Thanks to a considerable rise in backcountry adventuring of late, splitboarding is having a moment. With the ability to separate your board on the way up and secure the halves together for a true snowboarding experience on the way down, splitboards open up access to untracked terrain and big-mountain objectives. There are a wide range of options to consider, from stiff, mountaineering-focused designs to lightweight carbon and powder-hungry models, and we’ve picked our favorites below for the 2023 season. For more background information, see our comparison table and buying advice below the picks. 

Our Team's Splitboard Picks

Best Overall Splitboard

1. Jones Solution ($980)

Jones Solution Splitboard 2023Category: Freeride/mountaineering
Flex: Stiff (8)
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Available
What we like: A nicely built board that performs well in a wide range of conditions.
What we don’t: Not very playful and too stiff for some.

Jones is one of the most respected brands in splitboarding, and their Solution helped popularize the sport back in 2010. Over a decade later, their flagship model remains one of the most well-regarded and premium designs on the market. The Solution’s particularly stiff build gives it power on big steeps, and camber underfoot means you can drive it hard on icy terrain. Further, recent updates include a more powder-specific shape, with an even balance of spoon bevel at the nose and tail for better float and improved performance when riding switch (especially helpful when dropping into technical terrain). In our opinion, this all adds up to the best Solution yet and a top-notch quiver-of-one option for advanced to expert riders.

The all-around Solution is a great place to start your splitboard search, and you can level up or down within Jones’ lineup depending on your needs. Newer or lighter riders who find the stiff Solution too much to handle should check out the Frontier, which features a softer flex and more approachable price point ($800). On the other hand, if you’re pushing the limits on big-mountain lines, the carbon-infused Ultra Solution ($1,600) offers a bump in stability and power with a flex of 10. But the Solution hits a nice middle ground for most experienced riders, and it's no slouch on the uphill with a reasonably light weight and effective contact points. Jones also makes the board in a women’s version, which boasts a similar flex and is available in shorter and narrower sizes.
See the Men's Jones Solution  See the Women's Jones Solution


Best Budget Splitboard

2. Nitro Nomad ($550)

Nitro Nomad Splitboard 2023Category: Freeride
Flex: Medium (6)
Shape: Directional twin
Pre-cut skins: Available
What we like: Affordable and easy to maneuver.
What we don’t: Soft and flat-cambered design falls short for aggressive riders.

For beginner splitboarders or those looking to save, Nitro’s Nomad is our favorite budget option. The Nomad is decidedly basic, with a simple flat-to-rocker profile, directional twin shape, and no-frills construction that makes it as durable as it is cheap. We also love that the board comes with pre-drilled holes at the tip and tail for attaching skins, and at the time of publishing, you can find sets pre-cut specifically for the Nomad on Backcountry's website. Finally, while most splitboards have a stiffer flex for more aggressive riding, the Nitro’s softer build is great for beginner snowboarders or folks who don’t want to push their limits in the backcountry.

It’s hard to be overly critical at this price point, but the Nomad isn’t for everyone. It’s true that a flat-cambered and slightly rockered profile is great for new riders—the generous effective edge makes turning easy, while the early rise means catching an edge is less likely—but it results in a board that’s slower and less aggressive than most. Tack on the soft flex, and the Nomad isn’t particularly capable on steep terrain or at speed. But the price is right for new or casual snowboarders looking for a playful and reliable backcountry steed. For another reasonably priced board that’s geared more towards powder hounds, check out the Rossignol XV Sushi below.
See the Nitro Nomad Splitboard


Best Mountaineering Splitboard

3. Cardiff Snowcraft Goat Pro Carbon Split ($1,200)

Cardiff Goat Pro Carbon SplitboardCategory: Mountaineering/freeride
Flex: Medium-stiff
Shape: Directional twin
Pre-cut skins: Available
What we like: Directional twin shape is maneuverable and great on the skin track.
What we don’t: Expensive and not as stiff as the Solution above.

With roots in the Wasatch mountains of Utah, Cardiff Snowcraft is a backcountry specialist. In order to appeal to a range of riders, each of their splitboard models is available in Enduro and Pro Carbon variations to customize durability, weight, and stiffness. The Goat here is Cardiff’s premium big-mountain offering, designed for stability and efficiency on the skin track and top-notch performance in a variety of terrain. We especially love the directional twin shape, which is helpful for billy-goating into a line, dipping around rocks, and navigating through tight sections while riding switch. And while the Pro Carbon variation here is ridiculously light at just 6 pounds 4 ounces, less committed riders can save a considerable $300 with the Enduro version (7 lbs. 3 oz.).

A board like the Jones Solution (or Ultra Solution) above is also a great choice for mountaineering, but The Goat gets the nod for its exceptional uphill performance (thanks in part to premium details like Cardiff’s RADIcAL Sidecut technology) and versatility for everything from powerful carving to maneuvering tight trees. Weight-wise, the Pro Carbon design is also a significant 12 ounces lighter than the standard Solution. It’s true that Cardiff is a relative newcomer to the scene, but with years of backcountry splitboard riding experience on their team and designs that are built as splitboards first (most companies start with a snowboard and work backwards), this brand is one to watch. A final note: Black Diamond has collaborated with Cardiff to offer a co-branded version of this board, which boasts a similar construction but with a unique topsheet and base graphics.
See the Cardiff Snowcraft Goat Pro Carbon Split


Best Powder Splitboard

4. Rossignol XV Sushi Split ($680)

Rossignol XV Sushi Splitboard 2023Category: Powder
Flex: Medium (6)
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Available
What we like: A great value and excellent performance in deep powder.
What we don’t: Not ideal for long tours.

Put simply, the Rossignol XV Sushi is a powder hound’s dream. The board features a massive nose, a stubby swallow tail, and a wide waist for floating the white stuff on the deepest of days. Further, the short build (the Sushi only comes in one 145cm length) allows for quick turns in tight trees and amazing responsiveness. And outside of powder, the Sushi carves well (even on groomers), and we found it to be more fun than expected in slushy spring conditions too. Few splitboarders will opt for the Sushi as their primary board, but for soul riders who want that highly sought-after, surfy feel, it doesn’t get much better.

