[Header photo shot by Guillaume Le Guillou]
Spark R&D, based out of Bozeman, MT, has been rider owned and operated since 2006, dedicated to pushing the boundaries of splitboarding and the tech you need to get deeper into the backcountry, and killing it on the way down.
This winter has seen the guys cram even more features into the already jam-packed binding tech, and it's safe to say that The Arc binding is now fully geared to make your split excursion the best it possibly can be.
The biggest change for this season was the debut of the Pillow Line straps. These game-changing straps are injection moulded with one-piece construction and feature flexible pillows on the inside for comfort, and stiffer ribs on the outside to maintain rigidity. Soft and firm at the same time in a single piece. That's some serious product design right there.
“It's a huge accomplishment,” explains Will Ritter, Owner and Chief Designer at Spark R&D. “We’ve been gradually building up the capacity, knowledge, and resources to be able to pull off something of this scale. Not only did we design and prototype the straps, but we designed and built the moulds for them as well. We inject the straps here at Spark HQ and make our own strap hardware. I’m really proud of our guys for making this all happen.”
The team at Spark R&D has put this new tech through its paces, over years of rigorous testing. We're not sure if that means they just spend their whole time riding instead of working in the lab, but either way the new straps look legit and are some of the lightest on the market.
Spark R&D did not stop with new straps. They've introduced their own splitboard clip – the Spark Crossbar Clip. The clip features a camming lever for locking the board tightly together and a solid crossbar of lightweight aluminium that extends across the board seam to eliminate unwanted flex and movement. Clamping tension is adjustable to allow a customized fit for every board. Crossbar clips rotate out of the way in tour mode for snag-free skinning. They're designed to make your splitboard ride more like a solid board.
Spark Canted Pucks are the final addition to the 17/18 line. With all the same great features as the popular Spark Pucks, the new canted version includes a subtle, but important, three degrees of inward cant built into the plastic puck. This angle helps reduce knee strain for riders that have a slightly wider stance when riding, or just those that like the feel of the inward angle.
So, if you're looking to upgrade your splitboarding gear this winter, look no further than The Arc binding. Plenty of colourways, all the banging new tech and hand-built by snowboarders for snowboarders. Go splitboarding, already.