Jeff Smead- Splitboarder Mackenzie, BC

Seeka and me (800x450)

Why are you a splitboarder? How has splitboarding changed you as a snowboarder?

Splitboarding truly allows me the freedom to ride untracked powder and explore the peace and serenity of the backcountry. I like the complete experience of climbing as well as riding my line. While splitboarding I can experience a sort of intimacy with the mountain that you can’t get doing sled laps or riding a lift. You really earn that view from the peak and a cold beer with friends at the end of a big day. I also splitboard so I can bring my dogs along.

Outside my cabin (600x800)

How did you get into splitboarding, what peaked your interest?

I started skiing in 1983, snowboarding in 1991 and began splitboarding in 2009. Initially what attracted me to splitboarding was having an efficient means to ride pow all day… it’s like having my own private heli. Also in the beginning I checked out my buddy, Matt Ediger’s setup in 2008 and saw how much faster he could ascend then me on my slowshoes. More importantly it was when I first saw Split 30’s with no awkward pins and such that really got me pumped on getting into splitboarding.

How often do you get out? What is your typical tour like?

I split 3 to 4 days a week once the snowpack is decent starting late October through early July. Obviously early and late season I get less days per week. Typically I plan the night before on what line to attack. We have so many killer options right out the door. My tours vary day by day and may include, sled assisted, park and hike, side-county or shuttle assisted. Some days I am limited to around 3 hours due to obligations but it’s no problem I have a hit list of close to home quickies.

How do your tours change with the seasons? Are there different types of lines or area you like to go to based on the seasons?

For sure! Winter in northern BC pounds us with almost daily snow and short daylight hours, cold temps and endless grey flat light. So I do way more side country and also tour killer steep, old growths. However one benefit to riding at a 55 degree latitude is all aspects stay pretty tight so I can bust wicked pow lines on south facing aspects in full sun… when it does shine. By early February I migrate a little more to the alpine bowls and chutes. In April pretty much sled to the alpine pow and then tour up there into May and then typically seek corn into July.


How do you balance your work, family life, etc. with how much you time you spend in the mountains?

Balancing my pow addiction with normal life has its challenges. Luckily my family knows how much I enjoy splitboarding so I get some slack. My wife rides and so does my 4 year old son. Our daughter is 10 months and we plan to get her going on a Burton Riglet system by spring. My evil plan is to get my whole family addicted to splitboarding so we can all enjoy it together.

Devon 3 yrs old (800x450)

What do you do for work?

Work??? what is that??? Haha I wish. I do odds and ends carpentry, investing and such. I am currently racking my brain to come up with the next big backcountry gadget… I see so much growth and opportunity in our sport/lifestyle. I really admire what you guys at Karakoram have accomplished.

What’s your safety routine when in the mountains?

COME HOME ALIVE! Imagine your kids, family and friends dealing with your frozen corpse. Not an option. Watch Snow Fall: Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, fast forward to the survivors’ part, this will put a tear in your eye. I try and learn from everything I can get a hold of, courses, books, vids, friends and experts. I have my Avy 1 so I incorporate these skills into my spliting. I also try and tour with my good buddy Ryan Shelly owner of Summit Avalanche Consulting. Ryan is a great source for information on the snowpack and lines to ride from day to day in our area which is currently not cover by the Canadian Avalanche Center. It’s important to keep up to date on the snowpack, dig pits, talk to patrols, ask the crew at CN Rail and talk to other backcountry users about conditions. I carry all avy gear plus a PLB and an airbag.

What’s your split set up? Board, bindings, boots, pack, etc

I ride a Jones Hovercraft Split 156 with K clips and medium Carbon SL’s. I have been wearing DC Judge’s but will be trying out Salomon Malamutes this year. Other stuff: Electric EG2 goggles, BCA Airbag, G3 skins