Jeez, talk about falling off the wagon. Let’s get this look at 2012-13 splitboards back up and running before the 13/14 gear drops!
The boys at Chimera made it through their first year in biz and are back with the same solid lineup from last year. For those who don’t know Chimera is a splitboard exclusive company – no skis, no solid boards, no snow skates – and take their boards seriously. With innovations like their Toe-To-Heel Carbon (THC, a reference to weed in the snowboard scene, very original), a reinforcing layer of carbon fiber between the touring bracket and heel rise, to their Killerbites (essentially shortened inner edges), the folks at Chimera are not just doing the status quo.
Chimera splitboards are all limited production and made in the USA (surprisingly not that rare in our little niche) so if you see something you like reach out to them ASAP so you can make sure you’ve got your new ride before it starts nuking in the hills. You can call them at 801-512-0571 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They were cool cats at the Baker splitfest so I’d recommend letting your fingers do the walking and bullshit with ‘em for awhile.
The big mountain board in the Chimera line.
Medium, positive camber with a large sidecut maximizes edge contact and hold on steep, firm surfaces. A mellow taper, gentle early rise rockers and blunt nose/tail shape trim overall length for turning ability and clearance without sacrificing float, while running length is maximized and flex / dampening dialed for maximum stability at speed.
Sizes: 161, 165, 172
Mace with their Passport topsheet
Remember this? It’s called camber. CAM-brrr
The Orb is Chimera’s same thing coming and going/true twin of the lineup. I’m tall, unathletic and uncoordinated and thus have never been a good enough rider to benefit from a true twin, but if that’s your high Chimera’s got your drug.
Sizes: 156, 160, 164
Chimera Orb with logo topsheet
The Sceptre is the directional freestyle board (or as I like to call them ‘snowboards’) of their lineup.
Medium taper combined with Chimera’s NoWave profile give the board powerful, yet controllable float, while providing control at speed, on chunder, and in deep turns. A stiffer tail lends extra pop and helps stomp landings while allowing you to hold the line at speed. The floaty Sceptre may be sized-down for freestyle-influenced riders, while those who barge may prefer the progressively stiffer flex patterns of the larger sizes.
Sizes available: 154, 157, 161, 16
Sceptre with logo topsheet
Like your jr. high girlfriend between the bindings
Chimera Unicorn Chaser
As I’m a sucker for unusual shapes the Unicorn Chaser is the board in their lineup that gets my panties wet. Not heavily swallowed and a fish-esque shape, this board just looks like it’ll go off on the type of days you got into splitboarding for.
The rockered nose and massive taper will keep you on top of the deepest, fluffiest stuff, while the stiff, hollow tail, short, nimble sidecut, and Chimera’s LongWave profile will keep your eye on the twitching tail of your glittering prize. Chimera recommends stepping down 5cm-10cm from your powder board for increased awesomeness and maximum Unicorn slaughter.
Sizes available: 154, 157, 161
No bullshit, the guys and gals at Chimera are the types you want to support. Small crew of snow stoked riders putting out the product that works for them. They were all great to talk to, stoked out of their minds and knew their stuff, and their boards felt** lighter than most, if you’re in the market for a new split I’d recommend keeping them on your short list.
**May have been drinking that night so senses may have been off.
Jones is back in 2012-13 with essentially the same lineup as last year (different size runs) as well as a women’s line. Hopefully the production/QA problems that have been seen in the past have been put behind them as I don’t think releasing some of the boards that have reached some shop floors has been been doing the brand any favors. As before all Jones boards have ‘Mellow Magnetraction’ (a less aggressive version of the wavy sidecut Mervin made famous) on both the inner and outer edges as well as Karakoram hardware.
The ‘our founder rides bigger lines than yours’ pro model with the name a well played take on the old ‘Splitboarding is the Answer’ sticker, the Solution is the Swiss army knife of the Jones lineup. Directional shape and rocker with a nice helping of camber underfoot, the Jones is a quiver killer ready to step to anything you will.
Sizes: 154, 158, 161, 164, 163W, 168W
Mountain Twin Split
The Mountain Twin is billed as “a freestyle board with a freeride heart.” A twin shape with a setback stance, directional rocker and camber underfoot help you get your ambidextrous backcountry jibbonk on.
