Howdy, I got the chance to rode the Atomic Poacher for a weekend... Here are some of my thoughts:
Test conditions: Day 1: Lots of powder in Squamish BC along Paul ridge.... Day 2: Lost of powder in Whistler, mix between side-country and in-bound...
My regular set-up: Mojo 166 with Ignition I
Skinning: The feeling while skinning was definitely the best I've experience on a split; really smooth and comfy, somehow lighter than my regular set-up. I found that the "real" tips make a huge difference in deep snow while breaking trail and on steep switchback (I suck at it!). I also really love the skins. The heel riser is easy to reach and operate, but a bit low... Skinning was simply better than on my Mojo.
Switching mode: Sure it was my 1st experience with the Atomic system, but switching mode was a pain... Everything is done with the absolutely not ergonomic crampon tool. I do get that they want to make the whole package as light as possible, but manipulating the binding and the heel riser with the crampon is a pain in the ass! I really thing that the addition of a more hand friendly tool will make the experience a 100 times better (just double it with a bottle opener or a hex key if you really want to keep it "useful"!).
Also, the whole binding interface is easily fill with snow. Make sure to clean everything before attempting to re-install the binding in descent mode... I don't even want to think about ice getting in the way.
Furthermore, using the "clips" that hold the board together as heel riser may be a good idea... but don't loose them, skinning won't be fun anymore. And installing them was also a pain, because you still have to use the crampon tool, and the holes where they fit were ALWAYS fill with snow (that have the tendency to turn to ice...)
Seriously, my friend, who was a first timer, was quicker than me on transition! (voilé system)
Riding: The poacher is really at home in powder and soft snow. I found the sidecut to be very big on harder snow for the flex of the board (I don't know the specs but it seemed bigger than the Mojo). But it pow, it ride very very well; it was really impressive, almost in love (but that's powder and keep in mind that it have some kind of a swallow tail design because of the 'tip' of the skis.
Bottom Line: Very sweet board while skinning and riding, but switching mode can be easily improve. IMO, the addition of a better tool to manipulate the bindings and the clips/riser would take care of this... This is a true powder board, not as versatile as the Mojo (sorry to bring back the Mojo. but it's the only other split I rode). I won't take it for harder/longer/variable snow condition trip, but definitely for day trip or short hut trip where there will be lots of snow.
Great Review! I had almost got a poacher this fall as my 1st splitboard, but I didn’t want to guinea pig it. One reason is that I would have no frame of reference for reviewing it’s performance. Thanks for taking one for the team
_________________ It is diffucult to assess ones own fuckedupness Jones Solution 164, Fuse baseplates w/BM Bisquits, Salomon Malamutes
I got an 09/10 Atomic Poacher 171 have been on it a few times. It has the Atomic split bindings on it and I ride with Burton Sabbath boots from a few years ago. I'm about 185 lbs 6' 0". This is my first splitboard setup and compared to booting/snowshoeing I like it much better.
Here's my take on it so far after 3 trips...bout 10 miles of climbing total/breaking trail: GOOD: Like the swallowtail and handles well in deep snow. Plenty of float in the nose with a setback stance. Not as much taper as a Fish but length makes up for it a bit. Board is stiff and dont notice any torsional rigidity problems yet, though haven't been on any hard-pack yet. Bindings feel solid on the board and descent board feel as they are as close to the board surface as normal bindings. Plenty of stance options. I have it set about 45/30 front and back with a size 13 and no overhang issues. The skins that come with are pretty nice, except for the fact you'd probably have to sew/duct-tape the nose part together. Nice having them attach to the tail as well. Climbs nicely. Price isn't bad for everything you get BAD: Bindings get gummed up with ice a bit and can be tricky to put on the board in ride mode without a tree to bang them on nearby (shouldnt be too difficult). Skeptical how the plastic rings will hold up by the end of the season. In climb mode, a tiny spring loaded pin less than a centimeter long on either side is the only thing that holds your binding to your board. So far no problems but easily should be mod-ed into a more bomb-proof setup. If you put your cramp on and climb assists on, can very easily lose hardware if any errors are made in attaching them to the bottom of the binding using the plastic disc. Binding straps get loose quickly with phillips head screws on board so i've re-tightned and covered in tape. Buckles get jammed with snow easily and sometimes don't tighten down without some fiddling...may be weak springs. The climb assists turn into the board-attachers and cramp-ons are the tool you use to work the bindings..nifty design but would suck to lose these so I'm wary to attach them. (I roll with duct-tape anyway and keep all the hardware secured in my pack) Also, climb assists tear up the topsheet. I have stuck on adhesive metal mailbox numbers on two deep and so far so good.
