Design Contest Winner

Congrats to Nicholas Lamper for winning the Spark R&D design contest. His design, Misty Mountain, was chosen by the Spark R&D crew as the overall favorite.

A big thank you to everyone who submitted art to us. The response was amazing and we enjoyed looking at all the designs. Stay tuned in the future for similar opportunities.

All Spark R&D gear, and apparel, will be available at your favorite shred shop very soon.

Cave Camping in Antarctica

Our buddy Tommy dropped us another note after his latest adventure down in Antarctica. Read below:

Hi Spark,

Still in the thick of winter here. I’ve been planning a mountain
ascent next week on a peak that’s out of our travel exclusion zone.
It’s quite a big one and will really test the splitty out. It’s a 5
day trip and I’ve been training quite hard for it, as it’s going to be a
grawler. I went on a camping trip this weekend to a cave on the other
side of the peninsula. I took the board to see how I would cope with a
winter pack with all my rations, fuel, tent, bags survival equipment
and so on. To my delight I found that I was able to get down the hill
with it all on. I’m definitely getting the hang of boarding fully
laden. These packs come in at around 30kgs, so turning is a little
complex. You really have to commit but once on either edge your plain
sailing.


On the way we passed a really nicely presented snowdrift loaded face,
so I couldn’t resist ditching the bag, and
riding a few lines.

Weather was really good, but after spending the night in the cave we
woke up to a storm and a white out. So it was a bitch getting home.
Took some slogging and had to resort to snowshoeing as we couldn’t see
well enough to ride-shame.


But all in all a good weekend away and I’m ready for “black peak” next week

Tommy

 

Thanks for the update Tommy. The snow looks pretty good down there. Enjoy it!

 

Introducing the Burner Splitboard Binding

Spark R&D is proud to announce the newest addition to the family: the BURNER splitboard binding was designed for the rider who wants to point it. Increased support both torsionally and laterally creates a stiffer ride in all snow conditions and will allow even the largest of riders to edge with confidence.

“Splitboarding has grown so quickly in the last couple of years that the pool of people riding the backcountry has become more and more diverse,” says Will Ritter, Spark R&D owner and chief engineer. “Riders have different shred styles, terrain preferences, and ride different areas of the world. The snow in Utah is different from the snow in New Zealand. We had feedback from people who were in love with the Blaze, and others wanting something stiffer.”

… thus the BURNER splitboard binding was born…

“It’s the big brother to the Blaze,” says Will. “The difference is in the ankle strap and highback. We stiffened them up for those riders wanting extra support on the descent. If you want to ride through tight trees and ride with a bit more freestyle influence, you’ll probably prefer the Blaze. But if you’re straight lining from the top to bottom, railing through chundery hardpack, or could be described as a Clydesdale you’ll probably want to be on the Burner this season.”

Here are some features from the all new Burner:

Ankle Straps: Slightly larger strap platform than the Blaze with stiffer plastic skeleton for more support through your turns. Beefy PU leather construction for durability and a tunnel to keep ankle telescope out of the way while touring. Toe Straps: Size-specific and lightweight. Same PU leather body and piping construction as the ankle straps ensure these are bomb proof. Convertible toe cap strap for comfortably keeping your toe on lockdown.

Highbacks: Same great custom highback design as last season, allowing the widest range of lean on the market (25° forward lean, to -5° for touring – an industry first). The Burner incorporates more than two times the glass fiber content than the Blaze, offering the rider the utmost edging control with increased stiffness. Vertical built-in slots fit perfectly with the Spark R&D Strappy Strap, for steeps and off-camber climbing, and an extra large grab hole for billy goating security.

The Burner also demonstrates these same great features as the Blaze:

Buckles: This ratchet system is the perfect balance of minimalism and durability. Crank ‘em down – this buckle gets you super tight and releases easily. Low profile design is perfect for touring.

Thermo Plastics: Spark R&D designed their own molds this season for toe and ankle ladders and telescopes to maintain compatibility with their baseplates while working seamlessly with the new straps and buckles. Plastics are molded to be pre-curved to hug the strap and remain snag-free while touring or riding. This in combination with Burton’s® secret recipe for extremely durable components will keep you confident out in the backcountry.

Baseplate Design: Fine-tuned for all around ease of use as well as long-term durability. A few highlights: the pivot area for touring has been beefed up, medium and large sizing is more specific, puck interface is designed to slide better onto both factory and DIY pucks and require less adjustment, and improved toe strap attachment area.

Bushings: Spark introduces custom made bronze bushings for exceptional durability
Burner Binding Specifications:

Sizes: S, M, L
Colors: Black, Red, Gunmetal
Standard Price: $329 – comes with the standard stainless steel pin for Voile touring brackets
LT Price: $380 –comes with the LT Pin System’s aluminum pin and bracket.
Standard Weight: 3.67 lbs/pr [1664 g] (medium)
LT Weight: 3.52 lbs/pr [1600 g] (medium)

Available worldwide at Spark R&D retailers beginning in early September.

