Freeride pro and professional guide Martin Zarfl is giving you tipps for your first freeride-tour.
Hello my name is Martin Zarfl. Here are some beginner’s tips for splitboarding.
To prepare your splitboard for an ascent, split the board and clean the surface with a dry cloth. Then attach the the skins at the nose, slowly pull the protective foil off the sticky surface, and evenly smooth the skin out onto the surface from top to bottom. At the tail, the skins are then hooked in again.
The bindings are mounted in the direction of motion, so that the heel is free to move. Move your poles outward so that your forearms are angled slightly upwards when you’re standing on the flat.
It’s best to use flat terrain for your first steps. Try to slide over the snow without lifting your skis. On longer tours, that saves lots of energy! Your hands should move counter to your legs.
Make your first changes of direction on flat terrain with so-called step turning: Lift the tip of the inner ski towards the inside of the turn and then follow it with the other ski.
In steep terrain – from about 30 degrees slope – change direction with a switchback: to do this, level your ascent trace, find good support for your skis and poles, turn your uphill ski in the new direction, change your pole positions, and then follow on with your downhill ski.
One variation is the so-called kick turn: as the name says, you give the ski a kick with your heel. That knocks the snow off the ski and brings the nose up, making the ski easier to turn.
During ascents in steeper terrain, you can grab your uphill ski a little further down, so as to compensate for the slope.
Once you reach the top, pull off the skins, cover the adhesive surface with the protective film, and then roll the skins up. The board is re-assembled and the nose and tail are secured with the flap lock. You then push the bindings onto the board and secure them with the bolt – that’s how quick and simple it is, and now you have a regular snowboard again.
Even though the proper technique is easy to learn and intuitive, we still urgently recommend that you get a guide for your first few metres off-piste. Open terrain holds many hidden dangers that can only be correctly identified and assessed by professionals! In addition, modern safety equipment is essential.
This includes a avalanche transceiver worn on the body, a backpack with a First Aid kit, a shovel and a probe. A good alpine backpack also has an airbag function, which reduces the likelihood of being buried under deep snow.
Have fun splitboarding! Your Bergfex team.
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