The Sushi is too soft to ride aggressively, and its dramatic swallow tail and set-back stance limit its maneuverability in mountainous terrain. But perhaps its biggest drawback is in uphill prowess (or lack thereof), which is no surprise given its short and stout shape. In the end, it’s a nice match for running laps on your favorite powder stash, but it’s not a great daily driver, especially for those who like to head deep into the backcountry. But we’ve always found Rossignol boards to be durable, well-made, and reasonably priced, and the Sushi is no exception. Powder chasers should also have Spline Snowboards on their radar, a BC-based company that makes well-rounded designs that excel on both the uphill and downhill.
See the Rossignol XV Sushi Split


Best of the Rest

5. Venture Storm Splitboard ($969)

Venture Storm Splitboard 2023Category: Freeride/mountaineering
Flex: Medium (6) 
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Not available
What we like: Very fun for a freeride board.
What we don’t: Too soft for powerful carving and high-speed stability.

Venture is a small-scale company out of Silverton, Colorado, with a fairly humble collection of six core offerings, but their boards are well-regarded in the splitboard community and for good reason. This is a classic case of “built by the people and for the people,” and the result is expertly crafted and scrupulously tested boards that show a painstaking attention to detail. The Storm listed here is one of Venture’s most popular designs and features a freeride-focused build for variable mountain conditions and tackling terrain from steep couloirs to tight glades. 

With a mid-range flex, large (and softer) nose, and rocker profile, the Storm is surfier and more adept in powder than a lot of the freeriding designs here, including the Jones Solution above. In other words, while the Jones offers better chatter control and more stability at high speeds, the Storm is more maneuverable and playful. The differences are minimal, but most splitboarders have spent enough time on a board to understand their riding style, and small variations between models allow you to really hone in on what works best for you. For uphill-focused riders looking to shave weight, the Venture also comes in a carbon version, which checks in around 11 ounces lighter at 6 pounds 6.4 ounces and retails for $1,269. 
See the Men's Venture Storm Splitboard  See the Women's Venture Tempest Splitboard


6. Weston Hatchet Split ($999)

Weston Hatchet Splitboard 2023Category: Powder/freeride
Flex: Medium-stiff (7)
Shape: Directional twin
Pre-cut skins: Available
What we like: Playful in powder and great switch-riding ability.
What we don’t: Only comes in one size; not super versatile.

The first thing you might notice about Weston’s Hatchet Split is its shape, which features a wide waist and short length (it’s only available in 152 and 156cm models). This fairly unique design makes it noticeably nimble and floaty, perfect for spinning and popping off pillows or running laps in a big powder bowl. The blunted tip and tail and low weight only add to this playful attitude, making the Hatchet easy to throw around and maneuver. For park rats headed into the backcountry, that combination is hard to beat.

That said, the Hatchet isn’t quite as much of an all-rounder as the Jones Solution or Venture Storm above. As a result of its short and wide build and mid-stiff flex, it’s not the best match for aggressive riding or carving spring corn or hardpack. But that’s not to say it isn’t fun, and we consider it a highly capable freestyle design, and especially in powder. All in all, we appreciate Weston’s continued innovation, and we commend them for donating a portion of sales to the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). 
See the Weston Hatchet Split


7. Jones Hovercraft Split ($900)

Jones Hovercraft splitboard (2021-2022)Category: Freeride
Flex: Medium-stiff (7)
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Available
What we like: Fun in powder yet stable at high speeds; short tail is great for jump turns.
What we don’t: Not the most efficient on the uphill.

The Jones Hovercraft is another classic design that has gained a cult-like following over the years. With a massive nose, almost no tail, and a very setback stance, it’s as directional a splitboard as they come, and as a result absolutely shines in deep snow. But despite its powder-specific shape, the Hovercraft is surprisingly well-rounded: the large nose dampens chatter in firm conditions, and the stiff, blunt tail allows for powerful carving and jump turns in steep and technical terrain. We’ve ridden the Hovercraft in everything from knee-deep powder to steep corn descents off of Cascade volcanoes, and it’s excelled across the board.

Like most of Jones’ boards, the Hovercraft is stiff and has a long sidecut radius, meaning that it prefers wide, arching sweepers over short and snappy turns. We’ve found that this sort of design can be challenging to navigate through tight spaces, meaning it wouldn’t be our first choice for gladed and sub-alpine areas (for a more maneuverable ride, check out Jones’ new Stratos Split). And while the Hovercraft can hold its own on the skin track, it does sacrifice some security and speed due to its massive nose. But for riders who don’t mind trading some uphill efficiency for better playfulness in powder, it’s a nice (and slightly cheaper) alternative to the Solution above. 
See the Men's Jones Hovercraft Split  See the Women's Jones Hovercraft Split


8. Never Summer Icon Split ($690)

Never Summer Icon SplitboardCategory: Freeride
Flex: Medium (5)
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Not available
What we like: A high-quality entry-level board with great uphill performance.
What we don’t: Pricier than other beginner boards.

When we think of Never Summer, “burly” is the first word that comes to mind. This Colorado-based company has a reputation for cranking out durable boards (our 6-ft.-tall, 200-lb. tester concurs), with design features that include highly customized wood cores and rubber around the perimeter for bonding the layers together and protecting against abrasion. Their small splitboard lineup features four men’s boards and two women’s, and the Icon here is their impressively well-rounded entry-level model. But don’t let “entry-level” turn you away—with Never Summer’s attention to quality and thoughtful design details, the Icon will get the job done for all but the most discerning of backcountry riders.

The Icon’s symmetrical shape and softer flex is great for casual riders or those who bring a particular freestyle persuasion to the backcountry, but where it truly shines is on the ascent. One of our favorite features is the Touring Ripsaw technology: typically, a rocker-camber profile isn’t particularly stable or efficient on the uphill, but Never Summer added a flat section directly under the touring bracket to improve traction. The net result is a design that balances uphill and downhill performance better than most other boards at this price point, although the downside is that the Icon isn’t very light (7 lbs. 12.8 oz. for the 160cm length). If you’re looking for more power or performance on the downhill, check out Never Summer’s powder-loving Swift or big mountain-ready Proto.
See the Men's Never Summer Icon Split  See the Women's Never Summer Epik Split


9. Ride Splitpig ($1,050)

Ride Splitpig Splitboard 2023Category: Powder/freeride
Flex: Medium
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Included
What we like: Great performance on variable terrain and extra float in powder.
What we don’t: The modern shape is not for everyone.

