2017-2018 Rossignol XV Magtek Splitboard, 163 cm
Available Sizes (cm): 159, 163, 164 Wide, 167
Blister’s Measured Weight: 3570 g / 7 lb 13.9 oz
Stated Dimensions (mm): 299-253-289
Stated Sidecut Radius (163 cm): 8.7 meters
Camber: 60% camber underfoot, 40% rocker at the tip and tail
Core: Triple Hybrid Core-splitboard specific with polyurethane and ABS inserts along edges and center of the board.
Base: 7500 Sintered
- ABS Sidewalls – strengthens the edge when split, while also adding durability to the edge while touring, ultimately keeping the core sealed and dry
- Aramid Kevlar laminate – adds strength and helps dampen vibration
- Basalt laminate – stronger and lighter than fiberglass and with more elasticity than carbon
- Glass fiber laminate – Has greater elongation before break than carbon and adds torsional resistance for better, responsive edging
- Magnetraction – seven bumps along the side cut that improves edge hold on hard and variable snow
Bindings: Karakoram Prime Carbon, Spark R&D Surge, Spark R&D Blaze
Boots: Fitwell Backcountry, K2 Aspect, K2 Ender
Test Locations: Chugach Mountain Range, AK
Days Tested: 12
Rossignol’s only splitboard is crafted specifically for big mountain legend, Xavier De Le Rue (XV). As to be expected for a rider of XV’s caliber, his signature splitboard has been refined and designed to shred anything that may cross his path. Xavier is well known for absolutely charging over extreme technical terrain, massive exposure, tight couloirs, trees, deep pow, and even exposed, blue glacial faces. (If you haven’t already, check out the Blister podcast conversation we had with Xavier.)
So naturally, Rossignol created a board for Xavier that’s meant to remain stable at high speeds and edge well on variable snow (the kind that’s typically found on most snowboard-mountaineering routes), while also providing enough float for deep powder days.
At first glance, the XV Magtek Split is well constructed and seems to be durable enough to withstand serious abuse. But it isn’t the lightest splitboard around; it feels quite comparable to the Jones Carbon Solution with respect to its weight and flex pattern. Obviously, this additional weight isn’t awesome when heading uphill, but the board certainly has a very nice, solid feel to it on the way down.
The core of the XV Magtek is a composite of wood with two strips of polyurethane to increase the snap, liveliness, and responsiveness of the board. The center of the XV features an ABS strip to strengthen the edge when split, while also adding durability to the edge while touring — ultimately keeping the core sealed and dry.
Rossignol uses a variety of laminates: kevlar, basalt, and fiberglass. While the kevlar is designed to dampen vibration, the basalt adds strength and stability to the core while remaining relatively light.
The camber of the XV Magtek Split seems similar to most all-mountain splitboards on the market, and specifically the Jones Solution. Rossignol’s AmpTek Elite camber is primarily underfoot, but also extends beyond the binding mounts towards the tip and tail, where the profile then transitions to rocker.
Rossignol incorporates their Roller Technology in the XV, which ultimately raises the edges 1 mm off the snow past the contact points at the tip and tail. Similar to the Jones Aviator, the rationale behind raising the edge off the snow is simple: by creating a very mellow hull to the board (similar to that of a boat), the snow is directed around the board to further increase stability at high speed, in addition to creating better float in powder and reduced swing weight. Although Rossignol’s Roller Technology is not as dramatic as the hull on the new Jones Project X board, the concept remains the same. But I was also happy to find that the XV can still edge well when necessary.
The XV is the stiffest board the Rossignol makes, and they rate it as a 10 out of 10. But don’t let this deter you from trying it out. As mentioned before, this XV Magtek Split is very similar to the Jones Carbon Solution in terms of flex. The Jones Carbon Solution has been one of my favorite splits for variable snow and demanding, big-mountain terrain. Lighter, softer boards like the Amplid Milligram are much poppier and lively, but I have found that when I’m riding in variable conditions — specifically hard, icy snow near exposure — a stiffer board edges better and promotes more confidence when it’s really needed.
I think one of the main factors that keeps the board feeling stable yet still impressively agile is Rossignol’s “Reverse Super Directional” flex pattern, which is a uniquely stiff tip coupled with a much softer flex near the waist and back foot.
When flexing the board by hand or while strapped in, the XV Magtek Split feels as though the board is soft and springy just inside and under the rear binding. It took a couple rides over jibby rollovers to get a feel for a board that has so much pop near the back foot, but then transitions into a very stiff nose. After a few laps, some minor tweaks, and adjusting my stance and I was able to find the sweet spot in the flex pattern of the board.
As I will go into detail in the “Descending” section, the stiffer nose of the XV Magtek Split does a great job of blasting through rough wet or dense snow, while the softer waist keeps the board relatively playful and agile in tighter terrain.
The XV would not be my first choice for someone with a strong freestyle approach to riding, but this board isn’t designed for that. It’s stiff enough to stay stable and plow through variable snow, yet it is still playful enough to hit cliffs and natural features. The Reverse Super Directional flex pattern does a pretty good job of keeping the board feeling snappy and alive, while maintaining the dampening properties of a big-mountain board.
NEXT: Skinning, Descending, Etc.