(Note: I was going to make a joke about that girl in college that you’d hope would go both ways, or something along those lines, but couldn’t tie it together. Feel free to make the joke for me in the comments)
Sizes: 157, 160
Winner of a Poormansheli “Most likely to be in my quiver if I actually had a quiver” award, the Hovercraft oozes fun on looks alone. Nobody got into splitboarding to ride ice and suncups but shit happens thus most of us ride less specialized boards. However, for those ‘there’s no f’in way there’s any mank out there’ days The Hovercraft looks like the bees knees.
The Hovercraft’s pow specific shape with a setback stance and long/short tail keep you floating in the deep, and the stiff tail and Mellow Magnetraction will help keep the fun going as things start to get tracked.
Sizes: 156, 160
The splitboard for the fairer sex aka shrink it and pink it (and tweak the width/flex).
Sizes: 152, 156
For 2012-13 Voile has revamped their entire lineup with the help of Ben Harmon courtesy of their Sentury Snowboards acquisition. Still made in the USA by polygamous skiboarders with jobs.
No longer capped construction, all 2012-13 Voile splitboards come with all the hardware you need, so if you’re price conscious factor that into your decision (also if you’re price conscious you may want to consider NOT getting into splitboarding…)
Remember the days when you just rode your snowboard wherever the hell you ended up on the mountain and didn’t worry about whether it had a symmetrically asymmetrical flex pattern on top of a rockambered shape with little lights on the tip that show it’s absorbing chatter before deciding where to go? That’s the Artisan, the quiver killer of the Voile lineup. Winner of a Backcountry Magazine Editor’s choice award this year, the Artisan is a twin shaped ride with a directional flex pattern and their own version of a flat in the middle/hybrid rocker/camber profile. The Artisan doesn’t give a damn where you bring it it just wants you to bring it.
Sizes available: 156, 159, 162, 165, 168, 162Wide, 165Wide
MSRP: $850 with all hardware (including dual height climbing heels)
Part of Voile’s reason for acquiring Sentury was for their unique ‘gender sensing technology’, which has been integrated into their first female offering, the 2012-13 Women’s Artisan. No longer will women have to suffer through days of riding on a board that thinks they are a man, with Voile’s new technology….OK, not really, it’s a thinner waisted, softer flexing version of the Artisan that even smaller dudes can ride.
Sizes: 148, 153, 156
Winner of Poormansheli’s “Best Name for a Splitboard” award in 2013, the Palindrome is Voile’s backcountry freestyley jibbonker offering. The same coming and going, the Palindrome has a true twin shape and flex, and a camber free profile.
Sizes: 156, 159, 162, 162Wide
Like always I’ve waited to pull the trigger on a look at the new year’s split in half hotness until the first day I had to turn the heater on. Today was that day so I’m dusting off the asdfjkl and semicolon and gettin’ ta bloggin’. Getting the pole position in this year’s look at new skiboard hotness are the love children of Klemens and Lisa Branner, the first couple of splitboarding**.
Venture is taking an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ stance with this year’s splits – with the exception of new topsheets and one new model (which was actually a late 2012/limited release from their Skunkworks ‘Shape Shack‘ last year) the Venture lineup remains more or less the same as last year. Realizing that snowboarding is really fucking hard to do with no snow Venture takes great efforts to minimize their environmental impact. From building their cores from Forest Stewardship Council certified wood to using Purl wax to running their entire operation on wind power they are practicing what others preach.
Like most splits out there Ventures come only with Voile hooks/clips, so you’ll still need to pick up the rest of the Voile (or Karakoram) hardware and your choice of skins. UNLIKE most split manufacturers out there Venture realizes that not everyone of a certain weight or height have the same size foot and offer a ton of waist widths in most of their boards. If you’ve got a particularly small or large foot size you should definitely check out the Venture Snowboards website to get the full 411.
Local shop dropped the ball and doesn’t carry Venture splits? You can pick ‘em up online from the fine folks at evo and backcountry.com
While it shares a name with a board from their lineup a few years past this is definitely NOT your father’s Euphoria. Designed to be ridden with or without bindings (no, I’ve never seen someone split up a mountain only to take their bindings off to pow surf down, but there’s always this year) this Backcountry Magazine Editor’s Choice winning board looks like it’d be stupid fun on the right day.
Sizes available: 156, 162, 168
The Zephyr is Venture’s flaghship board and is a good ol’ fashioned, do it all quiver killer. A Backcountry Magazine Editor’s Choice winner for 2011, the Zephyr is a lightly tapered, slightly setback, rockered tip/tail everyman’s board.
