An ugly new chapter in the long-running rivalry between skiers and snowboarders looks set to be opened with the news that several ski brands are launching an alternative to the splitboard next winter – the splitski.
Having shamelessly borrowed such ideas as sidecut, twin tips, cool graphics and baggy outerwear from snowboarding over the years, the ski industry has been forced to look on enviously recently as sales of splitboards – boosted by the exploits of big mountain legend Jeremy Jones – have propped up declining revenues from traditional models.
Armada’s new ‘Plankton’ series features swivelling bindings and a series of clips that enable users to quickly turn their skis into a snowboard for the hike up. “This is a completely new concept,” insists marketing manager Brad Ayedia. “By aiming this at the freestyle market, we’ve actually turned the notion of splitboarding on its head. Now those pole-free park rats will be able to hike their favourite rails or halfpipe carrying only one item – just like a snowboarder – before switching to two planks and busting some switch mute grabs on the way down, which is where skis really come into their own.”