Forums Splitboards Newbie, need help picking first board!
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    42 Posts

    I need some advice regarding splitboards. With the sales on splitboards these days, I’m looking at taking the plunge into my first splitboard purchase. :bananas: I’ve never ridden a splitboard or backcountry before, and do plan to take courses, lessons, etc. before heading out. Actually, I’m thinking about using the splitboard for sidecountry initially, which at the local hills has a lot of flat traversing and poor lift access.

    Stats: 6’1”, 195 lbs. Current board is an Arbor Element camber 161, few years old. The Element has a 25.4 cm waist. Size 10.5-11 boots. I really like the board overall. Only complaint is that it is directional, so switch is less fun.

    Previous boards ridden: I’ve demoed a mid-wide in the past, and hated the width, so favoring something narrower. First board was a Burton Custom 162W (26.0 width) Camber. I ended up getting rid of it due to the width. It was a good width on soft snow, but not my preference on firmer snow/ice. I also demoed a 2010 Arbor Wasteland Camber in the past, and the 26.3 width was definitely too wide. It just took more effort to go edge to edge. I haven’t tried rockered boards, so not sure if the width would be as much of a concern as with the camber.

    Riding style/interests are mostly trees, freeride. I’m not very park oriented thus far, but I like riding switch. I’ve not ridden anything rockered yet. I like the idea of having a twin, but I’m not necessarily locked into having my split be a twin shape.

    Location: I am in Maine, so mostly ME, NE, VT areas. Maybe 1 trip west per year. So more likely to see ice and mixed, with powder being less common. 😥

    Brands being considered: Prior, Never Summer, and maybe Venture. I like the US/Canada thing, and am concerned by the Jones quality issues I hear. I really like all the positive things I hear about the Never Summer construction.

    Factors to consider include price, riding style, store warranty. As new as I am, I like the idea of the REI/Backcountry 100% guarantee in case I find out I hate this or that style ride.

    Any compare or contrast comments, recommendations, thoughts appreciated!

    AMF 162 (159 too small?) $576 on sale. I like the idea of a twin, seems to be built to be legit for all-mountain riding too.

    Backcountry 161 or 165 (which size? I was thinking 165 by the stats) $576 on sale. Seems like a great shape, do it all kind of board. Is it just okay and master of none? It doesn’t seem to get as much enthusiasm compared to some of the other shapes.

    Khyber/Spearhead/Fisile: These look killer, but don’t think I’ll see enough snow for them. If you think I’m overlooking them, chime in!

    Backcountry XTC 161/165 $879 on sale. Anyone have any experience with the XTC boards? It sounds awesome, but on the pricier side of the candidates.

    Never Summer SL split 161 $799 on sale. I really like the look of this one, the build quality reports I hear, twin shape, but still reportedly great all-mountain, good on ice? Cons more expensive option. Anyone have experience with this and the Prior BC XTC? Is one clearly preferable over the other?

    LibTech T.Rice Pro HP split 161 $727 on sale. I like what I hear about the board, supposedly light. I like the twin shape. The waist of 26.0 might be slightly wider than I like, but not sure with rocker if it is different. Is the 161 too short for my stats? Does it stink at touring?

    Venture Storm 161 (too narrow at 25.0?) I have a duck footed stance. Don’t hear as much about Venture vs. NS. I get the impression that Venture is good, bomber, but maybe less advanced design-wise? $670 on sale

    Venture Zephyr 163 (26.0 width too big?) $670 on sale. Anyone love this board?

    Never Summer Summit 164 (25.4 waist sounds nice) $750 on sale. Is the Summit too powder/freeride for my use? Is it really just a powder board? Will it do well in trees in the East?

    Venture Storm 161, 165, 166 $625. 165 or 166 better size for me?

    Venture Zephyr 163 or 164 $626

    Thanks so much in advance for taking the time and sharing your knowledge!


    19 Posts

    My best advice for picking up a new board if you haven’t splitted is to find something that is good in all conditions and cheaper the better. Once you’ve decided that you do actually use it lots and find out the conditions you end up riding mostly then pick up something more specific to your riding needs.

    42 Posts


    Always good advice!

    Of the choices listed, what looks like the best value/deal to you? Prior AMF/BC? Venture Storm/Zephyr?


    215 Posts

    I would go for the Prior BC or AMF, in the size you normally ride roughly. Since you said switch is less fun with your current, then go with the AMF, as its a twin. It will handle powder pretty damn well too, its got some rocker. I have a Khyber, but its more pow board. I rode the AMF solid in powder and it handled it fine, quite fun. Seems to be the cheapest out of your options.

    7 Posts

    I was just in the same boat you are in now. I had been eye balling a split board for two years and this year the sale was finally perfect for me to make the investment. I normally ride a Burton Custom X 160 and ended up purchasing the Prior BC 165 because it had the width most similar to my Custom X that I love. I have been riding for quite a few years but don’t consider myself able to tell the difference in the smallest details of a board. I do know what I like big picture and I have been happy with the BC. I have ridden it in powder and crud so far and don’t have any buyers remorse. It was my first rockered board and it definitely has a different feel. It floats with less effort and has more of a surfy feel to it. I am happy that I went up a bit in length for float and would have to say that I would probably have just as big a grin with many of the other boards because the split boarding experience is so awesome and I don’t have to wear those damn snowshoes again. You could always call Prior as well, they know their boards best.

    P.S. I got my skins and hardware at backcountry .com due to their sale price.

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