New to the scene last season, Ride’s Splitpig has already turned heads amongst backcountry powder lovers. Based off the design of Ride’s award-winning Warpig, the Splitpig features a short and stout shape (it’s available in 148 and 154 cm lengths) that just begs to be taken into deep snow. But it’s not just a pow surfer: the board’s shorter profile and camber give it maneuverability and control on more variable terrain, too. And to boost performance on the uphill, Ride added a lightweight carbon race base, and a bit of extra camber improves contact with the snow. All told, the Splitpig is an attractive new offering for those who gravitate towards powder but still want a reliable tool for all the rigors of backcountry riding.

Short and fat boards are gaining traction amongst backcountry snowboarders, and the Splitpig joins the ranks of models like the popular Weston Hatchet above. Traditionalists might be put off by the newfangled shape, but in the hands of the right rider we think this design is incredibly versatile. Of course, you’ll be able to charge harder with a stiffer, longer board like the Jones Solution, and the Rossignol Sushi offers even more flotation. But for the best of both worlds, the Splitpig is an attractive choice (for proof, the Warpig has won awards both in all-mountain and freestyle categories). Finally, the Ride comes ready to go with Pomoca Climb 2.0 momix skins and preinstalled pucks, which makes the price point a bit more palatable.
See the Ride Splitpig


10. Season Eqpt. Pass ($999)

Season Equipment Pass splitboardCategory: Freeride
Flex: Medium
Shape: Directional twin
Pre-cut skins: Included
What we like: A durable and easy-to-repair board with free annual waxings and tunings.
What we don’t: Limited selection and some riders won’t love the simple black aesthetic.

A relative newcomer to the snowboard scene, PNW-based Season is already in the business of turning heads. While most manufacturers have large quivers that are updated every couple years—practices that can encourage needless consumerism—Season bucks the trend with a sustainability-first, profit-second ethos. Their small lineup includes just four unisex snowboards and one splitboard, each of which features a fully black topsheet and base that prioritize durability and eliminate the need for an annual freshening up. And true to their commitment to longevity, all of Season’s products also come with a lifetime maintenance plan through Evo for yearly waxing and tuning (plus 30% off repair services and free mounting your first time).

Season’s offerings are the distillation of decades of riding and product design, and the Pass is a capable quiver-of-one companion for a wide range of backcountry conditions. Some might wish for a greater assortment of boards or more vibrant topsheets, but if you’re a recreational rider with no time for decision fatigue, the Pass is about as good as it gets. It also doesn’t hurt that the model we’ve linked to here comes with pre-cut Pomoca skins, which eliminates an extra purchase. Keep in mind that you’ll need to bring your board to an Evo store to take advantage of the yearly waxing and tuning, which might take some planning ahead, but the Pass nevertheless is an enticing value over the long term.
See the Season Eqpt. Pass Splitboard


11. Arbor Coda Split Camber ($800)

Arbor Coda Split Camber splitboard 2023Category: Freeride
Flex: Medium-stiff (7)
Shape: Directional twin
Pre-cut skins: Available
What we like: A great carver and good stability on the skin track.
What we don’t: True camber profile is limiting in powder.

There aren’t many true camber splitboards on the market, which makes sense considering that some rocker is good for powder—and that’s what most splitboarders are chasing, after all. But Arbor pulls off the true camber profile relatively well with their Coda Split Camber. This board is especially enticing for those who like to carve hard, with Arbor’s “Grip Tech” design that maximizes contact with the snow for better control, as well as a directional twin shape and centered stance that keep things peppy and responsive. For spring mountaineering missions, this also translates to great efficiency while touring. 

The Coda Split Camber is a nice match for terrain like spring corn and East Coast hardpack, but it does start to suffer in the deep stuff. If that’s what you’re after, Arbor also offers their Coda Split Rocker, which retains most of the Camber’s overall build but boasts a dedicated rocker profile instead (unfortunately there’s no middle ground here). Neither option is particularly versatile, but for splitboarders who know what they want in a board and experience consistent conditions, there are some tangible benefits to choosing such a targeted design. 
See the Arbor Coda Split Camber


12. CAPiTA Neo Slasher Splitboard ($800)

CAPiTA Neo Slasher Splitboard 2023Category: Freeride
Flex: Medium-stiff (7) 
Shape: Directional twin 
Pre-cut skins: Available
What we like: Freestyle meets the backcountry.
What we don’t: Not great for big-mountain terrain.

CAPiTA is best known for their pipe- and park-focused snowboards, but they’re off to a promising start with their Neo Slasher Split. The recipe is familiar—a directional twin shape (CAPiTA lists the Neo Slasher as directional, but among splitboards it’s a directional twin) with a medium-stiff flex—but it’s softer than more mountaineering-focused competitors like the Jones Solution above. And with an upgrade for the 2023 season, the split also features CAPiTA’s lightweight yet poppy Ascend 2 Split Core (purpose-built for splitboards) and high-quality Union hardware. It all adds up to a surfy personality that excels in powder but can hold its own at speed. We’ve ridden CAPiTA boards in the park for years and love their playful, poppy style, and the Neo Slasher carries the torch. 

For riders who love big terrain but still like to pop and spin off features on the way down, the Neo Slasher splits the difference between a freestyle-oriented board like the Weston Hatchet and big-mountain ripper like the Cardiff Goat. However, as we’ve come to expect from jack-of-all-trades designs, it doesn’t really excel in any one area. Further, some riders might not like the feel of the flat zone behind the back foot (designed to boost efficiency on the uphill), which detracts from overall maneuverability. But the Neo Slasher nevertheless is an intriguing option for riders who like to butter around and hit the occasional backcountry booter. And it’s also worth checking out CAPiTA’s new Mega Split ($1,500), a high-end lightweight directional twin that comes with pre-cut skins.
See the CAPiTA Neo Slasher Splitboard


13. Nitro Doppleganger Splitboard ($770)

Nitro Doppleganger Splitboard 2023Category: Freeride
Flex: Medium-stiff (7)
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Available
What we like: An affordable and well-built one-quiver board.
What we don’t: Not the most high-quality hardware.

