You love snowboarding but you are annoyed by ski slopes, queues, the crowd of people and the expensive lift tickets? Then splitboarding might be the just right thing for you! This guide is also pretty useful if you’re just not sure which board to choose or just to see all woman-specific splitboards directly compared with each other.
Our ambassador Ana Zirner made her way to the Splitboard Festival on Lake Achensee to put all current splitboards for ladies through their paces. In our 2017/18 splitboard guide for ladies, she introduces you to all women’s splitboards and gives you some useful tips to help you make the transition from snowboard to splitboard.
The one splitboard, ABLE TO DO EVERYTHING, does not exist
First of all, it should be said that there are different splitboards for different skill levels and styles. One of the most common questions when buying a splitboard is, “What’s the best splitboard?” Unfortunately, there is no answer to that question, as there is no splitboard that can do everything. Rather, it depends on your style, your preferences, your weight, your size, and, of course, your skills. Therefore, we try to describe as subjectively as possible how the boards feel and for whom we think they are best suitable.
Since a couple of years now, splitboards are finally that well-advanced that you barely notice a difference to regular snowboards. For the first time, there is no more fluttering between the slats when riding on-piste at higher speeds. There are finally splitboard bindings that do not pinch your fingers, clatter loudly during the ascent or are so badly wedged in snow and ice that once at the top you need to use at least a screwdriver, if not a Bunsen burner, to loosen them up. Those splitboards which are now available on the market and specifically developed for women truly keep what they promise and guarantee amazing outdoor adventures.
At the Splitboard Festival at Achensee, seven out of ten manufacturers offered woman-specific splitboards. In addition to these, Ana has also tested a few unisex models for you, which can also be used well by women. Due to the snow conditions, it was unfortunately not possible to test the boards in powder but as all boards where tested on-piste under the same conditions, Ana was able to directly compare them.
Why are there special splitboards for women and how do they differ from unisex and men’s Models?
Just like normal ladies’ snowboards, splitboards for women, differ to those for men in how they are designed. It is not only about different colors and more feminine graphics combined with a lot of marketing nonsense. Splitboards for women are actually different, as they are adapted to a woman’s specific anatomical needs.
A woman is simply no man
There are reasons why woman-specific splitboards have found their way onto the shelves of dealers. Long story short: A woman is simply no man. Women have a different physique, a different weight, a different size, a different center of gravity, they are narrower, have smaller feet and a different power transmission than men. Ten years ago splitboards for men and women – if there was a woman-specific offer at all – were only distinguished by graphics and colors. This time is fortunately over as manufacturers have recognized that woman demand more than just some pretty graphics. Since then more and more boards have been adapted to ladies’ needs. They have not only become lighter but also narrower and shorter.
It is all about the core
One of the most important differences is the core of the splitboard. Compared to the men’s version of the same model, the women’s board might have a bit more flex in the torsion, as a woman has to use less force to apply proportionally the same pressure to the board. Every woman who has only used men’s boards so far will notice a huge difference: riding is much easier, turning better and overall it is just a lot more fun. The effort, the technical precision and the power that a men’s model needs, seems to be halved. Another positive side effect is that the new splitboards for ladies take your riding skills to a new level much faster. Of course, as a woman, you can also ride a men’s board and certainly still some do, but still, it is good to be aware of the differences.
Demand determines supply
Although many brands still offer more boards for men than for women, the selection today is way better than a few years ago. At the Splitboard Festival 2018, for example, the proportion of female participants was around 35% – a significant increase compared to previous years.
At the same time, however, women’s demand for splitboards is still much lower than men’s. You might ask if this is due to the lower supply, but the market argues the other way around: it is based on demand. The more women want to splitboard, the wider the range of boards will be. Let’s go ladies!
If you want to know what kind of equipment you need for splitboarding, what binding systems are available, whether splitboard boots are really necessary and what you need to consider when buying skins for your splitboard, check out our great Splitboard Guide.
