Best of 2017 snowboards and splitboards from Weston, Unity, Never Summer and more |

Best of 2017 snowboards and splitboards from Weston, Unity, Never Summer and more

Phil Lindeman

Foot love, snowboard edition

Thirty-Two TM-Two Jones XLT boot, $349

There’s the Jeremy Jones pro-model boot for the one percent (the $599.99 Jones MTB), and then there’s the Jones pro-model for the rest of us. This lace boot combines the stiff, hard-charging fit of a big-mountain model — Virbam ousole, 3D molded tongue, foam midsole — with the all-access affordability of Thirty-Two’s team line. The result: An all-around boot for park, cliffs and touring.

Union Contact Pro bindings, $259.95

This is the flagship binding in the Union fleet. Why? All of the reasons: It’s light (1.5 pounds), forgiving (medium flex baseplate), responsive (medium flex highback), and made with the same combo of extruded aluminum and closed-cell foam Union brought to the market. Gigi Ruf swears by this middle-of-the-road model, and if you’ve ever seen his riding, you know it’s anything but middle of the road.

Spark R&D Surge splitboard bindings, $415

No one said a splitboard setup is cheap, but if you choose the right components they’ll last for years. The Surge from Spark R&D just won the 2017 Editors Choice award from Backcountry Magazine, and with good reason. It features a solid baseplate, a single climbing wire with settings from 12 to 18 degrees, wide ankle straps and toe caps, and a sliding puck system to switch from touring to riding mode — no cables, wires or pins. Enough said.

Editor’s note: This is part two of a three-part pre-season gear guide for skiers and snowboarders. Read on for the best 2017 skis from Meier, Rocky Mountain Underground, Fat-ypus and more, plus the best 2017 goggles, hardshells and backpacks from Zeal Optics, Freeride Systems of Frisco and Mile High Mountaineering.

Sayonara quiver, hello beer money.

In Colorado, snowboard manufacturers understand that local riders don’t want to switch between a rail deck, pipe deck and powder deck in one day. They also know most folks can’t afford three different decks, and so the latest batch of boards from Never Summer, Unity and Weston are all-in-one weapons. Sure, they might cost $100 more than similar decks just four or five seasons ago, but they outperform those models in nearly every condition.

The one exception: splitboards. As alpine touring gains more converts, snowboard technology has evolved to keep up with ski tech: user-friendly bindings, two-piece decks that ride like they were never split, and true-twin models for backcountry kickers. The industry keeps changing — try to keep up.

Weston Range solid, $499

Sizes: 155 cm, 158 cm, 161 cm

Stance: 20 to 25 inches

Weston Snowboards has come a long way in just five years. Since opening up shop on Main Street in Minturn, the small manufacturer has built a pro team, changed owners, closed up shop on Main and reopened with a mobile “tiny house” showroom, beginning this season. It would all be for naught if Weston didn’t produce boards like the Range, an all-around, all-mountain slayer designed by team rider Joe Otremba. It features a traditional shape — camber between the feet, flat underfoot, slight rise on the nose and tail — and a combination poplar-bamboo core for plenty of playfulness. Two carbon inserts make the backbone you need for flatland ollies and big, burly cliff drops, and the true twin design wraps it all in a freeride package. Demo this one now.

Find it: Online at or “anywhere we park the tiny house showroom,” according to the site. Watch for the showroom this winter at events like opening day at Arapahoe Basin and Dew Tour.

Unity Origin, $545

Sizes: 152 cm, 154 mid-wide, 155 cm, 158 cm mid-wide (Gold’s choice), 159 cm, 160 cm wide

Stance: 20 to 25 inches

Have you heard of Taylor Gold? For three seasons now, the Steamboat Springs native and his twin sister, Arielle, have been chewing through the pro halfpipe circuit with wins at the Dew Tour, Grand Prix, Burton U.S. Open and Red Bull double pipe. And Taylor has done it all on the Unity Origin, made in a small warehouse on the west edge of Silverthorne by 20-year industry veteran Pete Wurster. The 2017 Origin is a true-twin park board at heart, with an aspen-maple core and traditional camber. New this year is a 3K carbon net fiber inside, which acts like carbon inserts and yet stretches the entire length of the board, from nose to tail, sidewall to sidewall. Call it progression.

