Forums Splitboard Talk Forum What are the limits?
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  • #566554
    Bruce
    14 Posts

    Hi

    We have just been to the Alps and found that compared to randonee skis our splits were very poor – they could not hold an edge and were far harder work to climb with – we even swapped to skis just to check it wasn’t us – bit of a joke as the last time I skied was 10 years ago but they still went uphill better than our splits – ( sorry Mr Burton)- what sort of conditions do you use them in – the photographs seem to suggest flattish / rolling stuff not icy glaciated terrain 3500m plus

    Look forward to hearing from you

    Cheers

    Bruce

    PS can you please write in English as some of the threads are difficult to understand

    #580970
    mofoco
    94 Posts

    Was it hard to edge because the skins aren’t as wide as the boards? Meaning the skins don’t go all the way out to the board edge, so you slip on side-hills.

    Board-specific crampons are nice

    English

    #580971
    Bruce
    14 Posts

    Hi

    No we have skins that very nearly go to the edges – the make is [a<]457- and crampons – the boards are S series – the snow was hard and icy and steep…. what we really want to know is what type of terrain splits work in as they were not at all at home where we were? Got no problems with them down hill – except the usual one that Burton think that everyone is very tall – no issues when it is soft but dragging a long board through trees with crap snow on the way home is interesting

    Cheers

    Bruce

    #580972
    huevon
    124 Posts

    Yes, all other things being equal, a ski will hold an edge while skinning better than a splitboard. It’s quite simple, the splitboard binding system is not as tight as a randonee binding, and skis are narrower than splitboards so it is easier to hold the best edge angle. The edge of your ski is right under your boot. Not so on a splitboard.

    I imagine that really wide and soft powder skis are also harder to use on icy stuff.

    The split board is not designed for firm/icy conditions. I would either just boot up in foot crampons if it is a solid base, or, if it is a breakable crust, then use splitboard crampons.

    #580973
    psychomac
    17 Posts

    To answer your question – I’m not sure of the advantages. Having done ski touring, snowshoeing with board on back, and splitboarding, I can say that ski touring is by far the easiest going up in all conditions, with snowshoes and splitboarding about equal in powder. On icy stuff, snowshoues and skis blow a splitboard away.

    I just got smoked by all 3 members of my group, although I’ve the most endurance. 2 snowshoers and 1 at skier. We were on refrozen sunbake in the alps and lost 1 hour over 1500 meters elevation. I shit in my pants 2 having slid out my downhill ‘ski’ and nealry taking a ride for life, and was generally much slower because of the extreme care I had to take with each step. I fear death and was not happy being on a splitboard. Switchback turns on icy slopes are also quite fear-inducing,

    I’ve also done a particular tour in powder on the splitboard and snowshoes and found that I was faster up in the snowshoes. Another HUGE disadvantage of splitting is that the skins can (and will) ice up and then dramatically slow your uphill speed.

    When you discuss weight, the extra hardware on the splitboard, plus the weight of the skins is not much less than snowshoes. Snowshoes work wonders on skinny ski tracks, and handle switchbacks like a charm.

    The advantage of splitting is not having a board on your back., but I honestly question whether this bebfit outweighs the negatives (I just outfitted myself with a complete AT setup if that’s any indication.)

    Given that I’m in Europe for a few more years, I’ll be saving the split for those special powder days, using snowshoes when it’s warm or icy, and using the AT setup when its a classical ski tour (lots of flats & ups & downs).

    #580974
    bcd
    232 Posts

    I regularly use my splitboard on icy terrain above 3500 meters. (Like most dumb Americans I had to break out the calculator to figure out what elevation that is. If anyone is wondering, it’s less than 11,500 feet).
    On icy terrain, a splitboard will always be a bit more challenging due to the width and the binding setup. But, the more you do it, the better you will get at it. Once you get good at it, the difference between being on a splitboard vs. skis is insignificant.
    Icy traverses really bothered me at first, but after a little bit of practice it was rarely an issue. I currently don’t have any problem keeping up with the “skinnyâ€Â

    #580975
    huevon
    124 Posts

    @psychomac wrote:

    I’ll be saving the split for those special powder days, using snowshoes when it’s warm or icy, and using the AT setup when its a classical ski tour (lots of flats & ups & downs).

    What kind of boots are you using? I was going to ask why you would use snowshoes for when it’s icy. But then I remembered what it used to be like trying to climb mountains in traditional snowboard boots. Unless you are already using your ski boots for snowboarding, I would consider switching to a boot that is better for climbing. In my experience there are no conditions where I can neither skin with the splitboard, nor just boot up the slope. I have never thought to myself, that I wish I had snowshoes. Verts or crampons maybe, but not snowshoes.

    Skins getting gloppy in wet snow is a common problem, that can be minimized by waxing with Glopstopper, or by rubbing a soft candle onto the skins. The wax improves glide and prevents snow from adhering to the skins.

    One thing I really don’t like about snowshoes is that most of them force an unnatural stride. Your feet are forced to be far apart. Also, all the snowshoes I’ve used have been absolutely horrible at side-hilling. They are too wide to work effectively when going across a steep slope. For that matter they suck for kicking steps too.

