Top Splitboards 2020
There were a total of 15 splitboards tested and of those, 8 boards made the cut for best splitboards of 2020.
I try not to play favorites or put this list of splitboards in any order. However, the Arbor Coda is the splitboard I enjoy going downhill on the most of any splitboard on the market. That being said this board does have some hiccups when it comes to touring, as will any of the boards with rocker underfoot mentioned here. Arbor did set out to “mellow” the rocker near the tail of the board to decrease the amount of space between the backend of the splitboard and snow when touring. When putting in skin tracks the rocker profile doesn’t matter as much in fresh snow, but if you tour on icy, steep skin tracks this board may not be the most enjoyable on the way up.
Why do I love this board? The Arbor Coda Splitboard actually rides more like a surfboard, you can ride this board lightly and have a blast. I’m 5’11 150lb so this style really allows me to surf pow without having to think or worry about edges catching. If your looking for a splitboard that can be ridden inbounds as well, you found it. The Arbor Coda has 4 Grip Tech contact points so edge hold is going to be better than other rocker boards you have ridden.
Never Summer Splitboards are incredibly fun to ride, they have been known to make people ride better. Seriously. However Never Summer is still in love with their Rocker/Camber profile which was tweaked a little bit for a split specific shape. The new Never Summer Atom Splitboard is flat under the touring bracket which is a huge step forward for Never Summer. That being said the base of the board is wavy, this allows numerous points of the board to not be in contact with the snow when going uphill. If your skins are failing this is one of the reasons why.
But, the Ripsaw Rocker/Camber profile is a blast to ride, especially in sub-par snow. And in powder, it’s a no-brainer the board floats like no other. Never Summer is setting out to make splitboards for going downhill. They fought Mervin legally over the Rocker/Camber patent, so it seems that’s hard for the brand to let go of. It’s weird though as Never Summer actually does make Camber splitboards for World Boards snowboard shop in Bozeman, MT and even allows other brands to press camber boards and splits in their factory. In the future, perhaps Never Summer will see or hear the need for new profiles for splitboarding, the Atom is clearly an example of them expanding into splitboarding more and more.
Rossignol XV Splitboard
This splitboard is not for the faint of heart, it’s not for lightweight surfy riders. It is for dudes that can man handle snowboards. On the way uphill the Rossignol XV Splitboard is as solid as one would expect. The board is stiff, camber and offers really sharp edges that grip on the way up and down.
The reason I don’t ride this board daily is it requires a lot of work and energy to ride. If you’re competing on the Freeride World Tour and plan on going straight and sending huge, like 40 foot plus airs. The Rossignol XV Splitboard is perfect. If you like to ride tight trees, surf powder there are other boards on this list that would be a better fit. Xavier De La Rue is a gnarly dude, and he’s actually not that tall. That being said do you ride like Xavier? If so check out this rigid big mountain splitboard.
If you want to buy a splitboard package without much fuss, perhaps new to the sport of splitboarding the K2 Marauder Splitboard Package is something to look into. Part of the Backside collection the K2 Marauder Splitboard comes with skins, pucks and hardware for mounting the K2 Far Out Bindings or Sparks R&D’s. Similiar to Jones K2 offers custom cut skins for each size board they build. Skins will fail eventually, custom cut skins from the factory will work a lot longer than the DYI job which typically uses a letter opener to cut the skins. At the tip and tail of the board are holes for locking your skins to the board.
The K2 Marauder Splitboard is a directional splitboard with a combination Camber profile. There’s plenty of camber underfoot with slight rocker at the tip and tail. The board is incredibly solid underfoot on the way up, it even features a topsheet designed to help with splitboarding, different from most, K2 is using a material they’re calling SnoPhobic made of Nylon. What this does is block snow from sticking to your topsheet. If you tour in the spring or the PNW snow buildup is a major issue, extra weight on your skis on the way up simply sucks. That’s not an issue with the K2 Marauder. Last but not least this board can be used as a rescue sled if you needed to pull someone out of the backcountry via a rope connected to the holes at the top and bottom of the Marauder Splitboard.
