Snowboarders who want to hit backcountry terrain have two options: snowshoe to your line with your board strapped to your pack (gear intensive, heavy) or invest in a splitboard. A splitboard is just that, a snowboard that splits in half and, with a few tweaks to your bindings, transforms into a set of rudimentary touring skis, allowing you to skin to your objective. Venture’s Zephyr took weight off of our tester’s back and “gave me the confidence to tackle rolling snow-coated hills and steep descents of deep powder or ice—even a little of both,” says our tester after his first trip to Colorado’s Berthoud Pass.
The rockered shape (picture a banana) floats like a dream through powder (without having to set your bindings back) while still handling chop and turning on a dime without having to carve hard on the steel edges. Among the splitboards he tested, the Zephyr was the tightest when locked together (“You can’t even see a sliver of daylight between the planks,” he says), but pretty standard in terms of ease of transitions. Comes with Voile clips and hooks for Skins and bindings sold separately. Downside: It’s heavy (tk more about this… need to find weight and compare to my go-to solid board). $895; 8 lb. 6 oz. (tested: 163cm with 25cm waist); venturesnowboards.com