Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Splitboard Camps 2006
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  • #566739
    bcrider
    4149 Posts

    Just wanted to run an idea past you all. 8)

    What do you think about a Splitboard Camp?

    There are all kinds of other camps currently offered…steep skiing, telemark, snowboard, why not a splitboard camp?

    I’m interested in partnering with a guide service like Shasta Mountain Guides to offer one or two camps next year.

    I think an “Intro to Splitboardingâ€Â

    #582388
    mtnrider
    740 Posts

    well, sounds like a good idea, although I’d like to see some sort of experience rating or something that would make sure I wouldn’t be rehashing old stuff only, rather learning new or furthering the stuff I’ve been learning along the way.

    what kind of guidelines could be set up?

    #582389
    SanFrantastico
    1514 Posts

    Hey bcrider,

    I can give you a little background on a similar class I took through Alpine Skills International in Lake Tahoe last spring. It was a 2-day snowboard mountaineering class costing about $300, accomodations and gear not included. You can check out the details at http://www.alpineskills.com. They also guide a Tioga Pass snowboarding trip and a Shasta trip, neither of which I went on.

    It is not a splitboard class, per se. They leave it open as to whether you should use snowshoes or a splitboard. My friend and I showed up with snowshoes but our four classmates and the instructor all had splitboards. This is where I learned that snowshoes suck major @ss compared to a splitboard. My friend and I spent the whole first day literally running to catch up with our classmates. The second day my friend dropped out and I rented a split… much better!!

    Anyway, I told the instrustor that they MUST start a separate splitboard class because it was so bogus being mixed in with the splitters. The instructor said it was the first time so many split boards had shown up for the class. I think I missed a lot of instruction the first day because it all happened while the class was waiting for me to catch up.

    Overall, though, a class was a great way to ease into the backcounty experience and it definitely convinced me to get a splitboard – my new Kyber split arrived a few weeks ago. Before the class, I was thinking of going on the Shasta trip with them later in the Spring, but I decided against it because I figured they would mix snowshoes and splits once again.

    Anyway, I acquired enough skills in the class to day-trip comfortably and I learned that splitboarding is where it’s at. I probably would be interested in a guided overnight trip up something like Shasta to learn more advanced skills next spring. I wouldn’t be as interested in the Heli thing because if I’m paying for a Heli, I’ll bring my regular board and it can drop my ass off at the summit! If you do start some classes, definitely try to partner with someone who can help rent out gear. It is so expensive to get everything together if you are unsure about the sport.

    Putting the poo in swimming pool since 1968.

    #582390
    Ecobrad
    2068 Posts

    Sounds good to me. Start small and see what happens. I definetley think there’s enough interest in splitboarding but not sure if the prospective newbies would actually lay down the cash, especially when the equipment costs so much to get started. I know skateboard camps do really well and that’s the same audience so what do I know.

    I contemplated taking a newbie course from Mountain Adventures Seminars from Bear Valley but couldn’t get the gumption to spend the dough. Instead, I just milked you guys on the board for info!! 😀

    Are there Learn How to Tele Camps?

    #582391
    mazu
    30 Posts

    It’s a great idea.

    I think starting with regional camps (CO, UT, CA, etc) would be a better way to start. I am not sure you will get a very big response from beginner splitters if they have to travel so far, albeit a worthy destination.

    It is easy to convince instructors to travel to this type of stuff. Especially, if you create a business out of it so the travel is tax deductible. Also, it is an excuse for the instructors to hit more mountains during the year.

    #582392
    bcrider
    4149 Posts

    Yo mtnrider!

    A course rating system and specific description would be mandatory, as you noted. Most camps I’ve seen offered are described similar to guidebooks, i.e. easy, moderate, and strenuous. In the ASI link that SF added it says you need to be in Very Good physical condition.

    The Intro to Splitboarding Camp seems like it would be the camp where you would probably learn the most. There are a lot of questions that arise when you’re new to the sport and a splitboard camp could be a productive (and fun) way to learn quickly.

    For the Advanced Camp, it’s seems a little harder to offer the attendees a reason to go. The advanced folks don’t really need tips on how to skin…use poles/axe/crampons, or transition their board etc…

    I still believe there are things to be learned however on both the ascent and descent even for advanced riders. I consider myself pretty advanced but I’d love to learn more from folks that are more advanced and have been splitboarding for longer. One of the keys would be to have qualified instructor/s like Jim Zellers, Tom Burt, Stephen Koch, John Griber, etc for the advanced courses.

