A poplar, aspen, and carbon core makes Never Summer’s 7.8-pound SL among the lightest of the dozen splits we tested. But the board was still damping enough to suck up 25-foot cornice drops in the B.C. backcountry and stiff enough to power through a blissful 18-inch April dump in Colorado’s San Juans.
AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH: Can't afford a new splitboard setup with all the necessary backcountry fixings? A company called MTN Approach offers four-pound collapsible approach skis that, when you're ready to board down, fold up into the size of a hardcover book and slide into your pack. They're sold in a package with skins, shovel, probe, and poles for $950.