Blog Category: ’News’

Greetings from Bozeman!

An open letter from your friends at Spark R&D

Shop 2

I don’t know about you – but the past year FLEW by for us at Spark R&D! The introduction of our new Tesla System bindings last season left our phone ringing off the hook and our email inboxes flooded with email subject lines like this: “I want the AfterBurner more than I want my mustache to connect to my beard.”

Seriously. We wouldn’t make this stuff up.

Mag 1

New green Magnetos on the assembly line.

Last year was indeed crazy for us at Spark and now we have a lot happening around the shop. For the 2014/15 season, we have doubled our factory space and added new machines and team members to continue developing and manufacturing the best splitboard bindings and accessories in the world.

Despite the busy year, we charged ahead with midnight design sessions and dawn patrol product testing missions. Our goal has always been to make splitboarding more accessible and simple with solid gear and breakthrough products that fill in the gaps for the split community … while giving our customers and dealers a voice in what we tackle next.

With that in mind, NEW for this season:

  • Our first-ever hardboot splitboard specific binding, the Dyno DH, along with a Dynafit Toe Piece compatible hardboot touring crampon, the D. Rex.  See our entire Hardboot lineup here.
  • Tesla Heel Locker. Riders now have the ability to lock down their heel in tour mode to better adapt to diversified terrain types where quick descents, side-stepping, traversing, and skate splitting become more effective means of backcountry travel.  Find more info here.
  • Low Rider Heel Loop Kit. This XS heel loop positions highbacks lower on the leg for a better calf fit for the not-so-tall, and allows for better heel-toe centering for smaller boot sizes.  Specs and info here.
Dyno mix 1

New for this season: The Dyno DH hardboot bindings.

Meanwhile, we continue to collaborate with champion companies in the industry – utilizing their already established tech (why re-invent the wheel?) and integrating it into the splitboard binding world. Throughout our product line, we are proud to partner with: Burton, Voile, G3, Dynafit, Verts, and new for this season, Black Diamond, Bomber Industries, and One Binding System.

We have also produced a custom, limited edition splitboard specific binding for Burton called the Hitchhiker, which is available exclusively through their distribution channels.

Heel 5 Lrg

The new Tesla Heel Lockers.

Yes, it’s been a crazy ride for us at Spark and this year will no doubt be the same. Our success for the season does not go without many thanks to our loyal Dealers, Ambassadors, Customers, and Friends. Thanks for taking the ride with us and for all of your support over the years.

See you on the skin track!

Spark R&D

WIN a pair of MAGNETOS!

Spark has partnered up with Snowboard Mag on their weekly gear blast and we’re giving away a pair of Magnetos!

All you need to do is sign up for Snowboard Mag’s gear weekly newsletter here: snowboardmag.com/newsletter and all the details for winning will be in the Thursday gear blast that you’ll receive in your email. Good luck!!

magneto-fb

Just make sure you sign up before Wed, October 16th, 2013, 11:59pm MST.

And the winner is …

Congratulations to David Rodoreda Sala of Navas Spain, the winner of our T-Shirt Design Contest!

We liked his design because it was unique and creative, would spark  a great conversation with a non-splitboarder, and might even be a good checklist to consult when you’re heading out the door. (Come on now, be honest, how many of you show up ready to roll and realize you forgot your skins? Or one pole? It happens to the best of us!)

We did a little interview with our new buddy David, just to get to know him a little bit more:

Spark: Where is your hometown?
DRS: I was born in a small village called Santa Maria d’Olo, near Barcelona. I’m living now in Navas, in the middle of Catalonia: 1 hour driving from the sea and 1 hour driving from the Pyrenees.

Spark: What do you do for a living?
DRS: I’m working as an industrial designer in a company which manufactures laser coding and marking equipment.

Spark: We love your design, do you have a background in art or graphic design?
DRS: I don’t have any background in art or graphic design. I just do it as a hobby!

