Our picks for this seasons best splitboards

Splitboards-K2 PanoramicA lot has changed since the first splitboard hit the snow in 1994. Of course the basics are still the same: a snowboard that can separate into two skis with bindings that can be repositioned to ride like a normal snowboard and climb like a ski. But just about everything else is a dramatic improvement from what was available 15 years ago.

Voile's machined Split Decision clips replaced door hinges. Metal inside edges filled in for exposed cores. Reverse camber, skin attachment points, tip and nose rocker altered not only how boards ride but how they look.

The end result: splitboarding is no longer a chore, and thus is more popular than ever.  At explore we wanted to have a look into the fast growing splitboard scene. We tasked four snowboarders with the enviable job of putting a selection of new planks through a gruelling test on and around Vancouver Island, Revelstoke, Rogers Pass and the Canadian Rockies. While testing did take place during one of the longest and deepest winters in memory, not every turn was chest deep powder. Between March and July these boards saw it all from champagne to hard pack, icy couloirs to perfect corn. Skinning to riding, every performance metric was considered.

We tested both bindings and boards. You'll find our thoughts on bindings here. When we mention hardware we're talking about binding mounting plate and touring hardware. As for boards, when the snow finally melted and our turn-drunk correspondents finally sat down to compile a season of thoughts, here's what they had to say:

Best all around: This is like picking between a pillow line and wide open bowl—they both rule. The Prior Khyber is really a fun board, lots of pop and a lot of fun to play with, and the Venture Storm: lots of float and beautiful curves. So which would we choose? The slightly more playful Venture Storm.

Best Slackcountry board: K2 Panoramic, it was a toss-up, but the quicker skin attachment got us right behind the skiers breaking trail and, more importantly, in front of them for the descent—suckers!

Best to stick with: When we first jumped on the Voile Mojo we weren’t sold. But the more time we put in, the more love the Mojo gave. This board can carve up a storm once you figure it all out.

Most popular: Everyone loved the Prior Khyber. No wonder it's one of the most popular boards out there.