Updated 2014 Voile Splitboard – the Revelator

I’ve only very casually been watching the splitboard scene until recently, but it seems like anyone that is serious about it at least mentions Voile, if not outright owning one. I had the opportunity to interview them the recent Winter OR Show as well take it out for a demo ride the Snowsports Industry Association’s (SIA) Snow Show. They’ve had their Artisan model out for several years now and seen great success so I was pretty much already sold. But after meeting with them and being able to try it out first-hand, I can definitely recommend this splitboard to anyone.

Made in the USA

Puck binding channel system
Puck binding channel system

For those that don’t know, Voile is based out of Salt Lake City, UT, and all of their manufacturing is as well. You can feel good about local when you buy their products. And now they’ve taken it one step further. The Revelator core is made out of Paulownia wood, which is mostly found in China, but it is being grown in the Southeast U.S. too. Which mean a majority of their raw materials, if not all of them, are also harvested from U.S. soil. I’m not always a big “made in the USA” kind of guy, but when I can support local jobs at a cheaper price, it’s an absolute no-brainer.

Tech Specs

Alright, so, now that we all feel good about buying an American produced, American made snowboard, let’s talk about why you should be buying this thing in the first place. With more and more companies jumping into the splitboard mix, it was time for Voile to bring some more innovation to the table. What they came up with was the Revelator and Revelator BC (backcountry). (Frickin cool name!)

Maybe hard to tell, but the pucks are tapered for a more natural and better riding position.
Maybe hard to tell, but the pucks are tapered for a more natural and better riding position.

Both models have a new channel puck system. Rather than mounting your bindings in predetermined hole patterns, there are two machined out channels in which you can slide your pucks back and forth to get a true specific, customized stance width. Not only that, but the pucks are slightly angled to put your knees and ankles in a better riding position. They also made it a lot easier to get out of your bindings with a new quick release system, allowing you to release both straps with one simple pull. At first it seems like a novelty, but then you try it, and you realize how awesome it really is.

Getting back to the construction, the Paulownia wood is lighter and just as strong as traditional core materials. They’ve encased that in carbon glass and elongated the cambered area underfoot. Add to that an early rise nose and a 7mm taper in the tail, and you have a lot better performance in the deep backcountry powder – skinning up and floating down. And speaking of skinning…

1 Pull, 2 Straps
1 Pull, 2 Straps

New fish scale bottoms for the Revelator BC!

These won’t replace skins altogether on steep terrain, but for lower angled approaches, there’s no need to mess around with skins. And if there’s flat traverses after a sweet pow run, don’t worry about having to get your skins out just for 100 yards. Cross Country Skis have had fish scales for years and years and years. It only makes sense that they’re finally showing up on backcountry touring gear.

Test Laps

As I said, I actually got to ride this magnificent creature. Specifically, “just” the Revelator (not Revelator BC) so I didn’t get to see if or how the fish scales would affect downhill performance. And I wasn’t too sad about not being able to try them skinning up the mountain at Copper either. I didn’t have time nor ambition for in-bounds skinning. Haha!

What I can say about the downhill however is that I was completely blown away. I don’t know if you’re at all like me, but I was fairly skeptical about a snowboard split in half and clipped together being able to perform as well as solid, single snowboard. Not only was I wrong, but I was way wrong. It was the best board I rode all day.

Voile Revelator BC with fish scale traction. Yum!
Voile Revelator BC with fish scale traction. Yum!

I was able to carve and feel the edge dig into the groomer and hold it. It also had enough “pop” to allow me power through some sharp transitions. I didn’t stay on the groomer long until I got into some sweet, sweet untouched powder in the trees of Copper Mountain. It had snowed 20-some-odd-inches the days prior, and this was a magnificent way to test out its powder capability and maneuverability.

To that date, in the 11 months since I had been riding, I had never had such a good tree run in my life. Turning became second nature and the board responded with every torsional flex and kick. I even got some sweet air on my exit from the trees. And when I say sweet, I’m talkin a good 8″. Yeah. THAT sweet.

