Forums Splitboards Best Powder Board?
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  • #567492
    9 Posts

    I own a 161 Mtn Gun and have found that in bottomless powder I end up wallowing quite a bit. Just wondering what the consensus is for the best powder board in the following conditions.

    25-40 degree slope
    deep powder (ie waist or deeper, -5C so not champagne powder)
    treed (fairly tight)
    6′, 200 lb rider

    Board Options – Longer board (170+), Swallowtail (172), Khyber (165)

    77 Posts


    you’re 200 lbs and riding a shortish board…get a longer one and get on top of that stuff.

    i’m not an expert at board selection, but I’m happily riding a 170 cm prior in deep powder, and I weight 190.

    40 Posts

    a. swallowtail
    b. move your bindings all the way back
    c. no matter what you need a bigger board
    i’m 155# and ride a 171 and 173 (and had problems wallowing recently 😯 …but i had moved my mount forward)

    100 Posts

    hmmm… i don’t know about a 171 or 173 guys… of course a 173 will work in a bowl, but he said “treed (tight)” and that is one detail that could effect everything, and i suspect its why he chose the 161.

    i recently sold a 170 split bc i ride tight trees in VT and i had to work my arse off to turn it in a jiffy, which is the only option here. the 160-164 boards i’ve ridden turn much faster in this terrain. and i won’t get a board over 164 ever again (well unless i move to JH or something).

    i am 5 10, 175lbs (185 when i drink too many stouts). i ride a 162 custom or a 160 khyber.

    i’ve never ridden a swallowtail but I always considered it was made for big wide open bowls.

    as bdub said, i’d set the bindings back first, tinkering with that… then consider going as long as a 165 or so… i think a 173 will be “challenging” in the trees. not impossible but you will work more. i’m too old to “work more” 😉

    Jon Dahl
    384 Posts

    For those conditions, I’d vote the Khyber also. The tight trees are what makes the choice easy. A swallowtail is the shizz in the deep stuff, but I think the 172 is the minimum length for that stuff, and I’m 155 or so. My 178 swallowtail supports me easily enough w/o a pack, but I’d be unsure of anyone significantly heavier and/or loaded for a trip.

    77 Posts


    178 is pretty damn long. i don’t think it get much longer than that, unless you get into carving boards.


    Jon Dahl
    384 Posts

    I think I was misunderstood….. Was talking about my 178 swallowtail, not what I thought that cj should get. The khyber 160-165 would be about right for his riding. Tight trees and deep pow. Swallowtails are another matter. Nitro makes the 181 still, and they used to make a 198. Several european guys are building them in lengths up to 228 or so. Very specialized tools used only for deep steep wide open days. Voile used to make a 198 also, if I remember correctly. And I also ride a few carve/race boards, and my fav is my 173 Volkl Renntiger, and they typically run upwards of 185-195 with the real big sticks going well over 200. As a side note, Rad-air makes the Tanker which starts at 177 and goes to 200, and it’s a all mountain shape. I’ve hears of at least one local here who has one and swears by it. There are a few other big mountain boards out there, Lib Tech snow mullet, Glissade, Dupraz D1 for example.

    1669 Posts

    I’d get at least a 165. The kyber would be good for ya or just a prior 168. If you think you’ll like a longer board go for a 170 kyber. With your weight and height and deep pow, you should enjoy a longer board.

    the 161 is way too short for ya.

    336 Posts

    I’m 5’10 and a svelt 195# without pack and bc gear…. I have an older Prior 172 split St, and I can move that around just fine in tight trees and chutes, not a big deal. Floats fine in west coast sierra “pow” but I’d definitely go bigger if I was riding more continental pow.