Spark R&D re-introduces the BLAZE splitboard binding for the 2011/2012 season

August 12, 2011: For Immediate Release.

Spark R&D re-introduces the BLAZE splitboard binding for the 2011/2012 season

 

Spark R&D is stepping it up again this season; seeking perfection based on customer needs and keeping pace with the rapidly expanding splitboarding community. The BLAZE returns again this season with upgraded components and splitboard-specific features for even better performance in the backcountry.

 

“We’ve always been able to respond quickly to customer feedback in our product designs year after year,” says Will Ritter, Spark R&D owner and chief engineer, “and this year is no different.  The biggest challenge for us has always been outfitting our baseplates with excellent straps, highbacks, and components worthy of backcountry missions. We’ve tried a couple of different things the last few years that worked well … but for the next level of quality and performance we just had to wait for all of the planets to align.”

 

The planets have aligned. Spark R&D is proud to announce that they are working with Burton Snowboards for the manufacturing of their straps, thermo plastics, and buckles.

 

Again, here’s Will: “We get to design our parts exactly how we want them [specific for backcountry touring and riding] while having access to Burton’s time-tested fabrics, materials and techniques for production. We’re psyched because their reputation for quality binding components is unsurpassed in the industry. That’s what we’ve been aiming for – and we’re stoked.”

 

Here is what you can expect to see from the Blaze this season:

  • Ankle Straps: Minimalist straps for lightweight skinning, webbing edging for durability, tunnel to keep ankle telescope out of the way while touring, and a size-specific 3D skeleton to conform to your boot. Stitched through middle window allows for easy ankle flex for maximum maneuverability.

  • Toe Straps: Also size-specific and lightweight with matching webbing edging. Convertible toe cap strap for comfortably keeping your toe on lock down.

 

  • Buckles: This ratchet system is the perfect balance of minimalism and durability. Crank ‘em down – this buckle gets you super tight and releases easily.  Low profile design is perfect for touring.

 

  • Thermo Plastics: Spark R&D designed their own molds this season for toe and ankle ladders and telescopes to maintain compatibility with their baseplates while working seamlessly with the new straps and buckles. Plastics are molded to be pre-curved to hug the strap and remain snag-free while touring or riding. This in combination with Burton’s secret recipe for extremely durable components will keep you confident out in the backcountry.

  • Baseplate Design: Fine-tuned for all around ease of use as well as long-term durability. A few highlights: the pivot area for touring has been beefed up, medium and large sizing is more specific, puck interface is designed to slide better onto both factory and DIY pucks and require less adjustment, and improved toe strap attachment area.

 

  • Highbacks: Same great custom highback design as last season, innovating the widest range of lean on the market (25° forward lean, to -5° for touring – an industry first). Increased glass fiber content strikes the perfect balance between response and maneuverability. Vertical built-in slots fit perfectly with the Spark R&D Strappy Strap, for steeps and off-camber climbing, and an extra large grab hole for billy goating security.

 

  • Bushings: Spark introduces custom made bronze bushings for exceptional durability with an inside flange that eliminates wear from the touring bracket.

 

Blaze Binding Specifications:

 

Sizes: S, M, L

Colors: Black, Teal, Gunmetal

Standard Price: $299 – comes with the standard stainless steel pin for Voile touring brackets

LT Price: $350 –comes with the LT Pin System’s aluminum pin and bracket.

Standard Weight: 3.61 lbs/pr [1640 g] (medium)

LT Weight: 3.47 lbs/pr [1576 g] (medium)

 

 

Available worldwide at Spark R&D retailers beginning in mid-September.

For additional information, please visit us online at www.sparkrandd.com.

The website will be updated for 2011/2012 products in late August.

 

 

Jeff Johnson

Sales & Marketing Manager

jeff@sparkrandd.com

406-580-7674

Spark R&D T-Shirt Design Contest

Greetings and happy summer to all of our Spark fans. Each day brings us closer and closer to the launch of our 2011-2012 product line and we are getting excited. We promise to have a number of changes to our existing products, as well as a few new items to keep you stoked in the backcountry this coming season.

Continuing on with the new, it is time once again for us to order our new selection of softgoodies for the year. This means flipping through pages and pages of catalogs, arguing about colors, and of course coming up with graphics. So this year we wanted to do something a little different. We are opening up the design input to everyone. We are giving you a chance to design the graphics for this year’s shirts and hoodies. If you happen to come up with something brilliant, we will even throw you a new pair of 2011/12 bindings for your trouble.

Why are we doing this??? That is a pretty good question. Some might say that we are lazy. Others think that we are too busy enjoying the snow left in the high country. But honestly, we are just too busy making the best damn splitboard bindings EVER! So who better to get involved than the Spark R&D faithful? If you think you have something for us, read the rules below.

