Choosing Your Splitboard
Choosing the right splitboard can be a critical decision. I mean let’s face it, splitboards aren’t exactly cheap. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and intended uses.
As far as sizing, it really depends on your how you plan to use your splitboard. Will you be using it all season long or just during the powder months? Will you be doing overnight trips with the board? Do you want a splitboard for backcountry kickers or for long-distance forays deep into the wild? These are some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself before making a purchase.
For most riders the general rule of thumb is to size the board around 5 centimeters longer than your freestyle board (note that if you ride a free-ride board you may not need to go much bigger at all). If you plan to use your splitboard for powder riding only, go a little longer or look at a specialty splitboards like the Prior and Voile Swallowtails. If you plan to do overnight trips where you’ll be carrying a heavy pack, you’ll also need some added length for flotation. If you won’t be winter camping with your splitboard or if you plan to use the board all season long, be conservative when adding length.
The board’s waist width is another important thing to consider. Look for a waist width that works well with your boot size. If the board is too narrow you’ll have toe and heel drag. This can really hinder your turns and be downright dangerous if you “boot out” on a steep and firm slope. If the board’s waist is too wide, you’ll have difficulty going from edge to edge and the turns will feel sluggish.
Also check out our splitboard forums for additional beta from our members on how to choose the right splitboard.
Initial set-up of your splitboard
Setting up your splitboard for the very first time can be a little tedious but if you follow these steps it should be a snap. The tools you’ll need: cold beverage, philips screwdriver, Voile Puck Alignment tool, tape measure, and of course the associated splitboard interface/hardware.
1. For Voile, the first step is laying your board down flat and setting your bindings of choice on top of the board at your desired stance locations.
2. Once you’ve determined your stance width and angles mark the bindings location with a pencil or piece of tape. Now place the Voile Pucks (with supplied gaskets) into the puck alignment tool, adjust the angle, and lightly screw them into the board where you marked it. Repeat for second binding.
3. Now you’re ready to attach the slider plate to your bindings. At this point you want to start thinking about toe and heel drag. Put your boots into your bindings and do your best to make them equal on the slider plate and the board. Now slide the slider plate onto the pucks. Slide the pin into the pin-hole on the slider plate and determine how much play there is. If you used the puck tool correctly there shouldn’t be any play but if there is you can micro adjust the play until its a snug fit. When both bindings are lined up nice, tighten the screws on the pucks and the binding all the way. Get your boots on and strap in! The Voile set-up out of the box has gotten easier over the years thanks to the new puck tool and instructional video.
Click here for some helpful mounting tips videos courtesy of Voile.
If using Spark R&D bindings the initial set-up will be nearly identical. You can stop at step 3 since the these bindings do no require the Voile Slider Track that regular snowboard bindings will. The toe and heel adjustments are made on the binding itself and will be straightforward.
1. For Karakoram, lay your board flat with K-Hooks and tip and tail hooks engaged in the locked position. Take some measurements to determine your stance width, binding setback and stance angles.
2. Once your stance width and angles are determined take the heel attachment and tighten it to the board with the correct stance angle. Take the toe attachment and hand tighten the screws allowing movement for proper alignment. Take the binding and install it over the toe and heel pieces. Once the binding is properly aligned tighten the screws through the holes in the base of the binding. Remove the binding and ensure all mounting hardwear is secure.
3. At this point fine tuning may need to be done with the plastic adjuster in the toe attachment. This will ensure the binding is tight and solid. Now you’re ready to ensure that your boot is properly centered within the binding. Assuming that the correct binding size was purchased for your boot size the binding can be fine tuned if the boot is too far forward or back. By adjusting the heel cup between the short and long settings proper alignment can be achieved.
Take a look at these two videos that will help you setup your Karakoram system.
I’m looking at purchasing a splitboard shortly, if I start out with the Voile universal system, will I be able to transition into more specialized bindings later? I don’t want to majorly alter my board to instal the universal system and then not be able to transfer to a more specialized/dedicated splitboard binding set up.