The inaugural Canuck Splitfest presented by Prior – what a weekend!

The date for the inaugural Canuck Splitfest was selected many months ago before the snow started to fall in earnest. A mid winter date for the event in Glacier National Park was selected in the hopes of delivering great powder riding conditions. Mother nature delivered a tremendous amount of snow in the week leading up to the event, which proved to be a double edged sword. The riding conditions were epic, but the avalanche hazards were menacing as a result of the incredible amount of new snow.

The event was an informal gathering with no fee for participants to attend and no designated day time activities. Participants were free to select riding terrain based upon their own avalanche training and experience levels. The Canadian Avalanche Centre released a special public avalanche warning for the weekend in view of the unique conditions that existed. Parks Canada had presentations for participants to ensure that everyone was up to date with the latest and most accurate information available.

The lead story on the CBC TV National News was related to the special avalanche warning and the Canuck Splitfest.

With no formal registration for the event, exact participant numbers are not known, but approximately 70 to 80 splitboarders attended the event, including some from as far away as California and Washington state. New friendships were formed and old acquaintances were re-united. We enjoyed the camaraderie of those who opt to slide sideways down the mountain and lots of great powder was enjoyed by all. Most importantly, everyone had a great time while safely enjoying the backcountry.

The raffle on Saturday evening was proceeded by a slide show presentation by Mark Hartley, a local splitboarder who lives in Revelstoke. He documented some of his mind bending climbs and descents in Glacier National Park. This was followed by another presentation from Kyle Miller who wowed the crowd with his own exploits in the remote ranges of Washington state.

The raffle featured donations from the sponsors and culminated with three lucky winners competing to see who could complete the changeover from splitboard to ski mode and then back to splitboard mode the fastest. John Cocci of Seattle, WA was the fastest and won a brand new Prior splitboard of his choice. Matt McDonald of Vancouver, BC was second and took home a Voile splitboard complete with Light Rail bindings. Adam Trom of Lethbridge, AB was third and won a Libtech snowboard.

All proceeds from the raffle (save for $200 paid for event insurance) have been donated to the Canadian Avalanche Foundation.

On behalf of the greater splitboard community, the Canuck Splitfest attendees and sponsors, I’m proud to announce that $2,185 was raised.

I would like to thank all those who attended, all of the sponsors who donated product for the raffle, Prior Snowboards for being the presenting sponsor and bringing demo splitboards, the members of the Parks Canada team, including Bruce McMahon, Sylvia Forest, Rick Reynolds, Zuzana Driediger and many more who worked behind the scenes to assist with the planning of the event and the presentations to attendees.

I would also like to express my gratitude to everyone at the Canadian Avalanche Centre and Canadian Avalanche Foundation, including Gordon Ritchie, Ian Tomm and Jennifer George for their assistance with the event, to Greg Johnson for his enthusiasm and knowledgeable presentation, to Mark Hartley and Kyle Miller for their slide show presentations, to Matt McDonald for the weather forecast, to Annie and the staff at the Glacier Park Lodge, to MacKenzie Wilson for the Canuck Splitfest stickers, and of course, to the CBC for raising the profile of splitboarding to a national level!

Hopefully this will become an annual event, but in the mean time, if you’re looking to attend another splitboard festival, take a look at one of these: Echo Lake Splitparty, Scrubfest, Vancouver Island Backcountry fest, Mt. Baker Splitboard Festival, or maybe you can organize your own!

Keep your skins warm and may all your turns be powder.

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