Seattle-based Nitro has a growing lineup of splitboards (including a few women’s-specific models and the entry-level Nomad above), and the Doppleganger here slots in as their top-end build. Checking in at $770, however, it costs less hundreds less than the other premium designs above, making it an appealing option for bargain-hunters. With a Cam-Out camber shape that nicely balances float and edge grip, 25-millimeter setback, and progressive sidecut, this is a nice do-everything board that can hold its own across variable terrain. You get decent uphill performance too, with a light, sub-7-pound build and generous edge underfoot for good contact with the skin track.

Putting together a splitboard setup can be time consuming, but Nitro has simplified the process slightly with the option to tack on pre-cut Kohla skins with your purchase (the Doppleganger also comes with predrilled holes to easily secure them). You don’t get the same high-quality fit and finish of some of the more expensive boards here—for example, the Doppleganger uses Nitro’s proprietary tip and tail clips rather than more premium Karakoram hardware found on the Jones and Weston boards above. But for new riders or those on a budget, it’s an undeniably good value. And new for the 2023 season is Nitro’s Quiver Slash Split, a shorter and wider board that excels in deep snow.
See the Nitro Doppleganger Splitboard


14. YES. Optisplitstic ($980)

YES. Optisplitstic Splitboard 2023Category: Freeride
Flex: Stiff (9)
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Not available
What we like: Excellent downhill performance from a well-respected board maker.
What we don’t: Stiff and rather compromised on the uphill.

YES. makes some of the most popular boards at the resort, so it turned some heads when they finally came out with a split design. A backcountry-ready version of their Optimistic, the Optisplitstic (see what they did there?) is a carving machine, featuring a very stiff flex, full camber profile, and “UnderBite” edges that distribute weight for maximum edge hold and turnablity. What’s more, YES. collaborated with Spark R&D to develop a clip system that gives the combined halves the integrity of a resort design. Taken together, the Optisplitstic is a true downhill standout for aggressive riders that prioritize all-out power and stability.

However, while the Optisplitstic is an attractive design for sidecountry riders and those who access terrain via helicopter or sno-cat, it falls a bit short for true uphill enthusiasts. On the skin track, the noticeably wide shape (270mm at the waist vs. the Jones Solution’s 254) will give you good float in deep snow but results in poor traction and control on steep and icy terrain. The Optisplitstic is also one of the heaviest designs here at around 7.5 pounds for the 159-centimeter version (the 165cm is 8 lbs. 2.2 oz.). But for YES. devotees or riders looking for an uncompromised sidecountry companion that retains the feel of their stiff resort board, the Optisplitstic is a well-executed twist.
See the YES. Optisplitstic


15. Lib Tech Split BRD ($1,000)

Lib Tech Split BRD splitboard 2023Category: Freeride
Flex: Medium
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Not available
What we like: Playful and maneuverable but still pretty versatile.
What we don’t: Not ideal for hard chargers.

Based out of the Pacific Northwest, Lib Tech has been churning out snowboards since the 1980s and is one of the last major brands to have kept production in the USA (not to mention, their factory is committed to producing zero hazardous waste). The Split BRD is their classic splitboard offering with a classic design to match. With a directional shape and medium stiffness, the BRD floats through pow nicely, but you still get enough tail to ride switch on more playful terrain (especially compared to a more directional powder board like the Jones Hovercraft above). And while Lib Tech’s C3 Camber profile might look a little funky, the Split BRD essentially rides like a standard camber board, but with an extra dose of forgiveness. 

A couple of other options in this price range include the Jones Solution and Venture Storm above. The stiffer Solution is a better match for speed and those who love to ride aggressively, but you’ll get a more playful, forgiving ride with the BRD. And while the Lib and Venture are both great floaters, the Storm is lighter and slightly better-tuned for variable big-mountain conditions. In the end, a final decision among the three will likely come down to your preferences on personality. And it’s also worth checking out Lib Tech’s Orca Split ($1,200), a stiff and powerful board that’s making waves in the big-mountain splitboarding scene.
See the Lib Tech Split BRD


16. K2 Marauder Splitboard ($1,050)

K2 Marauder splitboard (with pucks)Category: Freeride
Flex: Medium-stiff (7)
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Included
What we like: Package deal cuts out a lot of decision-making.
What we don’t: Not a huge cost savings.

Even for very experienced resort snowboarders, switching over to backcountry riding is no small feat. The to-do list can be intimidating—not only do you have to purchase a whole new setup (including skins and poles), but you also need to acquire avalanche rescue equipment and the proper education (we recommend taking an AIARE 1 course beforehand). All that, and you still have to earn your turns. Luckily, K2 cuts out some of the legwork with their Marauder package, an all-in-one deal that gets you a splitboard, mounting pucks and hardware, and pre-cut Backside skins (made by Pomoca) for less than some of the pricier models here.

In terms of the splitboard itself, the Marauder features a directional shape with a rockered nose for deep-snow performance and camber underfoot for great responsiveness and grip on the skin track. Further, K2 has been in the snowboard game for decades, and the Marauder boasts the top-notch construction we’ve come to expect from the brand, including features like tip-to-tail carbon stringers for added power without extra rigidity. But in reality, you’re saving more time than money with this package deal. If we assume that skins and pucks will run you a little under $300, the board itself falls around $750, which is about right for the design and not a standout deal. And you’ll still need to buy bindings and poles to complete your kit, both of which K2 also offers.
See the K2 Marauder Splitboard


17. Salomon Highpath Split ($900)

Salomon Highpath Splitboard 2023Category: Freeride/powder
Flex: Medium-stiff
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Included
What we like: A versatile split built with recycled and sustainable materials.
What we don’t: Not particularly playful or powerful. 

Salomon’s new Highpath splitboard is a primer course in sustainable design. With a recycled base and edges, responsibly sourced wood core, and bio-based topsheet and resin, it leaves little impact throughout both its production and lifespan. But the Highpath is more than just eco-friendly—it’s also a high-performance ripper from a brand that knows its way around hardgoods. Featuring Salomon’s Rock Out Camber and directional tapered shape, the Highpath is a versatile all-mountain split that’s quick to turn and buoyant in powder while still maintaining solid edge control on hard packed snow.