    For the folks that aren’t there to learn something and just want to “bag a biggieâ€Â

    #582393
    bcrider
    4149 Posts

    Thanks for the story about your camp experience SF!

    It’s cool that you stuck it out. Image how much fun you’d have on one again with your new splitty! Do you remember your instructor’s name or contact info?

    Good points in the rest of your post. Your right about these courses and camps being a good way to ease in to the backcountry too.

    In regards to the Heli Camp, most week long heli packages start at around $5,000. What if a Heli Splitboard camp could offer a week long package with one day of heliboarding at the beginning and end of the trip and 5 days of touring in the middle…for $2,000? It might make the difference in going on an epic trip of a lifetime….or not.

    @ecobrad wrote:

    Instead, I just milked you guys on the board for info!! 😀

    8) 😆
    @ecobrad wrote:

    Are there Learn How to Tele Camps?

    Yes…would you like to take one? 😛

    Mazu,
    Agreed on the regional aspect when thinking about the big picture. But in the grassroot stage…starting near home might be the only option.

    #582394
    Ecobrad
    2068 Posts

    Ecobrad wrote:

    Are there Learn How to Tele Camps?

    Yes…would you like to take one?

    Defintely not! I fall enough boarding, little lone without my heels attached. My point was…if those smelly, granola eating tele folks can cough up the dough, so can the suburb, stoner grommit kid. 😆

    #582395
    hardbooter
    25 Posts

    Great idea. Especially in Tahoe where proximity to Sacramento and the Bay Area means that there are lots of potential clients with more $s than time. Learning on your own takes a whole lot of time. Packing a good “intro to splits” into a 3-day weekend would be an easy sell.

    #582396
    SanFrantastico
    1514 Posts

    Hey BCR,

    My instructor at Alpine Skills was Paul Adams. I think he’s the only snowboard instructor there, so he shouldn’t be too hard to track down. He’s been splitting for several years and he climbs a hill like a freaking animal!

    Also, Alpine Skills is affilliated with The Backcountry Store in Truckee. In addition to renting all the usual BC gear (shovel, probe, beacon…) I think they have exactly 3 Split Decision boards available to rent.

    In the class I took, we learned skinning, basic routefinding, and basic avalanche safety skills. We also built a snow anchor and belay system for looking over cornices. We were mostly on pretty moderate slopes. In an advanced course, I’d be interested in learning to use an axe and crampons and putting them to use on hairier terrain.

    As for the heli idea, it sounds like great fun to me, but my pockets aren’t that deep. My wife is amazingly tolerant of my little hobbies, but she’d pop a fuse if she found out I spend 2 grand snowboarding for the weekend. Didn’t I tell her that my new splitboard would save money? 😉

    Ecobrad – I did sign up for the telemarking course at Alpine Skills. Sadly, they kicked me out when they found out I don’t have a beard and I don’t know how to make my own fruit leather… 😛

    Putting the poo in swimming pool since 1968.

    #582397
    bcrider
    4149 Posts

    Thanks for the info SF!

    ps.

    @sanfrantastico wrote:

    I did sign up for the telemarking course at Alpine Skills. Sadly, they kicked me out when they found out I don’t have a beard and I don’t know how to make my own fruit leather… 😛

    LOL 😆

    #582398
    mazu
    30 Posts

    @bcrider wrote:

    Mazu,
    Agreed on the regional aspect when thinking about the big picture. But in the grassroot stage…starting near home might be the only option.

    I can understand the daunting nature of this. However, if we all agree that a regional camp might get more attendence, then it is probably worth coming up with a standardized curricula. It would be a huge headache at first to set up, but it would avoid the growing pains later on as this expands into different regions.

    I am currently on the fringe of an effort here in CO to standardize trail building for all government agencies and volunteer groups. It is something that the snow world could use in terms of avy and skills classes.

    I’ve been known to bite off more than I can chew. Start small.

    #582399
    snoslut
    178 Posts

    In the WA the Mountaineers (Seattle branch) has a Glacier Travel and Rescue class catered specifically for skiing and snowboarding on glaciers. Might be the first of it’s kind? Cool thing is class is only a $100 stones after paying membership dues, which is another 60 or so. Best part is once you complete the course your encouraged to come back and help instruct. There is also talk of adding a route finding/nav portion as well as an advanced class.

