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Home Forums Tips & Questions What is everybody’s transition time?

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    Last season I noticed it was taking me a bit longer than most of my touring partners (other splitters included) to transition from split mode to ride mode and vice versa. Not a ton, but a minute or two at times. Since I don’t like holding people up, I just spent an hour and a half switching back and forth in my living room in the hopes of speeding my transitions this season.

    I know it’s always gonna be a little tougher on the proverbial cold, windy, ridgetop, but I tried to make it as realistic as possible by wearing all my gear including gloves and doing a full transition with everything that happens during an actual tour (including all the little things like helmet & goggles on and off, venting zips open and closed, tightening and loosening my laces on boots, adjusting forward lean, etc.). I also added 30 seconds assuming it would be needed to clean snow off of stuff. My first transition from board to split mode took nearly 10 minutes and I got it down to a bit over 7 minutes (in each direction) by the end.

    I definitely developed a few new systems over this time period, and changed the order of a few of the tasks. Also, I wasn’t manic about it, racing through anything, just trying to do things in a calm and deliberate manner. But still, 7 minutes still seems like a pretty long time… So, if anybody else out there has timed this I’d be curious to hear how long it takes you and if you are fast if you have any tips to cut transition times.

    p.s. all my touring partners are rad and nobody has ever complained, I just figured less time transitioning=more time riding.


    It’s funny there’s not already a thread discussing this (or maybe I just couldn’t find one). Something that got me dialed was separating “board” transitions from “body” transitions. Focusing on finishing one aspect of the transition before moving to the other helps me be deliberate and economical in my movements.

    Little things that can add up for big time savings:

    – Collapse your poles when you’re nearing the end of your skin. One less thing you have to do once you’ve stopped! Be sure to set them down close to your pack to facilitate easy attachment.

    – When ripping off skins, don’t just pull the skin off, set the ski down, and grab the other ski. Transition/fiddle with everything that needs to be done on the first ski and binding before picking up the other.

    – Consider shredding in sunglasses (or whatever you’ve skinned in) if faceshots seem unlikely.

    – Figure your layering system out so ideally you don’t have to fiddle with it for quick transitions. Softshells rule for hot lap type days.

    – Keep a deicing tool and a bike chain brush handy for days when the inner edges/mid clips tend to collect snow and ice.

    – Figure out a way to carry your skins without opening your pack. I use the deep pockets in my shell.

    I’m sure there are tons of others that I’m not thinking of, but those are some of the ones that readily come to mind.
    Haven’t ever timed myself though.


    4 minutes 20 seconds then im red eye


    Some good tips.

    Collapsing poles as you finish should save some seconds for me. And same with the only pick something up once rule, that was what made the biggest difference in cutting my times.

    I can’t do softshells for the vast majority of my touring. I’m in the sierra so temps are relatively mild and I burn really hot. Unless it’s actually snowing or I’m on some exposed windy ridgeline I’ll be sweating in just a t-shirt baselayer.

    And my jacket doesn’t have big enough pockets for skins.

    But aksltxlt points to perhaps the biggest factor–> If i’m in a hurry perhaps I should hold off on safety meetings until after I’ve finished the transition.


    I was timing myself at the end of last season just for giggles (and because I’m a nerd) and I found that a speedy transition time for me timed from skinning to dropping in was six minutes.

    The advice Nick gives above regarding collapsing poles early, proper layered clothing preparation, and stashing skins are key to speed. But it basically comes down to routine. If you’re analytical about what you’re doing and you do it the same way every time (tweaking when necessary obviously) you will be quick and efficient at it.

    Remember you’re out there to have fun but for some of us nerds being efficient is all part of the fun so do what you do and do it well!



    FYI: The October 2011 issue featured an article called “Touch It Once: Speed Splitboard exchanges by Will Ritter as told by Mike Horn:

    Splitboard changeovers can
    turn junkshow quicker than a touring pin
    disappears in two feet of fresh. You need to
    have a system; you need to be efficient and
    organized. Rumored split-switchover champ
    Will Ritter, owner of Spark R&D, explains
    his step-by-step “touch-it-once” technique
    below. By using the same routine at every
    changeover, he minimizes wasted movement
    and time, and maximizes efficiency and speed.

