ProView – Kemper Rampage Splitboard
For those of us who came up in the neon age of snowboarding, Kemper is a name synonymous with flashy designs and a punk rock attitude. Having grown up on the icy ski hills of Northern Michigan, I had nostalgic memories of the original Ontario-built boards from my youth. Naturally, I was intrigued when I came across the new Kemper splitboards. The current iteration of Kemper might be a blast from the past, but it is also a revitalization of a once-great brand that exists at the intersection of radical graphics and intelligent modern construction.
Kemper Rampage Splitboard
Product Description: The Rampage Split was designed for deep powder but made to be versatile in a wide variety of snow conditions. This deck floats, carves, slashes, and butters effortlessly so you can enjoy the ride. You'll feel the performance in deep snow while staying afloat with superior maneuverability.
Offer price: MSRP: $790.00
Ease of Use
The Kemper Rampage is a quiver-of-one splitboard that makes a strong companion in the mountains both on the ascent and the descent. It is light, durable, good-looking, user-friendly, and enjoyable to ride. Poppy and responsive yet stable and easy to control, I could see how this split would make a fun backcountry freestyle board, but I did not test it in that way. For my purposes, it provided a reliable mode of travel on several workdays guiding ski tours in the Colorado Rockies. I would recommend this split to backcountry users who want a reliable all-around freeride board that lays down skin tracks and fresh lines with the best of them
- Strong uphill and downhill performance
- Flashy graphics help you look good all day
- Reasonably priced at $790
- Jack of all trades, master of none
- Non-functional part of the tip clip broke during use.
- Made in China; may not hold up to stringent environmental standards.
As I unwrapped the Kemper 160cm Rampage Splitboard, I immediately noticed the durable/lightweight construction, stiff flex, and high-quality hardware that I have come to expect in modern splitboards. The top-sheet design is abstract yet eye-catching, and Phantom Hercules Hooks / Spinner Tip Clips provide a sleek interface that really ties the room together. The base graphic is classic Kemper and I love the bright pink & purple color scheme. Metal tip & tail guards, sidewall construction, polyamide top sheet, and durasurf base all inspired confidence that this board could hold its own out in the rugged Colorado Rockies. Based on the strong positive first impression, I was excited to put the Rampage to work and see what it’s capable of.
For my first tour on the Rampage, I decided to go straight to one of my favorite backyard zones near the Continental Divide. Conditions were ideal with 8-10” of fresh, fluffy snow over a firm, supportive base. As I toured about one mile and 1000 vertical feet to the top of our first run, I was impressed with the Rampage’s uphill performance. The slightly bowed “flat camber” provided optimal surface contact making for a very stable feel on the skin track, and lightweight construction made it easy to move. As we ascended the final ridgeline, I traveled over more wind-affected snow where the Rampage’s edges held steady on the hard and crusty snow surface. Transitioning was straightforward & easy with the Phantom hardware, and I was soon ready to ride my line. As I dropped into my first few turns, I noticed this board is responsive, surfy, and quick edge to edge. There was nothing clunky about the ride, it was fun and floaty on fresh powder. Huzzah! I proceeded to tour another 3000 vertical feet including 4 descents with the Rampage that day, enjoying every step and turn along the way.
Having established that the Rampage slays pow, now it was time to really put it through its paces on a tour of Quandary Peak’s East Ridge. The ascent consisted of mellow-to-steep skinning on icy crust, wind-blown sastrugi snow, and slippery wind slab. Thanks to the sharp, new edges and optimal skin contact, we were able to skin all the way to the summit, opting to take some nearly 20° slopes directly up the ridgeline. Our descent of the East Bowls was “survival skiing” at its finest. We experienced a variety of breakable crust and wind-affected conditions at high elevations, which transitioned to melt-freeze crust in the shade and slush in the sun as we descended below tree line. The Rampage’s stiffer flex and dampened ride allowed me to make controlled turns on choppy terrain while the flat camber maintained an edge even on the firmest of snow. The quick edge-to-edge response was critical when negotiating our exit through the trees. All in all, I was very happy with the Rampage’s performance throughout our descent, and I would say it handles the whole mountain from top to bottom with ease.
The Final Word
The Kemper Rampage is a quiver-of-one splitboard that makes a strong companion in the mountains both on the ascent and the descent. It is light, durable, good-looking, user-friendly, and enjoyable to ride. Poppy and responsive yet stable and easy to control, I could see how this split would make a fun backcountry freestyle board, but I did not test it in that way. For my purposes, it provided a reliable mode of travel on several workdays guiding ski tours in the Colorado Rockies. I would recommend this split to backcountry users who want a reliable all-around freeride board that lays down skin tracks and fresh lines with the best of them.
About the Gear Tester
Nate Penney is an avid outdoor enthusiast and all-around mountain person. He works with Colorado Adventure Guides in Summit County Colorado, leading outings ranging from backcountry skiing/splitboarding to ice climbing, rock climbing, and mountaineering. When he is not working or playing in the mountains, Nate enjoys spending time with his family, brewing delicious beer, and sharing musical moments with friends. You can connect with Nate on his Instagram page @gnardical.