Starting Splitboarding in New Zealand

Why I got into Snowboarding

When I first started going out with Genevieve (my now wife) I lived a pretty boring life, I really didn’t have any adventurous hobbies. I was working at STM (a local performance workshop) and really that was all I did, if someone asked what I was into I would say marketing and cars. I then made a conscious effort to find something that would really push me outside of my comfort zone. G had been snowboarding for years and really encouraged me to give it a try.

Queue video of my first day on the mountain 2011

What I like about Snowboarding

From there I was hooked. Now I wouldn’t say I’m a good snowboarder, I can’t really do sick jumps, I don’t like going particularly fast, I can’t drop off ledges without dicking myself but I do really enjoy being on the mountain. I love exploring new places, I love the cold and I love the feeling when I get it all right.

Then we moved to Queenstown and I was able to snowboard a lot more, I got mildly better and really started to enjoy the off piste adventure stuff more than the bombing down the groomed trails – who doesn’t right?

First Time Splitboarding

Early in 2017 Genevieve and I honeymooned in Hakuba, Japan. We decided to get some guided splitboard lessons from Evergreen backcountry guides. This was AWESOME, as there wasn’t much fresh snow when we got to Japan so the groomed runs were pretty blah, splitboarding allowed us to get some deep powder runs in-between trees and see parts of the mountain that were a bit harder to get to. Both of us really enjoyed it. So much so that I ended up buying the guides old board – a G3 Black Sheep (it’s actually blue) for a steal of a price.

Story so far

So that is the story so far, at this point I’ve kind of made a commitment that I’m going to see this through for at least the next two seasons. below you will find the list of gear, a list of training I need and a list of trips I want to go on. I’ll update these links as I post and tick things off the list.

Gear, oh Gear

Turns out, the board is just the start and you do need a bunch of specific splitboarding gear that I didn’t already have. For example I had purchased a new jacket (Undefeated x Alpha Industries x Burton N-3B Parker) before the Japan trip and once we started touring up a hill – DAMN I figured out real quick that it was WAY to warm and bulky to be useful. So when I got back and did a bit of research, talked to a few people and learnt a lot about features of technical equipment like packability, breathability, waterproofness and found myself a new jacket, I really loved this process.

Here is my list “Split boarding gear acquisition list”

Training is essential

The guides we had in Japan were really hyped on safety (which was awesome) they were always sharing their knowledge and explaining the many ways you could get caught out on the mountain. While we were in Japan a Kiwi and a US Marine both died in seperate Avalanche accidents, this really drove it home that we needed to take this sort of thing seriously.

Training Wish List

  • Avalanche Introduction Course
  • Advanced avalanche
  • First Aid Course

Trips and Adventures

Obviously if I’m putting in this much effort into getting gear and training. I’m really going to need to get some use out of it all. So here is a list of the types of trips I really want to get out there and do.

  • Overnight splitboard touring trip staying in a hut
  • Overnight splitboarding trip staying under the stars in a bivvy bag
  • Overnight splitboarding trip using the Hilux as a basecamp
  • Splitboarding with Yuki the Dog

Follow along on my Instagram – @senbilcock

🤞 Wish Me Luck 🤞


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