Why Splitboarding?

by Adam Browning December 04, 2012


I think this picture sums up why OZ Snowboards is shifting some focus on to splitboard manufacturing. 

I have been fighting the urge to make a splitboard because it seems like it’s the “trendy” thing to do right now. Every snowboard and ski manufacturer is throwing in their split design. The industry is young and already overcrowded with products.  If you know much about the OZ philosophy, it’s not about following what everyone else is doing.  We are trail blazers and try to push the envelope of innovation. We create our own  products based on what we believe is best for our riders.  This project is more about me, following my passion and less about designing a splitboard just because I feel we need to be in the splitboard space. 

I have been riding snowboards for over 22 years and almost all of it on the resort slopes.  It hit me this summer like a sack of bricks, why am I not spending more time in the backcountry?  Snowboarding to me is about the powder days, the beauty of our mountains, smooth transitions of endless powder  and wide open terrain.   It’s everything I struggle to find in a resort.  

I am going about the splitboard design process like I have done with every board design we make. I throw everything on to the table and sort through good and bad designs.  Toss in some new innovation, toss in some experts who will help me design and test my splits. My goal, for our first split design is simple: boards that the core backcountry riders can fall in love with because it was designed by them, for them.   For the experts I have brought on Jordan Schwartz who is so passionate about snowboarding he has a goal of setting out to climb and ski/split 31 of the 14ers this winter. Our second expert is BJ Marraccinni who is the Communications coordinator for Friends of Berthoud pass.  He has been splitboarding for over 5 years and snowboarding for 16. He teaches basic avy awareness classes with Friends of Berthoud Pass here in Denver, and also mentors with Alpine World Ascents in Boulder to become a qualified AIARE Level I avalanche instructor. He has his AIARE L2 certification from Silverton Avy School. Splitboarding and mountain exploration is his passion and pours a lot of heart and soul into. 

Together we have combined our expertise to take spiltboard designs to the next level.  Our first prototype design is as follows:

Extended nose-keeps the nose up in deep powder, more float

Directional-Directional means the nose is wider than the tail and provides more control in powder conditions.

Set back stance-Set back stance places you further back on the board and creates more float

Stiffened tail-Stiffened tail allows the rider to have more control in fluffy light snowpack.

Sidecut is shifted back- Set back stance provides more edge contact because the rear of the board has much more contact with the snow.

Sidecut is maximized for deep powder but will also provide control on icy conditions.

Micro camber with an early rise rockered tip and tail: Micro camber is the best of both worlds.  When traversing up the mountain you want as much contact with the snow as possible for traction and stability.  Rocker provides better control on descents. A micro camber will provide the best combo of traction while splitting but control on icy/snowpack conditions.  The early rise rockered tip and tail will provide more float and and control on descents.

Full triaxial carbon fiber in lieu of fiberglass. Carbon fiber is 3 times as strong as fiberglass and 1/3rd the weight so it is an ideal composite fabric for a spiltboard.

Full length poplar cores: We use full length poplar without finger joints in the wood stringers.  Every other board manufacturer uses finger joints. We believe it creates inconsistent flex patterns and weak points.

Voile bindings with Karakoram clips: We are installing the best of both worlds in our splitboards. The Voile system is superior for the binding interface.  Karakoram clips provide a better split attachment system.

Here are the board specs: 


Let the adventure begin! Today we are pressing out first splitboard and testing to commence this weekend.  Our next post will detail the construction process and testing.  We will have this first prototype splitboard with us at the Loveland demo days this Saturday 12/8.  

Happy Shredding!

Adam Browning

OZ Snowboards

Adam Browning
Adam Browning


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