    Honestly, I’ve never heard of someone who can ski, that also thinks that snowshoes are efficient. If you hate the splitboard that much, then at least consider using approach-skis.

    #580976
    psychomac
    17 Posts

    i use soft boots, because i believe hard boots on a snowboard are inappropriate – too little side flex. crampons are out, since they don’t fit wide boots.

    with snowshoes (msrs), you go up steep icy slopes – traversing is not necessary. with any combination of gear, traversing icy slopes is scary, and when doing so on snowshoes i tend to point them uphill and side-step to maximize traction. skis work because good edge control and narrow platform.

    i prefer to board, and would choose this over sking in most cases, and for that matter i don’t hate the splitboard, i’m just realistic about the limitations given my experience using it, at skis, and snowshoes. i’ll choose the tools for the job, and luckily i can afford them all.

    #580977
    bot6
    36 Posts

    I’ve got a burton S and tested it with the aK skins and with Voilé Tractor 130mm wide skins. Basically, it’s day and night. The ak skins suck. They are far too narrow and therefore cause major slipping on steep and icy terrain. I tried some Voilé skins once and they will definitly be my choice next year. These can actually touch both edges of the ski, meaning far better traction and edge hold. Their only disadvantage is the lack of a clip at the back. I hope they will make longer 130mm skins by then so I can add the burton clip to them…
    And you also have to accept the fact that when using a split, you have to put the crampons on before the skiers do. Knowing this, I have been on all kinds of terrain and apart from my first day on a split, my fellow skinning partners (mostly skiers) never went up faster than I did. Even with the aK’s.
    A little trick on steep and icy terrain when going through it sideways is to bend your lower ankle a bit to have at least some skin touching the snow. You will lose edge angle but in the end the ski holds better because of the contact of the skin on the snow. Of course, this is only possible with soft boots.

    #580978
    Champagnepowder
    14 Posts

    Splitboards/snowboards are made for powder. I would have loved to see a snowshoer post holing chest deep in the bottomless CO pow this weekend. They wouldn’t have made it very far,I can tell you that. Also funny how on the most brutal trailbreaking day of this season the splitters where the ones banging at the front while the skiers followed. Absolutely nothing breaks trail like a split in the deep nasty. Ice riding/skinning is overated IMO.

    #580979
    huevon
    124 Posts

    In regard to the boots, hard plastic boots are only the far side of the spectrum. A lot of guys use mountaineering boots with good flex, and they use them with regular strap bindings. They still snowboard pretty well, and they make you a lot safer and more capable when the board is off. They are also, of course, crampon-compatible.

    #580980
    psychomac
    17 Posts
    bcd wrote:
    You’re going to catch a lot of shit for that comment. Willingly disrespecting others in the backcountry will get you dirty looks, nasty comments, wise-ass “adviceâ€Â
    #580981
    mtnrider
    740 Posts

    He’s talking about being a goon and snowshoeing in the skin track… 🙄

    #580982
    psychomac
    17 Posts

    @bcd wrote:

    Once you get good at it, the difference between being on a splitboard vs. skis is insignificant.

    Quoting Carl – “I have to laugh.” I know this is a splitboard forum, but let’s be realistic – skiis are narrower and thus more of the downward force is realized on the edge than a wider board (I got an A in physics, rarely get to us it 🙂

    bcd wrote:
    Icy traverses really bothered me at first, but after a little bit of practice it was rarely an issue. I currently don’t have any problem keeping up with the “skinnyâ€Â
    #580983
    psychomac
    17 Posts

    @mtnrider wrote:

    He’s talking about being a goon and snowshoeing in the skin track… 🙄

    That must be USA – the skiers in Europe (there’s loads of them), generally are really friendly to snowshoers as it really doesn’t do any damage to the track it looks less pretty but what’s the real damage?

    Tolerance can be learned 💡

    #580984
    Bruce
    14 Posts

    Excellent – thanks very much for all the advice – we are from the UK and ride in both Canada and Europe – we had hoped that splits would have allowed us to “surf” randonee from hut to hut – it would seem they will, but probably only on a forecast, not on whatever the snow god has laid down or left!

    We were a bit surpised re the comment on crampons and soft boots – we had no problems at all – grivel 9 point on a UK 6 ( US 7) and grivel 10 point on a UK 8 (Eur 42) just to keep you all guessing and mixing units! Front pointed a 45 degree couloir at La Grave – the boot seems to be so wide so that even if there is a bit of flex the crampon does not fall off unlike a walking boot – we also tried riding in our plastic mountaineering boots – no problems skinning up and clambering around was a dream but………. the ride down was so painful – the padding is in all the wrong places and your shins were battered

    Many thanks again – also thanks for writing in English not “dude….” having been riding for 18 years it is a little difficult to understand as we are now so old and boring – wish I had discovered this site before

    Cheers

    Bruce and Alison

    #580985
    NoKnees
    336 Posts

    This is a fun discussion and all, but it still comes down to the right tool for the right job. My favorite quote is “When the only tool you have is a hammer, all your problems start to look like nails…” In a way I think it applies to a lot of the opinions we’ve seen here. And once again, they are opinions is most cases. Nothing wrong with that.

