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Voile Spartan Ascent Review

A minimalist board that has everything that you need and nothing that you don't
Voile Spartan Ascent
Photo: Backcountry
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $650 List
Pros:  Durable, affordable, versatile, easy to adjust stance
Cons:  Generalist, soft for aggressive riding or heavy snow
Manufacturer:   Voile
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 28, 2020
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 11
  • Powder - 26% 6
  • Firm Snow - 26% 7
  • Climbing - 28% 8
  • Binding Adjustability - 5% 9
  • Playfulness - 15% 9

Our Verdict

The Voile Spartan Ascent is incredibly lightweight and offers excellent value. The Spartan Ascent is a generalist and does everything well; a strong attribute of the board is its climbing ability with its lightweight and camber profile. This medium flexing board has a playful feel that is absent on some splitboards; the playful nature does compromise its stability for aggressive riding, particularly in firm snow. Voile designed this board to have no gimmicks or excess. Every feature provides value to your backcountry experience, whether you are on your first or one-hundredth tour. The Spartan Ascent is great for riders of all skill levels that are looking for a playful and versatile ride without breaking the bank.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Voile Spartan Ascent
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $650 List$899 List$900 List$799 List$751 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
74
81
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74
73
Star Rating
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Pros Durable, affordable, versatile, easy to adjust stanceDurable topsheet, great powder floatation, excellent climbing, snappy turn experience, bolt-less baseStable, stiff, lightweight, solid, predictable, reliable, supports diverse riding objectivesDurable topsheet, versatile, responsive, good offering of sizesCustomization, powder floatation, driven strong turns
Cons Generalist, soft for aggressive riding or heavy snowExpensive, switch ridingExpensive, narrow waist width, shallow nose riseChallenging to smear turns in firm snow at slow speedsHard to smear turns, not for firm complex terrain
Bottom Line A minimalist board that has everything that you need and nothing that you don'tClimbs like a bird in thermals, rides like your trusted solid boardProvides versatile performance to support daily or ambitious backcountry objectives, the Solution is a satisfying rideFreeride, freestyle, or powder specific; now you don't have to choosePowder specific? Nope
Rating Categories Voile Spartan Ascent Backwoods Jones Solution Spli... United Shapes Covert Prior Slasher
Powder (26%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
Firm Snow (26%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Climbing (28%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Binding Adjustability (5%)
9.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
Playfulness (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Voile Spartan Ascent Backwoods Jones Solution Spli... United Shapes Covert Prior Slasher
Weight 6.08 lbs 7.33 lbs 7.38 lbs 7.45 lbs 7.75 lbs
Tested Length 158 157 158 158 156
Flex Soft Medium - stiff Stiff Medium Medium
Weight in grams 2794 g 3325 g 3346 g 3382 g 3532 g
Weight Per Surface Area 0.62 0.74 0.74 0.75 0.8
Available Lengths 154, 158, 162, 166 152, 157, 160, 163, 163 (w) 154, 158, 159W, 161, 162W, 164, 165W, 166, 169W 149,152,158,161,166 156, 161, 167
Construction Type Cap Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich
Core Material paulownia, carbon Wood/ bamboo Wood Blended wood Wood
Waist Width 25.7cm 25.6cm 24.7cm 25.7cm 25cm
Shape Directional twin Directional Directional Directional Directional
Radius 7.7m 7.3/6.5/7.5m 8.5m 7.5m 6.5m
Camber/Rocker Freeride camber Rock camber rocker Directional rocker Rocker/ Camber/ Rocker Camber

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.

Performance Comparison


The Spartan Ascent aims to facilitate backcountry experiences with a...
The Spartan Ascent aims to facilitate backcountry experiences with a lower cost than many splitboards can offer.
Photo: Laredo

Powder


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.

The Spartan Ascent isn't the floatiest board ever made, but it sure...
The Spartan Ascent isn't the floatiest board ever made, but it sure provides a fun ride.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Firm Snow


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.

Strapping into the Spartan Ascent.
Strapping into the Spartan Ascent.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Climbing


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).

The Spartan Ascent is incredibly lightweight, clocking in at 2794...
The Spartan Ascent is incredibly lightweight, clocking in at 2794 grams or 6.16 pounds.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Playfulness


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 simple and streamlined design to get you in the backcountry.
A simple and streamlined design to get you in the backcountry.
Photo: Laredo

Binding Adjustablity


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.

The Slider channel makes stances adjustments easy and quick.
The Slider channel makes stances adjustments easy and quick.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Value


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.

Conclusion


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