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Splitboard investment worth it for a novice?

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:33 am
by CaptCO
How’s it going everybody, I’ve only snowboarded once in my life but picked it up very quickly and ended up doing the blues my first half day out. Since I’m permanently in the area I’m having the tough choice of splitboard and starting out in treeline/mellow 13ers and taking an avy class versus spending an absurd amount of money on a resort pass and just grabbing a snowboard and dialing in my experience over the winter dealing w the crowds. A little background info on me, almost became a professional skateboarder before getting injured so that type of center balance and growing up surfing in Florida I believe helps. Thanks much! I know I’m comparing apples to bananas here

Re: Splitboard investment worth it for a novice?

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:39 am
by Barnold41
You can always take your split board up resorts 8)

Re: Splitboard investment worth it for a novice?

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:45 am
by FireOnTheMountain
Used to snowboard a lot and got quite proficient at it so I picked up a split to get out in the BC.

My biggest advice: learn to ski. Skiing is way, way more efficient means of transport in the BC. You can totally make the split work, as I've done along with some buddies, but I'm not super serious about snowboarding anymore. It is a tough decision, because on one had if you get good at transitions and gliding down small bumps on your skins, a split is OK plus we don't have to wear those god awful looking ski boots. But overall, I still think skiing is a superior mode of transportation as there is just less change of getting bogged down on skis as there is on a board.

A lot of it totally has to do with the terrain you are looking to get on. Big long, sustained runs, split does just fine. Lot of undulating, varied, thick trees (like 13er or 14er hiking stuff), skis are better.

Sorry for the wishy washy answer but overall, I don't think there is a black and white answer to the split. Good thing skiing/snowboarding is cheap, sheesh....this is why I climb now.

Re: Splitboard investment worth it for a novice?

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:06 am
by JacerJack
CaptCO - welcome to the club! I grew up snowboarding and rode resort for almost 20 years before splurging on a splitboard setup (the cost was my main barrier to entry, but the unbearable increase in resort crowds ultimately made the splurge worth it). At the end of the day, what was right for me isn't going to be right for everyone (so take this with a grain of salt) but here's my 2 cents...

I currently ride about 75% backcountry and 25% resort, and love both. The benefit of starting in a resort setting is that you'll get a lot of repetitions in for minimal effort. In other words, your skills will progress much faster. In the backcountry, 3K of vert would be a big day for a beginner, but you would have no problem racking up 25-30K of vert at a resort. Just more time in the saddle. I've always heard that you should be able to comfortably ride black runs at a resort before venturing into any sort of backcountry. Others will probably disagree. Not that the terrain itself will be any gnarlier, but you will need to be able to rely on your skills to be able to navigate unmarked obstacles, tight trees, creek crossings, flat exits, etc. Some backcountry lines that would be considered a blue at a resort, are exponentially more difficult in the backcountry due to all the extra variables. Things can get pretty hairy quickly outside the resort, and it would be easy to get in over your head as a beginner, despite how easy the line itself might look.

That said, I can't fault you for wanting to start on a split right away. I have grown to prefer my time on a split... It's even my preferred method of walking my dog in the winter evenings. There's something to be said for earning your turns (cliché but true). For me, splitboarding is about quality and not quantity. I'd rather work all day for a couple dozen epic powder turns than wait in line for hours at Vail. Plus it will open the door to the splitboard mountaineering world, which is an absolute blast.

Probably the most important piece of this discussion is avalanche education. You already mentioned it, so you're probably already aware, but it's worth reiterating. A good AIARE 1 class can run you north of $400, so just consider that as part of the investment. It doesn't work just to get the gear - you have to know how to use it! I know some folks who have fully intended on getting their AIARE 1, but ran out of money after buying a full backcountry setup and now ride in the backcountry without any avy education. Don't be that guy. If you budget $2k, that should get you everything you need to get going in the backcountry, including your AIARE 1.

Lastly, keep in mind you can get a splitboard setup and ride it in-bounds too (although not ideal). If I were you, I'd invest in a split setup, get a Copper 4-pack (or something of the sort) to get your feet under you, then get your AIARE 1 and turn it loose in the backcountry.

Have fun - see you out there!

Re: Splitboard investment worth it for a novice?

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:44 am
by SchralpTheGnar
Is skiing an option for you? Not only better overall for versatility but also many more options where you can get a decent full setup used on Craigslist for like 500, plus boots. Either way just avoid berthoud, that place rivals resorts now for crowds.

Re: Splitboard investment worth it for a novice?

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:45 pm
by TakeMeToYourSummit
In my opinion - I'd start with resort riding. The skills learned there will be invaluable in the backcountry. Although not ideal - snowshoes could give you a taste of the b/c (& with used ones - at a cheaper cost). Even a slope that is "blue" in angle in the backcountry can hide rocks, stumps, inconsistent snow, etc. The safety net for injuries is also not there... not that any of us plan to get hurt.

AIARE is definitely something you should work toward. As a cheaper alternative & intro to avalanche safety; Mountain Rescue Aspen offers a class (was around $30 a few years ago). It's a classroom session on a Friday night & a field session behind the Aspen resort on Saturday (it includes a "one time" ride up the gondola). Check their website in Dec or early Jan for the dates on that.

Getting a splitboard at some point will be a game changer though! I worked 2 jobs for one winter to have the extra income to buy mine. If you have any questions - post them to the forums... most of us here are more than willing to assist! Safe travels!

Re: Splitboard investment worth it for a novice?

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:54 pm
by nomad
I split board and have ridden the resorts on it as well as the BC. The resorts will allow you to practice with less consequences for the most part, however the BC is far more enjoyable.
Take the Avy course BEFORE you ride the BC. That should be a non negotiable for you.

Enjoy the riding, winter is coming.

Re: Splitboard investment worth it for a novice?

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:20 am
by pvnisher
Bc conditions are often much crappier, unpredictable, icy, bumpy, rocky, narrow, have unmarked obstacles, ridiculous creeks or gully run outs, ice bombs in the trees, etc.
The best runs of my life have also been bc.

Either way, I think that being a good rider before venturing out of bounds is important.
Kinda like climbing. You can really push yourself in the gym, kinda push following sport, but you don't lead at your limit, and even lower if you're leading trad.

Re: Splitboard investment worth it for a novice?

Posted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:51 am
by CaptCO
Thank you guys a bunch! I'll probably end up grabbing a used snowboard and hitting some resorts, as well as the possibility to backpack with it. Going to dial in my skills and do some vehicle mods to plow through the backcountry roads in the worst of conditions. Thanks again, Alec

P.S if somebody doesn't mind bringing along a fast-learning, eager, and safe novice send me a PM!