    The only fact here is that people will prefer different tools for backcountry travel in different conditions, based on what they have access to or have personaly experienced.

    When I hear of an icy skin track on a steep slope, that you can’t even kick steps into, I’m thinking crampons and ice axe, if at all. What I’m actually thinking is “I don’t belong in these conditions”. But that’s me, based on my experience.

    So in order to answer the original question, you have to state your experience (conditions, tools, etc) then your opinion. One needs to know the frame of reference before they can put any value to your opinion.

    And yah, don’t even start on the skintrack/snowwhoe/bootpack debate…

    Greg - NoKnees

    #580986
    huevon
    124 Posts

    I have to disagree about snowshoes not damaging the skin track. In some conditions, if someone snowshoes over the skin track, it then becomes extremely difficult or impossible for skinning.

    Mixed groups of skinners and snowshoers are not very efficient. In soft conditions, a group of skinners will move much faster than a group of snowshoers, all else being equal. Furthermore a mixed group with both kinds of equipment has a good chance of being slower than either homogenous group. In firm icy conditions a climber in mountaineering boots and crampons has a good chance of smoking any of the groups due to ease of movement and weight savings, especially if the grade is steep.

    #580987
    bcrider
    4149 Posts

    I was originally going to say that there are no limits with the splitboard. Then I was going to say that there are limits, like at high altitude. Then I starting thinking about a splitboarder I know going to Denali this spring who has decided not to take his splitboard. He says the added weight is too much to carry at the higher elevation and it will limit his chances of success (summiting). To me, this sounds more like a limitation of the user’s fitness, not the splitboard itself. So I guess I’m back in the mindset that there really aren’t too many limits with the splitboard.

    As bias as I am, I won’t try to argue that a splitboard works better than skis for traversing firm, icy slopes. It’s doesn’t and it’s no secret that narrower skis work better for this.

    However for me personally, skis are not an option. I am a snowboarder and the turns I aspire to make can not be achieved on skis. That’s not to say that you can’t make nice turns on skis…it’s just a different type of turn. I like to surf the earth in a way that is unique to a snowboard. You either relate to this or you don’t. (and its ok if you don’t! 🙂 )

    If I wanted the most efficient way to get into the mountains, I would choose a sweet AT set up. But again…downhill skiing is just not an option for me. I am true to the snowboard.

    A splitboard has proved time and time again to be my best option for accessing the mountains in winters for my snowboarding goals. I’ve used snowshoes long enough to know that those will truly limit my experience and endeavors into the mountains. As adamant as I am about this, I can still have an open mind to realize that the exact opposite may be the case in a different region with a different user. If the Euros say that splitboards suck and snowshoes rule over there then I’ll believe them until I can decide for myself. Same goes for them. Rather than argue with us they should just believe us that splitboards work better over here than snowshoes.

    In Bruce’s example above, I would say that lots of splitboard skinning experience and the use of splitboard crampons might have changed his results. From his post I’m not able to gather if he had either. As bcd indicated skinning experience should not be overlooked. The more days I skin (in various conditions), the more I’m able to close the gap in the skinning advantage my skiing friends have over me due to the natural characteristics of their narrower skis. For me personally I remember being new to skinning and struggling with it on many occasions. I’d bang my feet together, slip, fall, swear, etc. It wasn’t until I broke 100+ days skinning until I really started to feel like I was a proficient skinner. (and yes this includes skinning and traversing firm slopes above 11,500ft)

    Some questions I have for the Euro Snowshoe’s are:

    Do you ever break your own trail?

    Over here we do a lot of our own trail breaking (a good thing because it means our mountains aren’t overcrowded) and as CP said, nothing breaks trail like a splitboard. Snowshoes will leave you wallowing.

    How much vert and distance do you typically do in a normal day?

    Over here 5000-6000ft days are not uncommon and long distances might be covered as well. It’s definitely not impossible to achieve this while using snowshoes and with your board on your back…but it’s just not something I’m interested in doing. I like to glide…not tromp. 🙂

    As for the hardboot vs softboot debate…its kinda like the splitboard vs snowshoe debate. The discussion is fun and informative but let’s not forget that the gear we use or do not use is only part of the equation. Personal ability can often make up for any gear inadequacies just like gear can sometimes make up for personal ability inadequacies. Knowing how you use your ability and tools of choice is the most important thing to remember.

    #580988
    mtnrider
    740 Posts

    Just being Euro explains a lot 😆

    All kidding aside…if efficiency matters that much than quit splitboarding if you don’t think its the best approach method. I think most of us ride the splitboard because we would rather snowboard on the decent than ski. I think its more about what you’re willing to sacrifice. I’m willing to struggle a bit on a traverse, rather than have to ski down the hill…I’m failry proficient at skiing just don’t find it as much fun.

    Psychomac…I’d love to see you try to keep up w/ BCD on your snowshoes!

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