Voile Spartan Ascent Review
Cons: Generalist, soft for aggressive riding or heavy snow
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Voile Spartan Ascent
|Price||$650 List||$898.95 at Backcountry|
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|$900 List||$919 List||$799 List|
|Pros||Durable, affordable, versatile, easy to adjust stance||Durable topsheet, great powder floatation, excellent climbing, snappy turn experience, bolt-less base||Stable, stiff, lightweight, solid, predictable, reliable, supports diverse riding objectives||Fun, predictable, solid edge hold, confidence inspiring, great float||Durable topsheet, versatile, responsive, good offering of sizes|
|Cons||Generalist, soft for aggressive riding or heavy snow||Expensive, switch riding||Expensive, narrow waist width, shallow nose rise||Slightly soft nose and tail, heavy-ish||Challenging to smear turns in firm snow at slow speeds|
|Bottom Line||Where minimalism meets performance||Solid board performance paired with exceptional climbing ability||Offering exceptional performance in powder and firm snow, the Solution in up for whatever you're looking to do||A fun and stable all-mountain offering that handles well in powder||A well-crafted splitboard that provides a fun and versatile ride|
|Rating Categories||Voile Spartan Ascent||Backwoods||Jones Solution Splitboard||Venture Storm||United Shapes Covert|
|Firm Snow (26%)|
|Binding Adjustability (5%)|
|Specs||Voile Spartan Ascent||Backwoods||Jones Solution...||Venture Storm||United Shapes Covert|
|Weight||6.08 lbs||7.33 lbs||7.38 lbs||7.91 lbs||7.45 lbs|
|Flex||Soft||Medium - stiff||Stiff||Medium Stiff||Medium|
|Weight in grams||2794 g||3325 g||3346 g||3587 g||3382 g|
|Weight Per Surface Area||0.62||0.74||0.74||0.8||0.75|
|Available Lengths||154, 158, 162, 166||152, 157, 160, 163, 163 (w)||154, 158, 159W, 161, 162W, 164, 165W, 166, 169W||157,161, 162, 166, 171||149,152,158,161,166|
|Core Material||paulownia, carbon||Wood/ bamboo||Wood||Wood||Blended wood|
|Camber/Rocker||Freeride camber||Rock camber rocker||Directional rocker||Straightline rocker||Rocker/ Camber/ Rocker|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Voile has been making splitboards longer than any manufacturer and worked to engineer the first splitboard out of necessity for efficiency in the mountains. Voile products are geared toward getting you in the backcountry, and they offer lower-cost quality products that provide a good value. The Voile Spartan Ascent fits that model. It offers impressive performance through its thoughtful features and can enhance your splitboarding experience, if you have the appropriate skills.
Powder is powder. It will always be fun whether you're sledding, pow surfing, or riding that snowboard that has been laying around in the basement. It is exceptionally fun when riding a snowboard designed for the job. The Spartan Ascent is an all-around generalist. It has a tapered shape with rocker in the tip and tail and a gentle setback to maximize floatation. All of these features are designed to reduce the amount of user effort required and increase the fun.
The Spartan Ascentprovided the exact niche it set out to accomplish. It allows you to explore beyond the boundaries and enjoy more powder. It didn't blow our minds with effortless flotation but remained afloat and had a great feel underfoot. This board loves short to mid radius turns at medium and below speeds. When sampling larger radius turns at higher speeds, we found the nose to be a little soft to confidently ride in this style. The nose can over flex resulting in a bobble in order to regain balance. This point of instability is accentuated in high-density snow and minimized in lower density snow.
Overall, this split provides a fun powder experience based on critical powder performance-enhancing attributes. This all-around board provides adequate flotation and a great feel during short to mid radius turns at medium speeds.
When you're snowboarding in the backcountry, there is always a solid chance of encountering firm snow. Firm snow is something that you and your board should be ready for.
The Spartan Ascent features a camber profile with rocker in the nose and tail. The model exhibited all the stability characteristics of camber. When edging down-solid melt-freeze crusts, we felt secure and trusted the edge hold. However, we often found ourselves riding a little more conservatively than on other models because of the softer nose and flex. The board is a little soft for harder riding that heavily loads the nose i.e. steep fast lines or arcing turns in firm snow. The softer flex gives the board a playful and fluid flex. It rockered tips, help it move from edge to edge easily.
In most settings, it performed well on hardpack. It would be a good choice for casual corn laps and most days in the backcountry. However, we would like more stability for bigger lines.
Uphill travel is a large component of ski touring and makes up the majority of our experience. Therefore our boards should be designed to excel in this metric.
The Spartan Ascent shaves weight where it can and clocks in at six pounds, 2.5 ounces for a 158cm. This is one of the lightest boards and boasted the best surface area to gram values in its class. A lighter board underfoot means you can harvest the benefits steps after step.
When the snow gets firm and you are heading sideways, the camber provides side to side stability by maximizing edge contact. The torsional and tip to tail stiffness was just enough to feel secure when sidehilling (for our 158 pound tester).
A lot of splitboarding gear is criticized for its stiffness. Often times the stiffness relates to the main gripe for some splitboards that they don't feel like snowboards. The main difference here is splitboards have a low priority on playfulness when flexing or turning then solid boards.
This model has a playful and fluid flex that is fun to turn and butter around. Its flex has a lot of feedback as to what is happening underneath your feet during a turn. The Spartan is fast and easy to get on edge, thanks to the rocker in the tips. The gently directional profile supports a freestyled nature of riding.
A pain that all splitboarders share is the time it takes to change your stance or set up your bindings. The Spartan Ascent has provided a solution.
It features a channel system similar to the Burton Est, making it incredibly easy to change your stance. Simply loosen the screws, apply the binding plate, and dial in your stance. This saves at least 10 minutes for even the fastest of stance changers. Here the Spartan stands out. Best of all, the board comes with the pucks.
This is a board of no gimmicks. That means there is nothing you're paying for that doesn't add value to your splitboarding experience. It provides a great value and supports Voile's goal of getting you in the backcountry.
The Voile Spartan Ascent is a minimalist splitboard that is incredibly lightweight; it's designed to lower your cost and enhance your backcountry experience. It has a playful flex that makes it fun to ride but doesn't make too big of a compromise in stability. We did find its nose a bit soft for harder riding. This model is a generalist, and it won't blow your mind anywhere but will perform everywhere. The Spartan Ascent is for introductory and intermediate backcountry users looking to bypass the gimmicks and head into the backcountry.
— Isaac Laredo