OZ flipped the script on the splitboard world when it released the asymmetrical OZSym last year. OZ put so much technology into the splitboard, that I just had to check it out and see what the big deal was.
First, the splitboard is asymmetrical, meaning that the heel side edge is shorter than the toe side. This is an attempt to gain more control on icier and harder snowpack. It also allows for some pretty big carves. And, now you can tell your buddy who rides with the opposite stance that he can’t borrow your board!
The feature that actually most impressed me was the SplitLock Tech. The inside edges are cut on a beveled angle to create a what looks like a matching puzzle piece. The two halves butt up to each other perfectly and this helps create shared tension across the entire snowboard. Throw in a metal tab that goes across the middle of the board, and you have a pretty solid connection. More solid than any other board I have seen!
When I first saw the SplitLock Tech I was really impressed and could see how this would positively affect the riding experience on the way down. But how would it effect the tour on the way up? Much to my surprise, it did not affect the tour up in any way. In fact, the OZ OZsym was my favorite splitboard to tour with.
Credit the micro camber profile and carbon graphite build for making this a touring monster. Of all the boards I tested this year, the OZsym was the best at going up the hill. Having camber underfoot creates more surface area to contact with the ground on the skin up. This saves energy and makes you feel more sure footed. As much as I like riding rockered boards, the rocker under foot often creates for a bit less contact with the snow, especially on hard or icier snow.
The build quality is top notch. I toured the OZ factory in Arvada, Colorado, several times, watching them make boards from scratch. The factory is entirely wind powered, super cool! Adam and the crew put a lot of time into crafting each board and it shows. The OZSym is made of full-length wood cores, with no finger joints. Carbon fiber is used throughout the board as well. This keeps the weight down (7.3lbs for the 165 I tested) and made the board feel very responsive.
I went fully into the OZ experience and approached the review completely from a customer standpoint. Meaning, I did not ask for a free or discounted board, there was no rep pushing the product. I approached OZ and asked them to make a custom graphic board. I sent them the graphic and told them I wanted it to look like wood. Fun fact, the board is carbon granite so the wood look is actually a graphic! Not only did they do a great job building the board, they made it look beautiful. Just look at the pics and see for yourself.
After using and abusing the board over the entire 2016/2017 season, I can say that this is one amazing splitboard. The ability to handle less desirable snow with ease, tour up any hill, light weight and SplitLock Tech all add up to a great splitboard. The OZsym was not my first choice for deep powder days (though it did well enough) but it was my “go to” board for 80% of the days. Highly recommended!
Oz Snowboards are only available direct from OZ. MSRP for a splitboard with custom topsheet is $949.