It's kind of bittersweet to see splitting get all this "mainstream" attention. In one respect it reinforces what most of us have known for years and been so passionate about, and maybe even tried to share with only a deaf ear or blank response. Most of us grew up skating, surfing and snowboarding. We probably spent a good portion of snowboarding hucking ourselves off jumps. Most of my friendship growing up were formed by our shared love of snowboarding and skating. As we grew older most of those friends lost the passion and love for riding that they had for so long. I was moving in that direction when destiny threw a split my way. In part I started to feel I just didn't fit in, things became to much of scene or competition at resorts. Splitting and BC changed my life (corny I know, but true). Snowboarding took on a new meaning for me it became deeper I got a new perspective. I think some of this was in part to being mainly solo all the time but I also found more a fit in the BC culture. JJ does a good job expressing to a degree what splitting is for me, but mainstream will not truly be able to capture the passion, art and culture behind what we do. Anyways just a rant any other feelings out there?
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:27 am Posts: 104 Location: Jay Peak
I will admit that I bought my Mojo because of all the awesome trip reports. The hard work didnt scare me away. Its all this stupid warm weather. All of our east coast BC is pretty dense trees and If Im going to ride spring soft mush Id rather just hand out at the resort where I can get in a lot more laps. For me its the powder days that I want to go get lost in the woods alone. I'm very greedy now. I don't like to share my powder with the gappers.
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:15 pm Posts: 2509 Location: san diego CA
HA! i thought it was just me. I watched the ESPN clip on Mr. Jones and I have to say it swung my opion in a good direction, however I echo your thoughts UTAH.
I started surfing when there were no contest and no pros, no its a pretty ugly tribe. No more aloha Skateboarding seemed to go that way for a while but now seems more of a two camp sport. The Tony Hawk worshipers and the dirtbags who just skate.
I dont see splitting ever getting mainstream. I do see most pros taking the same path as Mr. Jones speaks of. Partly due to age , maturity a bit of intolerance and also a small bit of following the footsteps of the late great Craig Kelly.
But as stated , due to the massive amount of work I dont see fat america embracing this sport or any other back country activity at a high level
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2004 1:08 pm Posts: 360 Location: near munich
splitboarding - mainstream .... mainstream is olny for pepel how will no sweat and work hard for powder ..... in europ at 1000 boarders is 1 off them a splitboarder spliters are no poser at the trip - and had no apreski at the trip
I actually wonder if it will go the other way - after a bit of a surge will the number of splitters drop off?
Let's face it, long traverses, approaches with lots of short up-and-downs, navigating tight trees in split mode, they're a PITA and way easier to handle on tele or AT gear. The lack of a reliable releasable binding is a HUGE safety hazard.
As more solid boarders move to splits to discover the backcountry, maybe they'll also start toying with skis. Over time their ski skills may progress to the point where they can use them to descend the same lines that they previously could only ride on a board. During this same time, maybe they'll start seeing the BC as it's own reward no matter what the mode of travel is.
That's when the relative ease and safety of skis, especially AT, will win them over. In the end there will be more folks in the BC but not proportionately more on splits.
I have to admit that after 20 years boarding, 10 in the BC with 7 of those on a split, I'm headed that way.
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 6:09 pm Posts: 388 Location: Chamonix, France
and had no apreski at the trip
looks like i'm finally going to enjoy some of this aprés ski culture I hear they have here in Chamonix (I dislocated my shoulder again so no more boarding/climbing for a few days, and no more skiing for 2-3 weeks).
It's a different culture of leisure... My definition of leisure involves sweating, and I think that's true for a lot of backcountry minded people, regardless of their sport. Even if people in the mainstream are aware of what a splitboard is I doubt there will be as many new adopters.
Even in bounds you can see the difference easily, between people who are there to work on their skills vs. people who are there to relax on vacation (not that I have a problem with that).
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm Posts: 5051 Location: California
It's a different culture of leisure... My definition of leisure involves sweating, and I think that's true for a lot of backcountry minded people, regardless of their sport.
Reminds me of an old bumper sticker, "my vacation is your worst nightmare".
splittilps, While you're starting to become the exception, I think most boarders are boarders to the core and won't take up skiing just because it provides easier access and is safer. Sure you won't be the first boarder to switch to skiing and surely not the last but meh, I think we'll see way more new splitters in the future than we'll see splitters switching to skiing. I even think we'll see a little bit of the exact opposite...skiers switching to splitting.
Re the original post. I don't think it will ever be mainstream per say. We've been under the radar for so long that when we do get a little attention it seems magnified. Splitting is getting noticed but its a long way from mainstream and I think that is probably a good thing.
