To buy or make a splitboard. I’ve done both here are my thoughts:
Splitboarding has been around since the 90’s, but the popularity has been relatively low until the early 2010’s. In recent years, manufactured splitboards have been increasing in quality, but I think they still have a long way to go especially compared to how refined the technology is for backcountry skis.
I have a Voile Revelator. It’s heavier than I would like but is quality build, and It performs well. It’s my favorite board; I even take it to the resort. At of the time of this writing, it is $650 for just the board. A fill setup is easily over $1200 which is a pretty sizeable investment!
Is there lower cost way? Yes, err maybe
Voile makes a split kit. It’s a simple idea, just cut the board in half, bolt on some hardware, and you’re good to go right? The reality is, it takes a lot of prep, setup, time, and materials. They have a thorough build tutorial and instructions. If you make one, I have just a couple of additional recommendations:
- When sawing the board in half, use a sacrificial backer to prevent chip-out on the top of the board. I used 1/4 MDF scrap
- Use a Forstner bit, not a spade bit for the t-nut pockets
- Epoxy then varnish the cut edge rather than just varnish
If you have a good workspace and already own some or most of the materials necessary, this may be a perfect way to get a splitboard. Honestly, it was a little more work than I thought it would be for this project. Because there are no straight lines on a snowboard, it takes time to set up the cuts and drills accurately. They say measure twice, cut once, but because there is little room for error, and it’s difficult (mentally) to cut into a snowboard, I found I measured many times before cutting.
I’m not exactly sure of the total cost of the build because I already owned all of the tools and materials. I just needed the kit. If you had to buy the materials and any of the tools, it might not make sense from an economic perspective.
Make a splitboard
It’s likely you found this article because you are thinking of making your own. Here’s a quick Pros and Cons:
- You can use any length width or style of snowboard
- Can be a low-cost option*
- It’s fun to make and more special when it is completed. If you make one, it will be one of those possessions that you treasure
- No metal edge on inside of ski
- The cut edge is less durable compared to a manufactured version
- No puck adjustment
- It’s likely going to take longer to make and cost more than you think
Either way, if you are a snowboarder who loves backcountry, you should get a splitboard.
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