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ProView – Weston Backcountry Riva Splitboard

It’s early, but I can’t go back to sleep: the snowplows beeping outside tell me it’s time to move the van and drive to the trailhead. The last two months of winter van life have been as variable as the snowfall in California and Colorado: moderate with periods of intense work but always worth the effort. As any good traveler knows, the tools we carry make the journey that much easier. Luckily, Weston Backcountry’s Riva 157 (a women’s specific splitboard) that I brought along was always down for the ride. 

Chunder, rain crust, boilerplate, and billy-goating spiced up my tours in many of Lake Tahoe’s backcountry zones just as much as our few days of powder soothed my soul. Nevertheless, the opportunity to go splitboarding at any time (I’m a remote-working marketing consultant, freelance writer, and volunteer adaptive ski instructor at Achieve Tahoe) means that I got to test this board in a wide range of conditions.

Weston Backcountry Riva Splitboard

Product Description: The Riva splitboard excels in tight trees and steep, open bowls. Featuring a pow centric, Directional Multi Radial Camber-Rocker profile with a wide nose, narrow tail, Rugged Topsheet, Sintered Base and our Freedom Wood Core - the Riva floats effortlessly in powder, is nimble in tight trees, is stiff enough to hold an edge through chatter and crud, and is fast enough to keep you on top all day long. Add in our Split Tech for the uphills and you’ll have optimum skin traction, edge-hold and ease of kick-turns.

Offer price: MSRP: $899.00

  • Quality
    (5)
  • Features
    (4.75)
  • Fit
    (5)
  • Durability
    (5)

Summary

When I stepped into backcountry adventure over six years ago, I was looking for two main things:  freedom of the hills and a community to hold me close. Conveniently, ironically, and wonderfully, this board supports both those goals: with its solid tech, attention to individual rider needs, and value-driven approach to design, I think the Riva will take me far—and I think she’ll do the same for you too.

Overall
4.9

Pros

  • Highly durable construction 
  • Excellent maneuverability
  • Excellent edge grip
  • Performs well in a variety of conditions
  • Easy uphill travel
  • Inspires confidence with her stability and control

Cons

  • Low-angle powder runs require lots of speed

The Weston Backcountry Riva 157 is a splitboard designed for hard-charging women that love to have fun in the backcountry, regardless of the conditions. It’s reinforced metal edges and tips, eco-friendly top sheet, tapered directional shape, and paulownia-poplar core with carbon stringers make this a confidence-inspiring shred stick. The Riva literally and metaphorically helps women excel in the backcountry: 10% of its sales go to Backcountry Babes’ avalanche education fund cultivating women’s outdoor leadership.

With both strength to stomp and a sidecut to snap, this board could very well be your next quiver-killer. This pow-oriented backcountry board has best-in-class features like Karakoram Ultra-Clips and sustainable yet highly durable construction technologies, all while supporting community (Weston’s modus operandi). Whether you’re looking to ride big lines or tour beyond your local resort’s boundaries, this board makes for an excellent option. Ladies looking for a pow-specific board might want to look elsewhere: this land-loving shape may take you many places, but she needed me to work just a little harder to stay afloat on super low-angle deep powder slopes.

Weston-backcountry-riva-splitboard-dirtbagdreams.com
weston-backcountry-riva-splitboard-dirtbagdreams.com

Designed to Perform 

The Riva loves everything, and the exuberance this board’s springy yet solid core gave me inspired pure joy (and greater confidence in my riding). From backcountry booters to steep and deep pow turns, Weston has made it easier for me to ride hard with a board that reduces the amount of thinking I need to do. Maybe, more importantly, I think the tech Weston has put into it (more on that later) will help me develop the riding skills not as easily mastered on other boards I’ve ridden.

I noticed that turning was always easy, which I’ll credit to the multi-radial sidecut (at 9.7, 7.8, 7.5, and 8.8 m). This feature adds variability to the natural turning tendency of the board—meaning that the muscle memory I’ve been building for micro-corrections is that much easier to implement. Weston mentions the board is “nimble in the trees;” I’d add that it’s ultra-responsive on hardpack, icy chunder, and (un)breakable crust. I love this feature because worrying about turns (or their accuracy) gives me a better opportunity to focus on my riding (and the environmental factors that could make or end the day).

Powder Turns

This. Board. Hauls. A**. The 40mm setback, combined with the camber-rocker profile lets me fly, and I had no problem keeping up (or passing) skier friends on days where they wanted water skis to stay afloat. 

The wide nose-narrower tail combo proved handy not just charging through deep pow; it also made the tail easy to whip around as needed.

While this board is “pow-centric” it is not “pow-specific” (like a powder surfer). That means it doesn’t have the swallowtail or thicker waist other pow-specific boards do have. In my experience, the feeling that pow surfers like the Rossignol Sushi XV Sushi LF Lite and Coalition Snow Sojourner provide is totally different (not better, just different).

Weston-backcountry-riva-splitboard-dirtbagdreams.com
Dani digs deep to make it work in central Wyoming with the Riva. Photo by Johnny Townsend

Hardpack, Crusty Crud, and Other Undesirables

I’m either a sucker for punishment or I have a serious mountain problem: for some reason I enjoy touring even when the snow is terrible. (Honestly, I really just enjoy being outside and think what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, but that’s another story.) In all manner of undesirable circumstances, this board kept my feet on the ground, even if my heart was in my throat. 