There certainly seems to be way more splitters out and about here in UT this year.
I began to feel bored with snowboarding, really missed the ocean, and started considering moving back to Florida or maybe Hawaii until I found splitting. That was in January of '05 and I've been completely obsessed with splitting ever since, much like I was with surfing and skating when I was younger.
Splitting has replaced what surfing meant for me for sooooo long (at least until the snow melts and I start feeling like a fish out of water). I'm really not sure how to put that in words, but resort riding never came close to meaning that much to me even when I was riding everyday.
I suppose I love splitting so much that I'm just too selfish to really want to share it with the masses... unless your one of my bros. Does that make me a jerk?
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:25 am Posts: 82 Location: Gunnison, CO
Nope, makes you human. I don't want to share either. If the resorts were empty, I'd ride the lift. But they're full of idiots so I'm willing to work. The last thing I want is for the backcountry to become as crowded...to hike for an hour or two or more to find a bunch of people at the summit. Many spots are like that already. But I doubt it will ever be that bad. People are just too lazy. If you're just looking for powder turns you're going to become discouraged with the small proportion of time you're actually making them vs. climbing. You have to enjoy the up, too, and luckily, most people's nature is not to work too hard for leisure.
As far as "mainstream", hardly. I've been kayaking for about a decade and came in kind of after it started to gain popularity but just because a sport appears on the top of an Xterra in a commercial doesn't make it "mainstream". I haven't noticed any more people on the river than I did when I started. In fact, last year in big water on a very popular runs here in CO I had the river to myself several times. I was kind of surprised. But clearly, even though plastic boats are all over car commercials, the majority of America regards it as "crazy" due to the inherent danger, as they would an activity in avalanche terrain (if they were smart enough to consider it). Actually, I know plenty of riders who have been riding for a long time and have only ever seen one split -- mine -- and probably didn't know what one was until then. So, I think it's safe to say that splitting is a long way from mainstream and is probably safe from ever achieving that status.
_________________ Someday the mountain might get 'im but the law never will.
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:43 pm Posts: 303 Location: Mill Creek, WA
I think what we're seeing here is a growth spurt. If you recall, there was some major growth in the snowboarding industry at the beginning of this decade. A lot of those riders, including myself, are now looking for something more. We have been riding chairs for almost ten years and are sick of the lift lines and tracked up snow.
I've know about splitboards for at least 7 years but was too busy with being an instructor to really get into it. That changed last season when I was lucky enough to be at Alpental when they opened the mountain after being closed for 6 days and having snowed constantlly during that time. Then they closed the pass so no one else to come up. I was third in line! There were maybe 100 people on the mountain all day. Needless to say, it was awesome and more like a day in the backcountry with chairlifts. That's when I realized I wanted to splitboard! This is what is happening to a lot of the riders that came into the sport around the same time as me; we are looking for something more than chairlift lines and crowded slopes.
Will that make it mainstream? Doubtful, but maybe we won't have to explain to people what a splitty is and longer.
As for changing to AT gear, not going to happen, my freind! I've ridden with these guys and I agree, it's a more efficient way to go up. But for me it's all about the way down. I won't loose sight of that.
_________________ A little song, a little dance, a little powder down your pants. -Chuckles the Clown
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:09 pm Posts: 662 Location: white room
I don't think splitting is anywhere close to mainstream. It would be a pretty safe guess (I don't have the actual numbers) that splitboards make up less than 1% of total snowboard sales. The backcountry will never be crowded. Perhaps some popular roadside spots will, but even in spots like the Wasatch or around Tahoe, you can have a mountain to yourself without going deep into the woods for an overnighter. I personally hope a fw people beat me to a spot so I can follow a skin track without breaking trail. Fresh tracks are always there. Sure, there will be some growth, but I think quite a few people will buy splitboards, use them a few times, then realize it's a lot more work and gear intensive than they thought, and go back to the ski area. And a lot of people are scared off by the price, even though once you have the gear you've basically got a lifetime season pass to any mountain range in the world. I don't really buy the switch-to-AT argument, either. Perhaps some will, just as some will switch to skiing at the resorts, but there's just as many skiers switching to snowboarding. Unless you are on a tour with lots of ups and downs, AT doesn't offer much benefit - I usually make it to the top in the same time as my ski buddies, carrying about the same weight. And I usually get down a bit faster, if there are no traverses.
Big obstacle, in my opinion, to splitboarding becoming mainstream is the cost of entry. Even if you're equipped for snowboarding you still need to find/purchase splitboard, skins, bindings, poles, pack, shovel, probe, beacon, and avalanche training.