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Discussion Starter #1
I've snowboarded for about 8 years now and I consider myself somewhere between advanced and expert on the CASI scale of snowboarding levels.

I'd like to learn more about riding the back country. The only "back country" type of runs I've done are a few places on Whistler that requires like 5 - 10 minutes of hiking at most. The untouched pow is amazing and I'd love to try more steeper drops.

However, looking back I think it's pretty stupid of me to try some of these terrains because I don't carry a pack and know nothing about back country safety. Hell most of the time I don't even know where I'm heading but just go anyway because I've seen others going down.

My question is, where do I start if I want to learn back country snowboarding the proper way that minimizes the risks I have to face? Also what role does split boards play in all this? Is it crucial to know how to ski effectively before I should consider hiking off terrain?
 

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The Swiss Miss
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To start, get proper equipment (showel, probe, beacon) and do some guided tours (I'd also add an avy course, but not necessarily as long as you go guided).

What do you mean with "ski effectively"? Skinning? Had my first encounter with a split recently: the first minutes skinning feelt a bit awkward but you soon accustom. If you go with a guide that has a split himself, he'll give you tips on how to handle the skins, how to move smoothe and economic.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What do you mean with "ski effectively"? Skinning? Had my first encounter with a split recently: the first minutes skinning feelt a bit akward but you soon accustom. If you go with a guide that has a split himself, he'll give you tips on how to move smoothe and economic.
Oh I have no idea what split boards are used for. I always assumed that people use split boards to ski. But it sounds like they actually use them to climb mountains by adding skins underneath? So nobody actually skis with split boards?

I'm mind blown lol...
 

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The Swiss Miss
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Yes, for the ascent the split is split, bindings fixated parallel, skins underneath, two planks under your feet. For the descent the two plancs are put together, bindings mounted as on a solid board. No snowshoes or ascent skis necessary, no carrying of a solid board on your backpack.
 

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Discussion Starter #6

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A local outfit made this film. It's a good watch with some theory as well. One of the riders is one of my old buddies I used to play some ripping hardcore punk and metal ragers with. Always heard about his career but I'd never seen him shred. It was a trip to finally see.

You can take theory part of the avalanche courses online as well if you want some reading. That book that wrath posted is THE book it seems that everyone recommends.

 

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I am supposed to say something here right?

I think these guys have given you good advice. "Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain" is the book. I re read most if not all of it at the beginning of every season.

Look at you local outdoor retailers for backcountry awareness classes. These are usually free. Should only be around 2 hours long. This should go over a lot of the basics and help you decide if you want to take that next step. If you do want to go that route, take a Level 1 course.

It is not always steep and deep out there. In fact you may not get on very steep stuff very often. You'll learn why. The conditions are excellent most of the time though and you will definitely ride the same type of stuff found at the resort, just with powder for the most part. Given time you'll also find terrain that is rare or ever found inside the ropes. That is when it really shines. Of course it is all up to you to determine if it is safe or not. In most cases help is hours away should you get injured or buried. Safety depends on the decisions you make and on your partners.
 
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