Like most directional boards, the Highpath does not excel at riding switch, and its stiff build isn’t particularly playful nor ideal for beginners. On the other hand, hard-charging riders who are looking for a confident carver might be disappointed with the Highpath’s dampness at speed, which simply isn’t up to snuff with boards like the Jones Solution or YES. Optisplitstic above. But if you’re an intermediate-level backcountry enthusiast in the market for a versatile and sustainably built ride, the unisex Highpath Split has a lot to offer, and it comes ready to hit the slopes with Plum Hardware and pre-cut Pomoca skins. It’s also worth noting that a number of snowboard brands are now committed to environmentally friendly production, including Lib Tech, Season, Nitro, Burton, and more.
See the Salomon Highpath Split


18. Burton Family Tree Hometown Hero Splitboard ($940)

Burton Family Tree Hometown Hero Splitboard 2023Category: Freeride
Flex: Medium-stiff
Shape: Directional
Pre-cut skins: Not available
What we like: An affordable splitboard offering for Burton fans.
What we don’t: Not designed first and foremost as a splitboard.

Burton hasn’t jumped into the splitboarding market quite as readily as some other snowboard brands, but their Family Tree Hometown Hero is a nice option at a reasonable price. Like many of the freeride boards above, the Burton features a directional camber shape, a rockered nose and shorter tail, and a mid-range flex that stiffens towards the front and relaxes towards the back for a nice combination of stability and pop. And to simplify the setup process, we appreciate that Burton tacked on pre-mounted pucks.

Burton tops our round-up of all-mountain snowboards, but their splitboard offerings aren’t quite up to snuff just yet. Companies like Jones, Weston, and Cardiff have put in the time and research to build dedicated splitboards unique from their standard snowboard collections, which reflect the different demands of the sport. Burton, on the other hand, seems to have taken their snowboarding lineup and repurposed some of the models as splitboards. Those who have ridden Burton boards will appreciate the company’s foray into the splitboarding world, and new backcountry-goers might not notice the difference, but many of the options above deliver better performance and more thoughtful design features. 
See the Burton Family Tree Hometown Hero Splitboard


Splitboard Comparison Table

Splitboard Price Category Flex Shape Profile Pre-Cut Skins
Jones Solution $980 Free/mountain Stiff Directional Rocker/camber/rocker Available
Nitro Nomad $550 Freeride Medium Directional twin Rocker/flat/rocker Available
Cardiff Goat Pro $1200 Mountain/free Medium-stiff Directional twin Rocker/camber/rocker Available
Rossignol XV Sushi $680 Powder Medium Directional Rocker/camber Available
Venture Storm $969 Free/mountain Medium Directional Rocker Not available
Weston Hatchet $999 Powder/free Medium-stiff Directional twin Rocker/camber/rocker Available
Jones Hovercraft $900 Freeride Medium-stiff Directional Rocker/camber/rocker Available
Never Summer Icon $690 Freeride Medium Directional Rocker/camber Not available
Ride Splitpig $1050 Powder/free Medium Directional Rocker/camber Included
Season Eqpt. Pass $999 Freeride Medium Directional twin Rocker/camber/rocker Included
Arbor Coda Camber $780 Freeride Medium-stiff Directional twin Camber Available
CAPiTA Neo Slasher $800 Freeride Medium-stiff Directional twin Rocker/camber/rocker Available
Nitro Doppleganger $770 Freeride Medium-stiff Directional Rocker/camber/rocker Available
YES. Optisplitstic $980 Freeride Stiff Directional Camber Not available
Lib Tech Split BRD $1000 Freeride Medium Directional Camber/rocker/camber Not available
K2 Marauder $1050 Freeride Medium-stiff Directional Rocker/camber/rocker Included
Salomon Highpath $900 Free/powder Medium-stiff Directional Rocker/camber/rocker Included
Burton Family Tree Hometown Hero $940 Freeride Medium-stiff Directional Rocker/camber Not available


Splitboard Buying Advice

What is a Splitboard?

Put simply, a splitboard is a snowboard cut in half lengthwise, which allows backcountry riders to use the two halves as skis on the uphill and secure them together to ride as a traditional snowboard on the descent. Due to the relative newness of the sport, splitboarding comes with some unique challenges: transitioning from the uphill to downhill is time-consuming, traversing in tour mode can be difficult, and you have considerably less versatility and efficiency than with skis (especially on long, flat sections). But for many snowboarders, the rewards of untracked powder, solitude, and earning your turns is well worth those downsides. And the good news is that splitboarding gear is still in its infancy and seeing massive improvements year after year.

Splitboarding above the clouds (wide turn)
Splitboarding is an efficient way for snowboarders to get into the backcountry

Broadly speaking, splitboards are very similar to snowboards in their materials and core technologies. They also feature an additional metal edge on the inside of each plank, which provides extra traction on the skin track. Further, all splitboards come with preinstalled split hooks and clips at the tip and tail, which allow you to attach and separate the two halves. You’ll also find two sets of mounting holes on a splitboard: one for bindings in ride mode, and the other for bindings in tour mode. With all the added tech, splitboards generally run around $200-$500 more than standard snowboards, but most modern models are so well-engineered that you’ll feel little to no difference when bombing downhill.

Splitboard tip connector (Voile)
Easy-to-use hardware holds the two pieces of a splitboard together

Splitboard Categories 

The most versatile style, freeride splitboards are quiver-of-one boards built to handle a variety of terrain, including deep powder, spring corn, and big-mountain lines. Common features in this category include a mid-stiff flex for stability on steep terrain, a directional twin shape with a significant setback, and a rocker profile that prioritizes float over speed and edge control. Freeride boards come up a bit short on the deepest powder days and aren’t always top performers on the skin track, but they’re far and away the most versatile option and our top choice for most riders. Some of our favorite freeride designs include the Jones Solution, Lib Tech Split BRD, and CAPiTA Neo Slasher.

Spring splitboarding at WA Pass (heel carve)
Boards in our freeride category are the best for all-around riding

At the premium end of the spectrum, mountaineering models are built for maximum performance in technical backcountry terrain and nicely balance uphill and downhill capabilities. These boards are defined by their directional shape, rocker/camber profile for maximizing both float and edge grip, and stiff flex ratings that give you the ability to charge hard in high-consequence terrain (some mountaineering boards will have more of a directional twin shape, making it easier to drop into a big line switch). They’re also stable and efficient on the uphill, with lightweight builds (often carbon) and premium edge designs for hold on icy, traversing skin tracks. As a result of all this tech, splitboards in this category are some of the most expensive on the market, but the cost is worth it for intermediate to expert riders hoping to get the most out of their ride in consequential terrain. Our favorite mountaineering designs this year are the Cardiff Goat Pro Carbon Split, Jones Ultra Solution, and Venture Storm.

