Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:31 pm Posts: 60 Location: Easton, WA
We get this in the shop all the time, and cannot stress enough the importance of test riding before buying a factory splitboard!
There are shops that have demos, splitfests everywhere and locals who will loan out boards for a try out. No matter where you are there is opportunites to try boards before you buy. There are so many new and great board designs that there is no way one can make an accurate recommendation.
To add to that, there are some great womens boards out there for this season! Voile, Jones, Venture, Gnu, Prior and others have ladies specific splits now, every one of them worth a look.
If you have always ridden hand-me-downs, I will assume you havnt ridden any of the new rocker shapes or hybrids? If this is the case, I again highly recommend attending a demo day, even if the only offering is solid boards. This will give you a much better idea what type of camber/rocker/combo you prefer and will aid greatly in narrowing down a split.
A factory split is a huge investment for a first timer which is why we build so many DIY boards. Don't take the decision lightly, ride as many boards as you can get your feet on and make the right choice for you! The delay in getting out om your own will be made up for ten fold when you get your new board that is perfect for you.
for what it's worth, i am a 5'8.5" ~150# female, inbounds boards are a 155 gnu bpro and an old 156 custom x (i'm not a park/rails rider), my split is a 158 solution and i love it. floats great. rode it for a week inbounds once on a trip too (since was limited in amount of gear i could take with me) and it has become my new favorite board overall.
some of us unfortunately cannot not practically test ride all splitboard options before buying because of where we live. i had only test rode a few Priors before purchasing the solution. all i knew was i don't like the bpro enough for the conditions it needs to handle in the BC and i really didn't like the priors i test rode, so i based the purchase off of reviews. i guess i got lucky. the decision was between a 156 womens solution and a 158 mens solution. i wanted the stiffer flex of the mens, but whether i would be happy with the women's board and have saved a bit of weight, i'm not sure.
i talked to lisa at venture a lot too. they have a very nice range of boards that is female-friendly, however i found that their boards seemed heavier overall, and as a chick who rides w/ male skiers mostly, i've tried to cut as much weight on my gear as possible so as not to be the tired chick straggler at the end of the day!