Splitboarding in Central Colorado

Backcountry touring and secret stash slashing deep in the Gunnison National Forest

Splitboarding in Central Colorado

Author

Graham Hiemstra

Photographer

Graham Hiemstra, Eric Greene

Camera

Contax T2, Yashica T4, Leica M3

Film

Kodak Portra400, Ultramax 400, T-Max 100

A decade ago, 100 day seasons were the norm. Now, I’m lucky if I get a handful. Same goes for TF contributor and former King Snow Magazine editor Eric Greene. But so goes life in NYC. So, each year a pilgrimage is made to satiate the urge to get back on a snowboard in a legit territory (no offense Mountain Creek, NJ). Last year we hit Powder Mountain, Utah, and Jackson Hole the year before. Since we seem drawn to the region, we went for Central Colorado this time around. Gunnison-Crested Butte to be exact.

While a few days ripping groomers and hiking sidecountry lines at the resort were surely in order, we kicked off the trip with a splitboard tour, headed up by our pal and Crested Butte mainstay Mike Horn, and The Homie Kyle from Cold Smoke Snowboards, a local manufacturer and one of the raddest dudes around. Those two broke trail while the rest of us tried to remember how to ski while battling a serious altitude adjustment.

Splitboarding has become increasingly popular in recent years, and though Eric and I each have probably spent more hours on a snowboard than 99% of the planet, this was the first serious tour for the two of us—thankfully our crew was full of knowledge, and patience. As far as I’m concerned, splitboarding is it. Eric likened it to surfing. I’d say it was more like backpacking, but with a much better reward. Either way, we’re hooked.

The experience was nothing short of all time. With every type of winter weather rolling through in waves we made our way up the pitch in under three hours, earning a damn fun ~20 minute descent. The lack of riding images tells the real story—it was just too good to stop for a Kodak moment.

(Editors Note: Please only go into the backcountry if you have avalanche training and are with an educated crew. Even for the most experienced among us, it’s no joke out there.)

Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-1
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-3
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-4
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-5
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-6
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-7
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-11
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-10
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-8
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-9
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-16
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-15
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-13
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-12
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-14
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-17
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-18
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-23
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-20
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-21
Gunnison-Splitboard
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-19
Crested-Butte-CO-Splitboard-22
Related articles
Smith Squad Imprint 3D Review: Is Old Tech the Future of Snow Goggles?
Trying Smith's 3D Printed Ski & Snowboard Goggles to See If They're Worth the Hype

A hands-on test of Smith's recently expanded line of custom-made, 3D printed goggles with the Squad and Squad XL

Black Crows Explores Japan's Abandoned Ski Resorts With New Film & Gear
Black Crows Explores Japan's Abandoned Ski Resorts With New Film & Gear

Archival footage and interviews reveal that Japan's dreamy ski scene might've peaked decades ago

Raide Launches With a Sleek Ski Pack Backed by Serious Engineering
A New Brand Called Raide Just Made One of the Best Backcountry Ski Packs Ever

After stints at SpaceX and The North Face, the Colorado-based company's founder has turned to solving design problems with mountain gear

Q&A: How Hyperlite Mountain Gear & Cody Townsend Made the Crux 40 Ski Pack
How Hyperlite Mountain Gear Used Pro Insight to Make the Ultimate Ski Pack

Insights from a lifetime of skiing and a quest to descend the biggest lines in North America helped the skier and brand make the end-all bag

Spot Delivers Comprehensive Injury Insurance for Adventure Lovers, From $90
Meet the Upstart Insurance Company Covering Adventure Lovers for Just $90/Year

With partners like Ikon Pass, USA Cycling, and American Mountain Guide Association, Spot offers otherwise healthy outdoorists full coverage for cheap

Powder, Rails & 35mm Film at Vans Hi-Standard Series, Brighton Resort
Photo Essay: Powder & Rails at Brighton Resort's 2023 Vans Hi-Standard Series

A visual recap of the style-focused snowboard contest, where 32 of the most creative international pros competed for $20,000+ in equal prize money

More articles
Splitboarding in Central Colorado

Gallery Mode

Photographer

Graham Hiemstra, Eric Greene

Camera

Contax T2, Yashica T4, Leica M3

Film

Kodak Portra400, Ultramax 400, T-Max 100

Back to article
Our New Photo Book Is Now Available!

Meet WINTER, a fine art photo zine full of adventure inspiration

  • 70 pages of beautiful photography
  • 35 international contributors
  • Limited-edition & hand numbered
  • Printed in NYC with love
Shop Now
Our New Photo Book Is Now Available!