I spent a few years on verts, they are real nice for finishing off a climb on ridge or spine while reducing the wallow factor. I am very confident on them over exposure in any kind of snow that you can get an inch or two of them into. They work on rocks. They work great with the original plastic boot wrap binding-thread lock the screws and have a few extra in the fix it bag, but they don't pack down so well with the straps on. They can help you stay out of trouble if there is a real long spine or ridge on a feature you are ascending and you don't want to be out skinning through fields of snow on some aspect you don't really trust that day. If you are guiding people or a WFR/first aid type thinker, you'll have a much better time hauling an injured person out with them on your feet instead of skinning.
Also if you are working multiple runs on wall or peak, once you set a vert track in, you get vertical really efficiently-maybe faster than using a skin track. The pre-splitboard era trick was to put in one uptrack that would give you lots of different descent options, and not to put it in the day before a storm.
If you are breaking lots of different trails to different peaks/ridges or following a lot of set in tracks, they suck as much as or more than snowshoes, though a lot lighter. I think there is still a lot of marketing to boarders hitting kickers that could be done to sell more of them, I mean what a great tool for 70 bucks! maybe if they were day-glo
There was somebody who used to go up Broads and drop upper mill B with some frequency with them on before splits, but never met 'em.
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:45 am Posts: 786 Location: Bozeman, MT
The Spark Verts have a puck system attached to them allowing you to attach your boot/binder system directly to them. Carrying a different snowshoe would require carrying the binder system built into the snowshoe (extra weight). The Verts also do not allow the foot to pivot like on a normal snowshoe which allows it to aid in climbing steep supportable snow. They are solidly constructed and of a lighter weight (I won't say they're light because IMO they're not but they are lighter).
I am thinking back on some previous outings where I suffered my way up steep skin tracks in deep snow where I think these woulda been far superior.
Seems like with the pucks instead of straps these should be fairly easy to fit in a pack, plus don't have the weight of bindings on your back.
The only disadvantage I am envisioning with the spark verts is that I could only use them with my splitboard since you need to have the split bindings. While I can think of some slackcountry locales it would be cool to have these with a solid board, perhaps with my new Venture I won't mind riding the split more often even when I am not skinning.
Just gotta buy the spark bindings first, but think these are going on my shopping list.
Should add in response to @shredgnar that most of those times I imagine these being useful would be in combo with skinning since at least here in VT usually skin through a fair amount of lower angled terrain before getting to those really steep sections.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:03 pm Posts: 345 Location: Stockton, CA
Maybe you can order the spark Verts and add on the straps. Looks like the sparks plates come off with four bolts. I think the Verts decks are the same either way, maybe sparks used existing bolts for their mount.
I would contact Spark about it. I'm sure they'd like to know. A slight change in manufacturing can have unintentional results. Plus, I'm sure they'll get it fixed for you ASAP without you have to modify it.
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:51 pm Posts: 221 Location: Park City
just got some spark verts with the pucks...the pucks are too wide and the sparks will not slide on, anyone else have this issue?
will have to dremel them down a bit
I just took a pair out of the box and yes, at first they are REALLY snug. Like get the binding on about 1/4 of the way - no farther. But after a couple minutes of working the bindings off and on and little bit farther each time. Then loosening the phillips screws for the pucks from the underside and working the bindings off and on.. then screwing them back on, a little more off and on. And now they're smooth - snug, not hulk snug, but pretty much a perfect fit.