Weston Backcountry Japow Split 159

Muhammed Ali’s quote – “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” comes to mind when describing the Weston Backcountry Japow Split 159. The Japow solid received “Gear of the Year” accolades from Outside Magazine, which made for high expectations going into the testing period.

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The Testing

Testing included four tours in three different zones with 9k vertical of earned turns on a variety of conditions from north-facing trees with soft powder to sun-affected aspects. Spark R&D skins and Arc Pro bindings came with the board, all ideal for a lightweight touring setup. Rider specs: 5’8″ 145 lbs with 25 lb pack weight.

The Design

The designs of other powder-specific boards that I’ve tested seemed to place emphasis on riding performance in deep snow, but not so much on the other aspects of touring and riding in variable conditions.

Weston Backcountry team looked at the bigger picture and focused on the overall experience of the Japow Split. Ben Hilley, team manager for Weston Backcountry, explained that during prototype testing, they addressed touring characteristics in terms of the tour bracket placement and added steel edges to shift the overall weight balance towards the tail.

Their attention to detail resulted in a Japow split that’s perfectly ideal for powder missions that may or may not involve variable conditions whether skinning or riding. The rocker nose keeps the nose up while the slight camber underfoot gives a bit of a boost for speed and stability.

Talk about spoon envy – the tip width comes in at a whopping 31.2 cm. Weston Backcountry Japow Split comes in two sizes, 159 and 169, and has an overall medium flex with a bit of play in the tip and tail.

The Tour 

On the skin track, I didn’t find myself feeling the need to adjust my skinning technique compared to my awkward experiences on other powder boards. Even with skins on, the Japow split was still tail-heavy which helped to keep the nose above the deep snow, particularly during kick turns. When others were having a bit of issue getting edges or grip on the skin track, I was able to get through these areas a bit more easily.

There were some issues with the tail clips in terms of their placement. As a result, you may need to do a custom modification to ensure a good fit. My skin track tends to be tight, which resulted in the tail clips banging against each other and bending the teeth out of place. Consequently, One clip broke when I tried to bend the tooth back, so I did three tours using voile straps instead.

The Ride

In tracked out conditions, the board held up well against the sun-affected crust and trenches thanks to the stiffer mid-section. In carving mode I found myself feeling locked in on the edges as I attempted to see how low I could go without washing out. Some of the turns brought me back to my coastal roots with those heavy bottom turns and rail-to-rail surfing feels. One run-out had some banked slalom features and I was grinning from ear to ear as I navigated through the winding turns.

While on powder I didn’t have to put in an effort to keep the nose up and as a result it was simple enough to point it I wanted it to go and move. Whether I wanted to do squiggly lines in the mellow meadows or large slashes on the steeps, the Japow split met my demands.

Watch the test video here!

The Takeaway 

Inspired by Japan’s powder surfing roots and designed to handle Colorado’s continental snowpack, the Weston Backcountry Japow split is a sure-fire way to increase your stoke.

There is limited availability for Weston Backcountry’s first production run of the Japow Split and the 159 is sold out. If you’re looking to get the Japow Split 169, act quickly!

Thanks to the Weston Backcountry team for the opportunity to test this awesome board out!  Check out our review of the Weston Backwoods Splitboard too!

Japow Split Board Specs

Board Size 159 169
Effective Edge (cm) 123.5 128.5
Tip Length (cm) 33.5 36
Tail Length (cm) 3 4
Tip-Width (cm) 31.7 32.7
Waist-Width (cm) 26.2 27
Tail-Width (cm) 29.2 30.2
Sidecut Meters 9/6.9 9.6/7.5
Taper (mm) 25 25
Setback (mm) 0 0

 

About The Author

Aaron’s affinity for gear originally came from living the coastal lifestyle in southeastern North Carolina where he’d spend time surfing, free diving, and whatever else he could keep himself busy with on the water. After relocating to Colorado, Aaron traded his surfboard for a snowboard and spent three seasons as a ski technician for two of the largest retailers in Colorado.  Known as the “gear destroyer,” Aaron has a knack for finding flaws in gear, yet he also can come up with solutions to fix them. When not splitboarding, Aaron is trying to cross off as many peaks as possible on the list of 832 summits above 13,000 feet in Colorado. With an undergraduate degree in Marine Sciences and Meteorology and a masters in deaf education, Aaron is a man of many hats as a project developer, media producer, and educational consultant through his company Cue Cognatio. Aaron also goes on assignment as a photographer through Aaron V. Rose Photography. Aaron has completed the AIARE Rec Level 2.

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