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​Josh Dirksen’s Words Of Wisdom For Long Tours And Multi-Day Missions

Josh Dirksen waking up with the sun at South Sister, Oregon. Photo by Tyler Roemer courtesy of Patagonia.

Josh Dirksen is blunt, truthful, and jovial. His riding is unmistakable—he holds one of the most recognizable turning styles in snowboarding. His clean arcs have led him to numerous Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom podiums and influenced a whole generation of riders. He’s dedicated nearly thirty years to snowboarding and has tasted a bit of it all, from huge park shoots and backcountry booter sessions to AK heli drops and lines in obscure mountain ranges. As he’s refined his riding he’s become further immersed in splitboarding and the foot-powered attainable terrain it provides. This past season he stayed right at home around Mt Bachelor, filming his entire video part by splitboarding and exploring this native and new terrain. For all things splitboarding, whether it’s a simple lap, a day long objective or a multi-day camp out consider his wise packing list picks.

1. Salomon Split 163cm

Josh Dirksen up at the Meadows Lodge, BC. Esplanades, British Columbia. Photo by Garrett Grove courtesy of Patagonia. 

For the ups and downs of touring Dirksen relies on the classic two-part Salomon Split splitboard. The board is based off of Salomon’s legendary Sick Stick model with twin tapered shaping, flyweight wood core and medium flex, making it one of the more playful splitboards on the market. “With a relatively long length and big nose for riding deep pow, combined with a quick turning sidecut and slight taper for maneuverability, this board is one of the more versatile splitboards out there,” says Dirksen. “In my opinion, this is a splitboard version of one of the best boards Salomon ever made. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face.” The Split from Salomon also comes dialed with Custom Cut Pomoca skins and Voile clips for switchover ease.

2. Patagonia PowSlayer Bibs

To weather everything from Pacific Northwest wet to spring days in the Sierras, Dirksen suits up with Patagonia’s premium PowSlayer Bib. “Being one of those items you never really take off on a splitboard trip, a nice fitting bib pant is more important than you would expect,” asserts Dirksen. “This bib is made from a durable, three-layer Gore-Tex fabric, has wide-open side vents, and pockets in all the right places. They also have a slimmer fit and some special features for use with harnesses, crampons and other backcountry necessities.” Features aside the Powslayer Bib is made to weather the storm with their highly waterproof and breathable fabric and snow-sealing high cut.

3. Smith Drake Sunglasses

“On a splitboard trip my  sunglasses are more important than my goggles and an item that I use much more often,” claims Dirksen. For protecting his peepers Dirksen turns to the Smith Drake for its classic style, clean design and premium materials. “They’re lightweight and durable with great styling, have a perfectly tinted lenses and wrap around protection from the sun and the elements,” he adds. Italian craftsmanship, hidden hinges, unparalleled scratch-resistance and crystal clear clarity of the polarized Chromapop lenses make these shades a no brainer. And if you haven’t tried Chromapop lenses, be careful, they’re addictive.

4. Side Surfers Euro Series

For skin tracks under blue skies and the retina-searing sun Dirksen adds these simple sunglass sleeves to his Smith Drakes. “ SideSurfers are a simple product that turns any pair of sunglasses into protective ‘glacier glasses’,” says Dirksen. “The two leather sleeves slide onto the arms of any sunglass to provide a little bit more protection from glare and weather. They’re great for extended periods of time on the glacier or in high alpine environments.” SideSurfers are handcrafted in the U.S. and come in three different styles and numerous color ways.

RELATED: Kimmy Fasani's Picks For Snowboarding, Yoga, and Year-round Good Livin'

5. Salomon Synapse Boots

Dirksen in Esplanades, British Columbia. Photo by Garrett Grove courtesy of Patagonia. 

Splitboarding is tough on boots. They not only need to perform well for snowboarding, they need the right flex, breathability and support for the thousands of steps they take and the peaks they reach. Dirksen was lucky enough to design a specific pair tailored to his pursuits for this season. “The Synapse is a boot that Salomon and I designed specifically for splitboarding,” boasts Dirksen. “They have features like a quick-drying liner, a lug sole for walking and climbing, medium flex, and a simple (and repairable) lacing system. I find these boots are comfortable enough to wear all day long and durable enough for multiple seasons.” Aside from bearing Salomon’s highly sought after fit and comfort, the Synapse boots are also available with a Boa lacing system.

6. Hilleberg Nammatj 2 Tent

The Hilleberg is also pictured above at the beginning of the article. 

Winter camping always appears more glamorous than it really is. Nights can be wet and cold, and storms can have you pinned inside your tiny shelter for far too many hours. But then again, sleeping closer to rideable terrain has its perks. For shelter Dirksen hides out in a Hilleberg. “I have a Swiss buddy, Harry, who spent his life working for the Swiss Military’s Alpine Division,” he recounts. “After many years of rigorous testing, he loves and respects well-designed outdoor camping products, so when I asked him what the best tent company was, he quickly replied, “Hilleberg.” Hilleberg is a Swedish tent company and they are widely considered the best and most durable tents in the world. The Nammatj 2 tent is lightweight, warm, comfortable, durable, proven, and good for all seasons. Also, it doesn’t have gigantic logos that you find on the side of most tents these days, which makes you feel like you are setting up a tent, not a billboard.” The word “Nammatj” is Sami—the Uralic languages spoken by Northern Europe—for “a lone mountain standing at the head of a valley.”

7. Patagonia Ascensionist Pack 35L

“Although this pack was designed for high alpine mountain climbers, it is the perfect pack for backcountry splitboarding,” claims Dirksen. “With an incredibly lightweight and simple design it expands and contracts from about 15L–45L, making it a perfect pack for short day trips or overnight strike missions. There is just one large main compartment and one smaller pocket on top of the lid. Side straps easily carry splitboards in ski mode, my preferred method these days, but you can also carry a board vertically by using two orange Voile straps.” For riders looking for a more snow-specific day pack, consider the Patagonia Snowdrifter 30L Pack.

8. Jetboil SOL Campstove

Rather than rationing water from one large bottle, Dirksen carries a tool for on-demand hydration. “I finally got tired of running out of water on long days in the mountains,” he says. “So now I just carry my Jetboil SOL camp stove and a 16oz non-insulated water bottle. On the skin track, I can cook up a pot of warm water in about two minutes and because there is plenty of fresh snow to use in the winter, I never run out of water. Also, warmer water means I’m able to drink a lot more in a day, which makes the days in the mountains more enjoyable and comfortable.” Warm water also opens the door for hot chocolate, cider, coffee, soup and loads of other fuel for touring. 

From The Column: The Packing List

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