2020 EDITORS’ CHOICE AWARDS: SPLITBOARDS

It was a brave new world for splitboard brands at this year’s Backcountry Magazine 2020 Gear Test at Powder Mountain, Utah. Five new companies submitted boards to be tested and reviewed, and three of those newcomers won the coveted Editors’ Choice Award. The take away: innovation and refinement of splitboard technology is on the rise and our testers took note. 

Here are the 2020 Editors’ Choice splitboards and accessories.

Want tester feedback on these products? Order in our online store to get a copy of Backcountry Magazine’s 2020 Gear Guide with in-depth reviews of all 39 Editors’ Choice winners, plus more than 200 other must-have skis, splitboards, boots, bindings, clothing and accessories.

FJELL M1542S

$1,100 – fjellsnowboards.comLENGTHS: 160 | WEIGHT: 6.8 lbs.

From the Gear Guide: “Like Otis Redding, this board will stand by you through anything due to tip-to-tail stiffness and playful torsional flex.


TELOS DST CARBON ULTRALIGHT

$1,200 – telossnowboards.comLENGTHS:  158, 162 | WEIGHT: 6 lbs. (162)

From the Gear Guide: “By far the most stable and responsive board in its weight class…The first ultralight board I want to take off the scale and actually ride.


IGNEOUS WOMEN’S CARBON SWALLOWTAIL

$1,549 –  igneousskis.com | LENGTHS:  142, 147, 152, 157 | WEIGHT: 5.2 lbs. (147)

From the Gear Guide: “You merely have to think about it and it turns.


WESTON JAPOW

$899 –  westonbackcountry.com | LENGTHS:  154, 159, 164, 169 | WEIGHT: 7.3 lbs. (159)

From the Gear Guide: “[Best for] people who want a swallow that jumps and stomps.


VENTURE TEMPEST

$919 – venturesnowboards.com | LENGTHS: 152, 156 | WEIGHT: 6.7 lbs. (152)

From the Gear Guide: “Just the right amount of stiffness for full control while allowing plenty of room to play.


K2 MARAUDER

$900 – (w/ skins, pucks, hardware)  k2snow.comLENGTHS: 147, 151, 156, 159, 162, 158W, 163W, 166W | WEIGHT: 7.4 lbs. (162)

From the Gear Guide: “Take it anywhere and be prepared to be satisfied, but not ecstatic.


K2 ASPECT

$460 – k2snow.com | SIZES: 7-13 | WEIGHT: 5.4 lbs.

From the Gear Guide: “I’ve scrambled up some weird shit in these.


SPARK R&D ARC

$385 – sparkrandd.com | SIZES: W’s XS/S, W’s M/L, S, M, L | WEIGHT: 2.8 lbs. (MED)

From the Gear Guide: “I trust these in the backcountry more than anything else.

Comments

  1. Did you guys not test any lib techs?

    • Louise Lintilhac says:

      Hey Justin, Yes we did, but Lib Tech will just appear in the print version of the magazine for now, as they are not an Editors’ Choice winner this year. You can pre-order your copy on the website today.

  2. Daniel Scully says:

    Did you also try out any from Korua or the Rossignol Sushi?

    • Tyler Cohen says:

      We reached out to Korua this year, and they wanted to submit product but unfortunately didn’t have samples ready as of test time. We’ll try again with them next season! We did test the Sushi, but it didn’t make the Gear Guide cut this year. It was, however, reviewed in the last two years’ Gear Guides, which you can grab in our online store: https://shop.holpublications.com/

  3. The Telos is the first ultralight you actually want to ride? The Millisurf is even lighter, and was an editors’ choice winner last year…

    • To be fair, that is a specific tester’s comment. It’s possible that this tester doesn’t enjoy the ride feel of most ultralight boards, but this one didn’t have that characteristic feel.

      • Tyler Cohen says:

        Totally right, Paul—this is one specific tester’s take on how this board falls within his perception of the ratio of weight savings to performance. A bit more feedback comparing these two ultralight boards? While the Amplid Millisurf earned last year’s Editors’ Choice Award and weighs a half pound less than the Telos DST, a delamination issue with this year’s Millisurf test board kept it out of contention.

        • Thanks for the feedback! As for my 2 cents, I ride the Milligram and really like the board. On the way down it really does feel more like solid than other splits I’ve tried. I find the ride to be a nice combination of surfy / fun, and sufficiently powerful for big / exposed lines.
          My first Milligram also did delaminate after 3 days out- I contacted them and them and they immediately sent me a new one, it arrived in the mail by the next weekend. It seems that they had some production issues, but the customer service and support was fantastic. I used the replacement for the rest of the season on some big days out and it was fantastic.

    • That’s because these tests are just info-mercials. Editorial content is business and what we brings in revenue gets published.

      • Respectfully, as the director of the splitboard test, I disagree. If you look at three of the winners this year, they’re new, small, boutique brands. The magazine doesn’t expect those brands to fork over advertising dollars (and if they do end up advertising, I don’t know about it until I receive a magazine in the mail like you guys). At no point am I influenced by who pays for advertising. We make EC picks based on extensively analyzing tester feedback and review forms. I care deeply about making sure that the winners deserve to win. Now, that isn’t the case at all publications, certainly, and I appreciate a heathy level of skepticism—you’re right, a lot of content in 2019 does fall into the “infomercial” category. But as someone who works behind the scenes, I can confidently tell you that Backcountry Mag has integrity and that this test is the real freakin’ deal. 11 testers banging through 40+ boards over a weeklong test? Who else is doing that for splitboards??

  4. Regarding WESTON JAPOW board.
    I ride a Gentemstick fish HP, great board but not a split. Did you do a full write-up on the Japow?There’s not that many split “fish” boards, and I’d like to know if it has any issues with edge hold on traverses, or skinning in general.

    Thanks
    TK

    • Tyler Cohen says:

      Yup, There’s a full review of the Japow in the Gear Guide, which is on newsstands now and available in our online store.

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