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Weston Backcountry Backwoods Splitboard Review

Climbs like a bird in thermals, rides like your trusted solid board
Weston Backcountry Backwoods Splitboard
Photo: Weston
Editors' Choice Award
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  • 5
Price:  $899 List | $898.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Durable topsheet, great powder floatation, excellent climbing, snappy turn experience, bolt-less base
Cons:  Expensive, switch riding
Manufacturer:   Weston Backcountry
By Isaac Laredo ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 28, 2020
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81
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Weston Backwoods takes home our top award. It's designed with a powder shape and is outfitted with freeride features. It provides incredible floatation and maneuverability in powder. In firm snow, it gives plenty of edge hold and the blended core provides a snappy turn experience. The Backwoods stands out on the uphill based on its tail-heavy weight distribution, which provides a balanced and nimble climbing feel. The Backwoods is for splitboarders looking for a medium-stiff board that climbs well and has downhill performance suited for most objectives.

Backwoods Updates

Since our test cycle with the Backwoods, the topsheet has been updated (see image above) and the board now includes Karakoram tip and tail clips.

January 2021

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Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
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Pros Durable topsheet, great powder floatation, excellent climbing, snappy turn experience, bolt-less baseStable, stiff, lightweight, solid, predictable, reliable, supports diverse riding objectivesFun, predictable, solid edge hold, confidence inspiring, great floatDurable, affordable, versatile, easy to adjust stanceDurable topsheet, versatile, responsive, good offering of sizes
Cons Expensive, switch ridingExpensive, narrow waist width, shallow nose riseSlightly soft nose and tail, heavy-ishGeneralist, soft for aggressive riding or heavy snowChallenging to smear turns in firm snow at slow speeds
Bottom Line Climbs 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 rideAn even mix of freestyle and free ride that doesn't neglect flotationA minimalist board that has everything that you need and nothing that you don'tFreeride, freestyle, or powder specific; now you don't have to choose
Rating Categories Weston Backcountry... Jones Solution Spli... Venture Storm Voile Spartan Ascent United Shapes Covert
Powder (26%)
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
Firm Snow (26%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
Climbing (28%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Binding Adjustability (5%)
5.0
5.0
5.0
9.0
5.0
Playfulness (15%)
8.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Specs Weston Backcountry... Jones Solution Spli... Venture Storm Voile Spartan Ascent United Shapes Covert
Weight 7.33 lbs 7.38 lbs 7.91 lbs 6.08 lbs 7.45 lbs
Tested Length 157 158 157 158 158
Flex Medium - stiff Stiff Medium Stiff Soft Medium
Weight in grams 3325 g 3346 g 3587 g 2794 g 3382 g
Weight Per Surface Area 0.74 0.74 0.8 0.62 0.75
Available Lengths 152, 157, 160, 163, 163 (w) 154, 158, 159W, 161, 162W, 164, 165W, 166, 169W 157,161, 162, 166, 171 154, 158, 162, 166 149,152,158,161,166
Construction Type Sandwich Sandwich Sandwich Cap Sandwich
Core Material Wood/ bamboo Wood Wood paulownia, carbon Blended wood
Waist Width 25.6cm 24.7cm 25cm 25.7cm 25.7cm
Shape Directional Directional Directional Directional twin Directional
Radius 7.3/6.5/7.5m 8.5m 8.48m 7.7m 7.5m
Camber/Rocker Rock camber rocker Directional rocker Straightline rocker Freeride camber Rocker/ Camber/ Rocker

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Weston Backwoods has a powder shape designed for all-around performance. Whatever terrain or conditions we found ourselves in, this board was confidence-inspiring and fun. One day we rode 2000 feet of breakable crust, and even there, our lead tester was having a blast on this board. The Backwoods is a standout model for enjoyment and all-around performance.

Performance Comparison


The mountain graphics fit in the mountain scenery.
The mountain graphics fit in the mountain scenery.
Photo: Laredo

Powder


Powder, powder, powder. It's why we endure the rough conditions of the storm. It's why we wake up at four in the morning to get a lap in before work. We love it, and our board should support our desire to enjoy it. The Backwoods does just that.


The shape of the Backwoods utilizes strategic design tactics to promote optimal and user-friendly float. What differentiates the Backwoods from a large number of splitboards on the market is its short rounded tail and its longer relative effective edge. It has a short rounded tail that instantly sinks due to the lack of surface area. The reduced surface area and rounded tail also aided performance in breakable crust conditions. The rounded tailed reduced the amount the crust was able to grab and influence the back half of our snowboard. This benefit was especially noticeable at slower speeds and was enhanced by the nimbleness of the board.

The board shape creates a swift ride that can maneuver through the tightest trees. The rider can pivot and quickly steer off the backfoot; this makes it an excellent choice for those who ride a lot of treed terrain and would appreciate added maneuverability. The longer and rockered nose just before the contact point make the nose want to stay afloat, while the tapered tail supports additional floatation. The taper works to sink the tail and float the nose. Both of these characteristics are found in a variety of splitboards, and that's because they work.

