Union Rover 2022 Review by The Good Ride
Turn Ons/Swipe Right: Super easy uphill compared to even the lightest split boards. Great edge hold. Easy Side hilling. You Get to ride a solid down which is way better than riding a split.
Turn Offs/Swipe Left: Carrying a board uphill in the wind sucks. Only works with split board bindings which are not as good as solid bindings.
The Union Rover needs splitboard bindings to work, which isn’t ideal, but does have some advantages over Split Boards and Drift Boards.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews and this is our unfiltered opinion. We do make money from the “Where To Buy” links, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
Union Rover Split Board Alternative Review- How it rides and who it is for
How This Review Happened:
We borrowed this for an extended demo and haven’t sent it back…might not…
Conditions: Hard snow, soft snow and a few inches of wet spring powder.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-190lbs)
Boots: Burton Tourist,
Bindings: Union Explorer, Karakoram Quiver Prime Connect, Burton Hitch Hikers.
Similar Approach Skis I compared these against: Carbon Drift Boards, Oxygen Drift Boards.
Gnu Gremlin 152, Jones Mind Expander Twin 158, YES Greats 154, Jones Mountain Twin,
Splits I compared them against: Jones Mountain Twin Split, Jones Ultra Flagship & Cardiff Crane Split. Lib Tech Split BRD, Korua Escalator Split & a few more. Reviews are coming.
- The Union Rover needs split board bindings to work. I really wish they had their own bindings for a few reasons. First and foremost, Solid snowboard bindings are much better on the down than split board bindings. The Union Explorers are pretty good bindings on the down compared to most split board bindings out there but they still are pretty far behind any Union binding in the line. I felt a big difference on groomers and still a very noticeable difference when I did back to back runs with the Rovers/Explorers and then Drift Boards/Union Atlas on the same board. I also felt the same when I put the explorers on my Drift Boards and then put the Drift bindings back on and switched to Union Atlas. Secondly if you use Pow Surfers these don’t work. Lastly it costs a good bit of cash to buy split bindings like the Explorers.
- Carrying a board on your back sucks on a windy ascent. If it isn’t windy I actually prefer more weight on my back than my legs and that is better than splitting but not in the wind.
- Approach ski’s are not ideal for longer tours.
- After using approach skis like the Union Rovers, going up on a mediuim weight/higher priced split board is like having two heavy hobbits dry humping your legs the whole way up. The Rovers are heavier than the Drift Boards when you include the binding weight but they are still massively lighter than even the lightest split set up. Except for windy days, I will almost always choose less weight on your feet than your back.
- The Union Rovers have camber underfoot and this gives you a little spring forward on your step just like snowboards with good camber pop you out of a turn. It helps compensate for the extra weight vs. the Drift Boards.
- Unlike Drift Boards, the Union Rovers have edges. This is outstanding in hard snow and they even have a little death grip bump in the waist on each side of the sidecut.
- They also have a narrower overall footprint so it makes them much easier to side hill vs. the Drift Boards. They also fit in the skin tracks better than the Drift Boards.
- The skins aren’t bad and although I like the Drift Board Skins a little better when it comes to glide but these are really well made and will last a long time if properly cared for.
We have not got these in deep powder but still have a pair of these and hope to test them against the Drift Boards and Split Boards this winter. The design looks like it might be promising though.
So overall the Union Rovers blow doors over snow shoes, do better for short ups than split boards and if they didn’t need split board bindings would be our first choice for a run or two before the lifts open.
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