Words by backcountry bad ass Mads Brookes
Backcountry splitboarding has allowed me to ride terrain that I would have never imagined riding in Australia.
My mind is blown every time I go touring.
Delicious lines all to myself, along with some incredible scenery to feast my eyes on. But you know what also occurs on lots of my splitboarding adventures into the backcountry?
Tantrums and breakdowns.
It's no secret that social media loves to only show the highlights of people’s experiences and the backcountry is no exception. It wasn’t until I started to vocalise to other women (and men) of my experiences being “not all rainbows and butterflies” that I realised I was not alone.
On majority of my hikes, I find myself pushed to the absolute limits.
Bullet proof ice traverses where I can’t dig an edge in, 70km winds blowing my skins around while I am trying to transition, the tip of my splitboard ski punching through and being stuck in the ground.
Sometimes it is the smallest thing that pushes me over the edge and before I know it, I’m ugly crying like Kim Kardashian when she lost her earring in the ocean and wondering WHY THE F*#K I do this to myself.
After returning to civilisation, smashing a kebab and beer or two, and reflecting on the hike, I ALWAYS come to the same realisation:
Being pushed to my absolute limits is something that I love about the sport.
It might not seem like it at the time, when I am on my 4th hike up, absolutely exhausted, out of breath and feeling like I could collapse at any moment but the feeling of accomplishment after it is all over is like none other (even if the last hour of the hike was just me swearing and telling my partner to leave me there for the night).
I think it’s important to be vulnerable and let others know, especially beginners to the backcountry, that we don’t always have ‘The best day ever’.
Hiking in the backcountry is bloody HARD and no matter how experienced you are, you will always run into those challenging moments where you are left wondering ‘why the F did I do this' and would do anything to teleport yourself to a cosy couch, watching Netflix with a wine in hand.
The backcountry can seem daunting and I think it’s comforting to know that everyone struggles out there at times! As cliché as it sounds, those challenging moments help you grow and prepares your mind for the next hike – allowing you to go deeper into the backcountry and riding some amazing lines that just leave you in awe.
It is key to surround yourself with supportive backcountry friends – especially those that will have a laugh with you after you’ve just spent 7 minutes trying to do one kick turn on soft snow. Because sometimes ‘If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry’.
But hey, crying is ok too.