Splitboarding Technique

When we talk about splitboarding technique, we usually think about how we use our splitboarding ascending up the hill, as we assume that everybody is familiar with the different type of turns we can do going down the mountain and knows how to apply each one of them perfectly, but at Splitboard magazine, with the help of David Pujol, UIAGM guide and snowboard expert, we have decided to review the different types of turns we use riding down the mountain.

We find it crucial to understand why it is better to choose a determined descending technique in certain situations, which are these situations and how to apply these techniques, as they can help us on our touring experiences.

Flexion turn:

HOW

We can divide this turn in 3 parts: First, the preparation, second, the execution and third, the steering stage.

The execution stage is where we do the flexion, which allows us to turn. The legs bend up to release the pressure executed on the snow by the splitboard, enabling the rotation and the turn.

The preparation and steering stages vary depending on the snow conditions, and we can choose to make them longer or shorter.

The movement is continuous and dynamic at all stages and axes of the turn (vertical, longitudinal, lateral), even the flexion which enables the execution of the turn is followed by an extension that we maintain all the way to the next turn.

WHERE:

This turn can be applied in many situations, but is mostly used on powder, soft snow and steep or very steep terrain. Executing this turn on tree runs or rocky terrain will give us the turning precision and speed control this kind of terrain demand.

WHY:

Edge to edge is quick and agile. The flexion and extension movements let us adapt firmly to the terrain. We only lose contact with the snow the instant we change edges, but that’s not a problem on powder, corn snow or soft hard-pack.

Using the flexion turn on very hard or icy snow or very steep steep, exposed terrain is not advisable.

Pivot turn:

HOW

This turn is similar to the flexion turn, except that our body is always looking down the fall line, and we don’t shift laterally. We turn by flexing and extending the legs without lifting the board off the snow, allowing to release the pressure the board applies on the snow.

This turn has neither preparation, nor final stages. The board always stays in contact with the snow, kind of like sweeping with the rear leg; almost like a controlled counter rotation. The width of the turn is limited to a very narrow area in the fall line, allowing us to ride down narrow chutes with good control of speed and edge grip.

WHERE

This turn is advisable on hard snow conditions, on very steep terrain, in narrow passes where absolute control of the splitboard is crucial.

WHY

The board never loses touch with the snow, thus controlling the speed is easy. Our position on the board helps us to maintain a good view of the situation, as our body always faces the fall-line.

Jump turn:

HOW

This turn is executed through an explosive extension/flexion of the legs while we rotate our upper body to go from edge to edge. It’s a type of turn we use on deep snow and situations where maximum control of the board is required, like big steeps or very narrow passes.

The idea is to propel ourselves to change edges on the air and land on the opposite edge. The landing has to be smooth and controlled, as we need to keep the speed controlled to avoid dragging the snow or triggering a major sluff below us.

WHERE

To use on steep or very steep terrain, on deep snow or narrow passes.

WHY

If we find ourselves on deep snow and little space to execute the turn, this is our only option. Having the board perpendicular to the fall-line, we can chain turns by hopping to ride narrow couloirs or sketchy passes. It is the best way to ride down this type of terrain.

Note:
This paper is merely informative and in no case it replaces the necessary education, which needs to be undertaken with mountain guides or snowboard instructors. Splitpoard Magazine advises you to to learn splitboarding technique with professional guides.

David Pujol / UIAGM Mountain Guide / www.davidpujol.net