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Home Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Split vs. MTN post to end them all

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    It’s OK, I get it… This site is for splitters. However, it seems apparent that we all understand it takes public interest, new ideas, product advancement, and competition to keep the industry growing. This does put more pressure on our favorite/secret bc zones, but this is going to happen regardless of our desires to keep the bc to ourselves. For those who intertwine the splitting lifestyle with successfully making a living it’s well understood, and a worthy trade off (for now).

    There has been quite a bit of abuse shot at MTN Approach on this forum, mostly from people who have never strapped their tri-fold skis on, or from those who have only used them as a demo. I wanted to write one post, one review, which will clarify the negatives and positives to both the MTN Approach setup and splits.

    I currently own, and use both, a MTN Approach setup as well as many split setups. I have owned my MTN Approach since the product first came out, and have been splitting for much longer.

    MTN Approach
    Negatives – At a total weight of 9.5 pounds any salty bc vet will say that’s a lot of extra weight (because it is). When the skis are on your feet, the board weight (on your back) isn’t too noticeable. Put the skis and board on your back (when boot packing) it’s a ton. Add ave gear, water, and food you’ve got one heavy pack. Not to mention the possibility of overnight gear. How’s your back feel after 8+ miles round trip? This setup is ideal for side country, or short (3-4 miles roundtrip) alpine tours.
    Hinges – No, I have not tried the new ones, but it seems to me that if you put your foot in a bad place something has to give with the proper force, I’d rather it be a plastic hinge (quickly replaceable) than the ski itself. Traversing? Boot stability and edge control is a big one, the MTN Approach doesn’t compare to split bindings with heel lock.
    Positives – It’s a great idea, provides competition for the industry, and is cheaper than a split. Like I stated before, it’s a great system for short tours with limited gear. I have also found it’s easy to throw it in your truck or strap it to a sled in case someone’s split breaks. Your day of riding is still ruined but you do have a backup to get you to safety if need be.

    Splits – It’s obvious that splitting is a better option for those who seek longer tours, higher alpine, deeper snow, and more stability. Longer skis, a longer effective edge and new technology make a split more sensible for serious bc splitters. The torsional flex of a split is noticeably different when compared to a solid, but for experienced snowboarders it really poses no problems, even in difficult terrain. Your choice of camber/rc and understanding of how to ride each board is far more important to your success/failure in different conditions and terrain.

    In conclusion there are positives and negatives to the MTN Approach. I continue to use both setups depending on conditions, the tour, terrain, and the people I tour with. Find what works best and what is comfortable to you. Most importantly pay attention to the snowpack, be curious, and continue to learn. We’ve already had one fatality in Montana this season. Let’s keep it that way for a while.

    If you read this whole post….. CHEERS TO YOU MATE!


    This is a bad site to promote a sub par backcountry product… A lot of people here live in the mountains and get the goods…. I have been witness to multiple failures of the mnt approach system…. I mean come on! the hinges are garbage! I do understand however snowboarders making a shitty ski pole…

    ^^^ This is a mnt approach ski pole btw


    Until recently their marketing consisted of little positive attributes for their own system and lot of the negatives of other systems. The only abuse they’ve suffered is that which they’ve doled out themselves. Focus on your own goddamn product, rather than alienate potential customers. I think they’ve started to figure this out, so maybe an applause there.

    And $800 for a backpack I’ll never use? Forget it. Luckily they sell the hinges alone. So for a 1/10 of the price of their system, a pair of old skis and some leftover skins I can go take out my pow surfer on danger days.

    Mtn Approach has merrit, not everyone is into monster alpine, tech bindings, etc… It shouldn’t be ‘split vs approach skis’, it should be the right tool for the job. Except snowshoes. Tubbs are for ‘tards….

    Edit: Regarding durability, never seen Mtn. Approach in the wild, so can’t comment on their gear, but I have seen other brands that we splitters consider gold…. cough, cough…. spark…. cough, cough… karakorum…. cough, cough… all have catastrphoic failures far from the trailhead. Shit breaks. Deal with it.

    That was Pontus


    I have a pair with the opinion of “don’t knock it until you try it”.

    I don’t use them!

    *Bad build quality
    *The touring plate has made large gouges in the non existent topsheet at the pivot point exposing the core
    *Snapped hinges

    If they were smart they would have made the touring hole pattern the same as the voile one and you could use your split bindings on them and transition the bindings to your solid board for the down (as all bases are covered now for that option with solid board slider plates and the Karakoram quiver killers).

    I do use snowshoes

    I must admit that I would use snow shoes in Japan (Hokkaido only) more than touring with the split as it easier, but still have my split on my back.
    If you were doing to use these , just use a splitboard?
    I don’t get it – and I’ve tried it.

    Adam West


    I’m assuming this thread was stimulated by the article today on tgr:

    they had some funny comments on the facebook page too… plenty of approach skis vs. split hate and skier vs. snowboarder hate.

    167 furberg
    163/26 Venture Helix


    @chrishami wrote:

    I’m assuming this thread was stimulated by the article today on tgr:

    they had some funny comments on the facebook page too… plenty of approach skis vs. split hate and skier vs. snowboarder hate.