Sizes available: 150, 154, 155, 159, 160, 163, 164, 165, 168, 169 (close size ranges due to waist width offerings)
The Odin is big mountain legend Johan Olofsson’s pro model split. A 2012 Backcountry Magazine Editor’s Choice winner, Venture made slight changes from last year, blunting the nose a bit and adding more sizes to the range. With it’s tapered shape, setback stance, stiffer flex and flat between the feet and rockered nose/tail profile this is the big mountain riders split.
Sizes available: 160, 164, 165, 168, 169, 173, 174 (close ranges due to waist width offerings)
The Venture Storm tows the line between pow specific board and all ’rounder. For 2013 Venture rounded out the nose a bit, likely to help it lose it’s ‘quiver board’ look and sell more. A 2010 Backcountry Magazine Editor’s Choice winner (notice a theme here? Venture’s ish performs) the tapered shape, rockered nose and tail, softer nose and stiffer midsection/tail of the Storm makes it a board ready to take on anything thrown your way.
Sizes available: 152, 156, 157, 161 ,162, 165, 166, 170, 171, 181 (close ranges due to waist width offerings)
The Helix is “the world’s first twin tipped, rockered splitty” and is waaaay outside of my non-freestyley wheelhouse. True twin shape and flex, the type of board that I find unexciting.
Sizes available: 158, 162, 163
**I’m patenting that phrase, you heard it here first ladies and gents
Still have no idea how the below could possibly happen, and they look fake to me and I saw the whole damn thing happen! I should probably try and file a claim with Thule, but given how they treated me when my old Thule surf rack broke (a design they’ve coincidentally since changed…), and reading about the experience of others, sounds like it’s not the best use of my time.
UPDATE: Pinged them and they were faaaar more friendly than last time I dealt with them. The lady helping me, Barbara, was very nice and the whole case gets elevated to Laurence Merling. I guess we’ll see what happens…
UPDATE AGAIN: This post has been getting a TON of traffic so will keep everyone updated. Received a form from them today to fill in, after which they’ll evaluate my claim. They’ve been very friendly thus far and not at all defensive, but of course that all means nothing if the outcome isn’t favorable. To be continued….
So as some of you may know by now I had a roof rack megafail this weekend that resulted in my Perception Search 15 meeting I-5 at highway speeds. Not cool, especially as I’d finally been satisfied with how I had it rigged after four years of ownership! Being thrust unexpectedly into the market for a yak has led me to discover there are a LOT of cool new boats on the market. Figured I’d share a couple of the ones in the running, hoping to pick up one at an end of season/demo blow out sale locally.
Yes, THAT Hobie. Ordinarily I wouldn’t consider what looks like a fat, bloated hull as my old Search was a rocket, but as these use Hobie’s Mirage Drive they aren’t as slow as they would be if you had to paddle it. The Hobies are rapidly taking over the world of angling kayaks given their hands free propulsion, letting you more easily troll or get things done (like drink a beer) while cruising from spot to spot. Hate those molded in foot braces, they should make that area open and flat. The major downside is the cost of entry – about $1900(!!) – but relative to what I’m seeing on a lot of these other kayaks it doesn’t seem that out of line when you consider it comes with a rudder and paddle, and the fact that as soon as a used one hits the market it’s sold means they hold their value far better than the rest.
Still can’t figure out how these move you forward faster than paddling, and I’ve got to wonder if the sharks like the fins….
As I’m not a river boat guy I’d never even heard of Jackson Kayaks til recently. Designed from the ground up for fishing the Cuda looks like a nice balance between speed and stability, and I love the lawn chair looking seat. You can order their boats in custom colors AND all Jackson kayaks are actually made in the USA (yes, apparently that is still possible). Downsides seem to be the lack of scuppers to drain the tankwell (don’t ocean fish in Tennessee much?) and price – it’s $1400 to get into a Cuda with rudder.
Ocean Kayak Trident Ultra 4.3
The latest incarnation of the legendary Ocean Kayak Trident series the 4.3 has a bunch of features that will save you post-purchase rigging time. Between it’s length/sleek shape, the two sided center hatch (which would be NICE to protect the fishfinder on the ride in), various modular add-ons for the center hatch and the replaceable keel strip it’s a well thought out rig. Downside is again price, MSRP of $1599 without rudder. Ouch.
