First Day Splitboarding: Buffalo Pass

16 Mar, 2008

Since Gary came up from Denver, it was the plan to splitboard today on Buffalo Pass. It was my first time splitboarding and finally getting out in the backcountry with Gary to make turns. He’s a “earn your turn” kind of guy so I knew today would be a workout and painful experience but with some good powder turns in the process. Cody his extreme dog came along for the backcountry adventure.

I borrowed his spare 166cm splitboard for the day. It was the first time for me to ride a splitboard and I have rode boards bigger than 166cm so I felt pretty confident it wouldn’t be an issue. I did have girl moments with the splitboard where I needed Gary’s help to get the bindings moved around.

Gary made sure we had all the safety stuff with us for riding backcountry. I had on a beacon and in my pack had a probe. Gary checked the snow pack on the hike up to make sure it was safe. He checked the pitch of the run to see the degrees.

Gary’s Splitboard
My splitboard with my Rome Madisons
We made it up in early afternoon to Buffalo Pass which was packed with snowmobilers and other backcountry riders. Only ran into one other person in our area who was tele’ing to make turns with his dog. He gave us a heads up on the area and best locations to drop in at the ridge we were on.

I haven’t skied in years and doing the splitboard was definitely interesting having to skin to get uphill and hiking. It was a beautiful day outside, remained pretty warm in the 30’s to 40’s most of the day and the sun just shining down. I started off with my shell jacket, then took off layers towards the upper hiking down to just my t-shirt.

We hiked up to a ridgeline where we had any choices of drop in areas.

Here’s the view from the ridgeline looking at the other areas of Buffalo Pass

Our skinning tracks coming along the ridge

After breathing and switching out the split boards from skis to snowboards. It was time to ride! I watched Gary drop in and pick his line through the Aspens trees, I cut over to the right and rode that way making sure I stopped to see where Gary was below.

My line of turns. I made sure to wear my blue jacket while riding so I was easily spottable. My shell jacket is green and tends to blend in with the wilderness.

Looking back at my tracks
Gary dropped over this ledge and had a rough landing. I came up to it slowly but managed to ride down it. It was a flat landing.

Gary riding out with Cody following behind

Hit a bench area and had to hike out
On hiking out, we found an awesome area with no lines through it and perfect opportunity for us both to make some more wide open turns. We even had an audience from the tele-skier watching at the bottom.

Gary went to check it out and pick the lines for each of us. I got the first drop which I could ride over, while Gary decided to drop from above and hit a mushroom drop.

My line

This photo above but zoomed in closer

This photo above but zoomed in closer, yay for powder!

Gary’s line.

Cody tearing it up

The end of the day was skimming to get back to the truck. Gary got this shot of me coming through the trees counting down the seconds to a cold beer and hot tub.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. Erica
    March 19, 2008

    I can’t believe how much powder you guys still have up there! Cool shots of your splitboarding adventure. Cute pics of the snow dog too 🙂

  2. Shayboarder
    March 19, 2008

    Thanks Erica! Yeah definitely the nice thing about Colorado snow is it lasts longer, so you can still be riding good powder weeks after it has snowed here. The splitboarding was interesting and fun.