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Voile Spartan Ascent Review

A minimalist board that has every thing that you need and nothing that you don't.
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $650 List | $649.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Durable, affordable, versatile, easy to adjust stance
Cons:  Generalist, soft for aggressive riding or heavy snow
Manufacturer:   Voile
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 21, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 10
  • Powder - 25% 6
  • Firm Snow - 27.5% 7
  • Climbing - 27.5% 7
  • Binding Adjustability - 5% 9
  • Playfulness - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Voile Spartan Ascent earns our second Best Buy Award. It is incredibly lightweight and offers excellent value; it's a generalist, and it does everything well. In particular, it shines in climbing with its light weight 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 hard 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.


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Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $649.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$899.95 at REI
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$898.95 at Backcountry
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$919 List$799 List
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Pros Durable, affordable, versatile, easy to adjust stanceStable, stiff, lightweight, solid, predictable, reliable, supports diverse riding objectivesDurable topsheet, great powder floatation, excellent climbing, snappy turn experience, bolt-less baseFun, predictable, solid edge hold, confidence inspiring, great floatDurable topsheet, versatile, responsive, good offering of sizes
Cons Generalist, soft for aggressive riding or heavy snowExpensive, narrow waist width, shallow nose riseExpensive, switch ridingSlightly soft nose and tail, heavy-ishProficient firm snow performance
Bottom Line A minimalist board that has every thing that you need and nothing that you don't.Provides versatile performance to support daily or ambitious backcountry objectives.Climbs like a bird in thermals, rides like your trusted solid board.An even mix of freestyle and free ride that doesn't neglect flotation.Freeride, freestyle, or powder specific; now you don't have to choose.
Rating Categories Voile Spartan Ascent Jones Solution Splitboard Backwoods Venture Storm United Shapes Covert
Powder (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
6
Firm Snow (27.5%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
7
Climbing (27.5%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
8
Binding Adjustability (5%)
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
5
Playfulness (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
Specs Voile Spartan Ascent Jones Solution... Backwoods Venture Storm United Shapes Covert
Weight 6.08 lbs 7.38 lbs 7.33 lbs 7.91 lbs 7.45 lbs
Tested Length 158 158 157 157 158
Flex Soft Stiff Medium - stiff Medium Stiff Medium
Weight 2762 g 3346 g 3325 g 3587 g 3382 g
Weight Per Surface Area 0.62 0.74 0.74 0.8 0.75
Available Lengths 154, 158, 162, 166 154, 158, 159W, 161, 162W, 164, 165W, 166, 169W 152, 157, 160, 163, 163 (w) 157,161, 162, 166, 171 149,152,158,161,166
Construction Type Cap Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich
Core Material paulownia, carbon Wood Wood/ bamboo Wood Blended wood
Waist Width 25.7cm 24.7cm 25.6cm 25cm 25.7cm
Shape Directional twin Directional Directional Directional Directional
Radius 7.7m 8.5m 7.3/6.5/7.5m 8.48m 7.5m
Camber/Rocker Freeride camber Directional rocker Rock camber 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 products with good value. The Voile Spartan Ascent has the same goal. It provides impressive performance through its thoughtful features that all enhance your splitboarding experience.

Performance Comparison



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, and exhibited all be stability characteristics of camber. When edging down solid melt-freeze crusts, we felt secure, even with the audible icy noise. While we trusted the edge hold, we often found ourselves riding a little more conservatively than on other models because of the softer nose and flex. The nose is a little soft for harder riding that heavily loads the nose, which we mainly found while arcing turns in firm snow. The contrast to this is that the board has a playful and fluid flex with rockered tips, which helps it more easily move from edge to edge.

In most settings, it performed well on hardpack. It would be a good choice for casual corn stashes and most days in the backcountry. However, we would like more stability for bigger lines.

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.


Voile clips.
Voile clips.

The Spartan Ascent shaves weight where it can to clock in at six pounds and 1.4 ounces (for a 158). This is one of the lightest boards and boasted one of 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).


Playfulness


A lot of splitboarding gear is criticized for its stiffness. Often times, the main gripe is that they don't feel like snowboards. The main issue is a lack of playfulness when flexing or turning.


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 lends to a freestyled nature of riding.

Powder


The update, which includes the Spartan Ascent, began in the spring of 2019 and testing is still in progress for this metric. The Spartan Ascent has a tapered camber profile with rocker in the tip and tail; we expect this to help provide floatation and be proficient for most powder days. We don't expect it to be a competitor in the metric due to its tip and tail lengths in addition to its degree of taper.

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, which makes it incredibly easy to change your stance. Simply loosen the screws, apply the binding plate, and dial in your stance. This saves at least 20 minutes for even the fastest of stance changers. Here the Spartan stands out. Best of all, the board comes with the pucks.

Imagine any stance. You can have it in a second.
Imagine any stance. You can have it in a second.

Value


This is a board of no gimmicks. That means there is nothing you're not 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. However, 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 who are looking to bypass pass the gimmicks and head into the backcountry.


Isaac Laredo