Admittedly, it's been a while since we've tested this board. It's gone through a couple different incarnations since then, but until we're able get to skinnin' and shreddin' on the newest version to give you a full report, here's the scoop on the updates this board has incurred since our testing period.
- Core Updates — The core has been lightened up a bit and Web Fused Carbon stringers have been added. Stringers are long, thin strips of material placed in the core of the board, and are useful in providing strength, pop, and elasticity.
- Bolt-Less Bridge — Designed to eliminate the base hardware.
- Clips — Jones added Karakorum Ultra Clips in order to improve torsional board lock.
- Edge Technology — Jones now employs Traction Tech 2.0 on many of their snowboards, designed to help the board edge better on firm snow.
Though we will link to the newest version in this review, until we strap into the newest version of the Solution, the text and ratings below reflect will the older model.
Hands-On Review of the 2016 Jones Solution
The Jones Solution wins our Editors' Choice Award due to its strong overall scores and particular strengths climbing and descending firm snow. As one of our lightest and stiffest review boards, this is a great pick for devout splitboarders who love to climb distant peaks and shred down even in firm conditions. If one is lucky enough to find powder, this split will handle that with aplomb as well. In short, this deck is a great quiver of one board with a slant towards steep lines and big mountain riding.
This board handles powder well. The nose appears small and gives the initial impression that the board will struggle floating. It employs the Jones Blunt Nose design that trades some nose length for slightly raised side nose edges. Jones argues that this saves weight and improves pow performance. While it is very hard to review this feature separate from the rest of the board design, this splitboard performs better in soft snow than appearances might suggest.
If you only ride firm snow, you should probably consider moving, or at least splurging on a trip to Japan. If you can't do those things, buy this splitboard. In our review fleet it scored the highest in firm conditions. As it is one of the stiffest boards in our test and stiffness is a welcome attribute on firm snow. The Mellow Magnetraction (on all edges) is subtle but does appear to help with edge hold; it replaces the normal smooth edge found on most splitboards. If you are not familiar with Magnetraction, it is essentially a serrated edge (similar to what is found on a bread knife); this somewhat smoothed out bread knife helps with edge grip. It is a minor construction accomplishment that Jones figured out how to include Mellow Magnetraction on both the outside and inside edges.
The lightweight, stiffness, and Mellow Magnetraction helped this contender score the highest in our review in climbing. Lightweight is essentially the absence of material and is easy to overlook, yet it adds more when climbing than any possible feature. Don't overlook how impressive it is that the board weighs so little, while still maintaining stiffness, and contributing to a boost in your confidence. Skinning through challenging and firm sidehill sections was as good as challenging sidehilling can be. Losing the skins and split-skiing also works well, as the stiffness and camber underfoot helps maintain control and edge grip when split-skiing. The rather compact nose floats decently (about average in our review fleet) when skinning and breaking trail in powder. If the nose sinks in powder and forces the skinner to constantly and awkwardly lift the nose out of the powder, the fact that this splitboard is so light would be wasted. Fortunately, the nose stays on top of powder while skinning.
Just like the Jones Explorer, this splitboard has small notches cut out to accommodate the Jones Skins and their Quick Tip Tension Tail Clip system. Pairing a Jones splitboard with their skins and Quick Tip Tensions Tail clip system will reduce bulk and weight, thereby improving packability — definitely an option worth considering. These types of skin connection systems have been employed on backcountry skis for many years.
The notches are made easier because Jones has eliminated the metal nose and tail guards common on many boards (and found in earlier generations of Jones splitboards). Losing the metal saves precious weight with very limited downside; this appears to be another area where Jones is bringing innovation to the splitboard market. At first glance, the absence of the metal at the nose and tail might be disconcerting, but the absence of the weight more than makes up for the loss of the metal (which added only little to the performance of the board).
This splitboard has the standard insert pattern.
The splitboard can freestyle, but will reward skill, strength, and rider weight in this area. The stiffness of the board (which has many significant benefits) presents a challenge for lighter weight riders who may find it tough to flex and bend. With the right rider, this board is certainly capable of spinning and playing. This is one of the variables that will vary depending on a rider's height/weight and the size of their board. If you are between board sizes and you size up for increased powder float and added stability at speed, the additional stiffness might make it harder to butter and press.
Jones Snowboards has an Ethics tab on their website, which is not something you will see on every snowboard company's site. The company supports 1% for the planet and Jeremy Jones founded POW (Protect Our Winters) in 2007. This splitboard also features an Eco-Plastic topsheet, which is said to reduce the environmental footprint of the board.
Right next to the Ethics tab on the Jones website is a Backcountry Safety tab connected to a wealth of great info. Splitboards are one of the tools allowing more folks to explore the backcountry and it's great to see a significant manufacturer take some responsibility for facilitating this access. The backcountry segment of the ski and snowboard/splitboard market is growing rapidly and it would be great to see more manufacturers push avalanche education like Jones is doing.
This board can ride everything on the mountain. If you struggle getting down something on this split, it's probably not the board's fault. This board is tilted towards big mountain riding and is also a better match for stronger riders.
At $900, this board is one of the most expensive boards in our review, along with the Never Summer Prospector. The real question, though, is how much you get for the price. With this split you get a lot; it's an impressive board that makes a strong case for itself. If you mainly ride softer snow and prefer a more playful board, the Jones Explorer is the much better value.
The Solution won our Editors' Choice award. If you are looking for a light, stiff, split that can ride everything, it is indeed a great choice. If you are looking to ride your split in the park (which would be silly), this isn't for you, but if you want to shred powder, climb peaks, and ride steeps, this splitboard will do just that.