Splitboard.com is proud to introduce our newest contributors, a splitboarding power couple, Zach and Cindi Lou Grant. If you’re not familiar with the Grants, here’s an introductory interview to get you more acquainted. With the Grants on board we are excited to hear about their wild adventures of living on glaciers to Wasatch tours out their back door.
It’s awesome to see a husband and wife team getting after it together in the mountains! When and how did you guys meet?
Z & C: We met in 9th grade and started to hang out because we both had Brighton season’s passes. Our little romance turned into a full on partnership and had been snowboarding together for 11 years by the time we got married.
Who started splitboarding first? What pushed you guys to start splitboarding together?
Cindi: Backcountry snowboarding was always our passion and we know all the side country of Brighton and Snowbird by heart after years of daily obsession. We took an Avalanche one class from Bruce Tremper and Craig Gordon (way back when they still taught those) and the seed to get into the wilderness was planted. Zach got his 169 Nitro Naturals split with a Christmas bonus from Salty Peaks. Adam Wilder, Salty’s technician had split boards for Travis Rice among other legends and was the best in the business. After a couple weeks of Zach’s non-stop stoke; I rented a board and he took me up Box Elder Peak a 6,000 ft climb/descent; by far the biggest thing I had ever done. We already put years into building trust in being solid backcountry partners so the transition to touring was natural and having that constant, motivated partner has lead to our success.
Since most of us don’t splitboard with our significant others, we have to ask, is it all cold smoke and high fives? What are some of the challenges you face?
Zach: We both are really easy going and a little ro-sham-bo goes a long way. Mostly we make a point to leave the domestic shit at home and when we ride, we simply focus our awareness on our surroundings. I think that sharing splitboarding, something we are both super passionate about, has made our bond stronger. We have managed to remain friends first and I think this approach to our relationship has made it easy to stay stoked about our goals and helps us to push each other to grow. We both understand the drive and lifestyle that comes with being hyper focused on mountains so maybe we just get each other on another level.
Have you both always lived in Utah? Why did you guys choose the Wasatch?
Z & C: Our roots are embedded in Utah. We both grew up at the mouth of Little Cottonwood canyon and thought we would escape to bigger, snowier mountains one day. However the greatest snow on earth paired with the access that the wasatch provides made us choose to stay. Utah is one of the only places we have been where you can live in the midst of the mountains and still have an international airport 45 minutes away. We have the best right out our front door and but we can still pursue our traveling dreams.
How and when did you hear about splitboard.com? How do u think the site has helped the sport?
Zach: Our friend Zach Clanton told us about it when you guys featured one of his trip reports. We have since used it for beta on new areas and social media keeps us going back for inspiration. The site has really helped a very independent and adventure driven group of shredders share and become connected with each other regardless of where we ride.
How did the dream of building a home in the Wasatch come to be?
Cindi: We started to notice that we only drove out of the mountains to sleep in the smog of the city, and we would drive past all these sweet little cabins in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Our home base moved deeper into the wilderness when after 3 years of searching, we found an A-frame on the Wasatch backside that was badly neglected but in a prime location for both splitboarding and easy on our wallets. It turned into a full on rebuild out of necessity; a classic “sweater effect,” we just started to pull on the string, so to speak. See the construction video below.
You both are featured in some sweet Voile ads right now. How long have you guys been working with Voile, and how did it come about?
Zach: We were renting a cabin in Big cottonwood and it gave us the opportunity to ride everyday. I was working at Salty Peaks Snowboard shop as the token splitboarder and rentals manager. Wally, the founder of Voile came into the core shop looking for feedback on his boards and my co-workers gave me a golden recommendation. I ended up turning into Voile’s first official athlete and got Cindi involved to help launch the women’s line. We took the opportunity and ran with it as our dreams of becoming a professional splitboarding couple unfolded.
Cindi: It’s been about six seasons on Voile’s team and the support of our other sponsors; Gregory packs, Hestra gloves, Smith optics, and Trew gear have all been similar strange turn of event scenarios. I really believe that opportunities open up when you live life with passion and we have revolved our whole lives around snowboarding. We just love it.
What was your most memorable splitboarding trip together?
Z & C: We drove to Alaska in February of 2012. Riding there was at the very top of our hit list and we had been saving for the trip for over a year. We loaded up the truck and ended up driving to Girdwood, Valdez, and Haines – checking out all the classics. We lived in a pop-up camper and with friends the whole way- all in all it was about 7,000 miles. The conditions were out of this world and it ended up being a record breaking season. We feel super lucky to have experienced it in such a primo snow year. See the video here.
What do you guys have planned for the spring season?
Z & C: We fly out to Alaska in a couple weeks with plans of living on a glacier, surrounded by the biggest lines we’ve ever set our sites on. We also have our hearts pointed at a huge traverse of the Wind River range, we still need snow. fingers crossed X
Cindi Lou, what advice do you have for the lady shredders who are considering splitboarding?
Cindi: Splitboarding is just as much about climbing the mountain as it is riding it. There is so much to learn about the split-mode side of things but once you get it, it will change the way you see the mountains and your relationship with them. Hard work and dedication will take you far if you want the adventure. Exploring the edge of your abilities is pure expansive bliss.
More info at: Backcountryliving.weebly.com