    Class pretty much covers everything except for cleaning your shorts while your actually dangling in one. 😆

    Oh yeah can’t forget the number 1 and 2 rope. Hey everybody Smokey taking a shit back here. Okay I won’t tell anyone else.

    Don’t know how much would apply to what your course would offer but the more info the betta right?

    #582400
    snoslut
    178 Posts

    In the WA the Mountaineers (Seattle branch) has a Glacier Travel and Rescue class catered specifically for skiing and snowboarding on glaciers. Might be the first of it’s kind? Cool thing is class is only a $100 stones after paying membership dues, which is another 60 or so. Best part is once you complete the course your encouraged to come back and help instruct. There is also talk of adding a route finding/nav portion as well as an advanced class.

    Class pretty much covers everything except for cleaning your shorts while your actually dangling in one. 😆 Everything from self arrest with poles in skin mode to the number 1 and 2 rope. Hey everybody Smokey taking a shit back here. Okay I won’t tell anyone else.

    Don’t know how much would apply to what your course would offer but the more info the betta right? Sounds like you might have a niche with the destination camps. Plenty of people will pay money to bag/ride a peak. Only can foresee one problem…insurrance?

    #582401
    rms56
    121 Posts

    A splitboard camp is a great idea!!!!!!! I’ve been mulling just that in the B.C. interior…..say Nelson… Hook up with a local guide, bc lodge, etc. Teach the up and the down skills, route selection, avy course…….all of that.

    Baldface Lodge was Craig Kelley’s last home…..John Buffery is still there. They do an early season avy training course….I think we could make it Splitboard exclusive.

    Shasta is a great location too…………………next?

    #582402
    bcrider
    4149 Posts

    It looks like Shasta Mountain Guides is interested in offering some of these courses. It’s not official or anything but they like the idea. 🙂

    Please see this thread if you have ideas for the 1st course curriculum.
    http://www.splitboard.net/talk/viewtopic.php?p=6590#6590

    #582403
    jimw
    1421 Posts

    I like the people at SMG. I’ve never taken a course with them, but I know people who have and have only heard good things. I met Chris from SMG (in fact, he’s “SMG” on ttips) on the last Shasta trip and he’s a great guy.

    But back to the camp idea… I’ve often wondered about doing something similar myself. I would love to do something like that and get paid for it. From what I know though it would probably be damn hard to do it as a living, though definitely rewarding.

    On the splitboard-only idea, I think that’s definitely a good idea that could work. I’ve taken several guided trips with both ASI and MAS. None of them were splitboard or even snowboard specific. In fact most of them I took before I even had a splitboard. Often the guides were not snowboarders, let alone splitboarders, and so advice specific to splitboarding was limited to stuff that carries over from tele/randonee, like basic skinning technique for example. But not certain things that are really splitboard specific. For example, a splitter might choose a different skinning line to avoid a traverse, and go directly up something a little steeper because the fat skins/skis can handle it. I think a course that covers the basics (similar basic stuff that you get in other intro classes) but then has some of these splitboard-specific things would be valuable, plus it’s easier to keep the group together.

    On one recent trip with ASI, I was really annoyed because I felt that I was forced into a rather dangerous situation. The weather was crappy (snowing, windy) and conditions were sketchy. I was the only splitter in the group, and the group had a quite varied background in backcountry. For some people it was their first time. We were skinning up a slope, and one of the guys in the group was having a hell of a time where it started getting steeper. It was in a bowl, and perhaps a bit of a terrain trap considering the conditions, and not somewhere where you want to hang out. So the guide decided that we should all boot the rest of the bowl from there. He wanted everyone to boot “alpine style” where you hold one ski in each hand and basically use them as poles while you boot up. This works great for skiiers because 1) you can actually hold a ski in each hand and get enough of a grip on them to use them to your advantage, and 2) the boots are hard enough to kick steps in. This sucks for a splitboarder because 1) the split ski is too wide to actually hold in one hand, and 2) kicking steps in soft boots sucks. I asked the guide if I could either continue skinning up next to the group (I could have easily skinned straight up next to them), or if I could put my Verts on and put the split on my back. He refused and basically made me do it his way, which in my opinion put me at a far greater risk than what I would have done if I had my way. I was slipping and sliding the whole way up and trying to not drop half my board and see it slide all the way to the bottom of the bowl. This kind of situation would be avoided in splitboard specific camps.

