Splitboarding – What is Splitboarding?

Mt Shuksan - Fourpoints Bar - photo credit Zach Birmingham

What is Splitboarding?

Splitboarding – The First Steps When Taking Snowboarding Into the Backcountry

What is splitboarding?  How and where do you start? What gear and education do you need? This book will get you on the right path. Written by Engearment Co-Founder Sean Sewell.

Mt Shuksan - Fourpoints Bar - photo credit Zach Birmingham

Mt Shuksan  – photo credit Zach Birmingham

How To Book for Splitboarding

After spending the last decade in the backcountry, I wanted to create a “How To” book on splitboarding.  I get asked what splitboading is so often, that has seemed like an ideal solution would be to offer an easy to read e-book with resources to help the reader.


What is Splitboarding?

Splitboarding is basically backcountry skiing, but with a snowboard.  The splitboard is a snowboard that is cut in half.  It is more efficient than snowshoeing with a solid snowboard on your back. The ability to ascend a mountain on your own accord is truly rewarding.  You are one with nature.  It is a great exercise. Plus, you get to ride some great lines!

Spark R&D Tip and Tail Clip

Enjoying some backcountry pow while splitboaring

Splitboarding Can Be Dangerous!

However, it is not without risks, limitations and inherent dangers.  There is no ski patrol or medics to provide aid.  Avalanches are not mitigated as they would be at a resort.  Often, there is no cell service.  Weather can change quickly.  Orientation can become challenging.  Type 2 fun is the norm.

Four Points John Fielder

John Fielder pointing out an avalanche

What Gear Do You Need For Splitboarding?

This can be an expensive sport to first enter.  First, there is the splitboard, which costs more than a regular snowboard.  Then there are splitboard bindings (see our review of Spark R&D and Karakoram and our comparison) Skins are needed for ascending the mountain (G3 Glide skins).  That is just the start!  You will need collapsible poles, backpack, good base layers, jacket and pants (I prefer bibs).  Beacon, shovel and probe – and know how to use them!

Karakoram and Spark R&D splitboard bindings comparison

Karakoram and Spark R&D splitboard bindings comparison


Backcountry Education

Before even attempting to get into the backcountry, it is imperative to get educated on snow safety, safe route planning, how to use your beacon, probe and shovel, basic first aid and so much more.  Start with an AIARE level 1 course, then Companion Rescue course.  I took the level 2 course as well, and would still retake any of those courses in a heartbeat.  You can never learn enough and practice skills enough.


Mammut Barryvox Beacon

Mammut Barryvox Beacon


Backcountry Fitness

Walking up a mountain is not easy.  It requires a fair amount of endurance, mobility, and strength.  Plenty of calories are burned too.  As a fitness coach with a decade of experience training people of all ages and abilities for outdoor recreation, I have learned a few things.  Shameless plug here – I created an online fitness school specifically for backcountry sports.  It simple and effective, but most importantly, it works.  Check out the Mountain Fitness School. You can train however you choose, but make sure you are training your body to work together for the backcountry.

Mountain Fitness Training Program - Kettlebells and TRX for backcountry sports

Mountain Fitness Training Program – Kettlebells and TRX for backcountry sports

Why Splitboard?

Personally, I love splitboarding for the freedom it gives me to explore the mountains.  It is a chance to recharge my batteries and center myself.  The view views are breathtaking (pictures can not do it justice).  Nature is healing to me and the mountains are always calling.  Whether on a solo tour or a small group of friends, anytime in the mountains is rewarding.  Some days are mellow and tranquil.  Others can be downright nerve-racking, as things don’t always go according to plan.  Regardless, it is always just what I need.
splitboard camping in the snow

winter base camp for splitboarding mission + snow!

I hope you find the e-book helpful.  I made it free to download and share, so please share with anyone who might be interested.  Here is a link to spread the book around – Splitboarding Book.

There you have it – splitboarding can be fun and rewarding,  but requires some tools, education, and patience.  All worth it!