With endurance sports on the rise again backcountry boarding is on the rise with it. Every joe who used to ride the lifts is saving dough by exploreboarding the backcountry with their GoPro’s. The question is, what backcountry set should you buy? A splitboard set for $1,000+ or a $200 pair of MSR Snowshoes
I’m no expert but I’ve spent some time on the mountains. Here’s my opinion.
Splitboarding is superior when the approach is long, the snow is deep, and you’re doing one long approach/run. The advantage is you carry no weight on your back besides because everything that gets you up the mountain, also gets you down. Set up and transition time is a little longer (depending on experience) but the set up is more expensive. Splitboarding allows you to get out there, get out there easier, and get out there for days.
Snowshoeing is best when the approach is short, you’re at the ski resort, and looking to get in a bunch of short fast laps. Follow a groomed ski run or cat track on snow shoes and you can cruise up and down a mountain with ease. I climbed and snowboarded 3,ooo vertical feet in 2.5 hours with snowshoes. The transition is way faster but you have to carry the board on your boots.
I’m not accounting for terrain because steepness affects what you use/bring…you can’t ice climb in snowshoes or splitboard.
In my honest opinion, I’d buy a set of each. Start with snowshoes and doing laps at the resort. Most resorts allows that these days, including Timberline and Meadows on Mt. Hood. See how much you like working for your turns. If you find it miserable, then don’t buy a splitboard. If you love every sweaty minute of it then go ahead and upgrade when your mountain objectives require it.