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Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Jeremy Jones partners with Karakoram

By Mike Horn
ESPN.com

Big mountain Jeremy Jones finalizes a new partnership with Snoqualmie, Wash.-based Karakoram, a splitboard binding company.

When brothers Tyler and Bryce Kloster started Karakoram Splitboard Bindings three years ago, they would have settled for Jeremy Jones just knowing their company existed. Now Jones is partnered with Karakoram to help the two engineers continue to refine their designs and propel backcountry snowboarding into the future. The official announcement was made yesterday, and referenced an existing partnership -- Jones has been providing design feedback to Karakoram for a year-plus -- that was finally made official.

"Over the last year and a half I have tested the Karakoram splitboard system extensively in some of the most challenging terrain in the world," said Jones in the press release. "By the middle of this past winter it was clear to me that it is the best system on the market, and is evolving at a very fast pace due to the expertise and commitment of the Kloster brothers. I am honored to be partnering with Karakoram and I look forward to continuing the evolution."

The announcement raised some questions: Will we see co-branded products this year? Will the Jones name be on Karakoram bindings, for example? Though Jones Snowboards currently utilizes Karakoram's split attachment system, "There won't be any co-branded products immediately. Potentially in the future," Bryce explained. "Karakoram and Jones Snowboards are separate companies, we are specifically partnering with Jeremy."

The Split30SL binding works on a lever system, among other things, so there are no loose parts.

The brothers are excited to work with Jones and are inspired by their company's progress to date. "We are very passionate snowboarders and engineers who have worked extremely hard to develop our company. Our goal from day one was to develop a product that would perform at the level that the best riders in the world require," said Bryce. "Three years ago we joked that if Jeremy even knew of our company and our product we'd be making big strides towards our goal. Now to be teaming up with him as a partner in Karakoram, we are inspired to go even further."

So how will backcountry snowboarders benefit from this partnership? There is talk of increased touring efficiency that will make it easier to climb, and a bomber splitboard interface that rides exceptionally solid downhill. According to Jones, "There is no question the splitboard community will benefit a lot from this partnership. We are both on the never-ending quest to ride better and better products and Karakoram has the tools at their fingertips and engineering expertise to evolve the sport.

For years I felt like the splitboard interface was stuck in quick sand and I didn't know if we would ever climb ourselves out of it. Now we are free and moving at a fast pace. I have no idea where we will be in five years, but I know it will be a huge improvement on what we have now, and what I am riding now is a huge improvement over what I was riding a year ago."

As to the date that we could expect to see some futuristic Jones-inspired designs, "We can't give any specifics," said Bryce, "but we are working on and will always be working on revolutionary designs. ... Obviously, if a concept can pass Jeremy's scrutiny it's going to be a pretty damn good product."