Spark: How long have you been splitboarding?
DRS: I’ve been snowboarding for 17 years now. In the past, I used to use snowshoes to climb a mountain and I went down snowboarding. However, when I discovered splitboarding (5 years ago) my universe changed completely …

Spark: What is your favorite type of terrain or place to ride backcountry?
DRS: I normally go to the Catalan or French Pyrenees, which are really close: 1 hour from home.

Spark: What’s your most memorable adventure on your split?
DRS: Watching the sunset from the top of the highest mountain in Spain (Aneto, 3.403 meters above sea level) and going down on my splitboard. Such a priceless experience!

David won a set of Burners and of course, some of the first printed T’s hot off the press. Enjoy, bud!

Thank you to everyone who sent us designs and participated in the contest. It was a ton of fun for us, and we hope to keep having contests like this in the future, we’ll keep you posted.

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.

SIA 2011, what are those YAhoos up to?

We made our annual migration to SIA at the end of January to showcase our 2011/2012 product and to catch up with some good friends. The last year flew by and with splitboarding becoming more popular worldwide, it’s kept us really busy. It felt good to take a break, get some face time with our retailers and customers, and drink a few beers.

Here are some highlights:

Travis Rice gives a salute to the Spark R&D team

Danny Davis says - I love my LTs! Will and Jeff say - He loves his LTs

Johan Olofsson and Will coincidentally making the same face while showing off the new Blaze bindings and Johan's new Odin board by Venture -

Chris Coulter and Jeff posing in the Spark booth

Ankle buckle issue

UPDATED: DECEMBER 2010

Hey all,
We’ve had some reports of the springs in the ankle buckles coming unclipped, which causes the buckle to flop around.  The buckle on the left below is normal, while the one on the right has an unclipped spring:

Upon investigation it seems that our supplier used the wrong length of springs for some – not all – buckles they sent us for the very first wave of bindings we sent out the door.  Arrrrgh!

If you purchased your bindings after Nov 1, 2010 this post does not apply to you. This post also does not apply to toe buckles – it’s an issue affecting the ankle buckle only.

If you were one of the (un)lucky few who got our first shipment of bindings and are experiencing this ankle buckle issue,  please send an email to buckles@sparkrandd.com including your shipping address and where you purchased your bindings. We will send replacement buckles to you ASAP!

The buckles are completely functional without the springs.  As a temporary fix you can re-clip the springs.  This can be done with the buckle on the strap, in the photos below it was taken off of the strap for clarity.  Grab something you can pry with like a nail, screw, drill bit, punch etc.  Pinch the buckle to open it up:

Insert your prying tool from the side and get under the spring:

Pry up on the spring until it’s re-clipped on the crossbar:

This temporary fix will suffice until your replacement buckles may their way to you. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.   We very much appreciate your business and support!

Sincerely,

the Spark R&D Team

Water to Wine Premiere

Hang out with Spark R&D at Storm Shadow Productions premiere of Water to Wine. There will spark swag given away and a chance to win a pair of the new Blaze bindings as well.

A Montana-made ski & snowboard film! The first premiere is Wednesday, September 8th at MSU’s Procrastinator Theater – shows times at 8:30pm, 9:30, and 10:30PM. $10 admission, tickets available at the door.

September marks the long anticipated release of Storm Shadow’s new ski/snowboard film “Water To Wine.”

Filmed entirely in southwest Montana and featuring some of the area’s most innovative skiers and snowboarders, “Water To Wine” offers a rare glimpse of what these mountains have to offer. Highlights include: Collin Collins sun rise pillow line assault, Tizer DeMers’s and Luke Tanaka’s impressive single session segment shot entirely in one day at Great Divide, Shane Stalling’s all terrain destruction of everything shred, and steep and deep days at Big Sky & Moonlight like you have never seen it before!

THE BLAZE

The next generation is here.

Introducing the BLAZE splitboard binding for the 2010/2011 season.

