Marie-France Roy is one of the most well-rounded lady rippers in the game today. Splitboarding was an obvious choice for her because of it’s low ecological impact, the ability to access certain zones that would otherwise be impossible to get to, as well as the fact that it’s way more fun than hitting the gym to stay in shape. We caught up with her to get the lowdown on what gear she uses, how to pack, and more – check it out!
When and why did you start splitboarding?
I started splitboarding a few years ago. I liked the idea to access the backcountry by foot, without the noise and fuels of snowmobiles, cats, or helis. It’s a very rewarding feeling to go down a slope that you actually climbed yourself. You also get to fully enjoy the landscapes and surroundings as you go up and it can even help you read your line a lot better. You get to see way more wildlife too as you don’t scare them all away with engine sounds. It’s also an amazing workout, your cardio gets considerably better everyday you go out – just make sure to stretch your hips flexers before and after!
What kind of equipment do you use?
I use the Rome Powder Room 153 which perfect for women. Rome was one of the first brands to make splitboards specifically for women and it makes a huge difference. It’s a good pow board but I have even hit jumps with it because it’s super playful and versatile. I personally recommend using a size similar to your regular pow board. Some people go way longer but I personally like to ride something light and quick and the kickturns (when you are in hiking mode) are way easier with a shorter board.
How about skins and hardware? Is there any other gear that’s important to have?
There are a bunch of good skins out there and extra gear you will need. I use Voile harware and you can keep your own bindings if you want with a Universal Split Kit. That will make your bindings sit a bit higher but it works great. Or you can get yourself a pair of Sparks but I’d recommend changing the straps on them to something you’re used to.
Poles can be a tricky one too, do your research on this one because there are a lot of options and some are way better than others.
A good backpack is key too and I like to use the Rome Ravine. It’s comfortable to hike and ride with plus there’s enough room and settings to carry your lunch, board, poles and avy gear.
What kinds of stuff do you pack for a split trip?
Bring sunglasses, extra pairs of gloves, sunscreen, lots of water and snacks that are light like Clif Bars and Blocks. Goal Zero also makes awesome solar charging devices if you go on overnight missions. There are a few tips you’ll learn as you go too, take your goggles and layers off when you hike or else they will get wet from sweating and you will get cold later and the goggles will fog up.
What do you do to prepare for a trip?
I like to make sure I have all my avy gear, extra batteries, lots of layers for every conditions, look at the avalanche report, and weather forecast.
Tell us about your favorite splitboard trip you went on this season?
My favorite trip last season was for sure our 7 day trip in Golden BC at Golden Alpine Holidays. We got helidropped at this off the grid cabin in the mountains and then skinned every single day for every run we did. It was some of the best runs of my whole life. The conditions were epic with super stable snow and we had a blast. Sometimes we would hike in the dark with our headlamps before sunrise to get on this sick face that only got morning light for 30 minutes. We would just hike and ride all day then end up in the sauna at night followed by a nice meal that we cooked all together. Just magical! Snowboarder Mag wrote a story on the trip in the next issue so make sure to check it out!
Do you have any other tips or important things people should know?
No matter what you do, I think the most important thing is to make sure to always have all your avalanche gear, a good peeps with full batteries, a metal shovel (I love the G3 Avitech), a probe etc. But most importantly, you should get an avalanche course and make sure you and your friends all know how to use their gear and how to proceed in an avalanche scenario. Practice together, pull out your probe and shovel and see how fast you can get at setting it up, go over the most efficient way to dig someone out and all those important steps. Make sure you don’t put yourself or your friends in sketchy situations out there.
I’ve learned the hard way how important it is to keep your skins dry on long trips. Keep the base of your skins away from snow at all times or else they wont stick to your base, especially if you have to switch modes all the time. That can be bad if you’re far away from the cabin at the end of a big day… Ha! Skins savers or tape will be very useful if that happens so bring them. Get yourself a mini scraper with you too as you often need to take the ice off your board before putting the skins on. Always dry your skins at night or else they will freeze the next morning and won’t work all day. You also need to make sure to stick them together when you store them for a while or else the glue will dry out.