Sometimes things happen. And. Sometimes things happen and they could have been much worse. On a recent trip to the Harry Gates Hut, part of the 10th Mountain Division Hut system; we were pleasantly surprised on our second day in there to receive an additional 14-18″ of snow.
The new snow, combined with the unconsolidated layer of typical Colorado faceted snow beneath, gave us waist to chest deep snow in the trees on the north aspects. While touring in split mode through some trees on a nasty traverse I found one of those pockets where waist deep powder consumed me chest deep. We were in a deadfall area of a boulder field, so the bottomless powder was tricky in areas.
There was concern the day prior while touring up Burnt Mountain just east of the Harry Gates Hut, that the snowpack had potential to break an AT ski. We had already had to contend with a telemark binding repair part of the way up Burnt Mountain. We took it easy coming back through the trees, but maintained enough speed as to not get marred down in the bottomless powder traps too close to the trees.
I came down several times in extremely deep powder on the traverse on day two. Little did I know at the time, that my board had suffered a fracture at the Dynafit mounts – perpendicular across the board. In fact, I didn’t notice until the final day while touring out back to the trailhead that a fracture in the top sheet and core had occurred at all. I was able to ride the seven miles out, but that would mark the end of the Ride Society – truly a perfectly made splitboard. It’s the one-in-a-million conditions that we incurred that could have broken a ski, board, or worse – a leg.
When I returned home I frantically looked at stock from all the major snowboard shops across Colorado for a few very specific boards to replace the Ride Society. The trick is to find a board with no center camber, yet rocker that is not directional. I was also particular about the lamination makeup, mini-magnatraction, slime-walls, etc. This is why I have always chosen Ride for good split candidates. I couldn’t find a Ride DH2 in the size I wanted in the entire state. In fact not even on ebay, craigslist, gear forums, etc. It’s just a bad time of the year to shop for a snowboard.
I figured I was going to have to use my backup splitboard, the Ride Prophet for the remainder of the season. Not really an optimum board unless bombing down consolidated couloirs. It rides like a Cadillac and has less control in the trees. I wasn’t looking forward to riding that board..at all.
Oddly enough, I met my dad for dinner and he pulled an “oh by the way moment”, and handed me a K2 Panoramic splitboard.. What an incredible gift!
I did talk to a few techs about other splitboards and was asked by a few why I wouldn’t consider the Jones Solution or the Jones Flagship. The only reason I would not chose these boards is due to the absence of the glass top sheet. The manufacturer that was contracted in Austria (Nidecker), just had too many problems for me to even consider a Jones board. The idea was to make a more sustainable board by using more Earth-friendly materials. Hey, I’m all for that. However, it makes no sense to manufacture them in Austria and ship them by boat to North America – the logic is missing there. Besides, I just can’t risk a delamination problem while in the backcountry.
So, I spent the day stripping all the parts from the Ride Society and transferring everything over to the K2. Leaving an old board behind is somewhat sad – especially considering the amazing places that board has taken me. Hopefully the K2 will live up to its reputation and a new chapter will begin.
Quick photos of the transition: