Backcountry skiing is booming, but so is splitboarding. According to Outside Magazine, participation in the sport has quadrupled, with major brands such as K2 and Burton now creating their own splitboarding gear.
Alpine touring and telemark skiers have been accessing backcountry runs (free from the crowds, the resorts, and the parking lots) for years, using removable traction "skins" to climb up and then ski down.
But splitboards take it further in that you can break apart a snowboard into two skis for hiking up slopes or cross-country crawls. Put the two parts back together and you can ride your splitboard just like a regular snowboard -- accessing the alpine wilds at your will.
Popular models come from brands such as Never Summers, K2, Atomic, Jones, Pior, and Voile, all which promise to offer a rigid, responsive ride that lets you forget you're essentially riding on two separate planks.
However, gearing up isn't cheap, and a typical splitboard is priced around $900 -- not to mention other gear you'll need, such as special bindings and collapsible poles. However, some resorts and specialty shops offer a rental kit to try the sport out.
Another option? Check out MTN Approach, a company that offers lightweight collapsible approach skis that you can fold up into a backpack after your climb so you can snowboard down. You can buy a package with skins, shovel, probe, and poles for $950.
Learn more about the sport at splitboard.com. Or watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE8Y9b_LjOg