Overall, I bought in the summer for a steal ($550 out the door) so was hard to pass up. Really like how the board handles in ride more but bindings can be alot better and its interface can use a more beefing up in climb mode.
Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:53 pm Posts: 18 Location: Russia
Hi there! I've start my second season with Atomic Poacher 171 '09 and has no any problems. This snowboard handles very VERY well in powder! Really fantastic riding. I rode LibTech SnowMullet and Prior Spearhead solid boards before and may tell that Poacher is better. I was feel more stability than Spearhead and easy turns than SnowMullet. Sure, the plastic locks is a bad side.. But if they'll snap I just set a Voile split-kit an go burn again! Happy season for all and sorry for my bad English.
Went down a chute and had a hard landing...at the bottom of the hill noticed that one of the heel-lifts that double as a board-attacher fell off and was lost. After a bunch of trips and transitions the metal loop wouldn't fit tight after closing it over the plastic blocks conecting the nose and tail. Wondered by the tail end was giving out. Went to the place where I bought and special ordered 6 replacements and I wont step out the door without zipties and wire cutters.
Won't keep using the cramp-ons as binding tools anymore. When I put them on under the bindings one of them was bent and kept gouging a sidewall and getting hung up on an edge.
Already re-glued the skins. Thank God I brought duct tape or I would still be booting it on a sidehill.
I really like how the board rides itself in deep snow and on hardpack..wish I could sh*tcan the interface completely because I don't trust it and put sparks bindings with voile tracks on asap.
Just took a look at one of these at a shop in West Seattle. I didn't play with the binding interface, but the hook system looked quite odd. The board planks are held together with some kind of clamp system that sticks up very high, perhaps more than an inch above the board. they make a binding system that looks a little similar to the new Voile ones. Overall the split looked interesting and it is great to have more companies out there innovating, but I felt it looked a little dodgy compared to Voile or Karakorum.
I have taken this board out in climb mode 3 times now (Mt Hood - Alpine Trail to Timberline, Timberline Lodge to Top of Magic Mile Lift & Skibowl from Hwy 26 to Tom Dick Peak) I'm 6'0 155lbs and so far, my biggest issue is the bindings. While the model I have has nice flip tab screws I have them maxed out on the straps and even with that I can't get the strap pads centered on my boots. I've bought a pair of winter hiking boots to use instead of snowboard boots, which work great for climbing not so much for riding. Fortunately i'm not taking this out anywhere that my life depends on the boot/board interface. Which seems counter intuitive to the splitboarding concept, but I digress. Really the only other issue I've had that can't be easily remedied is the transition method. It takes longer than what I've seen of the Voile systems and those plastic plates fill with snow that turns to ice. Eventually you do get them cleared (time) out so you can switch modes. Which actually ins't too bad, but using a binding with crampon attached to detach the other binding with crampon attached is annoying. Other issues are too minor or user remediable, such as lubricating the spring loaded pins so they don't ice up.
Some things I feel are more user error than the board design. Such as the swallow tail, man that gets me every now and then. The narrow waist and stiffness of the board really emphasizes the edges on hard pack & iced over runs. When they bite in it they cut a trench that quickly destabilizes you. The times I took it on the resorts just to get a feel for riding it were humbling experiences. The other might be my wax, the two recent dry pow days with my typical all temp wax were sullied by the realization I couldn't get/maintain enough speed to stay on top of the powder to really ride it. This might have been the type of snow (~19F, 2.5ft in 72hrs after weeks of rain) or maybe my inexperience as well. All in all I really can't count them against the board.
What I LOVE about this thing is the metal inside edge. Saved my day when I came across a windblown ice slope after hiking all day in powder. I was able to really cut in with those edges no matter what direction I was going across the slope without having to stop and put on the crampons (indicative of the hassle of the transition). The ski tips are great too. Rarely did I ever have to put any effort into shuffling along in deep powder. I do like the pin latch blocks over Voile's slide locks too, there is a reassuring clamping feeling with them. Part of that might be that you pretty much need the crampons to undo them. Also, on the 2011 model the top sheet has a reinforced landing pad for the risers so Atomic fixed that. Finally, the board carves, those issues I have on hard packed trails seem to result in an amazing ability to just slice across a mountain face. Compared to my Burton CustomX 160 (stiff freeride), the Poacher rides silkier, cuts harder and responds better on the holy fluff.
How about some photos of the board in climb mode? Nothing fancy
Dogan Hi Chris, read your new setup is doing well!