Find it: Mountain View Sports on U.S. Highway 6 in Keystone, Alpine Sports at 400 N. Park Avenue in Breckenridge, The Grind at 191 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne and Pioneer Sports at 842 N. Summit Boulevard in Frisco. Also online at

Never Summer West, $569.99

Sizes: 152 cm, 154 cm, 156 cm, 157 cm wide, 159 cm, 160 cm wide, 162 cm, 164 cm, 168 cm

Stance: 20 to 25 inches

Denver should be proud to call Never Summer its hometown board manufacturer. After two decades, the company is still producing a line of the strongest, toughest, most reliable boards on the market, even as competitors like Ride and Burton have moved production overseas.

The directional West men’s board is a testament to this “hand-built is better” concept, featuring a hybrid rocker profile (rocker between the binders, camber underfoot, rise on the nose and tail), a carbon blend topsheet, a combo hardwood-softwood core and more size options than you can shake a broken Burton Custom at. The West is softer than most NS boards (about 4 on the flex scale), so if you need something for log rails and pillow lines, this is the one.

Find it: Just about any major ski shop in Summit County, including Christy Sports, Rebel Sports, Charter Sports and Avalanche Sports. Also online at

Never Summer Proto Type Two men’s, $569.99

Sizes: 152 cm, 152 cm wide, 154 cm, 155 cm wide, 157 cm, 158 cm wide, 160 cm, 161 cm wide, 164 cm wide

Stance: 20 to 25 inches

For 2017, Never Summer took two of its most popular models — the Funslinger and Ripsaw — and mashed them together for the 2017 Proto Type Two. It’s an asymmetrical twin ripper, made with a hybrid rocker profile, carbon laminate insert, the signature softwood-hardwood core and pretensioned fiberglass. Cut through the engineering jargon and it means one thing: this board is made to take a beating and keep on charging.

Find it: Just about any major ski shop in Summit County. Also online at

Never Summer Proto Type Two women’s, $499.99

Sizes: 139 cm, 142 cm, 145 cm, 148 cm, 151 cm

Stance: 20 to 25 inches

Think this is just a shortened version of the men’s Proto Type Two? Think again. Never Summer took the basics — same asymmetrical twin design, same hybrid camber profile, same materials — and combined them in a way that’s made for ladies, with more forgiveness in the middle and deeper sidecut on the heelside edge for park, powder and groomers. It’s three boards in one, which means you can just laugh at all the dudes on the lift talking about their sick quiver.

Find it: Just about any major ski shop in Summit County. Also online at

Jones Solution splitboard, $899

Sizes: 154 cm, 158 cm, 159 cm wide, 161 cm, 162 cm wide, 164 cm, 165 cm wide, 166 cm, 169 cm wide

Stance: Setback 3 mm

A backcountry slayer doesn’t need to have a fishtail. Hell, it doesn’t even need to look like a surfboard: the Solution from Jones is a nearly symmetrical splitboard, made for riding regular or switch in even the deepest conditions. The poplar-paulownia wood core is strong and flexible for comfort while touring or charging, and both the inner and outer edges are made with Magne-traction for control. New this season, it comes with a bolt-less bridge to eliminate base hardware and Karakoram Ultra Clips for better board lock through the torso.

Find it: Underground Snowboards at 320 S. Main Street in Breckenridge or online at

Weston Backwoods splitboard, $899

Sizes: 152 cm, 157 cm, 163 cm

Stance: Setback 10 mm

The experts agree: the Backwoods split is one hell of a touring deck. It won Backcountry Magazine’s 2017 “Editors Choice” award for splitboards, but that doesn’t mean it’s made for everyone. No, this board was born, built and bred for riders who love deep, bottomless powder — and don’t mind skinning a few hours to get there. It’s a true directional board, with a tapered nose and flat tail, a pow-rocker shape (camber between the binders and underfoot, rocker on nose and tail), and carbon inserts in the poplar-bamboo core. It does surprisingly good on crud and gunk in late spring, and you’d better believe people will pay attention when you cruise past.

Find it: Online at or at the traveling tiny house showroom.

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