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 Post subject: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:57 pm 
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I'm looking for some advice/opinions. I'm shopping for a new board this season, but I'm having trouble nailing down which one to get. My short list is: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, and Arbor Abacus. I tried both the Solution and Abacus at last season's Mt. Baker Splitfest and enjoyed them both, though I liked the Solution more. I haven't tried the Artisan yet, but it got great reviews in Backcountry Mag's 2013 gear guide. I'm also thinking about a Venture b/c I know they make bomber boards, though, again, I've never ridden one. So, questions:

1) What are your thoughts on my list so far, fellow splitters? Any others that I should seriously consider? I guess I'm leaning towards bigger companies over smaller ones w/ limited production (though that's not set in stone).

2) How "dangerous" is it to buy a board you've never tried before? It's kind of hard to test ride a board (e.g. from a shop) and I don't want to spend all season waiting for demos at my local mountains. I'd like to buy something early in the season if possible.

Thanks for your help!

PS: I also test rode the K2 Panoramic last year. It was a lot of fun, but a bit too soft for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:02 pm 
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Location: Tacoma,WA
I can comment on the venture zephyr.

I picked up a 11/12 164 in june and have around 10 days on it so far. All have been in variable slush/corn/ice/hard pack conditions. It's my first split, so I can't compare it to other splits, but this is my take on it.

I am pretty happy. It feels good and solid. It holds high speed well, and is pretty nimble and transfers edges well. That being said I feel that with the flat under foot, and rockered tip and tail make it a bit sloppy. I think its gonna be super fun in pow (which is what I really got it for) will float like crazy and be very maneuverable for its size. I've already had it in some semi gnar situations, with way less than ideal conditions and it handled well.

That being said, going from riding a solid T.Rice 161.5(solid) for the last 4 seasons, it feels sluggish (it is longer and wider) and can totally notice the absence of magnetraction. I'm not sure how much has to do with the rocker profile, or the magnetraction ( or being a split compared to solid) but it feels a bit sloppy.

All in all I'm very satisfied and know I'm gonna love it in the pow. I would recommend it.

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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:26 pm 
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Swamp: I think a little more info might be helpful. Your size and riding level, and type of terrain. Also, what type of terrain you aspire to ride.

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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:31 pm 
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Thanks for your :twocents: , Saign.

Barrows: good point. I'm 5' 6", 160 lbs. I've been snowboarding for about 17 years and splitting for about 5. I like steep stuff (within reason, of course; probably no 60% slopes in my future) and all sorts of touring. Day trips, overnights, etc. This season, I'd like to do some splitboard mountaineering (I'm a climber/mountaineer, so it wouldn't be that big of a jump), so a board that could handle some bigger mountains and variable conditions might be nice. I don't do any freestyle stuff, so no need for that type of board. Basically, I'm look for an "all mountain" type of ride. Something that can handle a little bit of everything: crud, pow, ice, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:51 pm 
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I would recommend a "big mountain" type of board for the riding you describe. Like:

The Solution
The Venture Storm and Odin: the Odin being a little more aggressive, and a little more suited to higher speeds, but these boards are quite close.
The Chimera Mace, another really great option

At your size, I would probably recommend lengths around 162-164, maybe even longer if you are looking at really deep conditions in dry snow (continental snow).

Every board has a speed envelope in which it works best. One can make a board which is stable at speed turn quickly by applying skill, but one cannot make a super turny, super responsive board more stable. Since riding in real mountains sometimes means high speeds, and often means snow conditions which may be a little unpredictable (crusts, buried debris, etc), I always recommend the more stable board to experienced riders, as it will allow more relaxed riding in demanding conditions, and will often save one when the unexpected occurs, and the skilled rider can always make it turn quick enough by applying skill (like aggressive downweighting the board, or by using pivoting techniques, especially with rocker boards).

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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:14 pm 
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Thanks for all of the great advice, Barrows.

Wow, so a 162-164? I was thinking more like 159-160. I'm just worried about getting something that's too big. Although I definitely understand what you mean about being able to ride comfortably in all sorts of conditions, and not being able to make a small board more stable. I'll think on that some more.