The quest for deep powder brings many a rider to the backcountry, and an aptly named powder board is the best tool for the job. Powder-focused splitboards are characterized by their large, rockered noses, set-back stances, wide waist widths, and tapered tails. Some modern powder boards are built extra-wide and short—like the Ride Splitpig—while many old-school options are longer and have a very large swallow tail (like the Voile Hyper V Tail). Keep in mind that most powder boards don’t offer great versatility. In other words, they shine in deep conditions (and sometimes corn) but sacrifice performance in variable snow, and particularly on ice.

Splitboarding in deep powder in trees (backcountry snowboarding)
Directional boards with setback stances keep riders afloat in powder

Uphill vs. Downhill Performance

One of the trickiest factors in selecting a splitboard is finding the right balance between uphill and downhill performance. In the end, this will come down to your individual goals as a splitboarder. Do you want to prioritize speed and efficiency on the skin track, or would you rather have stability and power on the descent? As we outline below, a splitboard’s performance both on the uphill and the downhill is a function of multiple factors, including weight, width, profile, and shape. 

As with skiing, weight is a primary factor for uphill-focused riders embarking on long tours or multi-day trips. Carbon tends to be strong and stiff while keeping weight low, which makes it a common (and expensive) material used in lightweight designs. But weight isn’t the only factor here—you’ll also want to look for a mid-to-narrow waist (opting for an overly wide board will mean breaking trail even on the skin track), a camber profile for good control while traversing icy slopes, a relatively long length for ample flotation, and a stiffer flex for stronger ski performance when split skiing. In general, mountaineering boards are the best options here, especially those designed particularly for uphill travel like the Cardiff Snowcraft Goat and Jones Ultra Solution. We’ve found that powder boards like the short and wide Rossignol XV Sushi Split are notably poor performers on the uphill, which is in large part due to their softer flex, rockered profile, and heavier weight.

Group skinning uphill in mountains (splitboarding)
A board's weight and shape play a big role in climbing efficiency

As always, however, there are some inherent tradeoffs in opting for an uphill-focused splitboard. First, these boards can be too stiff for some riders, and shaving weight can sometimes result in a lack of durability. Many splitboarders will find that these designs also lack the “surfy” feeling that drew them to splitboarding (rather than skiing) in the first place. Further, carbon boards like those mentioned above can run you over $1,000, and that’s before tacking on bindings, boots, and skins. As a result, all but the most discerning and weight-conscious splitboarders will likely prefer the boards in our freeride category, which often strike a nice middle ground between up- and downhill abilities. 

Splitboard Design Features

Splitboard Shape
Splitboards come in a variety of shapes, which can be broken down into three main styles: directional, true twin, and directional twin (or semi-twin). The shape of a board is a key indicator of the style of terrain it’s built to handle and often correlates with the freeride, powder, and mountaineering categories above. Powder boards, for example, are directional and generally feature large noses and small tails, while freeriding boards are closer to a true-twin shape, which lends great versatility for switch and freestyle riding.

Psyched old school snowboarder holding Weston Splitboard above head
Directional twin boards hit the best balance for a wide range of conditions

As the name suggests, directional boards are designed to be ridden in one direction. These boards often feature set-back bindings, larger noses, and small, stiff tails (some powder-specific models sport a swallowtail for a surf-like feel in soft snow). Boards with a directional shape are generally built for stability and carving at speed and are popular in the powder category. True twin boards, on the other hand, are symmetrical at the nose and tail (generally both in shape and rocker/camber). Popular among freestyle snowboarders, this shape is great for riding switch but lacks power and stability at speed and in deep powder—as a result, true twin splitboards are not popular among backcountry snowboarders. Finally, directional twin (or semi-twin) boards combine the strengths of both styles, with a nearly symmetrical shape and slightly longer front end that are great in powder and variable conditions. Their well-rounded nature makes directional twins the most common shape among splitboards, seen in models like the Cardiff Goat and Nitro Nomad.

The width of a splitboard’s waist also plays a big role in its on-snow performance. In order to increase floatation, powder boards will often have wider waists, while most freeride boards are narrower for less chatter and more control at speed. And width matters on the uphill too: the narrower your plank is, the more control and stability you’ll have on steep traverses and icy terrain. On the flipside, with a board that’s overly wide (like the powder-focused Weston Hatchet), you’ll feel like you’re breaking trail even when you’re on an established skin track.

Skinning uphill in mountains (splitboarding)
Wide snowboards are less efficient on the skin track

Sidecut Radius 
We won’t dive too deep into the nitty gritty here, but sidecut is a measurement of what size circle would result from the arc created by a splitboard’s design (similar to a vehicle’s turning radius). In general, a splitboard with a narrow waist width compared to its tip and tail will have a shorter sidecut radius, while a board with a wider waist will have a longer sidecut radius. A board with a short sidecut (5 to 6m) will have an easier time making snappy, narrow turns but can struggle at higher speeds, while one with a longer sidecut (8m and above) will prefer wide, arching turns and offer better stability when going fast (at the sacrifice of maneuverability).

As a very general rule of thumb, mountaineering boards have a long sidecut, freeriding boards have a short-to-medium sidecut, and powder boards fall somewhere in between (although often shorter than longer). However, there are many exceptions to the rule: for example, a powder board that is meant to be more aggressive may have a longer sidecut for high-speed, arching turns, while a powder board designed for riding mellow trees may have a shorter sidecut for making quick, snappy turns.

Splitboarding in the mountains (steep turns)
It's nice to be able to make quick, snappy turns in mountain terrain

Splitboard Flex
Another key consideration is the flex or stiffness of your splitboard. Most boards are rated on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being a soft, freestyle-oriented board and 10 being a stiff, high-end mountaineering design. Others are simply designated as soft, medium, or stiff (and sometimes a mix). It’s important to note, however, that ratings are not standardized across the industry and can vary significantly from one brand or board to another. 

