In the modern day and age, splitboards cost a pretty penny. It is not uncommon to see low-end boards with $1,000 + price tags. Voile nudges into the market with an affordable offering – their Artisan Splitboard retails at $850 – and while it might be on the cheap side compared to similar snowboards, it sacrifices nothing in the way of quality.
I’ve had the pleasure of testing the 2013 Voile Artisan Splitboard up in the backcountry surrounding Mount Baker in beautiful Northwest Washington over the past couple of weeks. Though I haven’t been able to head out nearly as many times as I would like, I have been able to give this splitboard a thorough thrashing. Below is a taste of what I have found out about the board.
In my experience, splitboards are generally a little bit heavier and bulkier than normal snowboards. The Voile Artisan is no exception. In fact, I was a little bit bummed at how heavy it felt right out of the box. Luckily though, this extra weight – and in reality it is just a tiny amount – added to my overall touring experience. It helped the board feel sturdy under my feet while touring, and when it came time to put the board back together, I found out that the extra bit of heaviness added to the downhill ride as well.
The Artisan has a near perfect amount of flex. It never feels as though it will flex out from under you during fast turns but it is still soft enough to get on top of fresh powder and is flexible enough to perform freestyle maneuvers.
The Voile Artisan turned like a charm. All too often, splitboards seem to sacrifice the basics in way of backcountry/touring portability. Not the Artisan. Its turning is quick and precise with edges that you can trust. I truly believe that this is how all splitboards should be made.
Rocker is incorporated into the board’s overall shape in the Artisan’s completely unique design while the camber is neatly tucked away right under your bindings. This hybrid rocker/camber profile gives the board all the control in the world and allows you to easily navigate through fresh powder, icy hard pack, mazes of trees and rocks – really, just about anything the backcountry can throw at you.
The Artisan is not the springiest board in the world, but, then again, that’s probably not the main thing that you’re looking for in a splitboard. However, it does do okay in the pop department and I was able to get a good kick of every hump, jump, bump, rock, and cliff that I threw myself off.
As mentioned above, the Artisan is very solid in touring mode. Better yet, it is easy to switch between skin, touring, and regular riding thanks to the board’s flush interface. Voile even includes touring brackets, durable slider tracks, dual-height climbing wires, and binding shims with the board so that you will have everything you need to enjoy the backcountry.
Ditch the resort this season with the 2013 Voile Artisan Splitboard. At less than the price of a season-long pass at the mountain, the board is an incredible contender. It is easy to haul around, is quick to switch from touring to regular riding, and actually rides just like any other snowboard in your arsenal.