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Gear Review | Salomon S/LAB Premiere

The somewhat different splitboard

by Anselm Köhler 01/16/2020
After about 50 touring days, the 4-piece splitboard has proven itself completely. 4-piece? Yes, during the ascent you carry the two centre sections on your backpack and therefore have two narrow ascent skis on your feet. Such concepts have existed for more than 15 years, and since 2014/15 Salomon has ventured into the 4-piece splitboard market with the Premiere. For me, it's my first 4-piece and there's no way around it on long tours ...

First impression

I was delighted to unpack the parcel and take a look at the board and the connections. The whole construction makes a sensible and well thought-out impression. No big frills, but proven parts reassembled, such as the Plum WOM hooks with a special centre section adapted to 3- or 4-piece boards. The splitboard comes with all necessary connectors, skins from Pomoca and crampons from Plum as well as a small plastic ice scraper. To start in the snow, only a binding on a voile basis (slider) is needed - either a softboot binding or Dynafit Toepieces and lever binding, such as the Spark DynoHD. For Plum bindings there is a special adapter.

According to the manufacturer, the board has a directional taper shape with a medium flex, which I measured to be around 1.3 cm taper and the flex is more on the harder side of "medium". The board has a camber between the feet and a small rocker at the nose. The binding holes are placed with a setback of a few centimetres. The nose and tail are protected by aluminium inserts. The two ski parts have internal, continuous steel edges. The topsheet is painted and smooth to minimise snow adhesion. When assembled, there is a small gap on the right-hand ski, but the overall finish can be described as decent.

The fur suspension is well done. There is a hole for a Z-hook at the front and a simple slot for an elastic band at the back. I particularly like the fact that the board can be fully assembled in order to put on or take off the skins. At the summit, I assemble the board first, lay it on the ground with the skins facing upwards and pull the skins off easily without the fear of losing a ski part in a storm. The cut of the skins is exact, the contour could just follow the curve of the nose a little less. A little snow collects, but no more than with other ski or splitboard skins. I cannot say which Pomoca skins it is (mohair or mix). The skins come with a storage bag.

Slider pucks
Salomon has equipped the Premiere with its own slider pucks. These can be adjusted at an angle of -26 to 26 degrees. This works without any problems, even without an adjustment template. Not all stances can be adjusted, but only the distance between the holes every 2.5 cm. Unfortunately, the pucks are parallel to the snowboard and not canted 3° inwards. Compared to a two-piece, there are more screws that can come loose, so a screwdriver should be taken on every longer tour to be on the safe side.

According to Salomon, the splitboard has a balsa wood core and is built with carbon fibres. Nevertheless, it feels quite heavy to me, probably because of the double steel edges and also because of the connectors. Ready for the descent the board weighs 5200g (with DynoHD binding), on the ascent it weighs 1950g per ski (with skins).

Now some unpleasant news: On my test board, the holes into which the pucks are screwed are too close together, so that the distance between the pucks does not correspond to the length of the Slider or Spark bindings and the binding has 2mm play (see picture). It is best to briefly measure the distance between the pucks in the shop, the target value for Voile/Spark is 19.4cm. I have attached a spacer to the binding - this works better than expected. I also already have the canted custom pucks from Wildschnee at home, which solved the problem with my board. Salomon has assured us that this is a warranty case and does not normally occur.

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Tester and test conditions

I've mainly been splitboard touring for about 8 years, and you can probably count my days on the piste per season on one hand. I don't actually own a normal snowboard any more, but am always travelling with two or now four pieces under my feet. I get about 50-70 touring days per season, of which about 50 have been with the Salomon Premiere. For two years now I've only been touring with hard boots, and I'm carrying out this test with the Arcteryx Procline boots, Dynafit Race 2.0 ascent binding and Spark R&D DynoHD. I'm 180 cm tall, weigh around 75 kg and use the Salomon Premiere in length 159 cm.

Test report

No question: two thin skis on your feet are better than the wide slats of a two-piece. I also have the feeling that I have better ascent performance compared to the downhill-orientated freeride skis - a first for me as a splitboarder. I find the ski parts sufficiently rigid and don't feel any excessive flexing when tracking in soft snow. In addition to the low weight per foot and the improved edge hold on hard firn, the noticeably lower friction of the narrow skins when trailing is particularly astonishing. Uphill the skins hold well as usual, only on a completely icy track did I start to slip (but so did other skiers).

After a season without crampons, I finally got round to using them. The assembly goes perfectly without going out of the binding (with appropriate flexibility). The crampons grip well as usual. I haven't tried to what extent they work with a climbing aid, but usually the crampons grip a little less then. I can't say to what extent the ascent performance suffers from using a soft boot setup, but it should still be better than with a two-piece binding. However, as the softboot binding is certainly 4cm wider than an ascent ski, the binding will often drag in the snow or even touch the edge instead of the actual edge in icy steep terrain. In my opinion, the Salomon Premiere is made for hard boot skiers.

The conversion is surprisingly simple and grinds in well over time. Compared to the two-piece, the conversion is hardly more complex and doesn't take much longer. At the summit, I first de-ice the two skis, then remove the binding and centre section from my backpack. I hold the right ski in my right hand and thanks to the Plum WOM Hooks, I can easily attach the centre section and left ski while standing and without taking them off. Slide the binding over it, shoot the nose and tail clips and put them on my head to take them off comfortably - that's my technique.

Now to the most important point of the test for many. Why only for many and not all? In my eyes, the Salomon Premiere is an excellent ascent-orientated splitboard. In other words, I am more than satisfied with the ascent performance. Well, everyone has to get back down and that's also a lot of fun with the four-piece. I was surprised by how stiff and reactive the board is. It masters higher speeds without fluttering, hard snow (including piste) without excessive twisting, tree runs with surprising manoeuvrability and on powder descents the small rocker and setback help it to float. Deductions are made on rutted forest tracks, where the stiff board is tiring to ride. If it were softer, you would simply wobble down at the end of the day, so it requires active riding of tired legs. I also didn't like the fact that it doesn't have canted pucks for the bindings - in my opinion a must on a board designed for hardboarders.

Nevertheless, Salomon has built a really fine four-piece. And the Wildschnee custom canted pucks can be fitted with a few tools and a little manual dexterity.


The Salomon Premiere is a decidedly ascent-orientated splitboard for hardboot riders. But it also makes a good impression on the descent and masters deep powder in narrow forest descents and firn flanks with late winter slab powder well. The Salomon Premiere is a really fine board and convinced me personally of the advantages of a 4-piece.

Advantages and disadvantages

+ Top on the ascent, especially with hard boots in hard snow the advantages come into their own

+ Good downhill characteristics

+ Fur attachment

+- Can only be used sensibly with hard boots

+- I don't want any more 2-parters

- Binding and centre section in or on the rucksack on the ascent

- Downhill weight quite high compared to other splitboards

- Only slider-based bindings (Spark Dyno, Plum with adapter), no Phantom

- No canted pucks


RRP: €1499,-
Flex:  Medium
Shape:  Directional with Taper
Profile:  Cross Profile
Construction:  Carbon fibre
Core type:  Balsa wood core
Cushioning:  ABS
Base material:  Sintered EG
Factory finish:  Fine stone finish, All Mountain edge bevel
Sizes: 159 and 165 cm length

Here is the link to the Salomon website with further information.

The board was provided to PowderGuide by the manufacturer free of charge for testing. You can find out how we test it in our test statement.

Photo gallery

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

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