Which Splitboard is the right one for me?
The following overview gives you detailed information about all splitboards for women Ana has tested for you at the Splitboard Festival at Achensee.
The Amplid Lovelife is a real women’s board, that seems to ride almost on its own – a lot of fun guaranteed. It turns easily but feels stable and reliable at the same time. The base is fast and robust, making sure that you outpace your riding buddies with regular waxing. It forgives little mistakes – a bit more than the “Milligram” – and will certainly be a good companion for you on the slopes as well. We recommend this board to all those riders not wanting to do a lot of touring or preferring only lighter tours, but who want a board for on- and off-piste riding. It is suitable for experienced beginners as well as for advanced female riders who like very lively boards to jib and jump. In addition, the price-performance ratio is really good.
The „Lovelife“ is a directional camber, with a construction of triaxial wood core (poplar), fiberglass and top sheet. “Basalt suspension strips” in the nose and tail tame the vibration and the “Sintered* 7 Base” serves as a fast and robust coating. The technique in which the corners and edges at the nose and tail are slightly rounded off is called “Split Tune”. It reduces the splintering of the top sheet during the ascent. The board is compatible with all binding systems and is held together with Karakoram Ultra clips.
The „Milligram“ is the advanced carbon version of the “Lovelife”, and not a specific women’s board. Due to its low weight, it is still a good choice and is, so to speak, the “big sister” of the “Lovelife”. It requires a more technical and safer riding, but offers a lot of precision and driving fun. The wide and shallow rising nose ensures a great uplift even in deep powder, without compressing the nose. The board is light but stable and is – because of its rigidity – especially suitable for good female riders who also want to go on demanding tours.
The “Milligram” is a directional camber too, but built with carbon and therefore more torsion-resistant, firmer and lighter. The structure consists of a wood core, on which the carbon lies, and the top sheet. The “BBP wood core” consists of paulownia, balsa and birch wood. The construction that is pressed along the edge on nose and tail is called “Tanga-Tech” and prevents the carbon to splinter off. “Powder Pontoon” is a wide carbon band that is placed under the binding from tip to tail. It allows you to get over holes without risking the board to break. The “Sintered 7HD Base” is an extremely fast coating that works great in all snow conditions and is very robust due to its hardness.
The “Swoon” is a really strong and feminine board. You can immediately feel that it has been designed specifically for women. It guarantees a lot of fun and offers a stable edge grip on icy pistes thanks to the Grip-Tech noses, as well as enough flex for playing. It combines the demand for precise riding with joy of life and lightness. The shape is based on a “reclined” rocker system, which means that the rocker is shifted a bit towards the tail, ensuring a better uplift and making the board easier to climb with. Although the “Swoon” was designed especially for the backcountry, it is fun to ride on slopes as well as you can surf, race, jib, and jump as much as you like. We would recommend this board to every rider, even though beginners or less experienced riders may be challenged in the beginning. This board is definitely a reliable partner for experienced riders. With Maria-France Roy there is one of the most multifaceted and versed backcountry snowboarding women in the Arbor Team. With Mary Rand, another strong woman is supported by Arbor. Recently she got an own pro-model boot from Vans. We are curious which strong women are joining the Arbor team in future.
The “Swoon” is a real mountain twin. That means there are contact points at the extreme end what constructs a twin geometry. The Nose is 1cm longer than the tail, what enables a better uplift. Additionally the “Swoon” contains Arbors “Reclined Parabolic Rocker”, where the rocker profile to the tail is a little flater than in the Arbor “Solid Swoon Rocker”. This enables a better fit of the skins uphill. It is similar to the men’s version “Coda”, which is also made of extremely lightweight and sturdy bamboo wood. The single-malt core consists of 100% sustainably grown wood, and the coating is of course sintered. The board comes with Karakoram splitboard clips, but also works well with the Spark R&D.
