Mike Leeuw- Aspiring Splitboard Guide

How did you get into splitboarding?

After a few years of snowshoeing around the Tahoe backcountry I saw people starting to split board and saw a bunch of splits in movies and was just like yeah if the technology is there, it will ride like a normal snowboard, and I can put miles behind me!? Yeah that’s what I want to do.

How long have you been splitboarding?

First year on the ol’ split.

After watching your video I can tell that you’ve been sliding on snow for quite some time, when did you get into snowboarding?

In Vermont when I was 7 or 8. My best friends brother gave him his Burton Safari and I inherited his Black Snow (edgeless plastic board). Used to ride only resorts and park. Backcountry options are fairly limited in VT, but when I got out to Tahoe I started hiking more and more and now I’m pretty dedicated to the mountains beyond chairlifts.

How do you support your snowboarding lifestyle?

[I'm] pretty much a real life shred bum. Work where I can in the winter resorts or wherever allows me the most time in the mountains. Working towards becoming a splitboard guide which I hope one day, i’ll be able to hang out in the mountains and avoid the crowds of resorts. My friends and family have also been super supportive of me becoming a guide which has no doubt freed up a bit of my time and allowed me to get out there more. I’ve taken (snow knowledge classes) an Avy 1 class and am taking Avy 2 this coming winter. I also need to get a Wilderness First Responder course under my belt and might just go for EMT after that. I also try and spend my free time in the mountains looking at the snowpack and putting my avalanche knowledge to work. Spent 3 days inbounds last season and it was nice not having to throw elbows all day long, unless it was with a friend or an unrelentingly thick patch of trees.

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How do you balance being in the mountains with the rest of your life?

(Laughs) Thats a good one. As I read more and more books about mountaineering everyone talks about how there addiction or draw to the mountains makes it hard to live a “normal” life. I’ve felt this way for a while. If I could just stop wanting to go out there, I could work every day and make all kinds of money, but not snowboarding and climbing while I can doesn’t interest me as much as living a life in the mountains.

Anything else you’d like to add?

A huge thank you to anyone who has helped me along the way to the mountains.

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