The Canuck Splitfest will be celebrating its 8th season this weekend from Jan 12-14th. We chatted with the event’s Emilie de Crombrugghe to find out what’s in store and how it’s changed over the years.
This marks the eight year the Canuck Splitfest, the first of its kind in the world, will return to Revelstoke and offer up events of all kinds for splitboarders from around the Pacific Northwest. Aside from splitboard demos, guided tours and clinics, there will also be presentations by Greg Hill, Justin Sweeny, Joe Lammers and Mike Wigley.
Below is our interview with the event organizer Emilie de Crombrugghe in which we discuss the tragic loss of its founder, Wade Galloway, as well as how the splitboard scene has changed over the years.
Hey Emilie. How did the splitfest first come to be? Tell us a bit about the founder.
Wade Galloway was the founder of the event in 2011. He started the Canuck Splitfest as the very first of its kind in North America to support Avalanche Canada through the Avalanche Canada Fund and the Craig Kelly Memorial Scholarship. The Avalanche Canada Fund promotes public avalanche education and facilitates the creation of avalanche bulletins across Canada. The Craig Kelly Memorial Scholarship is set up for snowboarders pursuing a career in guiding or avalanche protection to assist them with furthering their training. The Canuck Splitfest was also an excuse to gather like-minded people who shared the same passion for splitboarding in the touring mecca of Revelstoke. Unfortunately, Wade passed away on Saturday February 15, 2014, as he was swept away by an avalanche on Mount Rowe at Waterton Lakes National Park.
The Canuck Splitfest has grown exponentially over the years. We’re seeing a huge increase of participants annually, as well as sponsors and people interested in being involved. It’s a bit like a dream coming true. Last year we changed our venue from the Hillcrest to the more spacious Rec Centre. This move was quite a relief as it gave the brands, speakers, and participants more space at the trade show night. Being at the Rec Centre made it also possible for us to sell pizza and beer at an affordable price to all the hungry and thirsty boarders and skiers joining us after a big day in the mountains. This year we also launched a website (www.canucksplitfest.com) next to our Facebook and Instagram account. This has made it much easier for participants to find all the info regarding the event. You can now also purchase your $5 entry ticket online for the Saturday night trade show. Finally, one of our goals is to get all splitboard-related brands on board and have them join the festivities, which is happening more every year, so we are super stoked!
How many participants are you expecting this year?
Well, that’s hard to say. We saw about 400 people come through last year, and we are noticing much more activity on social media this year, so I’m expecting more than that this year for sure.
Where do they come from?
Last year, 76% of the participants came from BC, 11% from AB, 6% from the US, 3% from QC, 3% from Europe, and the remainder from NZ, AUS, and Northern Canada. Also women are quite well represented at the event with a 36% attendance compared to 64% men. Female participants have increased over the years, and we’re hoping that this trend keeps going up.
Do you ever get anyone to the event who insists on participating in snowshoes with a board on their back?
Ha! That’s a funny question! We’ve never had that request! In the end, everyone goes hiking with their own gear, and it’s up to them really what they want to use. We do have a lot of splitboard demos available on Friday and Saturday night, so my thought would be that anyone with snowshoes would grab a splitboard demo instead. Because, let’s be honest, it’s much more efficient to hike with a splitboard than with snowshoes, and it’s also safer as you don’t move as much snow around on steeper terrain. We do have more and more skiers join us every year too and we’re stoked about that! In the end, we just want to celebrate our passion for the mountains while being aware on how to respect them so that we can all come home at night and shred some more pow the next day.
Cool. Any shout-outs?
I’d like to thank Jennifer George and Michele Dauphinee from Avalanche Canada, and Greg Fortier and Dave Pearson from Trapper Snowboards. These guys are a crucial part of the organizing team of the Canuck Splitfest, and without them there would simply be no event. Also Marty Schaffer from Capow deserves a shout out for continuously keeping guides on hold for the Splitfest so that the participants can take guided days and clinics. Finally, there is our MC Mark Hartley who is there every single year to make sure that the presentations run smoothly! There are many more people I’d like to thank, so thank you to all the volunteers, our amazing sponsors, and all of the participants who come back year after year and make this event so successful!