Snowboard Base Material
Splitboard and Snowboard base material is made of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. It is very dense and resist wear and damage but also has very low friction against snow. Polyethylene is also well at absorbing wax.
Some snowboard bases differ in their hardness based on the additives.
Brands of Base Material
Types of Base Material
Extruded base are made from polyethylene pellets that are melted into a sheet and then compact under pressure through an extruder for the desired thickness of the finished material. These flat sheets are then cut to lengths to be used on the base of snowboards. Extruded bases are known to be cheaper to produce, and thus hold less wax, are less durable,and are slower on the snow.
Sintered base are made from the same polyethylene pellets but instead of melting with heat, they are bonded using high pressure. This causes them to melt and fuse together. Because the compression fuses the pellets together, it’s more dense than an extruded base, and has a higher molecular mass that is better than extruded bases. Sintered base also absorb wax better and are more water resistant which makes them faster on the snow. There are also many additives to sintered bases that increase density, and harden the plastic. It also decreases friction and static electricity making it overall faster on the snow. However, there is a downside, sintered base can cost more and be more difficult to repair.
It’s worth pointing out that the graphics on the base of a snowboard can effect the ride and performance
Silk Screen Graphics
Silk Screen graphics are simple and applied directly on the base of the snowboard. Much like a silk screened t-shirt. A stencil is made for each color of the design and paint is drug across the open area. This provides a nice graphic, but is usually limited to a few colors and the clarity of the design is not perfectly clear due to viewing it through the base material.
Sublimation is the process of printing graphics onto a sheet of paper and then sandwiching it between the base materiel and the bottom of the snowboard. This allows for very intricate designs to be printed and glued to base substrate. These can also offer a wide variety of colors however, the crispness of the graphic is often blurred because of the base material.
Die Cut Graphics
We have not seen a lot of die cut graphics in splitboards, however this is a very popular way to product brightly colored without the washout of viewing graphics through a clear base. The base material is actually cut into puzzle pieces that fit together to be glued to the base of the snowboard. It provides very crisp clean lines between the graphic, but limits the complexity and colors to the design. Die cut bases also can leave a seam that can more easily de-laminate or cause greater friction on the base of the snowboard.