Not only was I incredibly excited to finally buy a splitboard, I was even more excited to use it! Now, I should probably explain what a splitboard is for starters, being that many of my friends and family may have no idea what I'm talking about. A splitboard is basically a snowboard cut in half. You need one of these (or learn how to ski!) to access deeper backcountry than what can only be accessed on foot or dreaded snowshoes. When your splitboard is split apart (like skis) you can throw on some skins to ascend snow-covered slopes. Skins are skinny pieces of fabric with glue on the bottom that stick to the bottom of your skis. They glide forward when you want them to and basically "stick" to the slope due to the fabric when you are climbing uphill. Think of what it feels like when you rub a short-haired dog's hair the wrong way. That's what the fabric does on the bottom of the skins, allowing you to not slide backwards in the snow.
People have been skinning and skiing deep backcountry for years, but it's only recently that some more love has been put into the splitboard industry -- including women's specific splitboards!! Yayy!! After hearing that GNU was coming out with a B-Pro split (my normal board of choice) this year, I knew I had to get one. In the past women have been limited to the "shorter" men's boards (way longer than what I would prefer to ride). Some may argue that you would want a longer splitboard than what you normally ride since you are going to be always riding powder but I beg to differ. Most of the exits for some of these backcountry runs that I like to frequent are icy, banked-slalom, roller-coaster-like wild rides through tight trees, creek beds, and sometimes sticks, logs and rocks. A shorter board is much easier to navigate such terrain with!
Anyway, I got a 152 GNU B-Pro Splitboard, complete with Spark bindings that slide right on to the Voile conversion system for splitboards. I couldn't wait to take it on its maiden voyage this weekend! We decided on a very familiar run, Tittymouse Ridge on Teton Pass. The skin track is nice and mellow with only a few dips and a shallow grade. In the past I have walked this track when it gets packed in but boy was I surprised how much easier it was with skins! My strides were longer and I didn't get out of breath from having to constantly catch my balance when my feet sunk in. Granted, I still managed to fall down. Being someone that's never skied, even the slightest downhill in the track was terrifying and I totally ate it at one point (or two). This is something I will get better at with practice I'm sure :)
Once out to the ridge, we made a very easy transition transforming our skis back into snowboards. It was a very easy process and I am so thankful that this technology has improved so much! Next it was time to see how the board would ride. Being that it is technically cut in half, I was surprised at the stability. Our powder run through the trees was perfect with a ton of fresh powder. The roller-coaster exit was very easy with only one snow bridge to deal with over a small creek. The snowboard was very stable, with only a bit of chatter on the Old Pass Road when it got a little icy and choppy. Other than that though, it was a fabulous day and I can't wait to see what adventures this new toy is going to take me on!