Along with some updated graphics, the Frontier has some slight tweaks this season. There is a new sintered base and a profiled wood core that is stiffer at the nose and tail and softer between the foot stance, a design intended to make turning easier. There are also Karakoram split clips included on this year's board.January 2021
Jones Frontier Splitboard Review
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Jones Frontier Splitboard
$679.96 at Amazon
|$759.16 at Backcountry|
Compare at 4 sellers
|$832.95 at Amazon|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$695 List||$799 List|
|Pros||Value, stunning graphic, well rounded, offers model specific skins, gently serrated edge||Durable topsheet, great powder floatation, excellent climbing, snappy turn experience, bolt-less base||Stable, stiff, lightweight, solid, predictable, reliable, supports diverse riding objectives||Durable, affordable, versatile, easy to adjust stance||Durable topsheet, versatile, responsive, good offering of sizes|
|Cons||Edge hold on firm snow, edge of topsheet durability||Expensive, switch riding||Expensive, narrow waist width, shallow nose rise||Generalist, soft for aggressive riding or heavy snow||Challenging to smear turns in firm snow at slow speeds|
|Bottom Line||A well-rounded board that makes a great choice for first timers or experienced backcountry travelers||Climbs like a bird in thermals, rides like your trusted solid board||Provides versatile performance to support daily or ambitious backcountry objectives, the Solution is a satisfying ride||A minimalist board that has everything that you need and nothing that you don't||Freeride, freestyle, or powder specific; now you don't have to choose|
|Rating Categories||Jones Frontier Spli...||Weston Backcountry...||Jones Solution Spli...||Voile Spartan Ascent||United Shapes Covert|
|Firm Snow (26%)|
|Binding Adjustability (5%)|
|Specs||Jones Frontier Spli...||Weston Backcountry...||Jones Solution Spli...||Voile Spartan Ascent||United Shapes Covert|
|Weight||7.56 lbs||7.33 lbs||7.38 lbs||6.08 lbs||7.45 lbs|
|Flex||Medium Soft||Medium - stiff||Stiff||Soft||Medium|
|Weight in grams||3454 g||3325 g||3346 g||2794 g||3382 g|
|Weight Per Surface Area||0.76||0.74||0.74||0.62||0.75|
|Available Lengths||152, 156, 158W, 159, 161W, 162, 164W||152, 157, 160, 163, 163 (w)||154, 158, 159W, 161, 162W, 164, 165W, 166, 169W||154, 158, 162, 166||149,152,158,161,166|
|Core Material||Wood||Wood/ bamboo||Wood||paulownia, carbon||Blended wood|
|Camber/Rocker||Directional rocker||Rock camber rocker||Directional rocker||Freeride camber||Rocker/ Camber/ Rocker|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Jones Frontier is the new Explorer, but with a few tweaks for the new season. It has been updated with recycled ABS sidewalls and an updated price. It adds a touch of freestyle to the Jones Snowboard line-up and is an excellent option for a potential first splitboard or for someone looking for a more playful ride. It has more freestyle merit than most people likely associate with Jones and is not the ultra-stable big mountain charger that the Solution is. That being said, it's perfectly capable of riding the whole mountain.
The Frontier was able to provide enough floatation to be a well-rounded splitboard. It provided a standard all-mountain board powder feel. If this model was our sole splitboard, we would be happy riding it on powder days.
It features a camber underfoot with more rocker toward the nose and less rocker near the tail. The camber profile is biased towards powder and helps explain the impressive performance in soft snow. This helps keep the nose afloat to get you on top of the snow.
Super fun in soft snow, the Frontier rides almost like a twin tip (though it does feature a directional shape), and can handle switch riding in powder better than many directional shapes. With its medium flex pattern, the board likes to play and remains easy to move when turning in powder.
In firm snow, the Frontier performed fine, but not exceptionally. It will get the job done in the firm steeps, but if you were buying a board with these conditions in mind, a board with increased edge hold in the tip and tail would be worth considering.
Jones's Traction Tech (essentially gently serrated edges) likely improves edge grip over conventional edges. This board has a medium tip to tail flex and a stiffer torsional flex. The stiffness helps the board to be very responsive and it's easy to get on edge. The medium flex and narrower waist width can hurt firm snow performance for heavier riders and is something to keep in mind. One of our bigger reviewers commented that the nose felt too soft for him in heavier chopped up snow. Riding steep firm snow is often done at lower speeds, and this board's performance is above average when ridden in such conditions based on the ease of moving this board around.
The Jones Frontier climbs efficiently in regard to its sidehilling ability and weight for user energy conservation. This splitboard's weight range and surface area per gram calculations were generally middle of the road of the splitboard market. Its relatively light weight is appreciated when ascending.
The camber underfoot helps maintain solid skin grip on slick skin tracks. While the nose height combined with the nose rocker helps when breaking trail in powder.
Being a touch softer occasionally hurts the climbing ability, which is exacerbated for heavier riders, but the Traction Tech edges can be helpful during some steep sidehilling. For larger riders, the tip to tail flex can be a little soft and result in a dished out skin track. This makes for less efficient travel for the trail breaker and those who are following.
If you're buying a new Jones splitboard, strongly consider the pre-sized Jones Nomad or Nomad Pro skins that are cut and setup for your splitboard. Our DIY garage-built rivets are functional connectors, but inferior to what a professional operation would achieve.
This splitboard has the standard insert pattern found on most manufactured splitboards. However, once you arrive at your preferred stance, there is little reason to move around the bindings, so the standard insert pattern is acceptable.
The Frontier is fun and encourages forays into freestyle. While the Jones brand is understandably associated with big mountain riding, this model is more calibrated to gently more to the freestyle end of the freeride spectrum than you might think.
The medium flex makes it easier to lock in butters in a tip to tail flex pattern. Its able and strong tail is more forgiving when spins don't line up perfectly. While riding this board, little bumps turned into enticing kickers, and open areas became opportunities to practice switch backcountry shredding. Since the tip and tail have the same width, it rides switch quite well. If this is a priority for you, mounting the bindings centered will increase the switch performance.
Jones Snowboards supports 1% for the Planet and POW (Protect Our Winter). Jeremy Jones founded POW in 2007 and continues to lend his voice to this cause; Jones Snowboards backs up their words by financially supporting these groups. Writing this review during a great stretch of storms (while the memory of multiple drought winters lingers) makes us thankful that industry groups are working to preserve the conditions that make a powder day possible. Jones Snowboards has been a leader in pushing the industry to take a stand on environmental issues and climate change specifically.
It's a stellar board, but there are trade-offs when compared to higher-end Jones offerings. The older Karakorum clips are a serious step down from the Karakorum Ultra Clips on more expensive Jones decks. The different clips provide equal ride performance, but the Ultra Clips are much faster and easier to use. The Frontier doesn't feature the bolt-less bridge technology that is again found on more expensive Jones boards. These shortcomings stand out when you have both boards lined up in your garage, as we do right now, but honestly, do not substantially influence the ride quality or climbing experience of the Frontier.
The Frontier deserves its place in the Jones line up. Its medium tip to tail and stiffer torsional flex makes this board a good candidate for the individual looking for a more freestyle oriented Jones board. Overall, this model is a great option for those looking to purchase their first or tenth splitboard based on its well-rounded performance and easy to handle nature.
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