I’d bought a split board when I was in Canada in 03/04 for the season and had mixed results. I used my normal bindings and soft boots and found that it was not the best skinning on hard pack when I went back to Chamonix the following season. I bought a 178 too based on the logic that if I was boarding in the back country, then it would always be powder. Well, the board felt too heavy and unwieldy for technical sections and of course you experience all kinds of snow in the backcountry and more often than not hardpack in the high alpine environment of Chamonix.
So, it didn’t really work out for me and I went back to the joys of snowshoeing. But while I was surfing the net and looking at various sites, I came across Greg Hill’s site and saw that he was hanging about with quite a few splitboarders who were all on hardboots and Dynafit toe pieces. The idea of hardboots had occured to me before but for nothing more than a split second as it seemed to go against the whole concept of snowboarding and the sensation of powder. But seeing all these guys, and some of them ex pros, riding with hardboots, I realised that there must be something to it. I got more infomation from the Splitboard.com forum and decided to go for it.
My set-up consists of:
- Prior Backcountry 168 with traditional camber
- Bomber Bindings
- Dynafit Toe pieces from Spark R & D along with the toe piece converters
- Dynafit Zzero 3 Carbon boots
All I can say is that I am loving it! Going from snowshoes, it’s such a revolution in mountain transport for me. I am now almost on an equal footing with skiers on the up and so much lighter and faster and the way down is just as good as with soft boots with the right boot configuration. The boots do need some fine tuning and it definitely does take some getting used to but it is completely possible to replicate my softboot snowboard experience with all the advantages of hardboots.
One modification I´ve done to the boots is to replace the original tongue of my boots to the much, much softer Scarpa Spirit 4 (the Spirit 3 is the same tongue too), bought directly from Scarpa for EUR30. It makes the boot a lot more flexible. A big improvement. I´m yet to drill the touring mode bar at the back of the boot but it is the next thing on the list.
Some pictures of the set-up:
Sorry for the lack of snow!