The Arbor boards are produced in Dubai, which initially sounds bad. But the fact is, that Emirates, located at the Persian golf, is a pioneer in terms of sustainable energy and ecofriendly production. The relatively new factory SWS works with 98% of solar energy (until the year 2020 it is planned to be 100%). Also social aspects, like a company own kindergarten, working conditions as well in terms of quality standards a role model what caused competitors to relocate their production from China into the Persian Golf. Since the boards are sold internationally anyways, long transport routes are not an issue.
Burton „Anti Social“
The “Anti Social” is a true allrounder and quite easy to ride. For more experienced female riders, the board is a bit too unspecific and its orientation undecided. The board is perfect for newcomers and offers a lot of fun both on- and off-piste. It floats a little bit, yet can be easily controlled.
The “Anti Social” is a directional camber, with a 12mm tapered shape. The channel mounting system facilitates a quick assembly and adjustment of the binding. The board has a wooden core and makes use of the organic “Super Sap” resin.
Sustainability plays an important role in Burton’s Family Tree series. The coating is made from recycled material and the boards are made from responsibly sourced wood. This is ensured by the „Forest Stewardship Council™“ (FSC), which guarantees that the wood is not illegally sourced, but from natural, non-vulnerable forests. According to the website, Burton is committed to 100% fair labor practices and safe, humane working conditions throughout its supply chain, and sets ambitious sustainability goals for 2020.
The “Solution” is a directional twin board, which is a lot of fun to ride. It is reliable, demanding and responsible, yet leaving enough leeway to play. It is also perfect to ride switch, although it has more rocker in the nose. However, it is also a demanding board that needs to be ridden precisely. The top sheet is made of castor seeds, which ensures that no snow keeps sticking on the board. We recommend this board to all ambitious boarders looking for a board that is convincing in every aspect. The “Solution” is a great companion in every terrain and under all conditions.
The camber of the “Solution” lies directly underneath the binding. The rocker in the long nose and the tail provides a good uplift. Like the Amplid “Lovelife” the “Solution” comes with Karakoram Ultra clips but also works well with the Spark R&D. The carbon stringers add more stability and responsiveness to the board as well as more pep. In addition, the “Solution” is quite light and therefore especially enjoyable to climb with.
Like Arbor, Jeremy Jones also produces his boards in the solar-powered SWS factory in Dubai. Right from the start, sustainable production has been important to Jeremy Jones. That’s why he is constantly striving to minimize the environmental footprint of production. Jones proves this engagement by participating in initiatives such as “1% For the Planet” and “Protect our Winters”. The company almost exclusively uses natural and recycled materials as well as wood sourced from Europe.
Jones „Dream Catcher“
The “Dream Catcher” is a true all-mountain board that is feminine, lively and expressive. It slides just as nicely as the “Solution”, but forgives a little more mistakes and therefore is more relaxed to ride. It is ideal for playing around but still offers a lot of stability even at high speed. We recommend this board to every rider – whether beginner or advanced you cannot do anything wrong with the “Dream Catcher”. The design of the “Dream Catcher” is also worth mentioning: Beautiful dreamy mountains from the artist RP Roberts cover the board.
Like the “Solution”, the “Dream Catcher” has a directional rocker. It comes with Karakoram Ultra clips – also working well with the Spark R&D. The fast coating contains carbon, which improves the absorption of wax when servicing. An easy-care gem.
Always remember that it is most important to have fun and to be safe when splitboarding. We, therefore, recommend you to only buy a board that really fits your driving style and ability. A board that looks nice, but does not suit you in practice, will not make you happy in the long run. We hope we have been able to provide you with some useful information to help you decide which board to choose. Plus, we hope that we convinced you to follow us into the world of splitboarding. See you there!
Explore Splitboards for Women in the Sport Conrad Online SHop
Interested in the world of splitboarding? Learn more about the Splitboard Festival 2019 at Achensee Lake.
Foto Header: ©Jones , Allison