Most splitboards fall into the medium-to-stiff flex range, or about 5 to 8. Softer boards allow for easy flex and a quick response when turning, but they tend to get “chattery” at high speeds and struggle in variable terrain (which is often what you’ll find in the backcountry). Stiffer boards, on the other hand, are great for charging big lines and maintaining control, although they can be challenging to turn and are not very nimble in tight spaces. For big-mountain pursuits and mountaineering, we recommend a stiffer design like the YES. Optisplitstic, while many will prefer a medium flex (like the Cardiff Snowcraft Goat or Weston’s Hatchet) for Japan’s pillows or Colorado’s tight aspen trees.

Splitboarding in the mountains (tight turns)
A stiff board is more confidence-inspiring in steep terrain

Splitboard Profile 
Understanding a splitboard’s profile—that is, its rocker, camber, or a combination of the two—is an important aspect in choosing the right model for you. The classic design is a camber profile, which features a high point between your feet (about an inch above the ground) and a gentle bow toward the tip and tail. Camber advocates like the aggressive snap you get when initiating a turn, but the flipside is that the board takes a lot more power to control and often turns slower than other profiles. 

On the other hand, a rocker profile is flat between your feet and bows up at the tip and tail (like a banana). These boards initiate turns quickly and float in powder with ease, but the tradeoff is that you get less stability at high speed and more of a chattery feel. And a third style is a combination of rocker and camber profiles, which—when executed well—manages to provide an excellent balance between the two. Each brand has their own take on this concept, but it often involves camber between the feet and rocker at the nose and tail. With this profile, you get both snappy turns and stability at speed. 

Splitboarding jump in mountains (icicles)
Most modern splitboards feature a combination of rocker and camber

When deciding on the profile of your board, it’s important to consider your uphill objectives too. Contact points with the snow are crucial for maximizing traction on the skin track, especially when traversing steep slopes or climbing icy terrain. A heavily rockered splitboard will struggle to maintain grip, while a cambered board (or a mix of camber and rocker) maintains a much wider surface area with the snow and will be more efficient on the way up. For this reason, most splitboards feature a camber profile or a combination of both camber and rocker underfoot.

To understand setback, let’s first consider a true twin snowboard. In most cases (although not all), the bindings will be centered on the middle of the board, with an equal amount of distance between the center and the front binding and the center and the rear binding. This is referred to as a “centered” stance, or zero setback. As we move the rear binding back, the setback increases (measured in terms of distance from a centered stance and often expressed in millimeters). Looking at the setback of a board is a great way of determining its intentions and the style of terrain it’s designed to ride. In general, the more setback your stance is, the more float you’ll have in powder. Less setback, and you get a more playful, freestyle-feeling board that can easily ride switch.

In most cases, a board’s setback correlates with its shape: most true twins will be centered, while directional boards will have the largest setbacks (and directional twins are in the middle). For example, powder boards like the Rossignol XV Sushi have dramatically setback stances, while more all-around directional twin splitboards might be setback 15-25 millimeters to maintain performance for a variety of terrain and riding styles. Board shapers can get creative with this too, by combining a centered stance with a directional twin shape (as in the case of the Arbor Coda Camber and Weston Hatchet) for performance in both powder and freestyle riding. Finally, keep in mind that a board’s setback generally is fixed with its profile so that the feet are centered around a rocker or camber in the middle. For this reason, we don’t recommend altering your board’s setback (unless you really know what you’re doing).

Splitboarding in deep powder (in trees)
A setback stance will help you stay afloat in powder

Sizing: Length and Width

Splitboard lengths range from around 145 to 170 centimeters, which is a lot less dramatic of a range when compared to skis. However, finding the right length for your weight, stature, and riding preferences nevertheless is crucial for maximizing performance. Manufacturers and retailers provide recommended size charts for each of their models, but in general you’ll want a longer board for aggressive downhill carving and a shorter design for freestyle riding and maneuverability. Some powder boards feature a shorter length, but be mindful that too short of a board will sacrifice some uphill efficiency. 

In terms of width, when sized correctly, your boots should hang over the edges of the board but not touch the snow while you’re edging. Those with larger feet will want to look for a wide board, which is often indicated by a “W” after the length (for example, 165W). Manufacturers often publish helpful info on when to size up to a wide board, which is commonly around an 11 or 12 for men and 9 for women (women who need a wider model can also consider regular-waisted men’s versions). And as we’ve mentioned above, a splitboard’s width is an important factor to consider when it comes to uphill travel too. For the best stability on the skin track, we recommend sticking with a regular-waisted version unless sizing up is absolutely necessary.

Splitboarding in the mountains above the clouds (boots and bindings)
Those with big feet might want to opt for a wide board


The splitboards on our list range from just under 6 pounds to over 8 pounds (without bindings), with the majority of models clocking in around 7 pounds. While splitboards generally have less focus on weight-cutting than backcountry skis, it does become important if your objectives entail hauling your setup far into the backcountry. If you’re looking to cut weight, look for a board that utilizes carbon and weight-saving technology in the core (our mountaineering category is a great place to start). You’ll pay a premium for these ultralight designs—the Jones Ultra Solution, for instance, is over $600 more than the standard Jones Solution—and carbon boards can be overly stiff, but for long tours and multi-day mountaineering objectives, those ounces add up quickly. 

Women’s-Specific Splitboards

In 2023, women’s-specific splitboards are much more than just different-colored and smaller versions of their men’s counterparts. The best women’s boards take the female body into account with narrower widths (women generally have smaller feet relative to their height than men), shorter lengths, and softer flexes to pair with lighter frames. That said, some companies have begun taking a more wholistic approach to their lineups, doing away with gendered boards and instead offering unisex models in various sizes and flexes. When looking at the list above, we invite you to shop based less on your gender and more on what you know about yourself as a rider, including your body type, riding style, and desired board experience. And if a certain model appeals to you, it's often the case that the company makes a similar board with a slightly softer or stiffer flex. 

Spring splitboarding in mountians (deep carving)
Weston has a nice lineup of female-specific boards

Splitboard Skins

Climbing skins adhere to the bottom of your two planks by way of glue and toe and tail clips, allowing you to grip the snow as you slide uphill. The majority of skins are made either with nylon, mohair, or a mix of the two—nylon is heavier, more durable, and offers a more secure hold, while mohair is lighter and faster on the skin track. For most backcountry explorers we recommend a nylon/mohair mix, also known as momix, although nylon skins are perfectly passable for beginners. 

