Last year, Todd Nickoley realized he was sick of lift lines, watching out for the downhill skier, and tracked snow. So this summer and spring he began what can be the daunting task of assembling a full BC setup from scratch. Pack, beacon, shovel, probe…this stuff is the easiest to find on sale, and there are a lot of options you’ll be happy with. But Todd’s biggest need was not skis, but a split board. There isn’t the plethora of options we skiers enjoy for snowboarder seeking the backcountry, but there are options, and therefore decisions to be made.
In the end Todd went with the Burton S Series with the Voilé Universal Splitboard Binding Interface. Needless to say, Lou’s shop was not necessary to mount the bindings. One of the biggest advantages snowboarding will always have over skiing is pre-drilled binding holes are the rule, not the ill-working, non-standardized exception that skiers seem to be constantly haunted with and sometimes requires something like a machine shop to reach a solution . The Voilé system allowed Todd to use bindings he already loves (the Bent Metal Restraints) by simply adding a plate to serves as liaison between skinning and snowboarding modes. Todd simply asked for a little advice on cutting his skins before heading out for a trial skin up Highlands.
Heading up Highlands back on December 11th yeilded empty slopes and blue skies. A great way to try out some new gear and get some early season fitness in. Since the lifts had yet to open, we were able to witness the effects of super cold and clear nights on groomed slopes untouched by anyone or anything for 3 or 4 days. I’d have to imagine that God’s snow farm looks something like this.
After reaching our summit – yes, Merry-Go-Round can count as a summit – we enjoyed a mix of fresh corduroy and foot deep surface hoar on the way down. Over all a great day to enjoy a new set up.
(Guest blogger profile: Dave Downing and his wife Jessica live in Carbondale, Colorado, where Dave is a freelance designer and owner of Ovid Nine Graphics Lab. Dave continues to advance his ski career with the occational guest blog at WildSnow.com.)