Ana Salvador

Ana Salvador is a rider from Aragon, in the Southern Spanish Pyrenees. She started sliding down the mountains on skis at the age of 5, and then on a snowboard at the age of 14. Snowboarding has always been her big passion, and she turned it into her job after graduating as a national coach. She is currently competing in the FWQ, but she is looking further to fulfil her snowboarding needs.

I grew up in a resort where the terrain is not very steep and there isn’t much vertical drop, but the mountains around it are unreal. I live at the beginning of the Tena Valley, Huesca, home of many 3.000m peaks, such as Garmo Negro, Pico Infiernos, and some amazing rocky peaks with many shoots, such as Peña Telera and Peña Tendeñera. A huge playground accessible for mountaineering skiers and now also for me, thanks to splitboarding.

“I’ve always dreamed of a mountain for myself and my buddies, away from the stress of ski resorts, where people fight over who’s getting on the chairlift first and who scores more powder turns”

Ana Salvador splitboard

Surfing in the backyard. Photo: Lydia Ibarra

I’ve always dreamed of a mountain for myself and my buddies, away from the stress of ski resorts, where people fight over who’s getting on the chairlift first and who scores more powder turns. I don’t like that anxious feeling. I much rather do one or two lines wherever I choose, enjoying the present moment on a mountain away from it all; a mountain I choose for the day. After a day of snowboarding, on my drive down the road, my sight always ended up wandering on the opposite side of the resort, on the mountains I actually wanted to ride. I always smiled while looking at those mountains and I learned to observe them calmly, according to each one of them the time they deserve.

“For me, every day on the mountain is a day of learning and correcting whatever I did the previous day; you pay your toll for your mistakes and you get quicker every day.”

Splitboarding for me is not limited to winter; I love to go up there all year round to scout the mountains and see the options I have for next winter.  I like to study the trail I’ll take to make it to the top, the terrain I’ll ride down or the avalanche risk areas.

In the end, that’s what I prefer from splitboarding, the calm, to be able to mark my own pace, choosing the way I feel more comfortable with. Most of my mountaineering buddies are skiers and more often than not, their best line to skin up is not the same as mine. For me, every day on the mountain is a day of learning and correcting whatever I did the previous day; you pay your toll for your mistakes and you get quicker every day. My passion for splitboarding grows day by day with all I have left to learn and the new mountains I want to explore.

Ana Salvador splitboard

Even though cold weather is gone, fun stays in. Photo: Mikel Mitxelena

Then, one day you realize you’re addicted to splitboarding, to the excitement of the night before, when you know you have an amazing day ahead of you. You mentally check your backpack before you fall asleep. You go to bed thinking about the line you’re doing the following day, with that image engraved in your memory. You’re so focused that you can end up dreaming about it, worried about how it’s going to turn out, about having it all under control and a plan B under your sleeve.

“Your mountain mates are most important. Their company is crucial when you lose strength and their energy helps you to keep going The mountain creates very strong friendship bonds.”

The next morning, I jump out of bed and it’s game on. It’s 6 am and the alarm clock hasn’t even gone off yet. Everything is so ready you’re even 15 minutes early, so you freeze your ass off waiting outside for your mates. Your mountain mates are most important. During my last Southern Hemisphere winter my great adventure buddy was my freeskier friend Adela Vilanova. Their company is crucial when you lose strength and their energy helps you to keep going. The mountain creates very strong friendship bonds. You get to know the people so well observing them in their different moods: euphoria, fear, maximum motivation or just chilling.

Ana Salvador splitboard

Walking slowly, listening to the mountain and the snow crackling. Photo: Txema Trull

I have a very clear memory of the moment we reached a summit last summer in the Andes. We were so stoked after all the effort that had taken us to make it up there, and we felt so privileged for being able to enjoy that. The feelings you experiment those moments, they can’t compare to what you feel when you ride using lifts.

That day we made a sick line called “go o no go”, one of the few lines that were missing on my list of the impressive Cerro Entreríos: about 700m vertical drop, 4 powder turns and 600m of pure Argentinian ice. It was definitely not one of the best runs of my life, but it felt just as rewarding as the best powder run. I made it to the bottom completely excited after having ridden down such a sick mountain on those conditions. We went back home with a huge smile on our face. I am really looking forward to living many more days like that, which make you feel so happy. As of today, my best line ever I rode it with my splitboard, and I am more and more sure that it’ll be my favourite board, even my single travel companion.