Because skins’ original (and still most popular) application was in backcountry skiing, most splitboarding designs are made by ski companies like G3, Black Diamond, Pomoca, and Contour. It’s also common for board-makers to partner with these manufacturers to help expand their offerings—for example, Jones’ branded skins are made by Pomoca, while Nitro and Karakoram’s skins are made by Kohla. Most skins are compatible with a wide range of splitboards and must be trimmed to fit your specific model (this is a fairly easy DIY process). On the other hand, some brands offer custom designs for specific boards—no cutting required. The Jones Nomad skins, for example, are available in multiple models depending on the size and style of your Jones board. And finally, some boards—namely the Ride Splitpig, Season Pass, and K2 Marauder—include pre-cut skins with purchase. 

Putting skins on K2 splitboard (Osprey Soelden)
Splitboard skins feature splitboard-specific shapes and tip and tail attachments

Completing Your Setup

Splitboard Boots and Bindings
Some aspects of splitboard technology are still far behind the ski industry, and boots are one glaring example. The market in 2023 still is fairly limited, and most splitboarders end up using their inbounds boots for touring (our favorite is the relatively stiff K2 Aspect), which are comfortable yet offer limited performance for steep traversing, kicking steps, and pairing with crampons. As a result, some splitboarders turn to ski boots (Phantom is one of the only companies that makes splitboarding-specific hardboots), but these come with a few major downsides, and we only recommend them for mountaineering missions. If you’re on the hunt for a quality pair of boots (we’re sure more and more will continue cropping up), look for design features like crampon compatibility, solid toe boxes for kicking steps, the ability to adjust the upper and lower boot separately, heel lock-down technology (important for minimizing blisters at the heel), and a low weight.

In terms of bindings, there are two main styles to choose from: softboot bindings and hardboot bindings (the vast majority of splitboarders opt for the former). Splitboard bindings offer increased range of motion for uphill travel, are generally lighter-weight and more durable than standard snowboard bindings, and are compatible with splitboard mounting hardware. They also include backcountry-specific features like the ability to lock your heel in to skate and heel risers for more efficient climbing. If you want to save money, it is possible to use your standard snowboard binding and pair it with Voile’s Slider Track, although this setup is fairly heavy, clunky, and won’t offer the best performance.

Splitboard overview (bindings and pucks)
A splitboard features two sets of hardware to hold the bindings 

In terms of mounting hardware, you have a few options. The most popular system is the classic puck, which mounts to your splitboard and allows you to slide your binding on or off (we like Spark R&D’s Spark Pucks for their durability and simplicity). Other splitboarders favor the Karakoram system, which includes both an interface and a binding. Unlike the puck style, Karakoram’s interface pulls the two boards together in addition to securing your binding, which Karakoram claims improves ride quality and makes transitioning your binding to ride mode easier with self-clearing snow removal. Karakoram bindings also have the ability to switch from ride mode to tour mode while staying on your feet, which eliminates a step in the transition process.

Other Splitboarding Essentials
In addition to a splitboard, bindings, boots, and skins, you won’t be able to get very far into the backcountry without a number of other essentials. First and foremost is your avalanche safety gear, which includes a beacon, shovel, and probe, plus the ability to use them properly and efficiently (for more, see our section on avalanche safety below). Second, a set of poles is key, and you’ll want a durable and collapsible model that’s strong on the uphill but can disappear into your pack on the way down (we love the Black Diamond Vapor Carbon). To carry it all, we recommend purchasing a snow backpack with backcountry-specific features like a dedicated avalanche-tool pocket, external ice axe and pole carry, straps for securing a snowboard, and oversized zippers for easy manipulation with gloves.

Carrying splitboard on ski backpack (Osprey Soelden)
A snow backpack has external straps and a dedicated avy tool pocket

Splitboard Alternatives 

Before you go all-in on a splitboarding setup, it’s worth considering all your options. Many riders start with a standard snowboard, strap it to their pack, and use snowshoes to tackle the uphill. However, while this works for recreational snowboarders and those who only tour a few times a season, it's not a great long-term option. Snowshoeing is physically challenging on long days, slower than skinning, and oftentimes requires breaking trail next to a nice, packed-down skin track (you don’t want to ruin the track for others by snowshoeing in it). Choosing a splitboard for the uphill is far more efficient and allows you to cover more mileage with far less effort. 

For DIYers, there’s also the option of cutting an old snowboard in half and drilling dedicated holes for splitboarding hardware. Voile sells their Split Kit for this exact purpose ($170), which comes with all the parts you’ll need to convert an old board, as well as step-by-step instructions. But while splitting an old board may seem like an easy and cheap way to get into an expensive sport, we don’t recommend it from a performance standpoint. Having ridden many DIY splitboards, we’re confident in saying that they’re hard to build, sloppy to ride, and end up costing more than you expect.

Bootpacking in mountains (carrying snowboards on backpack)
Snowboarders can access the backcountry by hiking or snowshoeing, too

A final alternative to splitboarding is learning to ski. If you are a beginner snowboarder or not particularly attached to the sport, skis offer a few tangible benefits. Most notably, they’re more efficient on the uphill, offer quicker transitions (no need to assemble a board or move bindings around), and are easier to ride and maneuver over flat terrain. To be sure, splitboarding is an excellent way to travel in the backcountry—and especially in deep powder—but if you’re on the fence and haven’t yet invested in either sport, many consider skis to be the more versatile setup.

The Importance of Avalanche Safety

The most crucial backcountry tool is education, and we highly advise getting the proper avalanche training before heading out. The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) offers Level 1 courses that are considered the gold standard among backcountry enthusiasts and give you a comprehensive overview of how to travel safely and use your gear properly, evaluate potential risk, and rescue your partner(s) in the event of a slide. There are a host of other ways to supplement your learning, including books, videos, seminars, podcasts, and more—many of which are free (we highly recommend “Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain" by Bruce Temper). Backcountry travel can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s important to understand the inherent risks (which are many) and ensure you’re properly equipped before heading out.
Back to Our Top Splitboard Picks  Back to Our Splitboard Comparison Table

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