Stoke Roasted Coffee Company co-owner Mark Hartley descends the Geikie glacier in this photo by Greg Hill.

Stoke Roasted Coffee Company co-owner Mark Hartley descends the Geikie glacier in this photo by Greg Hill.

Splitboarders get together for first Canuck Splitfest

Rogers Pass is the venue for the first, possibly annual, Canuck Splitfest this Jan. 22–23.

Organizer Wade Galloway says the informal gathering of splitboarders from B.C. and beyond will be the first of its kind in Canada.

Galloway says he was inspired by similar informal gatherings south of the line, including ScrubFest in Wyoming, which is in its seventh year, and the more recent Mount Baker Splitboard Festival.

After attending the events, Galloway asked himself, “Why should I have to travel that far to go and do it?”

He decided to put together “a Canadian thing” that would highlight the “world-class backcountry mecca” that is Rogers Pass.

The event is being presented by Prior Snowboards, and has several other big-name snowboard/splitboard industry sponsors. Also on board as sponsors are local companies Stoke Roasted Coffee Company and Almond Manufacturing, which makes a mounting set-up that turns a splitboard into a NoBoard.

A raffle held in conjunction with the event will benefit the Canadian Avalanche Foundation.

The gathering will include two evening get-togethers at the Glacier Park Lodge, and a raffle. There will also be safety briefings by Parks Canada.

“During the day it’s every person for himself,” says Galloway, who emphasizes the informal nature of the gathering, and, of course, the obvious safety concerns.

Don’t come expecting someone to show you the ropes. Limited private guiding opportunities are available but must be pre-arranged.

For those who’ve never seen one, splitboards are snowboards that can be divided into two and used like skis for backcountry touring, then combined again for the descent. “Skiers, telemark users, snowboarders, all essentially use the backcountry more or less in the same way when they are going uphill, but certainly snowboarders look at terrain a little bit differently on the downhill and its always to sort of expand your network of friends,” says Galloway.

He says the event is about making friends from the other side of the Pass or from across the country. “It’s just about building that community,” he says. “Friendships will be formed, and all these types of things.”

For detailed info, see the Canuck Splitfest website at www.splitboarders.ca.