Climbing bars are used for skinning up steep slopes and can greatly increase comfort by reducing strain on your calves. When engaged they raise your heel up so that your foot is more level to the slope, which translates into easier and more efficient skinning.
"Skins" is a slang word for climbing skins which are the strips of material used on the bottom of the splitboard during tour-mode for traction. Skins have a velvet-like feel which easily slides in one direction (uphill) and grabs in the opposite direction (downhill). The tiny hairs are called the skin's "plush" which grip the snow and provide impressive traction up the mountain. Check out The Approach page for useful tips on skinning and ways to maintain your skins. Take care of your skins and don't forget them at home!
Voile Tractor Skins G3 Alpinist Splitboard Skins
Due to the width of the splitboard skis in tour mode, traversing and edging is inherently more difficult than using skinnier approach skis. Lots of practice, good skinning technique, and stiffer boots can alleviate much of the issues but the ultimate solution can often be splitboard crampons. They can be very useful on firm and icy slopes or on long sidehill traverses. In these situations they can make your life much easier and you’ll be glad you have them. Voile and Spark R&D both offer splitboard crampons.
Voile Spark R&D Karakoram