Jones revised the Solution splitboard for 2020. In addition to new graphics (seen in the first image below), the updated board also boasts Jones's FSC Ultra Core (their lightest split wood core yet) and Power Stringers made of natural fibers, flax and basalt, which help aid in response and power transfer. The new board also features rounded, recycled ABS sidewalls which are designed to improve the durability of the topsheet. Below, the first image shows the updated board and the second image reflects the version we tested before.
We hope that these updates only improve upon our Editors' Choice winning splitboard, but until we can shred the gnar ourselves on this new board, the review to follow is still only our account of the previous Solution.
Hands-On Review of the Solution
The Jones Solution won our Best In Class award back in 2016 when we first reviewed splitboards. Upon retesting in 2019, the Solution wins again. The performance we liked in the 2016 model remains, the areas that scored lower have been noticeably improved, and Jones addressed a couple of minor components that were not even on our radar in 2016.
The 2019 Solution from Jones.
The Solution is still ideal for big mountain chargers who love riding fast and hard and want a stiff, reliable board that can handle this. When the couloir walls close in tight and speeds slow, the light weight of the Solution allows it to be moved easily. In mellower environments, picture hippy trees or low angle pow fields, the current model is much more fun and forgiving than it was a few years ago.
Jones uses Flip Flop bases to minimize material use, so base colors may vary.
One of the most impressive improvements since the 2016 Solution, is the addition of Bolt-less Bridge technology. Historically, splitboard clips required holes drilled thoroughly through the board, with bolts visible on the base side of the board. Jones has added a small amount of material to top of the Solution. This allows them to use clips that are not drilled all the way through the board. The absence of holes in the base significantly improves the appearance of the Solution, while also improving the speed of the base. Bolt-less Bridge tech represents an incremental but significant step forward in splitboard design.
The powder performance of the Solution is excellent for a general directional snowboard. If you imagine an ultimate quiver, the Solution is significantly better than the twin tip park board, and not as amazing as a powder specific directional board (but more versatile than many pow centric shapes, like a swallow tail or short-nosed fish design).
We found the current Jones Solution to be a much-improved powder performer over the 2016 design we reviewed previously. If we could only have one splitboard, loved powder and rode somewhere with tons of it, we would be happy to have the Solution. Powder days will be epic, and it will perform well when conditions change.
The Solution is a great tool for exploring the backcountry.
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.
The Solution handles firm snow very well. The relatively stiff flex can maintain an edge in the firm snow, and the Traction Tech helps edge hold. In the spring, the Solution is an excellent choice for days that might include hard, refrozen surfaces and hopefully some perfectly ripe corn. The Solution is capable of surviving in the frozen conditions and has the will to play in the ripe corn.
The Solution handled the firm snow and the soft stuff on this tour above Lake Tahoe.
The lightweight, stiffness, and Traction Tech helped this contender score the highest in our review for 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 help maintain control and edge grip when split-skiing. The early rise nose assists keeping the nose from diving under powder when breaking trail skinning.
Before this lake froze solid, the skin track around the edges added challenge to a favorite local tour.
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.
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.
We reviewed the 158, and our lead tester weighs 150 lbs. 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. While still not a park board, this year's Solution is definitely more playful than the 2016 version. This improvement is noticeable and contributes to increased enjoyment in mellow terrain.
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 top sheet, 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. 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. In addition to Avalanche Awareness information on their website, Jones Snowboards considers December Jones Avalanche Awareness Month and feature valuable educational messaging in their social media content.
This board can ride everything on the mountain. If you struggle getting down something on this split, it's probably not the Solution's fault. This board is tilted towards big mountain riding and is also a better match for stronger riders, but is still a fun ride in mellow terrain.
At $900, the Solution is on the higher end of the market. It's also one of the best boards. Its performance is exceptional, and it features high end touches like the Boltless Bridge technology that lends a high-end appearance. 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.