Time to split…Atomic Poacher style

01 Oct, 2008

So on Monday Santa Claus (aka Eric) delivered a very big and nice Christmas present to me. I was anxiously awaiting the Fed Ex delivery all day Monday. When the Atomic Poacher arrived, I checked it out and had to wait until the evening to play with it and start putting it together.

For those not familiar with a splitboard, it offers up skiing and snowboarding with the same equipment. For backcountry access, you are able to ski and hike uphill on the skis and then for the best backcountry riding…you can connect it to snowboard down. You addskins to the bottom of the skis and they give you traction when climbing uphill.

Last year I had the chance to splitboard on Buffalo Pass just outside of Steamboat Springs with my more knowledgable splitboard friend Gary and it was definitely something I could do. I used to ski so I didn’t find skinning up that bad and definitely offered up a way to enjoy some powder stashes farther out.

Splitboard, bindings, skins and crampons

At SIA in January, Atomic brought out their new splitboard the Poacher. The Poacher offers up a new interfacing system for splitboards since before this was just Voile. Burton tried to have their own interface system but it infringed on the Voile system and was discontinued.

So Monday night I sat down to get familiar with my new splitboard. Armed with a direction book and all the gear needed, I worked on getting the bindings angles set up for my riding style and then mounting the bindings.

A look at the bindings mounted for riding.

Then I removed the bindings and split the board so it became skis. Then I could mount the bindings so I am very to skin with them.

Here’s a view of the bindings mounted and the risers in the heel to make climbing easier on steeper pitches.
I started to put together the split at 11pm at night, managed to play around with it and get through the directions of setting it up each way. I didn’t see it as too difficult once I got familiar with the parts and the system. Using the crampons to turn and un-clip pieces wasn’t difficult. And I felt better about setting it up for skinning or riding. I really can’t wait to take it on snow and become more familiar with it and let my other splitboarding friends try it out as well.

Here are pictures from Atomic’s website that show the Poacher and Technology

So needless to say…I am working on being more prepared for backcountry this season. I am planning to attend a Friends of Berthoud Pass Backcountry Awareness class for the early season and on-snow sessions later in the year so I am more prepared for the backcountry. Gary, my more knowledgeable splitboard friend is planning to take me out more often in the backcountry and help me get more educated on backcountry awareness making it safer for me and people I am with. I still have to get a couple more items to be ready. A shovel, probe and beacon are on the list as well as poles for climbing with.

We’ll see how the year goes as I make my way into backcountry more, offering up fresh powder stashes outside of the resorts. After I get enough time on it…I’ll put up a review as well.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. mike
    October 01, 2008

    First I thought it was cool Atomic was going to make a spitboard, I had no idea they were going for their own binding interface. Looks lighter than the Voile set up. I need to check one of those out this season.

  2. Anonymous
    October 01, 2008

    They should be all right…
    I used to ride Atomic, juste one year (Atomic Radon 2002) was an average board but ok

    But in my opinion, the leader in split board is Prior Snowboards

    They been doing it for so long and a good reputation…

  3. Anonymous
    October 01, 2008

    what’s with the stance in their pic? I swear the rear binding is duck more than the front is angled…

    oh well, what do you expect from skiers?

  4. cw
    October 02, 2008

    you set up your own binding angles on a split dude…

  5. Shayboarder
    October 02, 2008

    It took me a second to figure out what he meant.

    The screen shot photos from the Atomic site make the binding angles look more duck on the rear.

  6. Anonymous
    October 03, 2008

    I think i may have to test out the split board this year…. have you tried the prior ones? just wondering for a comparison.

    Happy you’re getting your course and gear.. we’ll have to do a backcountry trip when you come out to whistler this april!!! Caz

  7. Shayboarder
    October 04, 2008

    I haven’t tried Prior splits yet…only chance I had to try them was at Telus Festival so possibly next year I’ll take one out. The split I borrowed from a friend was a voile split decision

    Yeah for Whistler I can definitely bring the split so you can try it and we can head out!

  8. Anonymous
    October 05, 2008

    never summer makes splits too if you ask them nicely, i think they use the voile system…

  9. Shayboarder
    October 05, 2008

    Yep Never Summer does make custom splitboards..Bentley at NS does it. My friend Gary has a custom NS split.

  10. Anonymous
    January 01, 2009

    I’m an atomic rep and just got back from Altenmarkt where I saw the new 09 poacher. unchanged design but way better graphics. I had the product manager explain how it works – it looks really good.
    I’ve used the voile set-up and the Poacher looks to have a few key improvements, like the crampon and ease of switch-over from split to board.
    There were a few comments about the duck stance. I didn’t look at the website closely but note that when skiing/skinning the Poacher you mount the ‘skis’ backwards so that the tail of the board becomes the tips of the skis. this was a win-win solution allowing them to do a swallowtail while having a better shape for the skitips.
    anyone who is still stomping around on snowshoes really needs to get a splitboard!

  11. Shayboarder
    January 04, 2009

    Awesome on the 09 poacher and your input! I’ve been slacking on getting out into the backcountry with it, need the beacon first and friends to go with…but hopefully soon.

    I like that you mount it backwards, noticed that when I was setting it up.

    Can’t wait to see it next month and i’ll be at SIA as well. Talking to Mike about when to check out Atomic during my time there.

  12. Snowflake
    January 15, 2010

    Im looking into getting an atomic poacher/ I have one on lay a way and i’ev started to hear bad reviews on the binding system. This page has made my desision feel like a good one thanks for the imput!! Something new isint always bad , and im super stoked to have it in my hands!! question, the shop I am buying it from is not selling it with skins? are they supost to come with pre fit skins?? thats how it looks online…. Curious?

  13. January 15, 2010

    Snowflake, nice! The binding system isn’t for everyone and I would agree that they aren’t as good as using your own bindings. You’ll want to make sure your boots fit in those bindings before you get the poacher.

    It’s supposed to come with skins so the shop that’s selling it to you should have them, if they don’t then you should get a better deal. I’d see what the extra cost will be for skins and talk to the shop to see what they’ll do for you.

  14. Rex
    October 01, 2010


    I am checking out a second hand deal on the Atomic Poacher 2009 model, for 750 Swiss Francs, around 750 USD. Don’t know if that is a good deal, for a 1 season ridden board.

    I am wondering if the Bindings can be set up any angle, or is it a fixed angle?, i ride a +15°/+0° stance.

    About the skins, can you attach skins not from Atomic.

    How well does the poacher perform on groomed pistes?



  15. October 22, 2010

    Rex, definitely seems like a good deal. I’d shop around and compare to see what others are selling it for to make sure.

    Bindings can be set up at any angle on it.

    You can attach skins from any company, doesn’t have to be the ones that came with.

    Not sure on groomed.