Please provide an overview of how 2022/23 is shaping up for your brand.
Our backcountry equipment saw standout performance last year and our 22/23 forecasts show another double-digit growth with the introduction of Xavier De Le Rue’s new signature splitboard and new Escaper Split directional twin series. Developed to minimize fossil fuel use in accordance with Xavier’s will, his new signature split combines lightweight Paulownia with self-regenerating-no-fertilizer Bamboo laminates, allowing us to stay away from Carbon, Basalt and Kevlar fibers, 33% bio based Epoxy and recycled sidewalls taken from the factory’s scrap. Offered as a limited early release, the board also features Xavier’s signature directional shape, Reverse flex profile, Serrated edges, 80% camber AmpTek Elite profile and Roller tips to attack the biggest, boldest and most remote backcountry lines. As part of the global Escaper offer that encompasses all product lines, the Escaper Split is the perfect all-mountain freestyle splitboard for beginner to advanced riders. Featuring FSC woodcores, twin tips for switch landing, a balanced flex that is slightly stiffer under the front foot for added control and softer under the rear foot for smoother turns, RadCut for playful turn variations and seamless edge-to-edge transitions, a 4.4k sintered base and our most versatile AmpTek All-Mountain 50% rocker-50% camber profile that supplies the right blend of power, pop and float to keep pace no matter where the snow takes you. Sizes run from 49 to 61 wide to cover all categories with only 1 model. Skins will be available separately. They are 100% Nylon and cut to the dimensions of the boards.
Everyone has been affected by impacts from Covid-19 in one way or another. Have you had to change manufacturing or sourcing processes and can you explain any good examples of how your business has pivoted effectively?
See SNB boot questionnaire.
Carry-over was a hot topic for 21/22 boards. Where did your brand sit on the matter and has this changed for 22/23?
We usually bring 75% new products and artworks every year in our splitboard line. But have changed to 100% new splitboards for 22/23 with the unique inventory situation on this segment of the market and the amount of innovation that needs to be brought to market.
The bricks and mortar model is changing rapidly. How are you working with retailers and your ecommerce channel to ensure as little conflict as possible?
See snb boot questionnaire.
What’s your company doing to improve its carbon footprint/eco consciousness?
See question #1 above. We’re sourcing FSC wood laminates, 33% bio based epoxy and taking our sidewalls from the factory’s scrap. We’re also staying away from post-applied varnishes and DDP print 100% of our topsheets. Thus getting rid of silk screens as well as aluminum frames, UV exposure and minimizing water consumption.
Any big advancements in functionality? Skinning, transitions, etc, as well as riding?
Xavier De Le Rue’s signature splitboard is 250grs lighter than his previous model.The shape, flex, quality and price of the new Escaper Split not only make it the perfect introduction to splitboarding but also stand out in the market.
Prices: Which area of the market do you primarily cater to, price-wise? Has this changed at all in recent times, or is it pretty consistent?
The way we build our backcountry products does not give us any room to bring them at a lower price on the market. We’re not the most expansive but we’re not the cheapest either. What we do know though is that we’re extremely competitive when it comes to price/quality and ride-ability ratio. We make products that ride well and last long before anything.
Please tell us about the dominant visual themes in your 22/23 gear, including any interesting artist collabs you have lined up.
We listen to Xavier De Le Rue, Marion Haerty and a selection of key European and North-American dealers for graphics and our FW2223 colors are split into ‘real’ tones, feelgood combinations, grounded neutrals and pastels.
We are also proud to work with Salt Lake City graphic artist Andy Earl (https://andyearlcreative.bigcartel.com/, https://www.instagram.com/wasatchandy/) on the XV split, Sashimi split and Sushi split series.
Most brands tell us that selling in store is really important for splitboard gear, as it’s where you can get good advice. Can this be maintained post-COVID, or will you be looking to find more customers online?
I can see trained specialists go through ecom easy and first timers to advanced riders go to specialty retailers but no matter the channel, consumer experience is crucial and giving technical and mounting advice is mandatory. We address both channels but grow online tutorials and tech data that can be available at all times.
What are your three biggest European markets for splitboard hardware?
France, Germany and Italy.
Best Sellers/Hero products
XV Proto Split: Built to take freeride further into the unknown, Xavier De Le Rue’s signature splitboard is offered as a limited early release. Featuring the same directional shape, Reverse flex profile, GreenLight woodcore and RadCut as the standard XV, this splitboard version retains the original’s hard-charging characteristics so you can attack the biggest, boldest and most remote backcountry lines.
Escaper Split: The Escaper Split is the perfect all-mountain freestyle splitboard for beginner to advanced riders. Featuring twin tips for switch landing, a slightly reversed flex for front foot control, RadCut for playful turn variations, a 4.4k sintered base and our most versatile AmpTek All-Mountain 50% rocker-50% camber profile for power, pop and float. Sizes run from 49 to 61 wide.
After Hours Split: Developed with four-times FWT winner Marion Haerty for the intermediate to expert woman, the split version of the After Hours combines a setback camber on 80% of its running length with pintail and multiple positive and negative sidecut radiuses that are centered on the stance. Creating a twin freestyle feeling on a freeride board with a unique carving ability.