Our buddy Tommy dropped us another note after his latest adventure down in Antarctica. Read below:
Still in the thick of winter here. I’ve been planning a mountain
ascent next week on a peak that’s out of our travel exclusion zone.
It’s quite a big one and will really test the splitty out. It’s a 5
day trip and I’ve been training quite hard for it, as it’s going to be a
grawler. I went on a camping trip this weekend to a cave on the other
side of the peninsula. I took the board to see how I would cope with a
winter pack with all my rations, fuel, tent, bags survival equipment
and so on. To my delight I found that I was able to get down the hill
with it all on. I’m definitely getting the hang of boarding fully
laden. These packs come in at around 30kgs, so turning is a little
complex. You really have to commit but once on either edge your plain
On the way we passed a really nicely presented snowdrift loaded face,
so I couldn’t resist ditching the bag, and
riding a few lines.
Weather was really good, but after spending the night in the cave we
woke up to a storm and a white out. So it was a bitch getting home.
Took some slogging and had to resort to snowshoeing as we couldn’t see
well enough to ride-shame.
But all in all a good weekend away and I’m ready for “black peak” next week
Thanks for the update Tommy. The snow looks pretty good down there. Enjoy it!
Our buddy Tom Whitfield checking in again from Antarctica.
Done something quite interesting the other day. I had made a stretcher
and we decided to go out and test it in our pulk. It was a search and
rescue exercise. We simulated a broken leg in the hills. We all
gathered the equipment, strapped in, and hauled our arses for hours up
and down hills with the patient strapped in.
We had seen some videos where skiers and snowboarders are able to go
down hill with the pulk so we had a go. I used the splitty and skins
to go up the hills then I was the brake and co-coordinator when going
down hill in snowboard mode. Between me and Rob (skier), we had no
troubles going down hill laden with weight. It was surprisingly easier
than I thought, and good fun. You may have seen similar things on
pistes I guess.
I’m glad I did it because when we go on winter trips we bring sleds to
tow our gear. So I could use this technique when coming down hill.
Just thought you guy’s might be interested in seeing what fellow
splitters can do with this relatively new concept! Everything worked a
A little love from our friend Tom down in Antarctica. Not the easiest place to ship some Blaze bindings or Chomps too! Here is a note and some pics Tom was nice enough to share with us…
Well long awaited my remaining parts for my Jeremy Jone’s split board
finally turned up, after a journey of 6 months waiting, pining for
snow, thousands of miles from home and any civilization, Calling in
favors from friends and relatives far and wide, paying extortionate
prices for post/delivery, Brief conversations via satellite phone’s,
organizing the mail once arrived in the Falklands to be put onto a
fishing vessel then waiting a further month for the Fishing vessel to
come near our shores, then board our pilot jet boat to retrieve the
mail from a very rolley boat! Why all this trouble you may ask…
Well For the next two years I’m living and working in Antarctica! with
only 8 people on this whole island, no other civilization, no shops,
no police, doctors, fire service, food stores, nothing, just us and
the science we do, I’m employed as an Electrical engineer, the only
Electrical Engineer on the island, I support the running of the base
and all equipment, including the science equipment, jet boats, power
generation, refrigeration so on so forth. Anyhow all that Stuff is
boring, the real reason I Quit my job in the UK, said good bye to
friends family, got rid of my house, sold all my possessions (including
my much loved motorbikes which I used to race) is to snowboard!!!
primerily that’s why I’m here, I’ve long wanted to go and do a season
somewhere but wasn’t prepared to quit my career as an engineer,
luckily I found a compromise, It’s great here as I’m my own boss, as
long as all my work is done and nothing is broken I can get out on the
hills, and as you can see there are lots and lots of them.
I’m a die hard snowboarder, the only one on the island in fact,
everyone else skies, walking in these hills with snow shoes on is hard
work, skiing with skins is the way to go, But I couldn’t face
abandoning my board, luckily Thanks to the guy’s at The Snowboard
asylum and with help from Whitelines snowboarding magazine they
pulled out all the stops and was able to get me a split board! and how
brilliant it is too, Conditions change by the hour here so I’m still
playing with my settings but I have found absolutely no compromise in
performance, The interface kit is simple to set up and adjust, and the
transaction once you have the hang of it, is fast and relatively faff
free even in windy icy conditions. All in all the splitboard is a
marvel of a creation! it has made my life so much easier and allows me
to hit the hills hard and frequent, now it’s just a case of waiting
for the right conditions.
So many thanks Spark for all your help, Keep up the good work and keep
the blog updated, it keeps me sane on those long cold women-less nights
And to all you other splitboarders out there, keep on splitting and
finding new terrain, It’s great knowing that I’m the only boarder
here, and the first ever splitboard ever to be on the island and even
on the continent as far as I’m aware (with exception to Jeremy Jones of
course). I also see the lack of lifts as a blessing, the whole
mountain is my back garden which no one will ever get to explore
except me, true freedom of the hills.
Attached are a few photos from a recent trip, there was a good dump of
snow on another peninsula so we boated over there, I got dropped off
and spent the day skinning to the top with some pretty steep icy
ascents in places (I’m still waiting for my Chomps to turn up) 5 hours
of climbing, brew at the top then 30 mins coming down, Still it’s all
worth it . . .
Our good friend and Spark shredder Chris Coulter just sent us this video edit from his recent trip up to Alaska. Looks like they had no problems finding good snow.
Heli Boarding With SEABA (South East Alaska Backcountry Adventures) April 19th 2011
A little edit from Tailgate Alaska, put together by Erik Morrison.
We love spring in Montana over here at Spark. The sun, the warmth, the BBQ’s and of course the foot of fresh. Yep, just another spring day in Montana.
The Spark crew was able to sneak out of the office yesterday to do a little backcountry product testing. The sun was out, the snow was fresh and it always beats a day in the office. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Wednesday.
Spring is prime touring season here in Montana, or anywhere for that matter. We still have some Small binders left, and all of the crampon or LT’s you may need to trick out your ride for corn snow season. Give us a shout over here and we would be happy to get you dialed in.