TahoeLab – PowFish Splitboard Review
First Impressions This is clearly a directional powder focused board. The long nose, split tail, and taper should clearly combine to float quickly and easily in the soft stuff. The board has a traditional camber profile under the feet with early rise tip. The tail is pretty low and short. The width is a little […]
This is clearly a directional powder focused board. The long nose, split tail, and taper should clearly combine to float quickly and easily in the soft stuff. The board has a traditional camber profile under the feet with early rise tip. The tail is pretty low and short. The width is a little broader than normal.
I’m no graphic designer but the simple black carbon look with red and white accents works for me.
One of the benefits of riding a board from a small manufacturer is the ability to customize the ride. Talking with Lee and Abe, I made a couple minor changes to further reduce the weight (I’m definitely a weight weenie). We used a couple fewer stance inserts to lighten the board. Since I planned to set this up to tour with Dynafit toes, we skipped the standard touring inserts (losing 6 total) and did a direct Dynafit toe mount. Being a skinny dude, we reduced the stiffness a little to encourage playfulness. The overall weight is quite low for a split board of this size.
On the mountain
Another area where I was very impressed with the camber was split skiing. I ski out of deep backcountry zones all the time and was initially a little nervous that the small tail would wash out or be squirrelly. This was not the case. Since I ski with the sidecut in the middle, the longer parts of Swallowtail are on the inside and really seemed to provide useful extra support. Combining this with the camber really helped make the PowFish ski incredibly well. The 2014-2015 winter was one of the worst ever in Tahoe and the approaches and exits were longer and funkier than normal, the PowFish excelled at these weird skinning/split skiing situations.
In deep snow this board is incredibly fun. The big nose, taper, and split tail makes it easy to cruise in powder, but when you ramp up the speed, the ability to stand forward on the board and rail strong turns inspires confidence. While almost any split board is fun in powder a dedicated pow board is like entering ludicrous mode.
The camber profile on this board works very well. While obviously a pow board, it traverses confidently on firm steeps. I had the opportunity to ski off the Grand Teton using this board and the several hundred feet of hard no fall terrain went down fine. TahoeLab’s extra smidge of width was definitely appreciated when focusing on holding an edge on the steeps.
Despite riding many days in a super sharky low tide Sierra season, the base and edges made it through with only normal scratches.
I covered some of the plusses on the swallow tail (great pow performance, confidence inspiring split skiing performance) but there are a couple trade offs. Switch riding in anything but smooth firm conditions is pretty tough. I could line myself up in couloirs using falling leaf technique in firm conditions but occasionally had to use other strategies if it was too deep for the tail. It is also worth mentioning that the swallow tail can also be challenge when fitting skins with tail clips. After experimenting with a couple different setups, I just used skins without tail clips and that worked well for me.
This is a super fun pow stick with ample all conditions chops. While ascending, the lightweight, supportive camber profile, and large nose break trail well in powder and hold a grip on firm skin tracks. Overall, it’s tough to beat for those ridiculously deep days and a solid choice on more normal days as well.
Review by: David Reichel a splitboard guide, avalanche instructor and paid observer for the Sierra Avalanche Center