Splitboarding: the next evolution of back-country adventure.

Courtesy of Ascend Splitfest

Courtesy of Ascend Splitfest

Some of us long for that quiet space, a place that is seemingly untouched by the world where we can venture into wild. For the longest time, the winter back-country was relegated to cross-country skis, touring skis and snowshoes, but athletic technology has advanced to the point where many sports can be adapted to the rougher conditions. Snowboarding is a sport in which back-country options were limited: you could snowshoe, snow-mobile, or heli-ski but taking the board alone was not an option. Splitboarding has taken a firm grasp in the boarding community since over the past twenty years. The original inception of a splitboard looked like a tattered, frankenstein-esque, board cut in half with screws and bolts patching it together. Boards can be taken apart and converted into a hybrid cross country ski while still wearing the conventional snowboard boot; the skis and a set of skins are used for ascending mountains and tackling trails in order to get to fresh untouched powder. When you’re at the destination, you can clip the two parts together to create a snowboard. There are still many online instructional videos showing how to cut a regular snowboard down and where to purchase clips and bindings but splitboards have become more readily available over the past five years. The niche product is now available in practically all snowboard and ski shops in Edmonton along with all of the safety equipment necessary.

Safety is key. There needs to be a great level of respect in what our natural surroundings can throw at you. We hear of many incidents where people become stuck in avalanches because they have veered off the main trails or ignored weather warnings and inclement conditions. In as much as there is absolute majesty in the back-country there is an inherent level of danger. Avalanche Canada has some great courses and resources to get you ready for your next adventure and there are always qualified guides from the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides.

If you are planning on trying out splitboarding this year though, head over the the Ascend Splitfest that will be taking place between March 4 and 6. It is a professionally guided splitboarding weekend that will take you through the basics of splitboarding and back-country safety in Jasper National Park. This is one of the only opportunities to rent and try out a splitboard in a well guided environment and it’s quite inexpensive at $375.

You can get more information about the event here:

http://www.ascendsplitfest.com/

Happy trails and adventures!

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About Chris Tse

I’m a scientist turned owner of Blitz Conditioning, a Fitness Columnist at CBC Radio on Thursdays at 8:20 am, and owner of Tse Social Strategy. Follow me on Twitter or Read my full bio.

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