A few weeks back my iPhone met an untimely demise by way of rusty innards (not to be confused with trombones). One too many trips to the beach and sweaty sparring sessions had taken it’s toll and the Apple ‘Genius’ said he’d never seen anything like it. Meh.
Since then I’ve camped at the beach a few times as well as took a 9 day roadtrip that included a few flyfishing stops that would have been great to have a camera at, but I wasn’t about to lug my 7D with me around the river or on the yak, and didn’t want to kill another phone so soon. Outside of GoPros I didn’t realize how many options there were these days til at Stankdolla** a few other kayakers rolled up with a variety of waterproof digital cameras. I was definitely jealous and am definitely think this category of camera is the perfect complement to my summer plans. Eyes open and in-market.
Overall it looks like the category as a whole as exchanged the toyish look of former waterproof/rugged electronic equipment (remember the yellow Sony Walkmans?) for a more rugged/metallic look. I know nothing about what’s good/bad in this category and assume it’s a lot like the rest of the handheld digicams – cram as many megapixels into the smallest case possible and throw in a bunch of dumb dumb featuresoverall image quality be damned! – so just posting a few I saw that caught my eye during my 10 minutes of internet window shopping.
**Made up name to protect the location
So the reality of it is unlike some people *cough cough Adam* I don’t want to be facebotexweeting while playing in the outdoors and thus this ISN’T up my alley (OK, I lie, I’d rock the shit out of this for camera battery charging on long trips). HOWEVER, I really dig the outside the box thinking and execution the guys at Biolite have got going on – and it has massive implications for lesser developed countries should they realize some economies of scale. I question the claims of 4.5 minute boil time for 1L of water though….
BioLite CampStove Demo & Story from BioLite on Vimeo.
Going to add ‘Gear Lust’ as a semi-regular feature. Basically my gear closet is fairly complete and I don’t find myself needing anything but definitely find myself frequently wanting new gear. As the needs vs. wants vs. budget graph isn’t at the point it used to be I’ll just use it to highlight some new/interesting gear that the rest of you may find cool as well.
For the inaugural post I’m highlighting one of those items that feels like it wouldn’t have existed a few years back as gear felt like it was (past tense? hmm…) going through the same uber$$ UL craze mountain biking did in ~92 (with less anodization and drilling), and I’m certainly not that guy that is going out hiking in a
skirt kilt and bringing a quilt that doubles as a sleeping bag that doubles as a water filter that doubles as toilet paper. It also wouldn’t have been on my radar as a two person tent pushing 10 pounds would have still struck my non-UL but not World’s Strongest Man self as ridiculous. However, as our yellow lab has been starting to show her age I’m not really comfortable bringing her on long backpacking trips anymore (especially as she usually carried her own food and toys) and find myself doing far more car camping trips, leading me to this post.
Nylon party cabin
The Big Agnes Wyoming Trail 2 is a two man tent with a twist. It’s obviously not for the ultralight crowd but fills that niche between a smaller, space compromised backpacking tent and one of those massive beast mode/I’m a breeder with five kids car camping McMansions. Given the past few weekends my trips have been in typical late spring/early summer PNW weather – sunny one moment, wet the next – this tent looks like the bee’s knees with it’s vestibule that could double as a poker room.
The Wyoming Trail 2 seems well thought out, with decent sleeping space plus dual entrances AND a smaller vestibule in back
Wyoming Trail 2′s fire escape
Best of all, and what caught my attention in the first place, is the massive
vestibule. Stash your bikes away from prying eyes, keep your coolers out of direct sunlight, or setup a small table and drink some beers and play chess while waiting for the weather to change.
Midgets can do jumping jacks in the vestibule
Overall I like it, and it looks like an ideal roadtripping tent (would it be unethical for me to buy one before my upcoming trip and bring it back after?). If I were in the market the only thing that I’d see as a downside is it may be a bit small for 2 + a space hogging yellow lab, but otherwise looks like it’d make a great addition to a gear whore’s closet.
The Blazes I won up at Splitfest were mediums, but I usually take a large. Looked up the stats on their site and the baseplate length is the same between the M and L, the difference is just in the width. As my wide boots fit into the binding I just took the old (short, not well padded) Blaze ankle straps off and threw on my older, longer, more padded Cartels. Stoked to get out on the new setup!
Didn't have access this guy so just swapped the straps