The core snowboard industry continues to mature with more and more innovation and development in backcountry tech. Whether it's due to an aging demographic looking for a peaceful alternative outside resort riding or a newfound interest in powder riding from the younger generation, each year brings better, safer and lighter products built to propel experienced riders into un-patrolled territory. Standing at the pinnacle of its category is Jones Snowboards' Ultracraft Splitboard, announced last week at SIA, available for the 2013-14 season. Weighing in at just 5.5lbs, the Ultracraft 156 stands 25% lighter than the current season's Hovercraft Split, while sharing the same shape.
As splitboards go, the Ultracraft easily transforms into individual skis by simply undoing two latches, which allows the rider to skin into the backcountry as if on cross-country skis, trekking to gain access to out-of-bounds terrain. However unlike most traditional splitboards that are designed as a whole snowboard then cut in half, the Ultracraft breaks ground in splitboard design as one of the first to construct each separate split as an individual ski. This seemingly minor adjustment improves response, flex and feel as both split skis or a solid board, a crucial design point realized by three years of R+D by Jeremy Jones (owner and founder of Jones Snowboards, commonly known as Big Mountain Jeremy Jones) and his team of the best backcountry snowboarders on the planet.
Under the hood, the Ultracraft Split features individual wood cores, carbon fiber construction and a sintered carbon 9900 stone ground base, all of which add up to one hell of a snowboard. Listed to sell for $1,200, the Jones Ultracraft is not for the faint of heart. But for those dedicated to earning each turn and finding the steep and deep this puppy will work wonders. Find it come Fall 2013 exclusively from Jones authorized EPICenter shops around the world.
For more backcountry snowboard equipment ideas see MTN Approach foldable skin and ski system.
Images courtesy of Jones Snowboards