    I have also had some great experiences with guided trips. One of the best trips I did was with MAS on Shasta like 8 years ago. It was a 3 day trip. The focus was on skiing, rather than summiting. The first day, the mountain was socked in and most guide services cancelled their trips. We continued since we weren’t focusing on the summit. In the afternoon it cleared up and it was perfect the rest of the trip. The first day was spent hiking in and establishing camp. The group was about half snowboarders and half skiiers. The snowboarders all snowshoed in a straighter approach, and the skiiers skinned using switchbacks. The guides were cool with this, and they had one in front and one in back. The pace was nice and easy, and we all arrived not too far apart. The class assumed some basic experience with snow camping, but they still showed us some stuff about setting up the tents etc. The second day we did a short tour, during which we discussed route selection, then got in some turns. In the afternoon we worked on self-arrest, proper ice ax usage when climbing, and roped travel. The third day we got up early and made a summit attempt in two roped teams. We summited, had great turns back to camp, and packed up. On the way out, we had to pass through some unstable avalanche terrain, and there was discussion of route selection again. We ended up going through an area that had slid, but not *all* of it, and one of the guys set off a small slide. That was one of the best lessons of the trip as we got to see avalanche activity and dynamics first-hand, and it was easy to see how even a small one could easily be deadly. I thought the amount of material covered was just right, as was the length of the trip (not trying to cram too much into too short of a time).

    On another MAS trip, I talked with the guide about what it was like being a guide, trying to see what it would be like to do for a living. The short answer was basically “don’t quit your day job”. 🙂 It did sound rewarding, but it really sounds like a lot of pieces have to fall into place to make it work as a full-time gig. One thing I didn’t really realize was the amount of certifcation you have to go through. I think all their guides (at least full-time) are level 3 avy certified, and wilderness first responder (or higher). That’s a lot of stuff to get under your belt. I guess when you’re out on your own or showing your friends around, that’s one thing, but when people are paying you and it’s a business… it’s a whole different ball game. Also all the releases and legal stuff… you’d need a lawyer to figure it out and protect yourself. You have to be more than just a good people person. It really takes a unique mentality and way of interacting with people to be a successful guide. Again you’re not just hanging with your buddies. You’ve got people with all different kinds of personalities, and you’ve got to keep them all happy. You have to make sure the person with more experience is getting enough out of the class, and the person with less experience is not overwhelmed. When someone freaks out climbing a 45 degree slope, you have to calm them down and get them out without endangering anyone. When someone gets hurt, you have to keep them and everyone else from freaking out, and take care of their injuries. You have to be aware of group dynamics and diffuse any potential issues between group members. You really have to be completely selfless. I dunno if I could do it… 🙂 Additionally, the process of getting permits to actually legally guide in many areas sounds like a complete – all together now – quagmire. Many have low quotas that are already filled by the existing guide services. It would certainly make things easier to hook up with an established guide service who already has the required permits. That said, I’m sure it would be great if you could make it work. I just bring all this up so you can make a realistic assessment.

    Still sound fun? 🙂

    Now, having said all that… here is a class that I think could really be cool: a 3 day class where you split your own board, and then take it into the backcountry and learn the basics! I bet a lot of people would be interested in this. Look at the number of people who ask questions here about splitting their own board. The cost would include the Voile split kit, skins, and possibly crampons (hopefully at a discount vs. what it would cost to buy outside the class). Ideally, the cost of the whole trip would be less than buying a new split, so that people who are willing to cut their own board can get their split *and* some important background training for less than the cost of a new split, which I believe is really a limiting factor keeping many potential splitters out of the game. The first day would be spent in the shop splitting the boards and getting them ready. It should be possible to finish this in a day depending on the number of people. (It would be a good idea to have some spares on hand in case someone really screws up…) The next day head up to a backcountry location where you’ve rented a condo nearby. Spend the first part of the day going over the basic backcountry safety stuff, like transceiver usage, basic snow analysis, and route selection. Demonstrate the basics and practice basic skinning technique, then go for a real short tour, ending it with some sweet turns in a safe location. At this point everyone is super stoked because they got to make fresh tracks on a board they split themselves, and they learned some important info. In the evening have a gourmet dinner at the condo. I think that trying to add in snow camping would be too much at this stage. You could also show an avalanche safety video, so they really get to see what kind of destructive power these things are capable of. On the 3rd day, do a longer tour, covering more stuff (route selection, safe travel practices, basic pit analysis, ice ax usage), and do a longer descent. At this point, when everyone goes home they are at a point where they will be stoked about splitting, have the main tool they need (the split), know some backcountry basics, and more importantly know what they need to learn more about (avy safety, snow camping, etc.), and be ready to take a more advanced class.