    Currently trolling…

    That was Pontus


    I’m not defending their product, just wanted to start a discussion to help people that are just starting out and looking for good info.


    Dave’s post sums it up :bananas:


    On the easiest tour in Silverton, McMillian, my buddy snapped 2, make that two approach skis in half. So I got a total of 3 runs compared to his 1.


    @maniacdave wrote:

    Focus on your own goddamn product, rather than alienate potential customers

    .. It shouldn’t be ‘split vs approach skis’, it should be the right tool for the job.

    ^this. The title of the article didn’t help, nor did the content of the article focusing on splitboards vs approach skis. I understand the goal is to sell the product, but I don’t think focusing on (questionable) comparisons and passive aggressive shit that mtn approach likes to do is helping their cause.


    To me the whole point is to get shit off your back. Board on back on the way up sucks. Extra weight (shoes or approach skis) on the way down sucks. Sure a split isn’t an solid but the whole point is that the thing that gets you down the hill also gets you up. If you want to talk approach skis vs snowshoes I’m listening.


    The over arching vibe of that ‘article’ reads more like an advertisement, and anytime you have to trash another product to sell your own, it’s a good indicator of an under achieving product.

    But the most outrageous part IMO was the comparison to transitions. Seriously? if one cannot transition as fast/faster than this setup, they probably shouldn’t be using a splitboard, or even be off piste at all for that matter.

    And in case this comes of as hating on the dude, I’m not – I really dig some of his board designs though I suspect we’ll never see something like the the spring break tree hunter in a split 😥 Too bad.

    Shark Snowsurf Chuna
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    Spark R&D Arc



    These guys are like the herp. They just keep coming back every year, how are they still in business?

    Great marketing strategy. What if the Hyundai’s sole marketing strategy was that they were better than a Toyota Tundra because they got better gas mileage?

    Yeah, you get to ride your solid board on the way down, with a 9.5lb heavier pack on your back. And what if you want an airbag pack? Nope, there’s no room for that, you gotta use their pack.

    If I wanted to save money and ride a solid board, I’d buy Verts. $85 and they fit inside my pack? Yes please.


    Wait…this isn’t a splitboard site? Ya mean I’ve been posting on a Gawd Dern Derka Der floppy doodle approach ski site since forever!?!!

    FooooooK! BCRider…you lied to me! 😯 Ya mean all these @$$holes I now call my brothers that I shred with are floppy doodle plank walkers in disguise….Son OF AAAAAA BeeeeeeecH!

    I heard TEX was going to buy them, but when he found out he’d have to take out 8.5lbs of weeeeeeeed for floppy doodle planks….He chose the danks

    Back to the discussion, now that I’ve said the SMRT-est thing today.

    Besides this…My favorite country song EVER! “don’t nibble on the tip, just take er doooooown!”

    christoph benells

    @Snurfer wrote:

    I really dig some of his board designs though I suspect we’ll never see something like the the spring break tree hunter in a split 😥 Too bad.

    i dont think it is the same corey smith

    Mtn approach is dumb


    Even if the ski worked well, you still pay a weight penalty and have the board on your back. There is also a loss in surface area with the small skis… No thanks :thumbsdown:


    it seems kinda weird to have this topic here. I mean why would anyone who loves to split even consider this? that being said I have a pair and yes I’ve broken some hinges and it does suck except that you can swap out for a new one pretty quickly, under a few minutes really. They climb good, you can kick a really tight up hill switch back. The weight on your back as you ride down isn’t even noticeable. Carrying both when you have a really steep last pitch and your using verts or boot packing does suck…The fast switch over time is pretty awesome. Just another tool for some people to take advantage of.

    wasatch surf

    I just can’t really imagine a situation where these would be useful or have an advantage over a splitboard


    Too much weight for me SPLITTIPPIN. I’m all concentrates in the Bc now
    Lighter. Less to carry No fire hazard

    And as far as approach skis. For me it’s about weight. I don’t have verts yet but I do plan to get some. That’s the only thing I have seen worth carding
    I mean here if your going for something big you are already carrying crampons split crampons and an ice axe
    That’s a lot of weight.
    Most people’s goal is to reduce weight


    Powsurfing and accessing kicker spots further than a few hundred yards out are a couple use cases. They could also be useful for ducking ropes. It seems that the marketing is moving more toward that than claiming flat out that approach skis are better than better than splitboards.

    I’d buy a pair (w/ aluminum hinges and no backpack) for $100 but at $800 it’s not going to happen for me. I like maniacdave’s idea of getting some hinges and putting a set together. Looking at the hinges it looks like you’d have to cut a notch out of each ski. I’m betting there’s other locking hinges out there too that could be repurposed.

    Another idea for an approach ski that looks more robust are is the Climb system. They use a sleeved connection which probably has less breakage and flex than the MTN Approach’s. Set up w/ a set of split bindings, it could be a viable short-range solution for the situations listed above.

    One cool thing about snowboarding is options, from urban to alpine racing to exotic lines. Approach skis are another means to an end and not an end unto themselves (unless you skiblade and then you probably go grocery shopping in roller shoes). At least approach skiers won’t mash out a skin track like snowshoes and boots. As an added bonus, they may even build a kicker for us.

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