    Up Top
    1. Take my pack off and set it down on my
    right side.
    2. Put on hard shell, which is on top in my
    pack (I unpack and repack in the same order
    so I’m not emptying out my whole pack to
    find the thing I need first).
    3. Flip open four ‘flick locks and compress
    both poles at the same time. Attach them to
    the right side of my small pack or stuff inside
    my big pack.
    4. Open both toe straps, and then both ankle
    straps, at the same time. Step to the right
    side of my skis, next to my pack.
    5. Pull pins, then bindings, and set next to me.
    6. Pull skins off each ski and fold in half.
    7. Slide board halves together and close the
    tip and tail clips (I usually don’t rotate my
    hooks in unless I’m on hardpack).
    8. Set board’s toe edge on my toes (with base
    against my shins) and slide both bindings on
    9. Set board down flat and insert both pins.
    10. Put on helmet and goggles, stash
    sunglasses in my shell’s chest pocket.
    11.Strap in and shred.

    Down Bottom
    1.High five partners.
    2. Unstrap both toes and ankles; step to the
    heel side of my board.
    3. Pull both pins, then remove both bindings
    and set next to me.
    4. Undo tip and tail clips and pull board apart.
    If the snow is deep, set the skis in vertically,
    I place them with sidecuts to the inside so I
    don’t put my bindings on the wrong feet.
    5. Line up bindings and insert pins.
    6. Remove pack and set down on right.
    7. Take poles off my pack, extend, clamp and
    set in snow next to skis.
    8. Pull skins out, peel one apart, apply to
    corresponding ski. Repeat.
    9. Set skis, skins down, in the snow.
    10.Shoulder pack.
    13.Step into bindings and strap in both feet.

    My time for Splitboard transitions way to long, so I am practicing “Wills method (see above).


    Well it’s good to see that I’m not exceptionally slow when I put my mind to it…

    I think the key to speed for me will be to do it the same each time.


    I have no problems waiting for partners to transition unless it’s cold as shit and there taking too long then I just start moving on without them. What get’s old is when they 1.) don’t show up on time, 2.) show up and there not ready to go and 3.) when there slow as shit on the skin track. So I would add to the quicker transition that when shredding with partner. Get your shit together the night before and be ready to go first thing so you ON TIME. Put your skins on and extend poles before getting to the trail head. Even if it’s cold don’t start hiking with your jacket and full gear you’ll just end up hot 10 minutes in and have to stop. And last put some effort into getting in shape your group is only as fast as the slowest member. And then yeah quick transitions.

    Rico in AZ

    i generally don’t give a shit what my transition times are, especially if i’m alone. i consider the transitions a good time to get a quick rest, guzzle down some water, and munch some food, take in the views, have some laughs with friends, etc etc. it’s not a race out there, well except in the wasatch.

    i guess i see it a different way. what’s gotten important to me is to be more efficient in everything i do. i hate wasting valuable energy. will ritter’s thing printed in backcountry and quoted above is the exact embodiment of everything i’ve been trying to work out myself. the one thing that i’ve gotten in the habit of, is not taking my feet out of the bindings first. i do all the screwing around in my pack, putting on shell, eating, drinking, etc. before i unbuckle. that way i’m not wasting energy wallowing around in soft snow. then the skins go in the pack last, and then ready to ride.

    most of us here have figured out we’ll never be as fast as skiers. that’s fine. but we use a far superior mode of downhill travel. yesterday i was out, beat everyone to the parking lot. that left it to me to break trail. they were skiers and they didn’t even catch me on the skin track. they finally caught me at the top of the run, and they were faster on the transition. but, they were kind enough to grant me first tracks for my trail breaking efforts. :clap:


    @ricorides wrote:

    i consider the transitions a good time to get a quick rest, guzzle down some water, and munch some food, take in the views, have some laughs with friends, etc etc.

    Me too, I like to take in the scenery, unless people are waiting on me! Just curious, which aspect(s) did you ride yesterday? Any pics (mini TR)?

    christoph benells

    i dont really worry about my transition time too much, but some things to do are

    -dont waste any time. right when you stop skinning start transitioning. dont look around, have a safety meeting and eat a cliff bar first. transition right away then take your break. that way once everyone is done eating and drinking and what not, you’re already ready.

    -or if your climb involves a bootpack transition at the bottom.

    im usually faster than everyone i go with on the up, so i always have plenty of time.


    wear Lycra, Lycra is fast, so are those one piece cycling style glasses, they look fast! :doobie:


    I am way fast at my transitions times, but I am a little obsessive about it.


    My transition yesterday was 5:37. I know for sure because I had my gps unit on and it showed my idle time between summiting and dropping in. I was on a lunchbreak so I was keeping a good pace to get back. I’d say most times I’m around ten minutes with BS’ing, etc..

    The order I pack my things in my bag coincides with my transition order.


    Today was my second splitboard outing.
    In perfect spring conditions,no wind,no cold,no ice i managed 13min .Ahem.

    Guess i need some more practice.
    If you come splitboarding with me please bring something to read. 🙂

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