    If this class were available when I started I totally would have signed up.

    End of sermon… 🙂

    #582404
    Treeliner
    6 Posts

    @jimw wrote:

    Now, having said all that… here is a class that I think could really be cool: a 3 day class where you split your own board, and then take it into the backcountry and learn the basics! I bet a lot of people would be interested in this. Look at the number of people who ask questions here about splitting their own board. The cost would include the Voile split kit, skins, and possibly crampons (hopefully at a discount vs. what it would cost to buy outside the class). Ideally, the cost of the whole trip would be less than buying a new split, so that people who are willing to cut their own board can get their split *and* some important background training for less than the cost of a new split, which I believe is really a limiting factor keeping many potential splitters out of the game. The first day would be spent in the shop splitting the boards and getting them ready. It should be possible to finish this in a day depending on the number of people. (It would be a good idea to have some spares on hand in case someone really screws up…) The next day head up to a backcountry location where you’ve rented a condo nearby. Spend the first part of the day going over the basic backcountry safety stuff, like transceiver usage, basic snow analysis, and route selection. Demonstrate the basics and practice basic skinning technique, then go for a real short tour, ending it with some sweet turns in a safe location. At this point everyone is super stoked because they got to make fresh tracks on a board they split themselves, and they learned some important info. In the evening have a gourmet dinner at the condo. I think that trying to add in snow camping would be too much at this stage. You could also show an avalanche safety video, so they really get to see what kind of destructive power these things are capable of. On the 3rd day, do a longer tour, covering more stuff (route selection, safe travel practices, basic pit analysis, ice ax usage), and do a longer descent. At this point, when everyone goes home they are at a point where they will be stoked about splitting, have the main tool they need (the split), know some backcountry basics, and more importantly know what they need to learn more about (avy safety, snow camping, etc.), and be ready to take a more advanced class.

    Wow, that sounds like the ultimate solution to the problem of people needing to purchase a new splitboard before coming to camp. Not sure how time consuming having all the people in the class creating their own splits would be though. As a newcomer to the sport myself, if a camp were to become available like that I would definitely sign up for it.

    Otherwise you have people looking at what would be another 600 or 700 dollars tacked on to the price of the camp if they are interested in learning splitboarding, which could turn many potentials away. (That would be if the camp had splitboards to rent and you would need to buy your own after, or if the camp required you to bring your own equipment.)

    #582405
    Miltie
    4 Posts

    Yo BC Rider,

    Thanks for all your hard work on this site and your stoke for splitboards.

    Cool idea. Would definitely be interested in the camp if it is within a 1 day drive from LA and my schedule allows.

    Keep us posted!

    #582406
    Eric
    60 Posts

    …I’ve not read every post yet, but has the idea of having a demo/rental fleet showed up? Exum (I think) offers split classes, and they have rental gear for folks in need. Depending on if this is a course added on to an existing guide service ir indy, you may only need to provide splits. Avy gear, packs, bags, snowshoes and most everything else can be rented at REI, EMS or at a slew of mom and pops in mst mountain towns, including clothing a fair amount of the time.

    I like the idea of splitting your own board, but if you rip it in half and hate earning your turns, your’ll be forced to sell off your now useless to you you split conversion when you used to have a fav stick. If I wasn’t totally set I’d rather rent a board for $60 then split my $300-$600 ride. That said, I think you could do both, so even folks renting could see how easy it is to split if they decide to do it later on, and it would be a great hands on way of getting farmilier with not only split specific components, but how and why boards are made the way they are.

    PS- Never have been on a split yet, so this thread is pretty appealing so far. DJ, Jive, etc- any ideas for classes on the front 😉 😉

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