Karakoram go into winter 2015 / 2016 with a strong reputation for making some of the best splitboard bindings in the world. Hailing from the deep snow of the Pacific North West – the heartland of snowboarding, Karakoram continue to innovate and push the boundaries of splitboard binding technology. They have been a massive influence on the development of splitboarding and this winter sees some significant developments within the Karakoram range.
Split Specific Straps
For winter 2015, Karakoram have decided to build on the proven PRIME system by developing their own line of backcountry specific binding straps. The key requirements of a splitboard binding strap differ from those of a regular snowboard binding strap for obvious reasons; performance and comfort in ascent is super important in a splitboard strap, as is overall weight and perhaps above all, durability and dependability.
When Karakoram couldn’t find a single snowboard binding manufacturer to work with on their binding straps they decided to invest in new tooling that enables them to produce their own injection moulded straps. The result is the Airform Ankle Strap and Airform Toe Strap.
The Airform Ankle Strap is designed to conform to the boot with independent compression pads which eliminate pressure points in the skin track and on the descent. They are made from Dupont Hytrel and are light (30% lighter than trad binders), simple and strong. The matching Airform Toe Strap is of a similar ilk – it’s light, strong and simple and can be worn over the top of the foot or as a toe cap.
The new straps will be integrated into the Karakoram PRIME range in various ways this winter with the top end PRIME Carbon getting both the Airform Ankle and Toe Straps (image below).
The Quiver Connector
The second big development for Karakoram for winter 2015 is the Quiver Connector. The Quiver Connector enables any PRIME binding to be used on any board, whether split or solid. Karakoram believe their bindings are right up there with the best available so they enabled them to be ridden anywhere on any type of board. This concept can really cut down on baggage weight when traveling too – now you’ve just gotta take one pair of bindings on a trip when you might mix some touring and lift served riding. It also adds real value for money as anyone who purchases a pair of PRIME bindings with Quiver Connector is essentially now getting two bindings – a high performance split specific binding that also works on the solid.
Karakoram are based in Washington, USA and was started back in 2008 by brothers Bryce and Tyler Kloster with a homemade CNC mill set up in Tyler’s garage. They still manufacture all their bindings in the USA using components and materials sourced as locally as possible, with almost all of them coming from inside the US.
Last winter Karakoram introduced the PRIME system which really pushed the boundaries of splitboard binding construction. The spring-loaded system is designed to give unmatched joining power and responsiveness. For winter 2015 Karakoram have tweaked the production process to make everything work a little smoother, they’ve also lightened up them up a touch and the overall finish is a little better too. And if you’re splitboard hasn’t got Karakoram Clips fitted, it’s time to change. They make a real difference, especially to a DIY split, and are available as an accessory to fit to any board.
There is a ton of info about the PRIME system, along with plenty of general splitboard stoke over on the Karakoram website. All sorts of splitboard related goodness can also be found in usual places with the hashtag #wearesplitboarding.