After putting over 250,000 vertical feet on my splitboard last year, including summiting the Grand Teton and becoming the first female to snowboard down, I knew what I wanted and needed from a split board for my next season goals.  After some research I knew I had to try the Venture 2011 Zephyr Split.  Venture builds every board from scratch in Silverton, Colorado.  Yup folks, a company that doesn’t outsource manufacturing! Created and tested in a town that gets hammered by snow, by riders that love to shred and by a company that will close its doors when it’s a pow day!  The Venture team knows what they want from a snowboard too.

Just to name a few of my splitboard requirements:

  • Stiff enough to descend icy, steep terrain
  • Rockered to slash deep pow with ease
  • Playful and responsive like a non-splitboard
  • Effortless to break a skin trail.

Venture Zephyr Split

The Zephyr splitboard is the entire package.  The rocker nose and tail with added stiffness plows and floats through deep fresh snow, gives you all the control when the conditions are variable and it’s a delight to break the skin trail.  Non-rocker between the feet gives you the ability to play through all kinds of terrain.  50 days and over 150,000 vertical feet logged so far this season on skiingthebackcountry.com, I’ve already put my Zephyr through some hairy runs, and been pleasantly surprised without a core shot or a blown edge.   The Zephyr splitboard is my go-to, do-all, pow-ripping machine.

I ride the 2011 163 cm Zephyr Split, paired with the 2011 Sparks R and D Blaze binding.  Together it’s as light, playful and responsive as a regular set up; I’ve even taken it out on days that I didn’t put into split mode.

As far as bindings go (If you’re new to splitboarding or you’ve been riding on voile plates) do yourself a favor and get a pair of Spark R and D Blaze bindings immediately.  Why are they so amazing?

  • CNC Machined from a solid piece of aluminum = strong and lightweight
  • New baseplate design is lighter with equal stiffness and has more avenues for snow to escape, avoiding ice buildup
  • Custom splitboard specific highback, with a wider range of lean (-5* to +25*) and vertical slots for a booster strap.
  • Custom bushings are more durable and sized perfectly for pins to easily slide through
  • Final weight: 3.52 lbs [1596g] / pair (!)

Spark R and D Blaze Binding

The Spark R and D bindings allow you to feel what your board is doing on dicey terrain, which is vital.  They are extremely durable without adding any unnecassary weight, super easy and efficient when transferring from tour mode and back, and with the new bushings (and touring brackets that have new bushing system too) you feel confident that your equipment will hold out even after giving it the ultimate beating!

Spark R&D – Splitboard Transitions from Will Ritter on Vimeo.

Adding the LT Pin System:

  • Self-lubricating plastic bushings within the touring bracket drastically reduce wear and allow the use of 7075 aluminum pins
  • Aluminum pins are half the weight of standard Spark pins, shaving 3.5oz/100g off the setup

Spark R and D LT Pin System

Split boarding is continuing to evolve, and I don’t doubt that the Spark R and D and Venture teams will be the leaders of that progression.