Girls! -Liz Daley-

During the month of March, we went to Chamonix to spend a couple of days with Liz Daley -professional Mountain Guide and Instructor for American Alpine Institute and Jones Snowboards, Patagonia, Karakoram and Julbo USA pro rider- with the purpose to know about her life in the Big Mountain Mecca. From Splitboard Magazine, we would like to dedicate a few thankful words for making us feel like at home and spreading an extra dose of energy in each one of the days we spent with her. Here is her particular view about splitboarding.

I find myself in the mountains with mostly skiers and and I’ve developed quite a complex about being the “beater slow-boarder”. As a splitboarder, yes, we’re probably a little slower at our transitions, our gear breaks often, we get stuck in rolling terrain and in general are not as smart or as good looking as our skier counterparts. This is quite the reputation we’ve achieved amongst backcountry skiers. In the past couple years, with the innovation of splitboard technology along with my head-strong attitude to not be left in the dust, splitboarding is getting more efficient and I intend to go where any skier can go. I love the challenge. Most first descents are done by skiers then comes along a snowboarder. In the backcountry, skiers and telemarkers have decades more experience before us snowboarders got our act together. The splitboard was pioneered by Brett “The Cowboy” Kobernick somewhere in Utah in the 80’s, Voile soon developed one in the 90’s and in the 2000’s we’ve really seen them take off. So we’re behind, but thank god people are finally finding the common sense to grab a split instead of wallowing in chest deep powder, bootpacking or snowshoeing. I have my own history with snowshoes,bootpacking and approach skis, but with the way the technology is moving, the splitboard is by far superior. It’s unfair that a backcountry ski set-up is much lighter than a free-ride ski but it’s the opposite for a splitboard, which weights much more than a non-split. As far as weight goes, that is one thing that could be improved. Although, with the technology moving so fast I’m sure weight won’t be an issue within the next couple years. My women’s Solution with the Karakoram SL (Super Light) bindings is a great set-up. It’s much lighter than my previous set-ups, the directional rocker is awesome in powder and makes the board super maneuverable in tight trees, the Karakoram clips squeezes the board together, decreasing chatter and the inside and outside magne-traction holds a solid edge while riding and touring. I love getting out into the mountains with a couple good friends for some adventure. One of the many reasons I started splitboarding was to free myself of all the agro bros in line ready to tear the resort to shreds and all the powders gone in twenty minutes. I saw two fist fights in line at KT-22 the year I lived in Squaw. I found myself getting all agro as well, I probably would’ve punched someone too if I hadn’t started splitboarding.

“In the past couple years, with the innovation of splitboard technology along with my head-strong attitude to not be left in the dust, splitboarding is getting more efficient and I intend to go where any skier can go.”

Marc Sixto ( Chamonix )

“After hours of research and carefully observing the conditions, I’m as confident riding these lines in a firm snowpack. Riding bigger lines in bad snow sometimes ensures it won’t slide which is comforting.”

It’s so nice to know that you could have a mountain all to yourself, you just have to work a little harder for it. For me, it’s not only the pursuit of powder that calls my name every time I go splitboarding but the pursuit of adventure in riding a sick couloir or face that doesn’t get ridden much. Most of the riding I do isn’t powder because some of my objectives are bigger alpine lines that could be super variable or hard-packor windblown snow. After hours of research and carefully observing the conditions, I’m as confident riding these lines in a firm snowpack. Riding bigger lines in bad snow sometimes ensures it won’t slide which is comforting. For me splitboarding isn’t totally about the pow turns. It’s about the adventure of getting out with some great friends in the mountains, on a big mission and accomplishing an objective. It’s a gratifying feeling and sense of accomplishment that’s hard to find in day to day life for me, it’s what keeps me wanting more.

Liz Daley
Marc Sixto