Hello Dani. Can you introduce yourself to our readers? Where are you from? What you do in life?
My name is Danielle de Ruyter or (Dani), I grew up in Massachusetts. Which is on the Eastern border of the United States. I grew up around beaches, and traveled to the mountains to ski as a child. I started skiing when I was 2 in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. Thus far, my entire life has been dedicated to winter. My father is Dutch, born and raised in Nortweig. My mother from Massachusetts. I’m the youngest of 3 and the only girl.
How long you have been snowboarding, When and how did you start splitboarding?
I started snowboarding when I was 15. I had been a skier and wanted to try something new. I am the only one in my family of skiers that snowboards. When I started snowboarding, I was instantly in love; but I had no idea it would be such a huge part of my life!
We saw your experience on the “GRAND TETON” on splitboard. Tell us a bit how did you get prepared to do it and what did you feel on the summit and descendig?
I have been splitboarding in the park on various peaks, summer and winter. I am in love with the Tetons, being in those mountains makes me very happy. My partner, Max Mogren, had skied the Grand many times, and asked if I wanted to do that route this year. It sounded like a great adventure. So we watched the weather and snow conditions for weeks. I went over all the sections of the climb and descent in my head and mentally prepared myself for a long day. I was very concered with the approach. You just never know what condition the couloirs will be in and how much ice you will have to climb. Summiting was the half way mark of relief. I love being on top of mountains. Any chance I get I enjoy just reaching a summit and breathing in the air! The weather was perfect at the top of the Grand that day, very minimal wind and the sun was shining. So we enjoyed it as much as you could without forgetting the importance of a safe descent. The first turn on the Ford couloir decending the Grand was a pivotal moment. That’s when you are testing the snow conditions with your edge and focusing purely on the moment at hand. The snow was stable, and every turn I controlled my speed, focused on my goal for that step, which was reaching the belay station and clipping in. The decent went smoothly with 5 repels and some downclimbing until we reached the Teepe Couloir and strapped back into our gear and skied out. Over all the trip took 16 hours. I knew that if I competed the Grand on a snowboard that I would be the first female to do so. So without putting too much pressure on our adventure, we kept it very low key and didn’t tell anyone what we were attempting. We wanted to be safe and have fun, without the pressure of the possible outcome. I wanted to accomplish this for myself.
What about the ascent? You used the Burton S-Series with the Voile kit. How did it work?and during the descend?
My snowboard for the Grand was a Burton S Series and Spark RandD bindings. The bindings are a splitboard specific binding that are lighter and allows you to control the board more because the base plate is one solid piece of aluminum. For the first section of the day I was in splitboard mode and once reaching the base of the Teepe Glacier (about 6,500 vertical ft to around 11,000 vertical ft-Im not sure on the exact elevations), I put my board together for the rest of the ascent to the Summit. I did not have to go back to touring mode on my splitboard for the entire descent, I was able to ride out all the way to the car! Do you have any project on mind for the future? Can you tell us something? Right now, I’m working for Skiingthebackcountry. com. A website based community with information on backcountry ski routes around the world. A website based on sharing information for a safe tour, tracking weather and condtions, meeting other backcountry enthusiasts and tracking your vertical. For all vertical tracked money is donated to charity. I have hopes of completeing 500,000 vertical feet this season. For right now, that is my goal, but I do have hopes of completing some more first ascents in the Tetons and beyond. Your favorite spot to practice splitboarding? Since I moved to Jackson, WY the Tetons have been my home. I feel at peace in those mountains. A day of touring in the park whether I can summit a mountain or have to retreat, I am happy and feel alive like no other place as made me feel.
We love to see women who practice splitboard. What do you think about the evolution of women on freeride and splitboard?
I think its wonderful that women are receiving more exposure for doing what they love. There are some incredible female athletes in this world and watching them progress and grow is truly inspiring. I’m honored to take part in it any way I can. Kit DesLauriers is a hero of mine because not only is she an amazing female athlete that skied the seven summits, she is the FIRST PERSON to do so. That is a huge step for women athletes to accomplish a great adventure like that before a man. But in the same sense, I honor any and all athletes that give it their all in anything they do. We do these things because we love it and our lives are not complete without being outside and within the elements of nature and life. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. This is a topic that I could discuss for hours! I’m thrilled to witness and take part in the evolution of splitboarding. I find so much happiness and serenity when I’m spitboarding in the backcountry, there is a sense of harmony between tranquility and chaos. I hope to find that kind of happiness in my life until the day I die.
Thank you very much for your participation in this magazine, hope you’re still enjoy the splitboard with this passion. To splitboard.cat has been a pleasure to show your expertise to our readers.