19. January 2014    
Safety is one of the most important issues in splitboarding and backcountry riding, so we have interviewed several pro-rider about that.

Splitboarding vs. heli, freeriding at the resort vs. splitboard touring and riskmanagement. We hope you like it and we all can learn from each other. Big thanks to the riders for their immediate cooperation!!

Barrett Christy: I’ve grown up with Gnu. Well, maybe my age already defined me as a grown up when I started snowboarding, but I don’t think I qualified in many other ways. I started riding Lib boards in 1993, and from there began my relationship and “pro career” with Gnu.

The details and timelines are a little foggy now, but Mervin definitely shaped my snowboarding and my life from that point on. Gnu introduced me to the future, and what was possible with a good snowboard, good people, and a sense of humor. My first pro-model was released in 95/96 and although Gnu had been designing boards to fit their female riders for years, it was one of the first women’s signature models in snowboarding.

I am extremely fortunate to have had a sponsor back me throughout my different shred phases, and to have had the opportunity to develop the Gnu girls program from the beginning. Along the way, I’ve met many girls and women who have inspired me and contributed to snowboarding in their own ways. This line is dedicated to their unique qualities, skills, attitudes, and styles. Gnu girls continues to stand out among other women’s brands because we have Mervin technology and quality to lean on, but we also have a solid team of riders and believers, the kind of girls that inspire creativity, fun and all different kinds of magic!

barrett christy splitboarding

So here we go with the interview!

1. What would you prefer if you put yourself in the position of a "normal" snowboarder, some good splitboard routes or some beautiful freeriding days in the skiresort?

That's tough. It all depends on conditions and crowds! The ski area can be great if I am eager for some quick runs and it happens to be a good powder day without the crowds. SInce that doesn't happen very often, the "normal" snowboarder can now access crowd-free powder runs with splitboards and local knowledge! Once I get the resort rush out of my system then it's nice to be able to split days after a storm and still have untracked runs.


2. Beeing a snowboardpro, what do you prefere a day of heliboarding or splitboarding? Why?

Ha! Well, I don't get many heli days anymore, but I would have a hard time turning a heli day down if I were offered a choice. Since heli's cost money and they are typically at destination vacation spots, I prefer splitboarding if I only have a day or an afternoon to play with. But, I would always keep my options open for the heli invite and try to squeeze it into the schedule if the conditions were right!


3. If you enter unknown areas (you just know it from the map), how do you manage keeping the risk as low as possible. For example traversing a summit from south to north?

Well, I don't find myself in that situation very often. I always try to be with a buddy who knows the area better than I do. Luckily my buddy is my husband Temple, and he has a lot more local knowledge about the slopes and conditions than I do, pretty much everywhere we go. I would never go into an unknown area with an over-confident attitude, I am always going to be the cautious one.


4. What is your strategy to reduce your risk to the maximum in general, but still beeing able to ride impressive (amazing) lines?

I mostly ride in the NW now, so I just watch the conditions and pay attention to the temperatures. Know the area well and be aware of the escape routes if something were to release.

barrett christy splitboarding 2


5. Do you have any suggestions for splitboard beginners or advanced riders regarding the ascent and the descent?

Be aware of your surroundings. Get comfortable with the equipment on a familiar slope before heading off for a big adventure. Go with someone who is experienced and can help with any issues. It always helps if your buddy is more experienced than you.


6. What profile do you normally ride, Rocker , Camber or Hybrid?

I usually ride a 'hybrid' Mervin's combination of camber and banana in C2 and C3. The reverse camber between the feet really helps keep the nose up in powder with little effort. But the camber adds stability and pop. I still get the same control, stability, and fun freeriding feel out of my B-pro with C2 whether it's split or traditional.


7. How would you describe a splitboarding day with your friends in 1 sentence?

Good friends, good snow, good snacks, and nothing else on the schedule for the day!


Thanks Barrett for the open interview and your prompt comitment to participate, thumbs up and beautiful splitboarding.