- Near Exellent Pow Float
- Super Fast Base
- More Pop & Lighter Than the Hovercraft
- Great Down the Line Carver
- Slow Edge To Edge
- Less Damp Than The Hovercraft
- Not for turny riders.
SummaryThe Jones Ultracraft went from being a more burly aggressive ride than the Hovercraft to a less damp but lighter alternative with more pop.
Update 2023: The Jones Ultracraft hasn't changed so this 2021 review still stands.
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Jones Ultracraft Written Review Review by The Good Ride
Welcome to the Jones Ultracraft Review from an objective but average riders perspective
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.
A Break Down of How it rides and who it is for
How This Review Happened: We borrowed this for an extended demo and sent it back.
Conditions: Really good mid-winter groomers on 2 days. 1 day with 2” of powder on top of some pretty hard to icy snow.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-190lbs), Peter (Size 8, 5’11” 185lbs)
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, F.I.T. Gamechangers
Bindings: Union Atlas, Union Falcor, Ride C8 & C10 (reviews coming)
Set-Up: 21.5”, 21 front -3 back & 24 front +3 back. Close to Reference
Approximate Weight: Feels light
Here are some ideal US boot sizes for the Jones Ultracraft boards. You can of course go bigger or smaller but these work best for not turning the board slower than it should be and not having the dreaded Toe & Heel Drag.
Shape/Camber/On Snow Feel/Ability Level
The Jones Ultracraft doesn’t have that really tapered feel and doesn’t drive super hard off the back foot. If you set your stance up a little positive in the rear foot it feels even less tapered. It has some early rise in the nose and tail that then lifts up on the sides towards the nose tail. On groomers, it feels more like a hybrid camber board instead of a lifted side board so it doesn’t wash out on you when you lean into the edge. It is forgiving for what it is but still not recommendable to intermediates due to the shallow side cut and aggressive overall nature.
The Jones Ultracraft is no buttery board but it has an easier flex to it than the regular Hovercraft. As a result it was easier to butter but it still isn’t easy. The pop is more accessible and we both found it easier to ollie for an average rider. Getting air with this is easier than you would think for how little tail there is. It doesn’t feel like you are as far back on board either.
The Ultracraft and Carbon Flagship used to be the bombers in Jones’ line but now the 2021 line has switched things up. The Hovercraft and Flagship are more damp now but the Ultracraft and Ultra Flagship still have faster bases with easier glide. That being said the bases on the standard models isn’t much far behind and Jones has some of the fastest bases in the industry for this price point. So with either choice you have top notch glide.
So if you want to power over everything at super high speed the Hovercraft is the call over the Ultracraft. It is more damp now and the roles have reversed for 2021 with the new eco friendly construction. For an ultra/lighter design this is still pretty damp. The Jones Ultracraft was a little less fatiguing in uneven terrain but both are boards you don’t want to ride all day in messy snow that requires you to slow down and turn a lot in.
The Jones Ultracraft can hold a good edge and both grip about the same in most conditions. What we did find was the Hovercraft holds the edge a little better in uneven terrain at higher speeds and doesn’t buck you out of your line as much as the Ultracraft.
Not fast edge to edge and that is a problem with both the Jones Ultracraft and Hovercraft.
The Jones Ultracraft can carve. We liked the Hovercraft a little better in snow that isn’t perfect but this has a better spring out of the turn in perfect conditions so its a wash. Both are super hard carving powerful down the line kind of rides. They don’t do a circle carve well but they sure do high speed across the groomer carves super well.
We were not lucky enough to get the Jones Ultracraft in powder but being the same shape as the Hovercraft we know what this is all about. There is a set back from center of board of -5.75” all the way back with a stance width of 22.5” and 4.5” back on reference stance at 22.8”. That big nose, chopped and tapered tail and semi-wide width make this a board that lives up to its name. The Hovercraft we rode in 2’+ of thick Sierra powder just sat on top and it could easily be a dedicated powder board. It can be a little slow in tight spots but it does turn a little faster with the spoon tech in the nose. If you like a quicker turning board in the trees this might not be the call though.
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Jones Ultracraft Past Reviews
The Jones Ultracraft is pretty much the Hovercraft on steroids. If you like the Hovercraft but want to stiffen it up then you have the Ultracraft. The 2019 Jones Ultracraft is the same as 2018 so the old review still stands.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. 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.
Conditions: Mostly spring conditions with hard mornings going to soft wet afternoons
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-195lbs), Jimbo (Size 11, 5’11” 160lbs), Zobel (Size 11.5, 6’ 180lbs, Peter (Size 8, 5’11” 185lbs) and our friend Ren.
Boots: Adidas Tactical ADV, Burton SLX, Burton Rover, Burton Driver X
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, Footprint Insole Technology Gameghangers Low Profile
Bindings: Union Atlas, Burton Genesis X, Now O-Drive,
Set Up: 22.75” close to reference stance 15 front -3 back
Approximate Weight: Feels light but not super light compared to the regular Hovercraft.
Flex: It’s not as stiff as the Jones Carbon Flagship but much stiffer than the Hovercraft from tip to tail.
