Ever felt that ski resorts were too industrialized, or too crowded? That using chairlifts and cable cars was contradictory to the values you should embrace as a sporty? Ever wondered what was behind the top of that fascinating mountain? If the answer is yes, you are probably ready to switch your stance and get on with the latest growing winter sport: splitboarding!
Splitboarding is at the crossroad of off-piste snowboarding and ski-touring. To be more illustrative, at the start of the day you literally “split” in two your snowboard, stick removable “skins” on the base, set up the bindings into touring mode and you are good to go (up)! After an enjoyable ascent and a well-deserved break (with a view), now it’s time to convert back to a snowboard mode and do that perfect descent. If you haven’t quite yet pictured what it is, check out videos and articles from websites like www.splitboarding.eu or www.splitboardmag.com.
Among the numerous benefits of the sport, the access to untouched terrain is probably the greatest: untracked powder fields, hour-long runs and all other off-piste features guaranteed. You are about to realise that “perfect run”! This is even possible when snow is lacking in ski resorts or when winter is back in spring-time and lifts have already closed. All this with no pressure from other skiers/snowboarders rushing to jump start you or the mogul fields found on resort slopes just a day after a big snowfall. Also, what a feeling of achievement after a whole day in the complete wilderness and quietness of the mountain. You’ll come back so much more relaxed, proud and exhausted from a day splitboarding that this beer at the end of the day will be even tastier.
The sport has nonetheless few drawbacks. First, it requires quite a lot of additional equipment, and thus additional costs. On top of the splitboard (you can DIY if you are a bit handy), skins, bindings, poles, crampons, avalanche/safety equipment and water/food supplies are the bare minimum. Of course you can rent most of those, though it’s not as mainstream as hiring a snowboard. Last but not least, you must hire a guide so you stay safe.
Overall, while the equipment requirements can deter some, the sense of adventure, the terrain accessed and the additional flexibility provide amazing feelings and are worth the efforts.
In Bansko, the splitboard festival is a great chance to discover the sport and try it out, will be held the 21-22-23 of February 2015: more info here. Also, Ride Bansko is able to offer tours catering all levels.