Kevin Clark, of Prowder Snowboards, has been making splitboards and splitboard components that are both functional and economical. I tested out two of the Prowder Carbon splitboards over the last month. First, I tested out the Carbon ATK (All Terrain Killer) during an epic powder storm at the 2017 Baker Splitfest. The ATK handled the deep, wet snow of the Baker backcountry with ease. It features a rocker profile that makes it fun to ride and capable of handling backcountry terrain. While at Splitfest, I saw Prowder’s Carbon Featherweight prototype and was really intrigued by it. With a claim at being the lightest splitboard in the world, I had to test it out and see how it performs!
Back home in Colorado, I stopped by the Prowder shop and picked up a Carbon Featherweight board. Kevin handed me the prototype and I headed directly to the mountains for a weekend of camping in the snow and testing the heck out of the board. One thing is blatantly obvious the moment you pick it up – it is VERY light. I weighed it in at 5.4lbs (2.45kg) – with clips on! (current Prowder clips – Kevin has engineered up some super light clips for next year. I tinkered with the prototypes and they will easily be the lightest clips out there.) Take the hardware off and the board would be just over 5lbs (2.26kg) for the 162cm board. The 158 and 152 will be even less weight (2.26 and 2.13kg)! Pick your jaw up off the floor and keep up.
The profile has a lot of rocker. Think of rocker, then picture a little more rocker. This is a lot of fun in pow and when negotiating tight trees. When it is not as fun is touring up on firm snow. Well, most splitboards or skis are not fun on hardpack tours. The rocker underfoot was not as much of an issue when touring up in powder. The shape allows for a bit more effective edge than the size indicates. I rode the 162cm version (the biggest they make) and found no problem with riding it compared to what I usually ride (165-168cm). There are also multiple contact points that I feel helped me keep an edge in less than perfect snow conditions. The production model will probably have a bit less rocker, and I think that will help on the touring.
The Featherweight X-treme core is a silent star of the board. Made of A-grade paulownia and balsa woods that are cut an X pattern to reduce weight and add linear stiffness. Kevin opted for no top sheet on the Carbon board to save weight. Pluses are that it saves weight and looks like a stealth bomber. Possible negatives are that the board can get banged up a bit easier. So what, it’s a snowboard, it is going to take some hits. Both the Carbon ATK and the Carbon Featherweight have 360 degree fully wrapped sidewalls, which I put to the test in tight (maybe too tight) trees. Despite the lack of a top sheet and taking a few hits, the board did not show any damage.
After a few weeks of riding the board in good pow, wind crust, dust on crust, wet snow, hard pack, and corn – I can report that the board performs in all the conditions. The Carbon Featherweight is definitely stiffer than the ATK Carbon, but it is not the stiffest board out there. The prototype we tested out was a lot of fun to ride and the lightweight construction was a game changer for touring. If you want the lightest board and at a very fair price (MSRP $699) then this is your next board. Did we mention that it is the lightest splitboard out there? (Ed. Note:yes.) For under $1000? (Ed. Note:Also, yes.) Get ready to pick it up when production starts for next winter.
The Carbon ATK is a more playful snowboard and weighs just a bit more 152 (6.1lbs) 158 (6.5lbs) 162 (6.81lbs) due to having a top sheet and a more dampening core. We really liked the way this board rode in all conditions. If you want a bit more flexibility and a softer ride, while still being very lightweight and very fairly priced (MSRP $499) then the ATK Carbon is what you want.
Sizes for both boards below. Both boards are the same shape and dimensions. The only difference will be core construction, the top sheet (or no top sheet) and weights.
Sizes CM: 152 – 158 – 162
Contact length CM: 118.81 – 124.74 – 129.18
Waist Width CM: 24.87 – 25.2 – 25.67
Tip/Tail Width CM: 29.6/29.6 – 30/30 – 30.4/30.4