Venture Zephyr Splitboard Review
Over the past month and half my dog and I have been out touring and riding in the Washington Backcountry thanks to an incredible splitboard from Venture Snowboards. Lisa Branner the owner and founder of the company has been sending us boards to test over the years and this may just be the best one yet. I had always said I never felt 100% comfortable riding a splitboard in gnarly terrain, that changed recently thanks to Venture’s Zephyr Splitboard.
I was stoked when the delivery guy showed up with a Venture Zephyr 163 splitboard complete with the Voile binding interface and the coolest looking skins on the market, a custom set of Venture climbing skins with the company’s logo printed along the bottom. It will only be a matter of time before the rest of the splitboard manufactures are following suit with custom skins, kudos to Venture for leading the charge.
My initial impression of the board was that it felt heavy right out of the box. Venture snowboards have always weighed a bit more then their competition, however with the added weight comes strength and the ability to charge through any type of snow.
I set the board into touring mode and was gliding across the deep pacific northwest snow pack in seconds. Climbing up steep slopes was a snap and thanks to the stiffness of the Zephyr I was able to flip the splitboard skis around while always trusting my downhill edge. You really need something supportive under your feet while touring and riding and hands down the Venture Zephyr is the most comfortable I have felt while on a splitboard.
Once the board was taken out of touring mode and put back together the real fun began. The 163 screamed down powder fields kicking up massive rooster tails of snow. The Zephyr is unaffected by wind crust cutting through any type of snow making powder turns possible on slopes that you would have guessed otherwise impossible. After just a few runs I thought how on earth am I going to afford to buy this amazing board, I was in love right off the bat.
My only complaint with the board is the inserts for the Voile clamps go all the way through to the base. It would be nice to see Venture add some wood into the core where the inserts go. Hopefully in future split specific boards this will be an option. But honestly that’s more cosmetic then anything, and odds are wont slow you down very much.
Do you want to slay the backcountry? If so a Venture Zephyr need to be in your quiver. I probably would not recommend riding this board at your local ski resort as it wants to go fast and make big long turns. But if you have the room to really open it up this is the board for you.
Splitboarding truly is the answer.
Why cant all snowboards be made the old school way? Venture uses sintered P-Tex for all the boards sidewall’s and base material, a rockered tip and tail (thank you for not putting a freaking banana under my feet!!!) and sustainably harvested woods for the core. Poplar and ash run the length of the board giving a real lively and dampening feel to the Zephyr.
Going fast was fun again, I could trust my edges while knowing the board under my feet was not going to flex out from under me while turning. Heel side never felt so good.
This Zephyr is recommended for someone that is a powerful rider, a person that will spend 30+ days in the backcountry touring and can really muscle any board around. Toward the end of the day I felt the board was riding me, which can lead to disaster. If you like to go fast, charge and have the legs to do so, be sure to checkout this years Venture Zephyr Spiltboard..
Venture’s Zephyr splitboard is available online with free shipping from Backcountry.com for $626.50