The only deficiency that the Revelator revealed was in its bindings. Halfway through the tree run, the toe strap came off the end of my boot. I was cranking pretty good through the trees, but that’s something that could actually cause you to end up *in* a tree if you weren’t ready for it. I explained this to the reps as I returned, and they seemed aware, or not surprised, by what I told them. They explained that they are currently in the process of designing and testing new….designs….until they get it right. As it turns out, binding companies don’t share trade secrets exceptionally well. And probably rightfully so. I have no doubts that by the 2014 season, they’ll have this all figured out. And then you’ll have one badass piece of backcountry setup.

Product Testing Stage Ideas goggles and Cornice Dropping Video

If you follow me on social media, you’ve no doubt seen me ranting and raving over the snowboarding conditions this past weekend. Not only was there fresh powder everywhere, but Rob and I decided to try dropping off some cornice at Loveland Ski Area’s 13,000ft. ridge. Both first timers.

While we were at it, since it was a magical bluebird day, I also decided to try out my new Stage Ideas goggles with spherical lenses that I picked up at OR Show in January. My current setup still has the flat profile so I was eager to try them. Plus, all the cool kids where spherical lenses. I wanna be cool too, guys!!

They blocked the sun wonderfully and gave me better depth perception to see bumps and grooves along the way. Unfortunately, they did not turn me into a pro snowboarder…as you will see below. My only concern is that they did give off kind of a fish bowl effect depending on where you were looking out of the lens. It’s not a deal breaker, but it certainly warrants more testing. The other cool thing about Stage Ideas is their massive selection of customizable straps. No matter your interests, or your humor, they’ve got one for you. Not only that, but they have plenty of lenses to choose from as well. They’ll be coming out with a photochromic lens by next season at the latest.

And as usual, my GoScope Extreme GoPole held up to all the falls.

Arc’Teryx – New for Men Fall ’14

I recently went to the winter Outdoor Retailer (OR) Show for the first time ever and had very little clues as to what I was doing. This is what I knew:

  1. I was excited to see all the #OmniTen that were back in town. I mean, it had been 2 weeks. That’s a long time, ok?!
  2. I was excited to be staying with Josh and his couch dweller, Gina.
  3. I had one scheduled appointment with Columbia. Which was basically so I could get some alone time with Daniel.
  4. I had one scheduled appointment with Arc’Teryx so that I could finally meet one of my two favorite Arc’Employees.
  5. I was going to spend the rest of the time walking around and talking to people. Basically because meeting new people and talking are my two favorite things. After smiling.

I accomplished all of these things and more. But this post is not about my OR experience. This post is about my interview with Arc’Teryx and their Fall 2014 lineup.

Arc'Teryx Lithic Comp Jacket and PantsLithic Comp Jacket and Pants

Being winter and my current obsession, the first thing I asked about was their new backcountry ski gear. I was brought to the Lithic Comp jacket and Lithic Comp pant.

Lithic JacketGranted, I’ve been snowboarding less than a year so I’m not up on what every manufacturer is doing for every sport they represent, but what I saw was incredibly cool. I’d say innovative, but like I said, maybe someone else is already doing it, and I just don’t know it.

Arc’Teryx took into consideration that during your uphill charge, you’re likely going to sweat. A lot. But on your way down, you’re going to have that sweet sweet powder splashing against your legs and torso. What they came up with is Gore® Fabric Technology hardshell bonded to their proprietary Trusaro™ softshell material. Your sweaty bits are covered with the Trusaro™, but your chilly bits (when being hammered by pow) are covered by Gore-Pro.

Trusaro SofthshellThe Trusaro™ is under your arms and sides as well your entire back. The Gore® Fabric Technology covers your hood, shoulders, and the front of your torso. But don’t worry, the chest zippered pockets open up and there’s a mesh liner that allows air to flow through the front of your jacket too.

