2010 Mount Baker Splitboard Festival: Mother Nature Comes Through

Mount Baker, WA (March 29, 2010) – Although splitboards have been on the scene for around fifteen years, their presence in the global snowboard scene has been limited. It wasn’t often that two splitboarders would cross paths in the backcountry—even rarer still that you would see a shot in a magazine of someone stepping to a big line on their splitty. But in the past couple years, splitboarding has surged into the global shred consciousness. Companies that thrive on split-specific products like Venture Snowboards and Spark R & D are racing to simply keep up with demand for their progressive products. On the heels of the Burton program, Mervin Manufacturing, K2, and many other big name board companies are getting into the splitboard market, and new companies like Jones Snowboards are building splits right off the bat. T-Rice is riding one on big lines and booters in AK—how’s that for legitimacy? So it seemed about time, then, that a ‘gathering of the tribe’ went down this weekend at Mount Baker: the 2010 Mount Baker Splitboard Festival.

Shuksan Arm

Organized by Washingtonian Terry Schmidbauer and attended by folks from across the continent, the event saw 40-plus riders hunkered down under the shadow of Mount Herman at the Mount Baker Mountaineers Lodge. With views from the dining room to Shuksan’s glaciers and access to Table Mountain and beyond right out the front door, it was an appropriate venue for a split-themed weekend.

Byron Bagwell

Despite recent warm temperatures, Baker switched back to winter mode in time for the Splitfest. Fresh snowfall and blue skies welcomed a wide range of splitters on Saturday. From first-timers to seasoned veterans like frequency TSJ contributor Kyle Miller, all reveled in the late-March pow laps, whether via lift-accessed touring on Shuksan Arm (my choice for the morning), a mellow jaunt out Artist’s Point and Blueberry Ridge, or getting up and over Table Mountain and into some of the steeper lines around Little AK. One group even attempted to summit Mount Baker proper, but they were turned around high on the Coleman Glacier by high winds and falling snow—they settled for numerous powder laps on Heliotrope Ridge, lines being reset by Mother Nature faster than they could track it out.

Byron Bagwell

It was with weary legs that the last splitboarders, myself included, returned to the Mountaineer’s Lodge around 6 p.m. for a parking lot beer and buffet dinner featuring turkey meatloaf, salad and baked potatoes—a hearty meal for hearty appetites. Dinner was followed by a raffle and movies and early to bed to prepare for riding in Sunday’s four inches of fresh and milky conditions—not exactly the perfect day of Saturday, but a great opportunity to demo the glut of new product kicking around the cabin and share a few turns with friends new and old.

Sky Risvold

Indeed, the 2010 Mount Baker Splitfest delivered great touring conditions and a chance for a growing community to get together and share ideas, techniques, and, most importantly, fresh turns in the Mount Baker backcountry. Splitboarding may be growing rapidly, but it’s still in the developmental stage—an exciting prospect for those that have been doing it for years, and a great opportunity for a growing number of shreds to discover the potential that splitboarding offers.

Byron Bagwell

Thanks to Terry for organizing the weekend, the Mountaineer’s Lodge, and all the sponsors for the glut of product to test and take home—see you all there next year.


1, 3, 4, 6: Byron Bagwell

2: Unknown

5: Sky Risvold


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