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4 5

I have a K2 Panoramic Split 168 that I have used a few days so far this lean season. To test it out properly I headed south at Teton Pass for a tour which involves much sidehilling, normally a dread for splitboarders with soft boots, but not this time. The Panoramic held steady on the firm slope due to the torsional stiffness, which I believe K2 has focused on having incorporated into their splits for this very reason. Well, it works. The Spark Boots and Bindings helped as well.

The special skin clips that come with the K2 Split make the transitions that much faster and they are bomber!

The Panoramic is a bit heavier than I would like but that being said, this board is built to last many seasons of backcountry schralping. I have ridden lighter splitboards and they end up breaking after a couple seasons. Strength to weight is always the trade off and when I am on a serious slope with cliffs below, I will take a little extra weight to have the confidence and security of a solid ride underfoot.

The torsional stiffness of the Panoramic made the ride feel a bit less playful than I like for a powder stick. But I can see how that same stiffness could save a ton of energy on a big ascent, possibly even facilitating the window for the summit before having to descend.

Bottom line: a reasonably priced and stout splitboard that will last many seasons of splitboard adventuring.

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4 5

I have a K2 Panoramic Split 168 that I have used a few days so far this lean season. To test it out properly I headed south at Teton Pass for a tour which involves much sidehilling, normally a dread for splitboarders with soft boots, but not this time. The Panoramic held steady on the firm slope due to the torsional stiffness, which I believe K2 has focused on having incorporated into their splits for this very reason. Well, it works. The Spark Boots and Bindings helped as well.

The special skin clips that come with the K2 Split make the transitions that much faster and they are bomber!

The Panoramic is a bit heavier than I would like but that being said, this board is built to last many seasons of backcountry schralping. I have ridden lighter splitboards and they end up breaking after a couple seasons. Strength to weight is always the trade off and when I am on a serious slope with cliffs below, I will take a little extra weight to have the confidence and security of a solid ride underfoot.

The torsional stiffness of the Panoramic made the ride feel a bit less playful than I like for a powder stick. But I can see how that same stiffness could save a ton of energy on a big ascent, possibly even facilitating the window for the summit before having to descend.

Bottom line: a reasonably priced and stout splitboard that will last many seasons of splitboard adventuring.

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4 5

The Spark boot by Deeluxe is what I have been waiting for in a boot since departing from Hard Boots after my attempt to snowboard the north face of Mount Everest in 2003. The security of this boot's grip while walking on firm snow is incredible. I hiked up Mount Glory on Teton Pass last Friday under the full moon with a group of friends. It hasn't snowed in several days and the boot pack was firm and slick with rocks protruding in several places. I have never felt so secure and comfortable on the boot pack as in these boots. The Vibram sole takes sure footedness to another level. I was convinced I was a billy goat for a little while and it had nothing to the products, services and beverages imbibed in and around the Stagecoach Bar before departure.

I am still getting used to the lacing system, which is not super intuitive. There has been no need to kick steps in firm snow yet with the cold snow this time of year, but I will be doing that soon enough. My initial thoughts on the toebox construction is that it could use some beefing up. I may doctor them up with a layer of Aquaseal, which would add some stiffness and protection to the toebox.

They Spark's ride well. I have ridden them a few days and they also tour fine. I am using an older Scarpa liner at the moment until I cook the ones that came with the boots, which will happen soon.

The four stars is for the seemingly flimsy toebox. If after use (I may only Aquaseal one boot) they hold up well and penetrate firm snow well, I will come back and amend the rating. But for now this is a great start to a splitboard/backcountry snowboarding/snowboard mountaineering boot.

Regarding Crampons, I haven't messed with that yet. Soon. I do know the Grivel G10 Wide's look ideal for snowboarding boots. But I am hoping for a great aluminum crampon,for most of the climbing I will be doing in these boots will be on snow.

Bottom line: A niche has been filled with the addition of a "real" Vibram sole. Gain security and confidence on snow, ice, rock and icy parking lots with the Deeluxe Spark Boot. Rides well and is light weight to boot!

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