The 6th Annual Silverton Splitfest is in the books and for those who attended will not soon be forgotten. With a hardy Colorado snowpack (150-200% above normal) and perfect spring conditions, this year's event was stacked and stoke was high! Building on the tradition and hard work of event founders Jason Bushey and John Keffler, and honored for the opportunity to carry the torch, the Venture crew strived to keep the vibe alive while continuing to take Silverton Splitfest to new heights.
A record 130+ riders from Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming gathered at the Kendall Mountain Ski Area lodge and were welcomed by companies eager to share the latest advancements in splitboarding. With such a high density of splitnerds in one place, free flowing Euphoria Pale Ale and Mexican Logger from our friends at Ska Brewing, and a healthy dose of sunny San Juan Mountain vibes, an epic festival was sure to ensue. Participants lined up to get their pick of 2018 demo boards, bindings and accessories from a variety of manufacturers. Techs helped answer questions and dial in demos each evening while participants enjoyed sharing stories, beta and their plans to tour and explore some of the best terrain in the lower 48.
"Silverton is a mecca for backcountry riding. We are surrounded by public lands and even after a decade living here we've only scratched the surface in our explorations of the San Juan Mountains. This is a special place and we are stoked to be able to share our backyard with our fellow splitboarders,” said Venture’s Klem Branner.
The ladies were out in force at this year's Splitfest and according to Venture’s Lisa Branner, there were significantly more women attending as compared to years past. “It’s a trend we're seeing at Splitfest and industry-wide: more and more ladies are taking up splitboarding. I'm excited to tap that enthusiasm and hope to offer some women's specific activities next year to better engage female riders.”
Supporting avalanche education and backcountry safety has been a staple of Silverton Splitfest since its inception, and one that Venture is committed to see continue. From first timers to seasoned vets there was something for everyone to learn from and up their game. Thursday kicked off with a companion rescue course taught by Silverton Avalanche School, and the weekend also offered beginning and intermediate splitboarding courses by San Juan Mountain Guides. At Friday and Saturday's banquet, presentations by Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecaster Jeff Davis and AIARE instructor Shaun Nauman kept the crowd thoroughly entertained and informed.
"Part of why we host this event is to give back to the community, both by supporting Silverton businesses during the shoulder season and also by supporting our snow safety non-profits,” says Lisa. This year’s proceeds topped $4,000 and will be donated to Silverton Avalanche School and Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
Huge thanks to the volunteers, friends and sponsors who helped this event continue and grow: Adventure Pro, Amplid, Backcountry Magazine, Colorado Avalanche Information Center/Friends of CAIC, Dakine, Flylow, Friends of Berthoud Pass, G3, Karakoram, Never Summer, Outdoor Research, OZ Snowboards, Phantom, Prowder, San Juan Mountain Guides, Silverton Avalanche School, Ska Brewing, Spark R&D, Voile, and Weston Snowboards.
Thursday's companion rescue presentation by Silverton Avalanche School. Photo: Scott DW Smith
A sneak peek at the 2018 Venture line. Photo Scott DW Smith
Welcome party at the Venture factory featuring Euphoria & Mexican Logger from Ska Brewing. Photo: Scott DW Smith
Riders line up at the Spark and Venture tables to get their demos dialed for the next day's adventures. Photo: Dan Ventura | Spark R&D
AIARE instructor Shaun Nauman presenting at Sunday evening's banquet. Photo: Scott DW Smith
Venture Team tour up to the Turkey Chute. Photo: Scott DW Smith
Adventure Pro's Brittany Cupp peaking out at the top of the Turkey Couloir. Photo: Scott DW Smith
Jason Lum on point dropping into the Turkey Chute. Photo: Scott DW Smith
Rob Roof surfing some corn. Photo: Scott DW Smith
Logan Austin coming out hot and sending it into the apron. Photo: Scott DW Smith
Brittany Cupp with a sunny side slash. Photo: Scott DW Smith
Dave Watson scoring the line of the trip with first tracks off of Sultan's NE face. Photo: Klem Branner
Mike Whitfield surfing the Sultan. Photo: Frankie Devlin
E-Mo taking advantage of Silverton's low hanging fruit with a late day session on some road side relics. Photo: Scott DW Smith
Shred and party! That's a wrap. See you all again at the 2018 Silverton Splitfest. Photo: Scott DW Smith