2014 Mt Baker Splitfest Recap
Mt. Baker Splitfest is the original splitboard festival, it's been running since 2010. Backcountry enthusiasts from far and wide come out to go tour together, demo the latest and greatest gear, and try to get lucky in the biggest raffle you've ever seen. It's all hosted by Chair 9 Pizza and Bar in Glacier, WA. I was fortunate enough to get our big sale weekend off to drive up to Baker and demo some new boards for 2014 and check out the scene. I caught up with Venture, GNU, and G3 to see what they had in store for 2014-15.
|We encountered classic Mt. Baker conditions. Low visability, deep heavy snow, and an unstable snowpack limited in our terrain selection. We played it safe and rode tree runs in the Swift Creek basin. You can access these 500-600 ft runs by hiking up the cat track from the North side of the resort.|
Venture Snowboards decided to update the look for all thier 2014/15 boards. Along with the new design, they lightened all their decks by 20% due to adding Aspen to their full wood core. The Aspen is even sourced right out of thier backyard, in Silverton, CO.
I didn't get a chance to try out these new boards, but I will get plenty of time on them at Silverton Splitfest next weekend!
|On Saturday, I took out the new GNU Beast splitboard, a directional board with traditional camber. The board has a slight amount of rocker in the nose and a stiff flex. The board is designed by Temple Cummins. I took out the 161, which felt a bit divey with the heavy, deep, wet snow that we rode. But after some adjusting, I really liked this board!This board will be available through Next Adventure next winter. We are even adding one to our demo fleet if you want to take it for a test drive!|
|On Sunday, I took out the new G3 Black Sheep Carbon X3. G3 has been making the best splitboard skins in the industry for a while now, but splitboards are new to them this year. I'm so stoked on this board! The Carbon X3 is same story as the traditional Black Sheep, with a rockerd shape, and a mix between cap and sandwich construction. But the Carbon X3 is a full pound lighter than the original!I have about 10 days on this board so far and it's performed well in just about every condition. Not to mention the effeciency on the uphill due to it's extremely light weight. I'll have a full review on the Black Sheep Carbon X3 posted up very soon.
We will be carrying both Black Sheep boards next year, along with their splitboard skins, and avalanche tools.
Despite the limiting snow conditions and low visibility, Baker was a blast! The splitfest raised $8500 for NWAC and there was no accidents, despite stability concerns. It's awesome to see splitboarding gaining popularity as more people get sick of crowded lift lines and tracked out powder. 2014/15 promises to be a great year with all sorts of new products. Other things to look out for: Voile's new scaled splitboard and Spark R&D's hard boot binding. Thanks for the good time Mt. Baker, I look forward to next year!
In classic Mt. Baker fashion, the clouds parted as we left.