what is backcountry snowboarding?

What Is Backcountry Snowboarding? Snowboarding 101

by Fraser

Backcountry snowboarding. You’ve likely heard this term being thrown around in the snowboarding and skiing community. But what is backcountry snowboarding?

Backcountry snowboarding is snowboarding in rural, untouched mountains, away from man-made ski resorts. This often involves ascending via split-boarding, snowmobiling, hiking or heli-skiing and descending on unmarked and unmonitored terrain.  

Here’s the answers to a couple of your frequently asked questions about backcountry snowboarding. 

Backcountry Snowboarding FAQs

Snowboarding in the backcountry is much more dangerous than on groomed runs in the resort. This is because of the higher risks posed by avalanches, tree wells, hidden obstacles and crevasses.

Those heading to the backcountry should only do so with the right gear, team, attitude and expertise. 

If in doubt, don’t go out!

At the bare minimum you need a backpack, shovel, probe and transceiver*. You then need to be trained in how to use them. 

Nowadays there are modern devices such as airbag backpacks – however these are expensive and less proven than the above. 

If you don’t have a transceiver, this one (affiliate link) consistently comes out on top in our testing.  

Lucky for you, I’ve already answered this in detail here.

You can snowboard in the backcountry. Whilst the backcountry is predominantly associated with skiing, snowboarders all over the world are now riding backcountry powder. 

In fact, snowboards have a larger surface area and are rumored to be better to ride in powder than skis. 

I am of course, slightly biased however.

You certainly can. But you’d be much better off on a powder board or at least a freeride board. 

These have more surface area than a freestyle or all-mountain snowboard. This makes them float better in power and therefore turn much easier. 

Check out some of our other articles for more details.

Splitboards are used for the ascent, much in the same way that skiers “skin” up the mountain. 

They are then connected back together to form a snowboard for the descent. 

Splitboards are often said to be worse to ride than regular powder boards. They’re certainly much more expensive. 

If you’re getting into the backcountry and wondering whether splitboarding is for you… I’d definitely recommend renting before making any big purchases.


Hopefully I answered your question. 

For more snowboarding wisdom, keep browsing the site. 

Happy riding!

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1 comment

PatrickG 24/04/2024 - 4:12 pm

Super helpful, thanks guys


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