What is a Splitboard

A splitboard is a snowboard that is cut in half (like skis) and used to travel uphill.  When the rider is at the top of the mountain, the two halves are connected with special hardware into a snowboard and used to snowboard down the hill or mountain.

A splitboard is used similar to snowshoes or alpine touring skis to access the backcountry for snowboarders. A splitboard consists of a few main parts. The splitboard, bindings, splitboard hardware (used to attach bindings to the board, and hold the splitboard together), and splitboard skins.

A splitboard has two modes, touring mode, and ride mode.  When using a splitboard in “touring mode” the splitboard is attached as ski and used for uphill travel.  When a splitboad is used in “ride mode” the two halfs of a splitboard are connected to make a snowboard.

Snowboard bindings or splitboard specific bindings are attach

What is the point of a Splitboard?

The main reason to use a splitboard is to snowboard without the use of a chairlift or at a ski resort.  It allows snowboarders to reach locations that are deep in the backcountry efficiently.  You could hike in snowboard boots, use snowshoes, or snowmobiles to access the backcounty.  Splitboarding with the use of skins are much more efficient than hiking in snow, or using snowshoes to gain elevation to snowboard down.  It really brings freedom to a snowboarder to go where ever they want to snowboard.

People often ask if you can ski downhill on a splitboard?  The answer is yes, although most splitboards heel lifts in the back similar to a traditional telemark ski some of the new splitboard bindings have a locking mechanism in the heel plate to keep the heel attached to the ski.

Why would you get a splitboard?

Most splitboard owners bought or made a splitboard to access fresh powder, get away from the resorts, and spend time outside.  It’s also a much more efficiate way of hiking in snow.  The long skis under foot with skins attached for traction make a splitboard a great option for hiking in the backcountry.

If you are asking yourself if you should buy a splitboard ask yourself a few questions.  Do you enjoy hiking away from the resort crowds, are you looking to access terrain that is outside the reach of chair lifts? Do you seek bottomless powder? Then you are in the right category to own a splitboard.

Who invented the Splitboard?

In the 1990 Brett “Kowboy” Kobernik took an old snowboard, and cut it down the middle. He fashioned hardware to hold the two pieces back together creating the first splitboard. The prototypes, bindings, and hardware had many iterations over time and eventually because first manufactured with Voile.  In 1994 the first DIY split kit was realeased by Voile. The first splitboards were all split and converted with Voile hardware and used regular snowboard bindings attached to metal plates.  Years later we now have many splitboard companies making hardware and amazing bindings that function much better, are lighter, and have made splitboarding more reliable.

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How is a Splitboard made?

Most Splitboards today are made in a factory just like most skis and snowboards.  The manufacture process produces two skis with metal edges on both skis.  There is also, a cheaper option for making your own splitboard.  If you are just getting into splitboarding or expanding your board quiver is to build your own splitboard by cutting a snowboard in half and adding the necessary hardware.  Factory splits as they are sometimes called are constructed in many different ways just like skis and snowboards.  There are different cap constructions (how the top sheet meets the metal edge), different materials from wood to carbon.  Factory splitboards are near twice the cost of a splitboard made out of an old snowboard, however, they are much more durable.

Parts of a Splitboard

Parts of a Splitboard

Nose/Tail Clip


Splitboard Nose and Tail Clip

Almost all splitboards have a clip on the nose and the tail of the board.  The purpose of the nose and tail clips is to keep the torsional flex of the board more consistent.  There are many different versions of the splitboard clip.  Some of the most popular are the splitboard clips from Karakoram, Voile, and Spart R & D.

Touring Bracket

Splitboard Touring Bracket
A splitboard touring bracket is used to attach the binding toe to the board.  There are many different manufactures and types for the various bindings.  The classic splitboard bindings used a pin that slides through a couple holed in the toe of the binding and the touring binding.  Some of the newer styles of bindings have rotating connections like the Voile Speed Rail bindings or the Spark R & D Tesla system.  Most splitboards have the standard 3 screw inserts in the board to attach to the board.  Some hard boot tech toe bindings have some interesting attachment because of the tech pieces that cover the holds, the touring bracket is rotated to tighten the first screw.

Splitboard Pins

Splitboard Pins
Splitboard pins are used to attach the toe piece or binding to the touring bracket allowing the heel to freely lift making walking much easier.  The pin is also used to hold the binding on the pucks after being slid on.  Newer splitboarding bindings have pins build in like the Speed Rail from Voile and the Tesla system from Spark R & D.


Splitboard Pucks
Splitboard pucks attach to the snowboard on both skis.  There are 4 of them in total.  The pucks are aligned on each ski so that a splitboard binding can be slid on connecting the tow skis to a snowboard.  The pucks are typically made from hard plastic and allow adjustability for different snowboard stance angles and widths.  Pucks also can be purchased with a cant or angle to them that allows the rider’s legs to bend slightly inward.  This is especially nice when riding a hard boot setup.

Heel Rest

Splitboard Heel Plate
The splitboard heel rest or heel plate is where the binding heel makes contact with the board/ski when in touring (hiking) mode.  The cutouts in the heel rest above are for climbing wires to rest.  Climbing wires are sometimes attached to the heel rest and fliped up when climbing up steeper terrain to keep the foot level.  There are typically two highths of climbing wires on splitboard bindings for different angles of terrain.

Splitboard Climbing Wire

The image above shows the binding in touring mode for a steep incline.  The tall climbing wire is flipped up to prevent the heel of the binding from contacting the board directly.

Splitboard Clips

Splitboard Clips
Splitboard clips are used to hold the board between the bindings and the tip and tail.  The main purpose is to keep the two parts of the board as tight together as possible.  This improves stability, and consistency of the ride.  The splitboard clips sown above are manufactured by Kkarakoram.  There are many different clips to choose from.

Other Splitboard Parts

There are pieces to a splitboard required to put an entire setup together.  The parts listed above are just what is needed for the splitboard and skis.  In addition to the splitboard and it’s hardware, splitboard bindings and skins are also needed to use a splitboard.  Check out more about splitboard bindings and splitboard skins below.

Other Common Questions about Splitboards