Introduction to Splitboard Snowboarding


The American Alpine Institute is now offering a course to teach basic skills and technical tips for those wanting to learn how to use a split-board.

Skills covered include:

  • Equipment Intro
  • Properly and efficiently converting the board to skis and back
  • Use of climbing skins for uphill movement
  • Terrain selection for up tracks and down tracks
  • Uphill switchbacking techniques and tips
  • Efficiency
  • Pole usage for snowboarders
  • Packs, transceivers, shovels, probes, etc. equipment review.


How does the Splitboard work?

A fully assembled split board.

A fully assembled splitboard. Andy Bourne

The snowboard is cut in half and a metal edge is built into the "cut" side as well as the normal places on the outside of the board. Snowboard bindings are mounted onto a plate that can either be locked into place in snowboard mode, or attached via a hinged pin in ski mode. When split apart, the two halves are used as free heel skis to ski uphill, straight, or even small downhill sections. When in ski mode, climbing skins are applied to the bottoms of the "skis" which provide grip for skiing uphill.

Climbing skins have a sticky side that attaches to the bottom of the skis a lot like a sticky note, and a furry side that has tiny hairs leaning in one direction. These hairs allow the ski to slide forward easily, but grips when you attempt to slide the ski backward.


Introduction to Splitboard Snowboarding

Dates and Itinerary


  • Dec 9th-10th, 2017
  • Dec 23rd-24th, 2017
  • Jan 6th-7th, 2018
  • Jan 20th-21st, 2018
  • April 14th-15th, 2018

*Call to inquire about Intermediate or Advanced Splitboard courses

  • Additional dates available upon request (min. 2 students)


Splitboarding - Assembling

A splitboarder transitions to downhill mode to enjoy the fruits of his labor in the Mt. Baker backcountry. Andy Bourne

Day 1- Full day, 7am-4pm, Classes meet at the AAI Gear Shop in Bellingham, WA. We begin with a gear check and board fitting, including dissecting the splitboard to learn how it works. Much of the learning needed for being a good splitboarder is familiarity with the equipment. You can provide your own board or rent one from AAI. 

After driving to the Mount Baker backcountry,
we spend the first part of our morning reviewing backcountry travel techniques and transceiver use before stepping onto our boards and selecting terrain for our moving classroom as we explore some low risk areas to practice transitions and efficiency. Uphill track setting will take up the middle of the day with emphasis on terrain selection, mastering tricky switchback moves, proper use of skins, and ski crampons. On the downhill we will go over some conservative travel techniques that can serve you in both high hazard and low visibility conditions. We will finish the day with a long run and debriefing at Maple Fuels.

Day 2- Full day, 8am-4pm, Mount Baker backcountry
A guided tour of some of the best backcountry terrain in North America. Dial in your newfound splitboarding skills.


Introduction to Splitboard Snowboarding

Cost and Details


Max Ratio - 4:1 (Climber:Guide)

Capacity - 8



  • Intermediate snowboarding skills; you can gracefully and easily ride a blue run inbounds.
  • Good physical fitness; you can hike uphill in deep snow for one or two hours with short breaks.
  • A Level 1 Avalanche Course or equivalent is recommended, but not required.


Rental Equipment

Hiking through the Mount Baker backcountry.

Hiking through the Mount Baker backcountry. Andy Bourne

Avalanche Gear
The AAI Equipment Shop rents avalanche gear, including beacons, probes, and shovels.
Pricing for two days is as follows:
Avalanche Kit (beacon, probe, shovel): $50
Beacon only: $35
Probe only: $15
Shovel only: $12
We have packs and ski poles available to rent as well.

If you are a snowboarder and would like to venture into the backcountry, you can rent our boards and use your boots!

Once you are enrolled in a course with AAI, you are then eligible for a 15% discount on all rentals and regular priced retail merchandise.
See AAI rental pricing sheet or contact our shop at 360-671-1570 for more information.


Introduction to Splitboard Snowboarding

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