On top of all of this, they also used their 3D ergonomic molding to give you the best freedom of motion wherever you need it. When skinning up the side of a mountain, you want to be able to use your poles and extend your arms in front of you. In the pants, you want to be able to bend your knees without causing that awkward junior high “high water pants” issue. They used this common sense notion to give you more room in the shoulders, thoracic spine, elbows, hips, and knees (long live the Oxford comma!!) to give you the freedom you want while moving, but still fit perfectly in all the right places when you need it.

The jacket comes in at $45o, and I forgot to ask what the pants were going for. Both are available in September of 2014.

Stikine Jacket and PantsStikine Jacket

Sorry, kids, there’s not much to add about the Stikine jacket. It’s the “dumbed down”, insulated version of the Lithic. There’s no Trusaro™ softshell areas or Gore® Fabric Technology. It’s just bombproof Gore-Tex® that’s guaranteed to keep you warm and dry in the harshest conditions. But the cool thing about this jacket is that the Thermatek™ insulation is bonded to the shell. This will alleviate cold spots created by settling insulation. I hate those things. Just like gnats.

Macai Ski Jacket (On Sale Now)

The Macai Ski Jacket is the Stikine Jacket on D-bol. You’ll only get the d-bol reference if you’ve ever dabbled in the fitness world. It’s steroids, ok?! It’s a freakin insulated, waterproof, breathable shell on steroids! It doesn’t have the softshell bonded to hardshell technology like the Lithic, but it still sports all the same 3D ergonomic molding and fit and full-fledged Gore-Tex® technology.

What sets this apart from anything that I’ve ever heard of (again, not saying it doesn’t already exist somewhere else), and the Stikine, is that it’s down insulation baffled with synthetic coreloft insulation bonded to the Gore-Tex®. This bad boy is for those extremely cold days above the treeline, and retails for…wait for it…are you sitting down?…. $850.

But if I can say anything about Arc’Teryx, it’s that you get what you pay for. Also, no pictures of this bad boy. Click on the link above to go to the website, mkay?

Arc'Teryx Ceres JacketCeres Jacket

Now that I’ve got all ski and snowboard nonsense out of my system, let’s talk about climbing. Please?

Internally, they (Arc’Teryx) call the Ceres Jacket the “do-everything workhorse”. It combines synthetic coreloft insulation in the high moisture areas like the shoulders, neck, armpits, and wrist cuffs with 850-down fill everywhere else. Oh, and did I mention it has a wind-stopper shell? It does. Can anyone say “belay jacket from Zeus himself”? I’m sure there’s more than a couple people stuck in the Polar Vortex that wish they had this jacket.

Arc'Teryx Alpha Comp HoodyAlpha Comp Hoody

I’m really excited to tell you about this jacket. Why? Because I knows a sekret about it. But you have to wait for the end of this section to find out. No skipping ahead!!

This jacket is the Lithic Jacket of the climbing world. It combines the softshell and hardshell technology but in different areas. Whereas the Lithic has Gore® Fabric Technology on the front of the torso, the Alpha Comp utilizes the Trusaro™ softshell material there as well as the back. The Gore® Fabric Technology is only on the hood, shoulders, top of arms, and waist. Why? Think about it…

As a climber, you’re not getting sprayed with snow. You may get snow/ice/water dripping from above (hence, “GFT” on the hood and shoulders and arms), but it’s not coming at you horizontally. There’s no need for “GFT” in those areas.

And just like the Lithic is articulated for forward movement of the arms, the Alpha Comp is articulated for overhead reaching. Because climbing. Get it?

So now you want to know my sekret???

Full production of this jacket isn’t scheduled until later this year, making it available for September 2014. HOWEVER, there will be a limited amount available to purchase online from the Arc’teryx website on February 15! As in, 16 days from right now! And that’s enough exclamation points for one paragraph.

As usual, Arc’Teryx is on the cutting edge of extreme mountain wear. Their products are top-notch. And while the price tag may be hard to swallow, I guarantee…GUARANTEE…there will be a moment when you realize it’s worth every penny.

And just because I’m obsessed with packs, I wanted to take ALL of these home with me. All of them!