Why You Should Get Into Backcountry Skiing Or Snowboarding

Splitboard touring in the backcountryDo you love to ski or snow­board, but can’t stand the crowds and high prices of a ski resort? Have you heard peo­ple rave about the amaz­ing trips they have done in the back­coun­try? Do you enjoy explor­ing out in nature? Are you a fiend for fresh powder?

Chances are you said yes to at least one of these. If so, and you have nev­er tried back­coun­try ski­ing (AKA “ski tour­ing”) or snow­board­ing (AKA “split­board­ing”) then you are miss­ing out on a whole world of oppor­tu­ni­ty that will blow open your idea of where you can go in the winter.

It’s Eas­i­er Than You Think
It’s sur­pris­ing how many peo­ple think that you can only trav­el down­hill on your skis or board. But with the lat­est equip­ment inno­va­tions we are able to climb uphill. For ski­ing you need spe­cial tour­ing bind­ings that unlock the heel. Snow­board­ing is a bit more tech­ni­cal in that you need a split­board that can split in half and spe­cial split­board bind­ings that also unlock the heel. Both setups then require “skins” that stick to the bot­tom allow­ing the ski/board to grip the snow, allow­ing you to trav­el uphill. Sounds kind of com­plex in writ­ing, but it’s actu­al­ly pret­ty easy to get the hang of.

More Ter­rain Than You’ll Know What To Do With
The back­coun­try pro­vides vir­tu­al­ly lim­it­less options. When you are at the peak of your favorite ski resort, odds are you are in the thick of a big range with oth­er peaks around. Why just stop at one moun­tain that every­one else is on? Back­coun­try ski­ing or snow­board­ing allows you to explore every­thing around you, giv­ing a life­time of explo­ration near and far.

Unlim­it­ed Powder
The feel­ing of ski­ing or rid­ing through pow­der is as close to fly­ing as I’ve ever found. Ski resorts, espe­cial­ly in this day and age, usu­al­ly get tracked out so fast that pow­der days can some­times be stress­ful as you rush to get to the snow before every­one else. This isn’t the case in the back­coun­try where there is plen­ty of room for every­one. Of course this is con­di­tion depen­dent and a bad snow year won’t help the case. But even dur­ing an aver­age win­ter you can usu­al­ly find fresh snow a long time after the lat­est storm.


Risk Man­age­ment Skills
The Back­coun­try is true wild nature. As such there are many haz­ards out there that must be treat­ed with respect and care.

Only with prop­er gear and knowl­edge should you take a trip with­out a qual­i­fied guide or some­one more experienced.

But the learn­ing process is part of the fun, and it’s a life­long pur­suit. So don’t be intim­i­dat­ed by a lack of knowl­edge, there are many guides and schools out there ready to show you the ropes.

Silence and Solitude
Get­ting out into the back­coun­try you real­ly begin to feel small. With­out so many peo­ple around, you get a new per­spec­tive of nature that does­n’t hap­pen around on the ski hill. It takes time to slow down, and the back­coun­try serves as an ide­al venue to get away from it all.

Amaz­ing Endurance
Back­coun­try ski­ing or snow­board­ing can be tough work. The climb up can some­times take hours of phys­i­cal exer­tion to get to the top. When just start­ing out it can feel over­whelm­ing until you get into shape. But then some­thing happens—your body adapts and you begin to crave those moments on the uphill when your whole body is work­ing as a sin­gle unit. Your heart and lungs are active and so are your mus­cles. When you reach the top, your brain is charged with endor­phins and dopamine—not just from the climb, but from the sat­is­fac­tion that you reached the sum­mit under your own pow­er. It’s a feel­ing of accom­plish­ment that sim­ply can’t hap­pen using mechan­i­cal means.

So get out and try this amaz­ing life­long pur­suit. You don’t have any­thing to lose and every­thing to gain: good health, deep pow­der, and a renewed con­nec­tion to our nat­ur­al world. Just remem­ber, don’t head into the back­coun­try with­out pri­or knowl­edge, a guide, or an expe­ri­enced compadre.