This off-season I found myself at a crossroads in the gear department. I needed a new board as my Burton Custom was six years old and showing some serious wear and tear from tight glades, spring skiing, and careless airline baggage attendants. The YPWGP’s group had clearly transitioned to a powder-first skiing/riding approach and I needed the equipment to match.
Any powderhound knows that nine times out of ten getting to the best powder the terrain has to offer is going to entail some level of physical exertion, whether that is short boot packs, calf-killing traverses, or lengthy backcountry jaunts. Powder Moose and Easy E had already made the conversion to alpine touring set-ups, a relatively simple conversion for skiers, and in order to keep up it was obvious that I needed to get a Splitboard.
However I had my qualms about making a full conversion to a splitboard set-up. Budget-arily speaking a brand new factory made splitboard, along with the bindings and skins, is an expensive undertaking costing easily over $1,000 (equivalent to two RT Jackson flights). I also had my doubts on how splitboards would handle on everyday resort riding and non-powder days, a harsh reality I have to deal with. With unlimited funds the choice would have been easy; buy a Jones splitboard with the accompanying bindings and skins, and also a rockered all mountain board. There must be a way to have my pow and ski it too!!
The solution came in the form of Voile’s DIY Splitboard kit, a set of hardware that allows any powder lover with modest power tool capabilities to convert an old board into a backcountry powder slayer. Essentially you just saw your board in half length-wise and drill holes to mount the new binding set-ups (one for hiking mode similar to an X-country ski binding and one for riding down white powder rooms). My mind was made up; I ordered the split-kit to convert my Burton Custom into my backcountry powder chariot. With all the saved funds I was able to purchase an epic all mountain board, the Lib Tech La Niña (La Niña review coming soon, powder willing).
The other day I set up shop in the kitchen and went about sawing my board in half. Unlike most other brands, Burton mounts a series of binding t-nuts directly in the middle of the board. This made for a slightly more difficult sawing procedure, but the blade made it through and the cut is nearly perfect. Next step is to weather proof the newly exposed core using an outdoor rated polyurethane and then mount the bindings and clips that hold the two pieces together.
An entire DIY walkthrough will follow once complete. For now, here are some action shots of the splitting process:
– G. Falcon