As someone that lives in the Pacific Northwest, I'm not sure what you mean by "dry snow." :)

Any thoughts on buying a board w/out first test riding it? Like I mentioned earlier, I don't want to spend all season test riding boards. I'd like to pull the trigger this fall.


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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:31 pm 
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Swampbuster wrote:
Thanks for all of the great advice, Barrows.

Wow, so a 162-164? I was thinking more like 159-160. I'm just worried about getting something that's too big. Although I definitely understand what you mean about being able to ride comfortably in all sorts of conditions, and not being able to make a small board more stable. I'll think on that some more.

As someone that lives in the Pacific Northwest, I'm not sure what you mean by "dry snow." :)

Any thoughts on buying a board w/out first test riding it? Like I mentioned earlier, I don't want to spend all season test riding boards. I'd like to pull the trigger this fall.



Hahaha, yeah, I here ya on the dry snow. Try Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, etc. the snow is a lot different with mush lower density, so more float is generally needed.
IMO, stressed, boards below 160 are for small women weighing under 145 lbs, at least in the backcountry.

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http://protectourwinters.org/
http://14ersnowboardproject.homestead.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:43 am 
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Ebay boards, its a bit of gamble sometimes, but i got a 2010 rossi experience (new) for $250 last year and plan on splitting it this fall, i am debating sending it to Alaska split boards to have them inlay an inside edge ($200) for durability's sake. I started out on a Viole about 5 years ago it was a great board, but i'm hard on stuff and have since split several boards my self and it works great. Their are some great deals to be had for some decent boards...


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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Location: Auburn, CA
I'm your weight and a little taller (5'8") and picked up a 164 prior backcountry this spring. We also have some similar riding background and aspiration.

I have been riding a 160 khyber for the last 4 years and picked up a 164 backcountry this spring. In my limited riding (two shasta days) I've found the bigger board (and different shape) to be a big improvement for big mountain riding. I'll probably still take the khyber out for powder days in the trees or pillow hunting but for bigger terrain I can't imaging going back to a smaller board.

My resort boards are 154 (a freestyle twin) and a 158 (directional freeride) respectively.


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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:29 pm 
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Swampbuster wrote:
Thanks for all of the great advice, Barrows.

Wow, so a 162-164? I was thinking more like 159-160. I'm just worried about getting something that's too big.




Don't get stuck just looking at manufacturer's board lengths. They are guidelines.
Effective edge/running length/radius will be more important than a 4cm difference in overall length(which is not always accurate)

I'd also look at the Prior Backcountry
http://www.priorsnow.com/backcountry-splitboard
Like the looks of the Mace also



.

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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:05 am 
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Along those lines check out Trapper's Ursa Major and Donek's Hazelwood (dimensions can be customized at no extra cost) too.
http://trappersnowboards.com/boards/ursa-major/
http://www.donek.com/hazel_pow.html

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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:28 am 
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Good call Taylor, I keep forgetting about Trapper. I really think that Ursa Major looks like a really nice board, and the Trappers are built to a very high quality standard. I almost picked up a 166 Ursa Major, but decided to stay with a more local builder and went with Chimera. Love the nose on the Ursa Major, it should be a wonderful board for both powder and more demanding backcountry snow conditions.

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Never Summer Prospector 167X, furberg 173 DIY, Dynafit TLT5/6 Mountain , Phantom Bindings, BD Glidelite Skins
Quiver Killer inserts

http://protectourwinters.org/
http://14ersnowboardproject.homestead.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Jones Solution, Voile Artisan, Arbor Abacus, Venture, or...?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:42 pm
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Location: Seattle, WA
Thanks for all of the advice and info, guys. Much appreciated.

What are your thoughts on buying a board that you haven't test-ridden before? I highly doubt that I'll get a chance to try out a whole bunch of boards before buying. Like I said in my original post, I tried the Solution, Abacus, and K2 last season, but that's it. I'm really leaning towards the Solution, so maybe this isn't an issue. But if I decide to go for a Venture or Prior or something I haven't tried, is that a mistake?

Can't wait for the snow to start flying!


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