Girls! Splitboarding is the answer

Splitboarding is the answer

After endless years of sliding down the hill, winter and summer, at ski resorts but also on mountains, more or less off the beaten track, my riding was desperate for an encouragement. I needed something to feed that flame, which had started 22 years back, when Nacho Luque lent me a Burton Cruise snowboard, and held me by the pants to help me make it on top of the Veleta II t-bar in Sierra Nevada, and then help me ride down on 50cm of freshies, on my first crash and learn run. Thanks Oso; that day changed my life and my fate. Occasionally, that flame seemed to be about to die, like when good snow was hard to find, or when the superficial atmosphere of ski resorts –namely Baqueira- Beret- had me questioning myself about the sense of what I was doing. But most of the time, I was surprised to see that flame was still as alive as the first day, and the fact of sliding on anything white –whatever happened to be the texture and quality of the snow- still satisfied me in a way that actually corresponds more to a teenager than to an adult woman like myself. The truth is, progressing and evolving have always been my motivations in life in general, and in this case, the path to follow wasn’t exactly surrounded by lift towers, chairlifts and city people who cannot manage to leave their stressed attitude aside, even when they’re in the middle of the mountains. Suddenly, splitboarding, something I’d been hearing about for a few years, that some of my mates had been into for a while, came up front as THE answer to all of my questions on the mountain. Like Jeremy –Jones- says with the name he’s given to his first splitboard: the Solution.

Brandywin was the first woman specific split board in the market, launched for the 2010-12 season.

“Having easy and natural access to peaks I had never hiked to before, hearing nothing but the skins frictioning the snow and the sound of the animals that live in the area, is very rewarding and also sustainable.”

From the beginning I was pretty sure of the board I was going to split in half: a classic Sims Tina Basich 1,54. A freeride board in pretty good shape, that I kept for deep snow days. It took me a while to get on to it: Ordering the parts, finding a carpenter, then a ski-man etc. Once I went through the first steps –with an additional waiting period for each one of them- the following stage was to assemble the bindings. My splitboard experienced friends ( had already stepped up to the next level concerning bindings, because they’d discovered Spark Randd, the solution to many of the big down sides of the original splitboard binding system: the additional weight and the inconvenient lift of the Voilé binding system. Therefore, my single experience with Voilé “platforms” was my very first day of splitboarding: a solitary approach to Saumet peak, starting from Orri, a slope at the ski area. It wasn’t too thrilling or anything, but it was almost as revealing as my first day on a snowboard. “This is my stuff” I thought just a few minutes after starting. For my second day out on my splitboard, with my friend Borja as a coach, I already had my Spark Randd bindings, customized in a very lousy way –the first Spark Rand binding consisted only of a base, no high back nor straps – but nevertheless, with a much better feel: real snowboarding.

Besides the feeling of freedom and independence –something I have always searched and appreciated at every aspect of life – showing my middle finger to lift tickets, playing with Newton’s gravity laws, feeling a little bit like Spyderwoman -specially with Mr Chomps on. Also doing a wholesome, harmonic and smooth exercise, having an easy and natural access to smooth exercise, having an easy and natural access to peaks where I’d never been before, hearing nothing but the friction of the skins against the snow and the animals that live in the area, is extremely rewarding and sustainable.

If the ascent is long and complicated, or if you’re out of breath, trying to keep up your buddies’ pace –something that I have experienced more often than I wished- at some point you can feel exhausted, but the feeling of making to the summit, sweating, folding up the skins and the poles, and assembling the board, thinking about what comes next, is one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve experienced in my whole life; it’s the prize for the hard work and the effort, a feeling that leaves me smiling inevitably for a few days.

“Like Kyle Miller says, it’s a domino effect: one peak allows you to see others; a day out triggers more days out. The limit is up to you, the snow, your knowledge of the mountains and the basic safety rules on mountaineering and avalanches.”

The first big dump of the winter came late, heavily wind blown, and followed by polar temperatures. Bonaigua, Val d’Aneu, Catalan Pyrenees.

Now I have my second splitboard; one that is factory made: a Prior Brandywine, the first ever women specific splitboard, a whole different story. Mi old Sims splitboard is now what I use to try to get my female friends into splitboarding, as an attempt to increase the female splitboarder population, something that also my male splitboarder friends would very much appreciate.