Split board Revolution
By Ryland Bell | December 1st, 2009
Today was my 16th Day snowboarding in a row. Three quarters of that has been at ski resorts. This is mostly because we are lacking in the snow department here in Tahoe. Man-made snow is almost the only option and the limited backcountry is boney with sharks’ teeth lurking. It is, however, still fun. Three days ago was my last outing to the only spot on the North shore holding pow with a base.
Jeremy and I hit it early and were the second car at the pullout. A strange storm had come out of nowhere the day before, passing by from West to East and then doubling back on us from the Northeast. It deposited about 3 inches at my house and about 10 inches up high, but as it cleared it brought a powerful East Wind. Sustained winds of 60 miles an hour greeted us on the ridge tops. The top 100 feet of every ridge was scoured to blue ice and at first glance our run was looking grim. We found a spot out of the insanity and started to change over our splitboards.
It was my first day out on my split of the season, but I had little trouble changing over. I was glad to have it on the way up, what had taken us an hour and a half by boot took only 45 minutes skinning. A group of 3 splitboarders came out of nowhere. They informed us they were from South Lake and had come in search of more snow, hopefully with a base underneath. Choosing the southwest slope for their run in hopes of scoring all the windblown had proven a bad idea. Unfortunately there is no base on the aspect the wind had just deposited a foot of cold snow on rocks and dirt. Their boards had taken the brunt of it and they were done for the day.
Having ridden there before we had a good idea of where to find the goods. We tested out a new zone first run with bad results, and ended up riding the remnants of our old tracks, finding the best snow at lower elevation in the trees. A foot plus of A quality snow had been blown in by the wind, and with enough base under it we could build up some speed. I even got a face shot.
It was cool to see other snowboarders out getting it early season, and in fact out of the 6 people we ran into that day 4 were boarders. It must have been a trip for them to be out at some random peak searching for any little bit of snow, and running into Jeremy. I bet it stoked them up. They all seemed to know about, “DEEPER.”
I feel that a splitboard is very different than a normal snowboard, it’s actually a lot like a surfboard. You don’t have to rely on ski resorts, sleds, planes, and helicopters to get your turns. It is a pure form of riding. Of course it costs a bit more than a regular snowboard, but once you have it your set. And compared to a set of skis or a surfboard it’s cheap. The world is your oyster and what we are proving with, “DEEPER” is that you can ride anything. Jones and I talked about it for a while he was saying how he feels the whole experience of splitboarding creates a closer connection to the mountains. It’s true the fresh air, the views, and the little nuances of pitch and snow depth help connect you to where you are, and give you a better run in the end. There is a smooth satisfaction strapping in on top of a rad line when you’ve busted ass to get there.
This knowledge is spreading like wildfire, and people seem to be stoked on what we’re doing. Soon there may be a day when snowboarders outnumber skiers on Teton Pass. So let the revolution begin.
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