The purpose of this page is to give splitboarders a little insight into what our current production and inventory situation looks like, what it will look like going through the 20/21 season, and answer a couple of the questions we're seeing a lot of right now. Namely – “Why can’t I get bindings?” and “Why don’t you just make more?”
We wanted to say one important thing right off the bat: When this production season wraps up, we will have manufactured more splitboard bindings than ever before. Even in a challenging season (#2020) we produced the Hitchhikers in collaboration with our friends at Burton, we produced the Verticals for our new partnership with Nitro, and built more Spark R&D bindings than we ever have! Splitboarding is growing and we’re growing along with it and leading the charge.
It hardly seems like news now, but with the uncertainty surrounding resorts opening and in what capacity, along with people just wanting some open space and fresh air, people are turning to the backcountry. We saw it last summer with bikes and camping gear. Now we’re seeing it with backcountry snowsports. A lot of people want to splitboard this winter. A lot of people want splitboard bindings. Fundamentally, that’s a great thing, and we completely support the movement! So why are you having a hard time getting your hands on some gear? Let us explain.
We are still building bindings and accessories right now. We are not always in full-production mode in November, but this season is a bit different. We were shut down by the state of Montana for four weeks last spring due to COVID-19 and that has really impacted our production timeline. Not only did we lose those 4 weeks, but it took us a few more weeks to get back to 100%. That’s just how manufacturing works.
Our team really stepped up and crushed it over the summer and fall to make up for a lot of the lost time. We are extremely proud of the job they have done, especially under changed work conditions and safety protocols like mask-wearing, 6-foot spacing, outdoor meetings (sometimes literally around a campfire in the snow), and conversations limited to 15 minutes in close quarters. This has all led to a loss in efficiency and changed the manufacturing flow. Our crew has been extremely creative and adaptable and have gotten us to where we are currently, like champs!
Like most manufacturing operations, we have a total build number each season that we are working towards, based on the previous year’s demand plus anticipated growth. Over the summer, our retail partners began adding to their orders, as they started to realize how extreme the demand for gear would be. By August, we sold out of every binding we had planned to build for the 20/21 season. This has never happened at Spark in 13 previous seasons. We made a decision to sell dealers additional bindings out of inventory that we had planned for our own webstore. We love our dealers and they have always come first.
We’re getting a lot of questions from the splitboard community about how and where to find our bindings. Below are some answers to the questions we are seeing most frequently right now.
Will you eventually put bindings on your website?
Bindings will be very limited on our website this season so we can't guarantee all sizes and/or colors will become available, if at all.
If you won’t have bindings on your website, where can I find them?
Remember just because WE are out of stock here at Spark HQ, does not mean they are out of stock everywhere! If an item is out of stock, on our website, please see our dealer locator and if possible, shop local!
What dealers have stock?
We don’t have visibility of our dealer network’s current inventory. We are shipping bindings to dealers every day, but it is impossible at any given moment to tell you exactly who has bindings. When we ship to a retail partner, that dealer may not make the bindings immediately available, or they may have presold the bindings. This is why we are hesitant to tell customers which dealers have recently received bindings. Your best bet to get Spark bindings in a year with extreme demand is to be diligent. Call your local dealers first and inquire about inventory. Ask if more bindings are coming and if you can pre-order! If you do not have a local dealer, or if your local dealer is sold out, pay close attention to our larger online retailers.
How will proform work this year?
Proform, in general, will work as it always has this season. If you're not familiar, you can learn more here. However, due to current demand, we will only have limited binding inventory on our website this season. All bindings that do make it to our website will be first come, first served. We don’t have an exact ETA at this point.
Do you plan to build more splitboard bindings this season?
No. It was considered, but this would be difficult for numerous reasons. The ability to secure raw materials with new, long lead times, as well as the time to produce the final product is the largest factor as we manufacture and assemble everything at Spark HQ. At the end of this production cycle, we will begin planning, ordering materials, and doing machine maintenance before beginning production for the 21/22 season.
2020 has been hard enough, and now I can’t even get splitboard bindings? Are you part of a conspiracy to make my life difficult?
We know this year has been challenging for everyone. We also have personally tried to buy bikes, jetboil fuel, and snow boots for our kids with no luck. It’s frustrating. It’s also just the world we’re living in at the moment. It won’t last forever. Some things are out of our collective control. We thank you for your patience and understanding and kindness that you give to our sales team as well as to our dealers.