Setting up the K2 Split Bean Splitboard up for touring was as simple as you could hope. Sold as a package, the board comes with pucks and risers already installed, and a pair of skins in their own handy bag. The pucks mean riders using Voile or Spark bindings need only install the touring toe piece and they’re ready to ride, offsetting the cost of those brand’s piecemeal pricing system. Using Karakorams means I was using my own hardware, but as they’re included with the purchase of the binding it wasn’t a great inconvenience.
K2 Split Bean Review
The K2 Split Bean Splitboard Skin Kit comes with Pomoca Skins, they’re a mohair blend that provides adequate traction in most conditions, and folds/rolls a bit more easily than full-synthetic alternatives. The precut skins attach easily at the front, with a proprietary clip system that passes through holes in the nose, and locks onto the tail with … nothing.
Let’s talk about that for a second. If you look at the K2-provided product shots on their site or with most retailers, you’ll see that there are tail clips on their skins. Maybe the product shots are of a pre-production skin? Maybe the ones I received should have come with tail clips but didn’t? I contacted K2 in an attempt to get answers, but two months later I still haven’t received a response. It’s obviously not a make or break issue in the board, but that’s sub-standard customer service, to say the least.
Determined to test the board as provided by K2, I headed uphill without tail clips. Luckily, that mattered even less than I anticipated on the K2split Bean The skins did get more snow between them and the base than I’d ideally be comfortable with, but they stayed put without issue and cruising uphill was even easier than I expected. The ultra-short 144cm length made it easy for an awful skier like myself to manage, and the overall feeling in touring was less like cross-country skiing and more like snowshoeing. In particular, the short tail makes kick turns as painless as could be hoped for, once you get the nose of the board lifted.
Heading downhill, the K2 Split Bean provided the same surprising combination of agility and stability I’d noticed on resort runs. It made it the perfect board for Bolton Valley’s gladed sidecountry, moving to avoid obstacles the moment I recognized them. At speed or on hardpack the stiffness of the board maintained confidence, and while the float on powder was less than perfect it was still more than adequate even when weighed down by a rider on the upper end of the recommended weight limit.
All told, the K2 Split Bean Splitboard ($999) delivers on what it promises. It’s not a big-mountain bomber, and it wouldn’t be my first pick for bottomless blower powder. But I live in New England, that’s not what I ride. And for short tours, followed by quick runs among the trees, this board delivers a balance of ideal conditions performance and real conditions practicality. It’s not my dream board, because it’s better than that. A dream board would work great in dream conditions, but the Split Bean works better in the conditions I actually ride in.