Whether you like to slash and bash in the snow or make smooth arcing...
Whether you like to slash and bash in the snow or make smooth arcing turns, the Backwoods is happy to help.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Firm Snow


If you are looking for a quiver of one for your splitboard setup, powder performance should never come at the expense of firm snow security. The reality is that you will encounter every condition that exists while touring throughout your season; everything from boilerplate ice to blower powder. An all-around performer like the Backwoods works to make enjoyable turns in all conditions. The Backwoods provides a secure, fun, and snappy ride on firm snow.


The Backwoods starts off with a powder shape and is incorporated with freeride design techniques to provide a ride with limited trade-offs. The stiff, predominantly cambered profile allows this board to be stable and secure at speed or when the conditions firm up. The Backwoods has plenty of edge hold when turning down the fall line or even traversing on both the toe and heel edge. On an incredibly firm descent of Mt. Shasta, we traversed a few hundred yards to intercept a saddle. Our lead tester came up a few yards lower and shorter than a skier on his heel side traverse. which in the ski vs. snowboard comparison this is a rare event. During the traverse, the edge rarely slipped, and there was no heel drag to worry about. Really, any result that is comparable to a skier is impressive when we're talking about traversing and edge hold.

The Backwoods is incredibly easy to get on edge at all speeds, which makes it easy to maneuver in firm, icy, and potentially steep situations. If you need to hop turn, this short tail and well-balanced construction lowers the swing weight and space required. Overall, making it easier when the moves become critical. When the turns aren't make or break, the Backwoods provides a snappy, powerful, and fun turning experience. It utilizes a poplar and bamboo core to provide energetic, quick turns that promotes a surf style approach to spring corn riding.

Climbing


Climbing efficiency is the bread and butter for touring equipment as most of its life is spent ascending. The Backwoods nailed it with its lightweight, tail heavy ski and on track stability.


We loved climbing on the Backwoods; it became one of our go-to options for longer days and further objectives. Until we weighed all the boards side by side, we thought the Backwoods was the lightest. After weighing the models, the Backwoods was not the lightest but was very competitive in this metric.

It felt the lightest underfoot in the category. In our first few tours, we were pleasantly surprised by how nimble this board was on the track. Kick turns came easy, and the skis were easy to pivot. Weston balances their split skis to be tail heavy, which raises the nose up and results in the aforementioned benefits. Its uphill efficiency is complemented by plenty of stability.

Apprentice Ski Guide Will Sperry testing out the Backwoods.
Apprentice Ski Guide Will Sperry testing out the Backwoods.
Photo: Laredo

The Backwoods side hills as good as the other top competitors in the category. Its medium-stiff camber profile provides plenty of edge contact for secure sidehilling and tip to tail stability when climbing up steeper objectives. It was designed for uphill efficiency and became one of our favorites on the way up.

The uphill efficiency made the Backwoods our go-to choice for longer...
The uphill efficiency made the Backwoods our go-to choice for longer objectives.
Photo: Laredo

Binding Adjustablity


The Backwoods uses the standard insert pattern for splitboards. Expect to take off the pucks or attachment system to adjust your stance.

Playfulness


The Backwoods is a medium-stiff board built to ride anything you may want. The benefits brought by this character posit a barrier to a truly playful board in the traditional sense of being easy to flex and ride switch. The board is playful in the sense that you can happily use it everywhere.

The Backwoods supported the majority of our objectives.
The Backwoods supported the majority of our objectives.
Photo: Laredo

It is playful in its versatility and the diverse styles that it can support. Whether it be riding low angle powder, briefly scooting switch into an icy couloir, or ripping turns on perfect corn like its groomer, this board can do most things. We find this board conducive to airs and spins that result in regular landings, but switch landings are challenging. That's not what it was designed to do. It's designed to float, edge, and climb, which it does very well. Additionally, it is easy to get on edge and maneuver where you want it. The ability to downsize this board 1-3 cm unlocks a playful benefit without compromising stability.

Karma Score


Weston is a brand for snowboarders; they are about the community rather than the marketing or image. The company visualizes this ambition through active avalanche awareness activities and the riders host backcountry awareness nights in their local community. The Backwoods specifically supports the community, as Weston partnered with the National Forest Foundation. Ten percent of the profits of every 2020 Backwoods sold is donated back to the foundation.

Value


The Backwoods is priced competitively for performance splitboards. We really enjoyed the Backwoods performance on the up and the down and find the performance pricing to be justified.

The Backwoods crushed this 2400 foot climb to a Tahoe Classic.
The Backwoods crushed this 2400 foot climb to a Tahoe Classic.
Photo: Isaac Laredo

Conclusion


The Weston Backwoods is fit for all types of terrain and can suit the mood you are in. If you're feeling sendy, the Backwoods will excel in a steep and potentially icy chute; if you're looking for mellow turns, it can make fun turns at any speed or condition. This board is set apart from most in the category due to its climbing efficiency. It's perfect for splitboarders looking for a stiffer board that offers versatile and exceptional performance that is fit for most objectives.

The Backwoods weighs seven pounds, five ounces, which lightens the...
The Backwoods weighs seven pounds, five ounces, which lightens the load when the skis need to go on your back.
Photo: Laredo

Isaac Laredo