Since the very beginning, Spark R&D has been a rider-owned and operated business, pushing innovation in the sport of splitboarding – because that’s what we LIVE for. We are all splitboarders. We have spent hundreds of days in the backcountry. We have vigorously tested our own products and know what would make them lighter, stronger, better. That’s why we’re stepping it up this season, even more than before; we’re seeking perfection based on your needs and feedback and our own riding experiences. Bringing together all of this knowledge, we’re proudly introducing the BLAZE – our most innovative binding yet – a splitboard specific binding with splitboard specific features:

Straps: We are now sourcing our own straps, chosen for their minimalism, durability, and functionality in the backcountry.

Highbacks: We have designed our own custom highback for splitboard specific needs: wider range of lean (more aggressively forward, 25° compared to 18° on the Fuse, all the way back to “layback” for striding on the flats,  -5° compared to +8° on the Fuse), stiffer yet more comfortable construction, vertical built-in slots for a standard 1.5″ webbing booster strap for steeps and off-camber climbing, and an extra large grab hole for billy goating security.

Even Lighter: Based on the strong performance of the Fuse, we were able to shave weight off of the baseplate – carving away more aluminum allowing for an equally stiff construction, lighter weight, and more avenues for snow to escape.

Bushings: Custom made bushings provide for easier pin insertion and removal , increased durability, and inside flange eliminates wear from the touring bracket.

Final weight: 3.75 lb/pair [1730 g/pair]! (sorry, our mistake) Final weight: 3.52 lbs [1596g] / pair! This is a 3/4 lb per pair weight savings compared to the Fuse.

Now, we know you’re going to have some questions, so we tried to preemptively answer them here:

Q:  What’s going to happen to the Fuse? Are you going to sell them as well?

A: The Blaze is the “new and improved” Fuse. The Fuse has been discontinued, and the Blaze is the only model of binding we are making. Don’t worry, we are still offering a complete line of spare parts for both the Ignition and Fuse series.

Q: The Fuse was compatible with Bent Metal binding straps and highbacks, what about the Blaze?

A: The straps and highbacks for the Blaze are custom, which means we chose and designed them especially for splitboarding. The baseplates were not modeled around any other brand or model of binding. Other straps and highbacks MAY be compatible, but that is up to you to experiment with if you want to switch out parts. We will NOT be offering a baseplates only option this year.

Q: Last year the Fuse were so hard to get my hands on, will this be the same with the Blaze?

A: We know that last year may have been frustrating for some of you trying to find a pair (any pair!) of the Fuse. Trust us, we were taken by surprise too. We make and assemble every binding here in our machine shop in Bozeman, MT (everything but the straps and highbacks). This ensures that you get a solid, quality set of bindings…but that also means that they take a lot of time to make. In years past our built-to-order system worked great, but last season, we just didn’t have enough hours in the day to keep up. For this season, we started production early and are well-prepared to handle the demand for the Blaze throughout the season. Rest assured, if you want to get a set this season – you will be able to!

Q: So, when will the Blaze be available?

A: Mid-October 2010.

Q: Does this mean that I am guaranteed a set of bindings on October 15?

A: No. We will be manufacturing bindings through December, so they will of course not all be available at once. We anticipate people being antsy to get the new Blaze the moment they are available, which will inevitably create initial binding shortages. Please be a little patient, expect the traffic jam, and we promise, everyone will be able to get the bindings they need – just not all at once!

Q: But I am going on a trip October 15…I MUST have them!

A: Your best bet would be to contact a local dealer. They all know when their shipments are scheduled to arrive, and some are willing to take pre-payment in order to save a set for you.

Q: Ok, I will be patient :) But where can I buy the Blaze once they are available?

A: We have an updated list of dealers on our website here:  http://www.sparkrandd.com/dealers and have many more than last season, so make sure you check to see if your local shop will be carrying Spark R&D products this season. They will also be available for purchase on our webstore sometime in October, and we will update you when we know the actual date.

THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT! WE COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU!

– THE SPARK R&D CREW