Backcountry Snowboarding is all about working hard for fresh pow and private jumps with soft landings. It is the spirit of the riders that are willing to leave the resort and go work for the riding, that really make this type of riding special. That and the fact that after you work for it you get to ride perfect untouched powder, unique Natural Features away from the resort and even perfectly group sculpted jumps with virgin powder landings. Of course getting there, to the top and building the jumps are all a lot of work. These riders have heart.
This is also the style of riding and location that has become a popular setting for current snowboard movie filming and magazine shoots with the most amazing riders on the planet. Of coarse once the riders become the target of a camera, the are likely taking a snowmobile or helicopter to get there. Still though, building jumps in the Backcountry is always a huge task, but the real challenge comes next. Getting up the nerve to hit a massive jump.
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In addition to a Freeride Set-Up, the Back country rider needs to have the same kind of backup gear as the extreme snowboarder. Including :
A backpack – to carry lunch, a shovel for digging out an avalanche pit or lunch table, backup goggles, gloves and tools.
A boom box or at least a music player and some speakers for taking the edge off while hiking or building jumps.
Snow Shoes – Much of this type of terrain is only accessible by foot, snowmobile or helicopter. An Yoda once said, “Surprisingly easy it is to get there by snowshoes”. Don’t be afraid of the work. It makes the run that much more worth it.
Any BackCountry rider must get a Pieps, an Orthovox or some other kind of Avalanche Transceiver. They can save your life or that of your friends. Believe it. You must have it and know how to use it.
Strong work ethic and networking skills, for it is much easier to do the hard work and get it done quickly with a group of buddies helping out. Must have avalanche knowledge and be away of danger zones and beware or the variable rating of Avalanche danger. Patience is a must in building jumps and hiking into remote riding areas.
Freeride of Freestyle Riding style is typical in Backcountry Snowboarding. Most freestyle riders would ride backcountry terrain, especially powder, with a slightly larger board than they would ride in the Park or Pipe. Also, for big powder situations, they may set their stance back on the board a bit compared to resort riding. This makes turning and landing much easier in the deep snow. I must also point out that the new wave of Banana or Reverse Camber snowboards on the market are exceptionally good in the area of stomping landings in powder. Their reverse shape and softer flexes will bounce and float easily on the deep snow instead of diving under the surface like a camber board with a mid to stiffer flex would do.
Backcountry Snowboarding has a style mostly like Freestyle, but there are all types. From all groups of snowboarders, including the hard core urban rail rats, through the high alpine extreme riders, you will find those hard enough to get into the back country and work for those turns or that amazing powder landing. Although there is a wide variety of styles that like the BackCountry, the common denominator is the strong work ethic of making runs with out the use of rope tows, chairlifts, gondolas, or other resort oriented methods of climbing the mountain.