Submitted by Eli Andrews on Sat, 12/07/2013 - 13:48
November was a fickle one in the NW. With only a few storms glancing Washington and most being warm the search for pow was one of only speculation and without any beta on the snowpack it was difficult to presume it was any good. With a fat high pressure sitting over the northwest November 15th seemed as good of day as any to venture out into the Mt. Baker National Forest. The ski area had yet to open but the cat had groomed our crew a nice corduroy path to the backcountry gates off of Austin Pass.
This is a question I get in almost every conversation about snowboards. I think when you invest a good portion of you life to something, you begin to have a desire to find that perfect ride. The only logical way to do that, since we all know magazine reviews are worthless 9 times out of 10, is to ask someone else who rides similarly to you. Also, we wholeheartidly believe that we won't sell what we havn't tested or wouldn't use ourselves. This brought me to the realization that we should share what we use, and the brands we personally support.
Chair 2 has built a few splitboards for riders under the age of 18. We recently built one for 17 year old Gunnar (name changed for privacy) who's parents are telemarkers. The family often snowshoed together, and he was completely equiped with his beacon/shovel/probe. I showed him the book Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain, and he laughed at me. Did I really think that book was new to his eyes? Gunnar explained that his father constantly has him re-read that book, and read the NWAC Avalanche reports. Although he snowshoed all the time, he never was allowed to snowboard in the backcountry. Because it was unsafe? No. They refused to take him on his snowboard because he had to snowshoe, and they were skinning. His family was exstatic that Gunnar would finally be able to travel as safely and efficiently as they could!
We are firm believers that Gunnar's family, along with the many other families touring together, have made a smart and safe decision in introducing their youth to the backcountry. Here is why: