Let’s all agree that splitboarding is a little bit intimidating. Even as a former Snowboard Product Manager of four years, until last week I could still say that the equipment is probably the most intimidating part for a beginner. Well here at Burton, we decided to make things easy for our fellow Burton friends. Our volunteer environmental group, EPIC, led a two part beginner splitboarding clinic that included a ‘how-to’ gear setup session and then an outdoor split adventure.
This sounds cheesy but it was life-changing. It rivaled the first time I realized that I could standup on a snowboard, skateboard, surfboard or when I realized that I too could grow gourmet mushrooms or raise chickens successfully. It’s that moment of, “holy shit, I can do this”, the moment you open a door wide and you look out to endless opportunity ahead and realize that your life is now that much richer.
So back to the start. Once you get all the gear you need: splitboard (get the insane Burton Anti-Social if you’re a chick!), skins, (voile) hardware, bindings (I got the Spark Burners and love them) and collapsible poles, then you have to set it up.
For years splitboarding has been the domain of bearded dudes on big guns.But as more ladies seek the fitness and freedom of exploring the backcountry, they deserve a splitboard built just for them. The NEW Anti-Social is that board. With the peaceful ride of a lightweight design and women’s-specific shape, it combines S-Rocker™ with a slight taper for fast, effortless float in deep snow and a smoother uphill glide when gaining vertical in the skintrack.
The hardest part of setting up your board is the first part, getting the damn pucks lined up right for your stance so that your bindings fit. I had our Boards Engineer help me do that. Don’t be ashamed, ask for help! It’s fun to collaborate and will help give you confidence. Next, you want to put your skins onto your board and trim them to make sure the full metal edge is exposed on the base, and trim the back to make sure that the tail kick doesn’t have skin on it (because it will fall off, get covered in snow and make your life hell).
Now start gathering the necessary supplies:
- A pack that can carry your skins and poles and the below gear (the Burton [AK] 15L pack is lightweight and small but has external pole storage and is hydration compatible)
- Water bottle or hydration system (the Burton HCSC Shred Scout Pack comes with a Mizu Water Bottle and is hydration compatible)
- Spare gloves or glove liners that you can hike in.
- High energy food like granola, nuts, bars, chocolate, etc.
- A spare warm layer
- A cellphone with full batteries
- Splitboard crampons (if you have them)
- 3-part collapsible poles
- A lighter
- A small scraper
- A screwdriver, multi-tool, pocket knife, and snowboard tool (check out our tools here)
- Optional (bring if you have): two-way radios with full batteries, spare pins or binding parts, spare boot lace, Hot Hands heater packs, flask with some whiskey to warm you up, The Kit
Once you have your pack dialed, it’s time to hit the woods. Find some friends and plan a little trip. Go chill on your first time — don’t try to summit some crazy peak until you have the confidence. (Save that for your second trip!)
On our trip, we learned so much — the kick-turn for quick turns on steep switchback traversing (our fearless leader, Donna, pretty much mastered it instantly and left the rest of us fumbling around), how to keep your skins clean and warm (be careful with your skins, put them in your jacket on descents to keep the glue warm and usable), and how to find hidden crazy spots like ice caves (good place to take a break with your flask or Kit and enjoy your friends and the wilderness), and how to slide your ‘skis’ forward without lifting them too much to conserve energy.
Now that this trip is under our belt, we’re ready to conquer the world. Halfway through our adventure, we were already planning what wilderness to tackle next.
So gather your courage, invest in some gear (or borrow it to start), enlist your split friends for advice, get a crew of awesome people and hit the woods. Your life will instantly become richer…
It was Donna’s first time on a splitboard too, “I have wanted to try split boarding for years, and I love the name of our women’s splitboard, The Anti-Social. So when I got the opportunity to join some fellow newbies, I knew it was my chance. It was a magical day and I now have the confidence I needed. I can’t wait to go again.”
Note: Don’t forget protection! A beacon, shovel and probe are 100% necessary when going into the backcountry. Our trip was mellow Vermont-style with zero risk of avalanche that day, but as our readers noted, make SURE you’ve got the goods and the awareness to keep yourself and your compadres covered safely on any trip.