A splitboard by GiGi? I wasn’t actually sure if I was “cool” enough to ride the Slash Line Hiker Splitboard or any Slashes for that matter. The sort of have the Capita cool guy vibe going on. Then I tried the board and fell in love instantly. If anything the shape alone is noteworthy before the board ever hits snow. This directional twin tip back seat camber profile (just saying that sounds epic) is designed to do everything and anything you need in the backcountry. Check out the nose and tail on this board, Slash cut down weight and added some really fun places for grabbing your board mid air.
Out of all the boards on the list, the Slash Line Hiker Splitboard is the only twin tip board making it incredible for hitting jumps, pillows and cliff drops. The board feels really natural underfoot and doesn’t take much effort to turn. I always run my boards in the backseat, so to ride a board already set back just felt right for my needs. If you ride powder all the time, the farther back you are the better. Slash teamed up with Union for all the hardwear on the board, the tip and tail clips are especially nice and really lockdown, sometimes almost too much. The only hiccup here is I’m not sure where to find these boards for sale?
With 10 years of R&D, the Jones Solution Splitboard was from the get-go one of the great all-around splitboards you could buy, and still is. Jones designed a directional shape with camber underfoot and rocker at the tip and tail. This profile thanks in part to the camber offers stability at speed, confidence while turning and has lots of pop. For powder riding, this Jones Splitboard has a slightly rockered tip and tail and a flex rating of 8 of 10. It seems to work most ideally for shredding hard, big open terrain. Big Sky, Jackson, AK places like that with the boards stiffer flex.
The Solution Split has a size range starting at 154cm and goes all the way up to 166cm. With this versatile sizing, there’s a Solution for everyone out there. Toss in custom cut Pomoca skins that are sized exactly for each board and you’re going to love touring on this setup or any Jones Splitboards for that matter as they all notches cut into the tail to secure the Pomoca splitboard skins to your board. The Jones Solution is like the Burton Custom of Splitboards, a board everyone will most likely end up on at some point in time, and for good reasons.
Cold Smoke Alchemist Splitboard
Back on the list for the second time in the past 3 years is Cold Smoke Splitboards, as small independent splitboard manufacture in Gunnison Colorado. Just up the rode from the shop is world the US Extreme Ski World Championships have taken place for many years, the terrain in that part of Colorado is rocky, steep and super technical. The Alchemist Splitboard is some of the tightest construction we have seen, sort of suprising for a small brand.
On the way up the Alchemist tours well, it’s sturdy and has camber underfoot with a slight rocker at the tail and a bit in the nose for added float. Last time we picked the Voodoo splitboard, this time we went after the direction twin offering from the brand. There are times you may want ride switch, or be forced too through a tight section on the mountain. When that happens the Alchemist is going to be more forgiving and more playful when going downhill. Like to send some pillows in the backcountry? If so you’ll dig the Cold Smoke Alchemist Splitboard with it’s solid yet simple tech and design. You really don’t need a fancy board to go splitboarding on.. Or gimicy shapes for that matter.
Prior Khyber Splitboard
Prior’s long history in one of the most storied snow meccas of North America, Whistler, has all but culminated in the Khyber Glass Split. Its big fat nose is sure to keep you afloat while the thinner tail drives through the pow. It’s rare for such a sturdy and light board to be only mid-flex, but the Prior Khyber has got a mind-blowing response, whether edge to edge inbounds or trying to sneak around that last tree in the bc BC pow. One thing I love is that it has some camber, going to rocker underfoot, but it’s not so pronounced that the board loses hold while skinning.
Prior’s Khyber is freakishly light, surprisingly sturdy, and deliciously responsive. Especially if you’re riding it in anything from super steep couloirs to trees floating in the deep maritime snowpack. It’s why arguably the top snowboarders and splitboarders north of the US border have been devouring the wilds of Canadia on the Prior Khyber for years.