    Demod the Kyber 165 on a mixed snow day, and really liked it… Kind of a nice do it all tool, but didn’t float as well as the 172 st… The other nice thing about St’s is that you don’t need to mess with your weight shift/riding style, as the board manages that for you. No back leg burn, no messin with bindings, just ride… Draw back is when you hit an icy or really firm pitch, but you have another board for those conditions anyway…

    Ah well, good luck in your travels…. May you always have deep powder to complain about.. 😉

    Greg - NoKnees

    93 Posts

    I’m 6’1″ 210 and a 161 is way too short for me, I’ll ride my 162 A-Frame on groomers or ice, but my everyday board is a 172. I have a 171 Mountain Gun, and a 178 split for splits, and never really wanted a shorter splitboard.
    For tight trees my favorite board in powder is an O-Sin 168 swallowtail, rides like a shorter board but will float well in deep powder. I have a couple other longer swallowtails that work better in open bowls with deeper snow, They’re lots of fun. I have a Khyber 165 that just feels a little short in fresh powder, I’d like to try a 170 to see if I’d like it better, but it does work well in trees.
    For a factory split I’d recommend a 171 Mountain Gun or a 172 swallowtail, or maybe pick up a cheap O-Sin st and split that (I know someone on here split one last year and had a blast on it).

    56 Posts

    Waist deep snow! Gotta get a swallowtail. I’m 5’11” @ 220 & I have a split voile 195 swallowtail which is way too long for really tight trees like the east coast has. The trees in New Hampshire thrashed me over two days in 3′ of snow. The 195 is ok for normal trees in deep snow, but a split 178 swallow would be perfect for the sometimes tight trees here in AK.
    You’ve got to remember that much of the extra length on the 178swt is in the nose, it’s there to work with the taper and cut out tail so you pop up and float. The 178 swt has an effective edge 6cm shorter than your 161 gun. You will feel that as quicker turns. Swallowtails are so effortless to ride and turn in the deep, it must be experienced to be understood.
    In addition to eff. edge consider the taper of the boards in question.
    161 gun has 1 mm, 178 swt: 14mm, 172 swt: 6mm, 165 kyber: 25mm. More taper means more tip float and quicker turns. Think about it, the less tail there is to push around the easier it is to turn.
    If you don’t think you can handle the 178 then get yourself over to Prior at Whistler and demo the 172 split swallowtail, but I guarantee the 172 will not float as well as the 178 and the 172swt will feel longer and harder to turn due to its 135cm eff.edge. and small taper (the 178 comes in @ 122cm for eff.edge) You might pm jivestick for more performance info.
    I wish I had your snow depth problems-it’s f…ing raining here, again.

    620 Posts

    If you ride Alberta/BC and snow is decent to good, go with the voile 178 split. It will flex real easy with your weight and be very responsive in the trees. Soft flex+dry,light snow=quick turning powder board. It takes a lot of speed in very dry, deep snow to make a stiff board responsive and quick turning. I’d recommend the standard voile 173 if you need better spring- firmer snow versatility in one board. But since you have a mtn.gun that is small for you, I would lean towards the swallow 178 as your good-day board. Most of my friends in the 170-185 lb range are very happy with the mid 170’s length. If you are upper intermediate or better I would argue that more surface area/length gives you more float that makes your board more responsive in trees as long as you keep a little bit of speed up. Don’t be afraid of 178cm. length-it is a very quick turning board. ( At 175lb, I ride a 190cm everyday-but in wasatch 😀 )
    Personally I’d sell the mtn. gun 161 at 200lb. I think you would find lots of demand for your 161 on this site.

    9 Posts

    Just spent another 7 days with 1.2m of new snow. The riding has just been phenomenal. (I have probably just cursed myself and will not get another powder day for years)
    Stiffness – even though I have my bindings set as far back as possible the mtn gun still likes to nose dive in powder mainly due to the stiffness. So my next board will definitely be softer. However, had it up in the alpine on wind hammered snow and it was incredibly stable at high speed and easy to ride. Even with 5-10cm of powder it was great. So I am trying to decide if I should keep it for those peak bagging days and spring conditions. We shall see what the rest of the season brings. I will definitely get a mid 170’s board, now to decide which one…..

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