Weston-backcountry-riva-splitboard-dirtbagdreams.com
It can’t be THAT bad…..right? Dani finds dubious rain crust at the trailhead

Skinning up an icy gully sans crampons? (Check—although I did put them on after howling wind almost knocked me over). Straight lining through icy avalanche debris? Check, and thanks to camber, I popped right over chunky blocks. Billy-goating through volcanic rock while scoping out a new line? Check, and I’m grateful for the “Rugged” Topsheet that somehow barely shows any signs of wear even after 2 months of shenanigans.

Gear testing doesn’t always involve ideal conditions. Here, skinning up (a.k.a. ice sliding) some boilerplate during a low-tide early season on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe, CA.

Uphill

This board tours like a dream: her weight-to-surface area ratio means I had no problem breaking trail, even in two feet of fresh, dry powder. I appreciate that sizing up to the 157 (from other 144 cm and 154 cm boards) meant I could confidently lead the pack without worrying about tired legs.

Weston’s “Split Tech” (i.e. fully wrapped metal edge and tips) doesn’t just make the board more durable; it also means holding an edge uphill as well as downhill felt more solid.

Weston-backcountry-riva-splitboard-dirtbagdreams.com
Variable but mostly pow conditions near north Lake Tahoe, CA

Drops

I love the aggressive camber underfoot for booters and cliff drops: I felt solid in my landings, and could practically feel the pop before I hit my mark. Note this board isn’t as stiff as the Jones Carbon Solution (which is only available in a men’s model for the time being).

weston-backcountry-riva-splitboard-dirtbagdreams.com
Natural backcountry booters on the Weston Riva Splitboard

Weight

When testing the 157 (the biggest board I’ve ridden to date), I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Would the board be too heavy or stiff for me to manage? Coming from the entry-level yet very fast Voile Revelator 154 (which clocks in at 5.9 pounds), I didn’t feel like any depreciable weight difference, but then again, I’m not a skimo racer. (For the record, the Riva 154 is 6.7 pounds. For scale, I am 5 feet, 8 inches, and weigh 140 pounds).

Her profile and sidecut made skinning a breeze, and I even found myself giving kick-turn tutorials on a powder day to new skiers. Thank you, Split Tech. Only later did I realize that Weston balances their splitboards (meaning they’re slightly tail-heavy). Is this cheating?

The Freedom Wood Core (a paulownia-poplar blend) means the board is light, responsive, and extremely user friendly. Add in a carbon stringer on either side of the board, and the board’s stiffness nearly reaches perfection.

Weston-backcountry-riva-splitboard-dirtbagdreams.com
Finding all the conditions on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe, CA.

Sustainability

Throughout this review, I’ve spoken to various aspects of the tech and how it influences riding. 

Since I’m convinced this board is going to take me to great heights with no problems this season, let’s shift gears and examine one of my favorite parts of this board: Weston’s use of sustainable materials!

First up: the “Rugged Topsheet” Weston uses for this board is a proprietary innovation made of castor beans (yes, beans!). This tech reduces their eco-footprint (since most other board topsheets are made with petroleum-based products). Additionally, it’s extra durable, and is (semi-)hydrophobic. 

Second: Weston also reduces its eco-footprint with “Rooted Inserts,” flax-based core inserts that increase strength and durability.  In other boards, inserts are typically made out of a petroleum-based material like plastic. Stoked to see that even small details on this board are green!

weston-backcountry-riva-splitboard-dirtbagdreams.com

The Final Word

When I stepped into backcountry adventure over six years ago, I was looking for two main things:  freedom of the hills and a community to hold me close. Conveniently, ironically, and wonderfully, this board supports both those goals: with its solid tech, attention to individual rider needs, and value-driven approach to design, I think the Riva will take me far—and I think she’ll do the same for you too.

weston-backcountry-riva-splitboard-dirtbagdreams.com
Companion Rescue AIARE training with Backcountry Babes founder Emily Hargraves and friends. Ten percent of sales of the Riva benefit AIARE education scholarships for Backcountry Babes.

She may not be a pow-surfer, but she’ll still help you get your soul shred on in ways a powsurfer never could. Backed by a four year guarantee, Weston doesn’t just stand by their product: They also give you the resources to connect with the backcountry community in ways few other brands do. Whether you’re joining their Facebook community or want to support their women’s outdoor leadership partner, Backcountry Babes, Weston breaks down the barriers to backcountry access in ways I have yet to see another brand do.

That’s probably the best part of this board: upholding their mission to help us “Go Forth, Slay Pow.”

Shop the Weston Backcountry Riva Splitboard on Outdoor Prolink. Not a member? Apply today!

weston-backcountry-riva-splitboard-dirtbagdreams.com
weston-backcountry-riva-splitboard-dirtbagdreams.com

About the Gear Tester

Outdoor Prolink Pro

Dani Reyes-Acosta is an athlete, inclusivity /marketing strategy consultant, educator, and advocate redefining who plays outside and how we build community with others on this planet.

A splitboarder, rock climber, trail runner, volunteer adaptive ski instructor, and waterwoman, she partners with Weston Backcountry, Outdoor Research, and Protect Our Winters as a snow/climb athlete.

She has been featured in the Washington Post, Women on the Road, the Los Angeles Times, and regional publications throughout the American West. Brands like Osprey, Vail Resorts, Nike and Sport Obermeyer have featured her work as a writer, strategist, and storyteller.

Whether on an adventure in her van, El Torito Blanco, or on a rural homestead, you can find her online at @NotLostJustDiscovering and DaniReyesAcosta.com.

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