– Design a shirt that contains the Spark R&D logo   (downloadable here) (download shirt template)
– Do not change or alter our logo in any fashion!!!
– Keep it to two colors maximum
– Submit your entries by August 25th.
– Send your entries in jpeg format along with your full mailing address, phone number and email in case you’re a winner. Submit entries to jeff@sparkrandd.com

Once we choose the winner, we will make you famous by shipping your shirt design all over the planet. This will be our ONLY shirt graphic for the 2011/12 season. We will hook the winning designer up with his or her own shirts and hoodies, as well as a custom pair of either Burner of Blaze bindings.

The Winner will be announced September 1st.

Good luck to everyone and start designing.

Snowboarde​rs are now Useful

Our buddy Tom Whitfield checking in again from Antarctica.

 

Injury Simulation

Injury Simulation

 

Hi Spark,

Done something quite interesting the other day. I had made a stretcher
and we decided to go out and test it in our pulk. It was a search and
rescue exercise. We simulated a broken leg in the hills. We all
gathered the equipment, strapped in, and hauled our arses for hours up
and down hills with the patient strapped in.

Splitboard Breaks

Splitboard Breaks

We had seen some videos where skiers and snowboarders are able to go
down hill with the pulk so we had a go. I used the splitty and skins
to go up the hills then I was the brake and co-coordinator when going
down hill in snowboard mode. Between me and Rob (skier), we had no
troubles going down hill laden with weight. It was surprisingly easier
than I thought, and good fun. You may have seen similar things on
pistes I guess.

I’m glad I did it because when we go on winter trips we bring sleds to
tow our gear. So I could use this technique when coming down hill.

Just thought you guy’s might be interested in seeing what fellow
splitters can do with this relatively new concept! Everything worked a
treat.

Tommy

July in Antarctica

July in Antarctica

Riding Antarctica​

A little love from our friend Tom down in Antarctica. Not the easiest place to ship some Blaze bindings or Chomps too! Here is a note and some pics Tom was nice enough to share with us…

Hey Spark!

Well long awaited my remaining parts for my Jeremy Jone’s split board
finally turned up, after a journey of 6 months waiting, pining for
snow, thousands of miles from home and any civilization, Calling in
favors from friends and relatives far and wide, paying extortionate
prices for post/delivery, Brief conversations via satellite phone’s,
organizing the mail once arrived in the Falklands to be put onto a
fishing vessel then waiting a further month for the Fishing vessel to
come near our shores, then board our pilot jet boat to retrieve the
mail from a very rolley boat! Why all this trouble you may ask…

Showing off the new setup

Well For the next two years I’m living and working in Antarctica! with
only 8 people on this whole island, no other civilization, no shops,
no police, doctors, fire service, food stores, nothing, just us and
the science we do, I’m employed as an Electrical engineer, the only
Electrical Engineer on the island, I support the running of the base
and all equipment, including the science equipment, jet boats, power
generation, refrigeration so on so forth. Anyhow all that Stuff is
boring, the real reason I Quit my job in the UK, said good bye to
friends family, got rid of my house, sold all my possessions (including
my much loved motorbikes which I used to race) is to snowboard!!!
primerily that’s why I’m here, I’ve long wanted to go and do a season
somewhere but wasn’t prepared to quit my career as an engineer,
luckily I found a compromise, It’s great here as I’m my own boss, as
long as all my work is done and nothing is broken I can get out on the
hills, and as you can see there are lots and lots of them.

A View from the Top

I’m a die hard snowboarder, the only one on the island in fact,
everyone else skies, walking in these hills with snow shoes on is hard
work, skiing with skins is the way to go, But I couldn’t face
abandoning my board, luckily Thanks to the guy’s at The Snowboard
asylum and with help from Whitelines snowboarding magazine they
pulled out all the stops and was able to get me a split board! and how
brilliant it is too, Conditions change by the hour here so I’m still
playing with my settings but I have found absolutely no compromise in
performance, The interface kit is simple to set up and adjust, and the
transaction once you have the hang of it, is fast and relatively faff
free even in windy icy conditions. All in all the splitboard is a
marvel of a creation! it has made my life so much easier and allows me
to hit the hills hard and frequent, now it’s just a case of waiting
for the right conditions.

Tom in Antarctica

So many thanks Spark for all your help, Keep up the good work and keep
the blog updated, it keeps me sane on those long cold women-less nights
down here.

And to all you other splitboarders out there, keep on splitting and
finding new terrain, It’s great knowing that I’m the only boarder
here, and the first ever splitboard ever to be on the island and even
on the continent as far as I’m aware (with exception to Jeremy Jones of
course). I also see the lack of lifts as a blessing, the whole
mountain is my back garden which no one will ever get to explore
except me, true freedom of the hills.

Steep Approach

Attached are a few photos from a recent trip, there was a good dump of
snow on another peninsula so we boated over there, I got dropped off
and spent the day skinning to the top with some pretty steep icy
ascents in places (I’m still waiting for my Chomps to turn up) 5 hours
of climbing, brew at the top then 30 mins coming down, Still it’s all
worth it . . .

Kind Regards

Tommy