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