Sizing: The 156 felt right and any bigger might be too much for Peter, Ren, and I. However the 160 might be much more suitable for Jimbo and Zobels 11’s.
On Snow Feel: The Ulracraft feels like it has more camber than the Carbon Flagship and many Jones Snowboards but it’s still not super catchy as you would think when you skid a turn. It’s a very stiff, poppy and aggressive and prefers speed.
Edge Hold: Felt about the same as most Jones boards but surprisingly, the Jones Ultracraft felt a little less than the Hovercraft.
Turn Initiation: The Jones Ultracraft is like the Hovercraft and it likes to make big bold turns. It’s not about the quick edge to edge transitioning. It takes a bit of work to get it edge to edge.
Turning Experience: It’s a fun board to turn and it likes a little extra weight off the back foot but it drives pretty well. For some strange reason, I felt the Hovercraft to be a little more fun to turn as it wasn’t as washy off the tail. It might just be that the wood bent up more in the curing process with the 3D Contour Base Tech and I had to be a little more careful off the back foot. I really didn’t feel the satisfaction turning with the Jones Ultracraft as I did with the Hovercraft.
Carving: The same thing happened here when committing to a hard carve and it felt a little washier. On that same day doing an apple to apple comparison every time I was on the Ultracraft it just didn’t carve as well as the Hovercraft. Not sure why but for some reason that happened with the same bindings, boots, set up, sizes and conditions.
Speed: This board bombs and none of us had enough strength or ability to power this around at the speeds it’s capable of. It also has a fast base that really glides well.
Uneven Terrain: The Jones Ultracraft isn’t fun on harder groomers that weren’t groomed well with those micro bumps and it can get pretty cranky. It’s also not the board I want in uneven messy resort snow but it can slam into some tracked powder like it’s nothing.
Powder: Until riding the Storm Chaser and Mind Expander I felt this was truly amazing in powder and it still is but it’s just a little shy of those too when it comes to effortless float.
Buttering: Took everything I got to get the nose off the snow and my back leg was feeling really good that day.
2016 Jones Ultracraft Review
The Jones Ultracraft is one of those rare backcountry boards that is a lighter version of the Split Jones Hovercraft. We haven’t ridden the Ultracraft but have spent many hours on the Hovercraft. It’s really light and the flex feels more snappy than the regular Hovercraft Split. We’d love to see this line expanded to solids and have the same sizing as the regular Hovercraft. Here’s to next year.
If you need the lightest and the best when it comes to backcountry riding the Ultracraft will work.
Jones Ultracraft Specs
Jones Ultracraft Images
Jones Ultracraft User Reviews
Surfy and super aggressive
I picked up the OG 2014 split earlier this year and she is a beast. Super lightweight for uphill skins and bootpacking but stiff and solid on the descent. Really fat nose for maximum float and you can get a real good carve out of her. The early one I've got I would say isn't ideal on hardpack or groomers, she'll cope with it fine but it isn't the carving camber monster I've got for resort riding and it feels a bit catchy going through the flats. I think thats something that has been sorted to with the newer models though.
Ideal for the softer stuff like anything vaguely resembling powder or my personal favorite late season slush surfing. Really wants to go fast, very stable carving at speed and laying down big fat turns. Not a huge amount of pop just because of the crop tail and the nosebutters are a bit tricky to nail down but thats not really what the board is for anyway. Its really designed for the way up and the way down. I'm a bit spoiled to have something so light as my first splitboard but it seems like she'll last a while longer.
So I have the 2016 ultracraft with no 3d spoon nose and tail and I havent tried the new version or never riden the Hovercraft so this review is based only on my experience with this board that is part of my quiver. I tend to go to Tignes once a year (hopefully will add an extra week this seasson) to do out of piste freeriding and this is where i ride the Ultracraft by no other than Jones Snowboards. I give this board 4 stars for many reasons: First of is the fact that this board doesn´t think even when you have your weight on your front leg and is deep as hell, another reason is that this is by far the fastest board I have ever ridden so that means that I had to walk a lot less to get back into the piste or the roads around the resort I go out of bounds from. This board is damped and takes a lot of the terrain sensations out but is lively at the same time, reacts so fast is scary, so is damped but is not a walk in the park at the same time. The melow magne traction does it job to hold your edges so carving in this thing is madness. This board is mean, extremely aggressive, you can´t make mistakes on it, is stiff, not playful but serious, the good thing is that when is deep you feel like you are flying. I always like to test what this board can take, I want to see its limits, its potential and so far I have to say I have giving this board a beating against everything you can imagine and so far so good. Only thing to keep in mind is that this is not a board to have a mellow, chilled, fun ride, it won´t allow you to do so , so this is an extremely specific board for a very specific mood and to me is not something I want to ride every day, but the days I feel like an adrenaline junkey or I go out of piste with some skier friends that are insane, or just want to test my fear, when the conditions are crazy deep pow and I just want to lose my mind with speed, then this board wont let you down.
I paired this board with my Cartel but I actually feel curious to pair it with the Genesis by Burton just to make it more confortable.
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