Forums Splitboards Venture Review of Zephyr in Cascades
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  • #576590
    675 Posts

    So, let me preface this by saying that this is not an easy board to ride. My other 2 boards (Arbor Abacus full camber solid and Mojo RX 2011) were easy to ride right out of the box.

    The Zephyr is not as quick edge to edge, and takes some good effort to initiate turns. However, it REALLY excels in some snow and slope conditions common to the PNW.

    First off, skinning. The board is heavier than my RX, but I didn’t really feel weighed down. The most noticable difference was in traversing/sidehilling. The Zephyr felt MUCH more stable, and more like a ski when in touring mode. This is great for exposed traverses. My RX felt like it never had much edge ‘bite’ and the skis would flex a lot precisely when I needed their hold most. So that was a huge bonus.

    Now, ahem, the ride. So most of the stuff we ride here on the westside of Oregon tends towards wet and heavy snow, with variable crusts and ice patches. Blower days are few and far between, although I feel we’ve been blessed more than normal this year.

    On my first run, I just mainlined it down the fall line on an approx 30 degree slope. WOW. Huge wide turns far beyond the speed limit of what I”m used to. At speed, this board just eats up everything in its path. Crud, chunder, 6 inches of soft pow with a rain crust on top, this board never loses its stability.

    2nd run in a 35 degree chute, the board is very stable but was not as quick edge to edge as I am used to. Better to just send it. 😉

    My 3rd run was in resort sidecountry, with all the usual tight trees, few tracked out powder stashes and mostly just runout trail. Not gonna lie, tight trees are tough on this board. I need to get way more used to this board before hitting any more tight terrain.

    Also, the nose felt a little ‘divey’ in powder, I’m going to set my stance back a little to try and help this.

    Overall, I love it. It’s definitely a big boy board, not something to just loan to a friend. Where this board really excels is in open terrain where you can make wide turns, as it’s very predictable and stable at high speed. In fact, on this board I feel like I can bomb just about anything and not worry about it.

    Hope this helps anyone who is on the fence about one of these boards. Happy turns!

    369 Posts

    Good stuff thanks for putting it together. I feel very similar about this board. It’s just something about the flat base/quadratic side cut that dials this thing in. It most certainly does not ride like a true rocker. So I was wondering if one rides a lot of trees what would you think of de-tuning the contact points?

    675 Posts

    I wouldn’t mess with the corners on my board… I’m just gonna keep riding it and get used to it. I think this is gonna be my big line/volcano board and I’ll keep the RX for when I’m doing laps in the trees.

    Both the nose and tail feel very ‘grabby’ on the Zephyr, which I’m sure helps with the stable feeling when at speed, but at low speed / technical terrain is a hindrance.

    Everyone who has this board that I’ve talked to says that you need at least 3 days on this board to feel really comfortable.

    If you do detune your corners, let us know the result. I know you guys ride plenty of hardpack out there; I’m specifically curious if the board would lose some ‘bite’ by detuning the corners.

    382 Posts

    @jefe009 wrote:

    So, let me preface this by saying that this is not an easy board to ride.

    The Zephyr is not as quick edge to edge, and takes some good effort to initiate turns.

    I find this strange. The Ventures I’ve ridden are the quickest turning and most user friendly boards I’ve ever ridden. Sometimes it turns quicker than my brain can process.

    @802smuggler wrote:

    So I was wondering if one rides a lot of trees what would you think of de-tuning the contact points?

    Yes, detune. The contact points on a tip up board aren’t really contact points at all. On hardpack/groomers the turn is initiated at the front of the effective edge at the end of the flat. The nose is off the snow. The advantage to detuning a rocker board comes in the backcountry when riding rain/sun/windpack crusts the tip and tail are less hooky if detuned. Rockered tips are already much less hooky than a cambered board in those conditions, detuning can only help.

    Also, in low speed/tight places you might try tail pivot turns if you aren’t already. These boards should be just squiggilin thru tight stuff no prob.

    675 Posts

    Thanks for the feedback pow. I’m gonna take a couple of trips to some big terrain over the next few weeks, precisely the kind of stuff where I feel this board shines.

    I really would love to get some ‘squiggle’ out of this plank, I’ll keep at it. 😆

    382 Posts

    You didn’t say what size you’re riding. If you are on the 169, then yeah you got to work a little harder in the trees.

    369 Posts

    At the rate spring is coming I might be tuning up the trek this weekend! But I am going to take the file to it.

    675 Posts

    @powslash wrote:

    You didn’t say what size you’re riding. If you are on the 169, then yeah you got to work a little harder in the trees.

    163. Not too far off my 161…

    36 Posts

    Wow Jefe009 you hit the nail on the head. This is exactly my experience with this board. I am 115 lb, and 5’3″ on a good day. I have been riding the Zephyr 154 from last season. Its 2 cm bigger then my favorite board, and I usually ride women’s specific boards. So I’ve been wondering if it was the size and stiffness of this board that was giving me a hard time. Its good to hear someone else describe the board how I see it. Don’t get me wrong- I have had a great time with this board- when the conditions are right and I can just open up my turns it feels like magic. I am going to do as pow suggested and detune and see how things go. Id really like to feel more solid on this board in more conditions. Ill look at setting my stance back a bit too.

    675 Posts

    Having now put over 20 days on this board (when I wrote the review I had like 2 days on it or something), I’ve gotten used to it a lot more. I believe my initial difficulty came from 2 things:

    Non-tapered shape takes longer to initiate turns
    Tail was not as snappy as what I was used to

    I still wouldn’t recommend this board for a new splitter who can only afford one board, for most conditions (maybe the east coast guys would be an exception). However from May forward, this thing rules the Volcanoes in the PNW and I wouldn’t rather have anything else under my feet.

    If you have open terrain and can really cruise, then this is the best board ever. Tight trees will be more challenging for some riders who are used to more tapered / snappier boards. :twocents:

    330 Posts

    I’m used to riding a directional twin solids. T.Rice 61.5 has been my quiver killer for the last 5 seasons or so. I got the zephyr 64 x 26 in June and I feel the profile is very surfy and easy to initiate turns, and stable at high speeds. The T.Rice is way more responsive, and the edge hold of magnetraction is incomparable IMO. The T.rice is like a Ferrari in the BC IMO.

    But I’ve got in between 10-20 days over the summer in variable conditions, and early season crust, blower, peanut butter, steep corn chutes, small airs etc, and I’m happy with the venture. Its a bit wider and longer than what Ive been riding, and a bit stiffer, so it is a bit more work, but its a great board. I’ll have to get back after I send some descent size airs with it, and charge some tight couloirs a full review. But I anticipate it holding its own.

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