At the Silverton Splitfest we stopped by the Spark R&D booth to get a hold of some of next year’s splitboard bindings. With a number of binding options on the market, there is something for everyone on the slopes, but there’s also a reason why Spark R&D is so highly regarded. At 10 years old, they’re an original gangster when it comes to splitting.
Here are a few basics about what splitboard bindings need to be:
1) Double trouble
While being a solid snowboard binding, they need to play an extra role as a touring binding. This ads some complicity to the overall design, and makes a splitboard binding what it is.
Touring is the act of skiing around on your split skis in ski mode, and comfort and durability while touring are a must.
3) Light is right
Weight and strength are paramount, so split bindings should be strong and as light as possible.
Being able to make small adjustments on the fly is imperative. Stance angles - or the position of your feet on the board, the binding straps and highbacks - the part of the binding that supports the back of your boot, all need on-the-fly adjustability.
None of this roaming around doing awesome stuff in the mountains is cheap, at least to get started, so things need to be reasonably priced.
We caught the Spark R&D boys as they were setting up demo after demo.